Five Players to Sell High

Selling high is generally a misnomer these days. Most of us are in competitive leagues, the kind where all the owners read or write for a reputable site. We learn how to use sites like FanGraphs to do statistical analysis. As a result, it’s really hard to find people to snooker with 15 days of fluky data. However, certain types of players can remain marketable even though everyone is looking for the pitfalls.

I pulled together a list of all the qualified BABIP leaders. I figure this is as good a place as any to look for the players who have outperformed expectations. Sure enough, we find fodder like Juan Uribe and Jason Kubel near the top of the BABIP board. These are not the guys you’re going to sell high. Go ahead and try, you’ll get a refusal message in return quoting their BABIP.

We do find several players who might be salable at a profit. Generally, I’m looking for a player profile that is young, has breakout potential, or has come out of nowhere in a noisy way. Here are a few:

Christian Yelich: Yelich was one of my favorite sleepers heading into draft season. Unfortunately, I learned that he was not so sleepy once draft day came around. He’s batting at the top of a Marlins lineup that’s just good enough to drive him in 90 times. He can also swipe a few bases. The reason why you might be able to sell high stems from his .432 BABIP. A sky high line drive rate over 30 percent means he hasn’t been ridiculously lucky from a BABIP perspective. Obviously we should expect regression on his batted ball distribution.

He’s not hitting any fly balls – just two all season – which means he has no power numbers. If he doesn’t start hitting a lot more fly balls, he’ll continue to hurt his fantasy value with middling power. If he does hit those flies, his BABIP should crater back towards league average. If he wasn’t on the Marlins you could sell Yelich very high, but I suspect you’ll end up holding him. Shop around.

Dee Gordon: He has 10 stolen bases. Ten! And a .450 BABIP. Rivals who find themselves deficient in steals might look at his numbers, call them lucky, and still expect a batting average around .300. Our projection systems indicate that somewhere in the range of .250-.260 is a more responsible projection. I bet Gordon owners could get something very attractive for their flash in the pan. Perhaps your mid-tier first baseman plus Gordon could net someone like Prince Fielder. Probably not, but you should still scan for an opportunity.

Yangervis Solarte: Here’s a guy who’s gone from “Who?” to the middle of the Yankees lineup in the last 10 days. Solarte doesn’t really have power or speed. If he plays every day, he should settle in near the bottom of the Yankees order. His game is entirely about putting balls in play, which has worked for guys like Michael Young. Solarte isn’t Young, and he won’t be a fantasy asset throughout the entire season. Now is the time to cash in.

Chris Colabello: Minnesota’s new power bat is liable to dry up at any time. Colabello has a .400 BABIP and 25 percent strikeout rate. I actually think his strikeout rate will get worse. Even if it doesn’t, we’re talking about a .250 hitter with maybe enough power to pop 20 home runs. Probably fewer.

He’s currently getting regular action in the middle of the lineup. Once his BABIP dragons die, expect to see him play much less regularly. The Twins lineup is bad enough that he’ll probably still bat in the middle of the order.

Mike Zunino: Here’s the only player on our list without a crazy BABIP. He has three home runs to date, but he also bats near the bottom of the order most days. He currently sports a ridiculous 18.9 percent whiff rate, which explains why his strikeout rate is up at 27.7 percent. He is a good prospect who can make an adjustment, but his current approach is going to result in a low .200′s average with no RBI, run, or stolen base opportunities. His prospect pedigree and home runs might be enough for someone to say “Oooh shiny.” You probably don’t have much time to offload him.




Print This Post

Brad is a former collegiate player who writes for FanGraphs, MLB Trade Rumors, The Hardball Times, RotoWorld, and The Fake Baseball. He's also the lead MLB editor for RotoBaller. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.


50 Responses to “Five Players to Sell High”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Daniel says:

    No offense, but who is going to buy high on Yelich, Solarte or Colabello right now?

    Gordon might have some reasonable trade value right now, but I can’t see anyone giving up much value for the others featured in this article.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • FeslenR says:

      Yelich has potential to be a 15-18 guy, but yeah…he’s a waiver wire in a less deep league for sure

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bobby says:

        You need to play in leagues that have more than 10 teams that start more than 3 OFs. Yelich has plenty of value in a 15-team (5 starting OFs) league.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MLB Rainmaker says:

      Spot on. No one is going to trade for a guy you picked up off waivers.

      Alexi Ramirez is the clear pick for me. Teams that lost Jose Reyes or gambled with a scuffling Brad Miller could be ripe targets.

      I’d also include Mark Trumbo as his recent HR tear may have jacked his value up enough that you could get something for him, and likely replace his production with the likes of Adam Dunn.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • ThePanman99 says:

        I agree with the Ramirez comment. However, I don’t see why anyone would swap Trumbo for Dunn it seems neither team would gain anything as they are essentially the same player that will get you around 30 HR but strike out a lot and hold a low AVG.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        Adding my own two cents, I don’t see Trumbo as a sell high candidate. You can certainly sell him if you have certain needs.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Cidron says:

      really comes down to how deep the league is, and how many OF. 20 teams, 5 of.. thats 100 OF off the board right there, with zero depth. Can Yellich be in the top 100? Sure, Why not.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        Yelich is at worst a top 50 OFer.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Emcee Peepants says:

        He’s also 22, was the 23rd overall pick, and the number 15 prospect prior to last year. On name recognition alone, he is worth something while his sleeper/prospect value is still high and he’s hitting .300+.

        Side note, I traded him for Gerrit Cole straight up at the deadline last year in a keeper league. Straight highway robbery, so I’m speaking from experience.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jdbolick says:

        Brad, are you saying top 50 N.L. outfielder “at worst”? If you mean between both leagues then I would strenuously disagree with that. We had Yelich ranked #63 among outfielders in our fantasy magazine and I thought that was high, as I don’t like him nearly as much as my co-workers. That said, I agree that his name value makes him trade-able. Sadly, as a Zunino owner, I agree with every name you mentioned.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        I’m saying I project a line around 85/10/50/22/.270. That’s a top 50 mixed outfielder.

        Actually going back through last season’s data, those numbers would put him around #35. Even if you trim 10% across the board, he’d still be top 50. I don’t think there’s any case to say he’s worse than 77/9/45/20/.250.

        Granted, the reason those totals would place him in the top 50 is because a lot of guys get hurt. Yelich might be one of those guys and we aren’t pricing that into this discussion.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jdbolick says:

        I’m saying I project a line around 85/10/50/22/.270. That’s a top 50 mixed outfielder.

        Actually going back through last season’s data, those numbers would put him around #35. Even if you trim 10% across the board, he’d still be top 50. I don’t think there’s any case to say he’s worse than 77/9/45/20/.250.

        Sure there is, as projecting 20 steals is on the aggressive side. I realize that he had 10 in half a season with the Marlins and stole 20+ in the previous two minor league seasons, but Christian Yelich is not fast. He came up as a high school first baseman. He’s a smart runner and succeeded in all ten of his MLB attempts, but take that down to a more realistic 75% conversion and suddenly you’re looking at ~15 being his upper end of projected outcomes. I think he’s more likely to end up in the 10-15 range.

        So Yelich is a guy with very limited power hitting in a bad lineup whose batting average has thus far been buoyed by a high BABIP. If he can sustain most of that and steal more often than I think we will, then he becomes a top 50 outfielder. But that’s far from guaranteed and I don’t believe he will, hence my problem with saying that he “is at worst a top 50 OFer.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        I originally projected 16, but he’s already at 3 this season so the projection has to go way up. Even if his pace of stealing is scaled way back, he shouldn’t have any trouble reaching 20. Of course, I’m assuming health.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • I Like Baseball Sports says:

      Maybe he meant: “get them high, then sell these players to them”.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Steve says:

    Depending on your league Solarte may be the ideal guy to stash on your bench. He has SS and 3B eligibility in Yahoo, and is on his way to having 2B as well. Even if all he does is hit for average, he has a bunch of value in that you only have to use one bench spot to cover having a fill-in for three infield positions.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. redsoxu571 says:

    Hard to “sell high” on a catcher (i.e. Zunino) outside of two-catcher leagues. Just not a lot of value to be had between better ones and lesser ones.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      People still play 1 catcher leagues?

      -11 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • atoms says:

        What’s the point of a 2-catcher league? I honestly don’t get it.

        I’m assuming this means two active “C” lineup spots on your roster, right? Catchers sit frequently enough that often even just one C-spot might not get very close to 162 starts unless you have a second catcher-eligible player on your roster. Why have two lineup spots for catchers? It’s not that deep a position anyway.

        +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • byron says:

        Everyone who plays Ottoneu is playing in a one-catcher league that has a convenience feature to make it easier to max out games for your one catcher spot.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • drew says:

        ~What’s the point of a 2-catcher league? I honestly don’t get it.~

        Catchers will have value more relative to MLB. In a one catcher league it’s not that hard to get a catcher who can produce. This is certainly not true in MLB.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • atoms says:

        “Catchers will have value more relative to MLB.”

        …and why is that a consideration? We’re not simulating MLB here. I have 5 starting OFs in a 12 team league. There are 90 starting OF positions in actual MLB. Who cares if they don’t line up? In fact, you don’t want them to line up, because the game works better when there are some marginal players available on the waiver wire. In fact, there are probably only at most 15-20 actual “good” offensive catchers in MLB, so having 1 per team and maybe a few teams with a backup to cover off days or platoons works out pretty nicely. Having 2 catchers means you have a crappy player on your roster for no good reason.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        The beauty of a 2 catcher, auction league is that it can really open up different strategic options more than any other positional adjustment. Because catcher does go downhill around the 20-25th best guy, you can choose to use budget to shore up that position or do a partial punt. It’s just a different way to sim, but I find exponentially more enjoyable.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • atoms says:

        OK, I think I get it. I guess that’s a somewhat interesting strategic tradeoff, but I don’t see how it’s that substantially different or more engaging than any other strategic tradeoff one might come across in various fantasy baseball formats. Personally, I find managing catchers in daily lineups to be more of a pain than a joy, but hey, fair enough if it’s something you enjoy. You just sounded so flippant, as if that angle ought to be utterly self-evident to everyone, that I was seriously confused as to what I was missing.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • wildcard09 says:

        I like 2 catcher leagues because in my eyes having 1 catcher means you can more or less put all of them in a hat after about the top 3 or 5 and pick 1 at random and not lose much production between any of the rest. If you try and do that in a 2 catcher league it’s not really going to work out.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bird in hand says:

        Actually Wildcard I have been playing both 1 and 2 C leagues for years and the same is true of 2 catcher leagues. After the first 12 you have roughly 2 tiers of 5 each for the last 10 or so catchers, put them in a hat and pick em. All u really do is change the scale for measuring. And I dont really think it changes strategy that much either, you dont want to have 2 crappy C but u should still wait on C as they get hurt a lot and the difference between the best and worst isnt as large as pretty much any other position. For instance I took Zunino as the last (24th)C, would have been fine if a number of other guys slipped to that spot instead.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Tom Cranker says:

    Agreed that Solarte and colabello fall into the uribe and kubel “good luck selling high” category. Yelich has that nice prospect shine like Zunino, though – especially helpful in keeper leagues.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Rickifer says:

    what about Alexei Ramirez?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Will says:

    I dunno, I hear you on Zunino but he always had plenty of power, and dealt with an injury last year. I’ll take a bunch of power from my #2, especially one so young. He also seems (in a very small sample) to have improved on breaking balls, though OTOH he is swinging WAY too much (and hasn’t walked yet).

    Skimming my team in your home league, I’d suggest Young (in a Dee Young way), Utley (he will break at some point), Rendon – even though I’m high on him and think he was way undervalued (plus he has the prospecty appeal), Kazmir and Wood (the latter also one I like but also with added prospect-shine). In the other league, Cuddyer and Walker… they are not without talent, but not this good.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Will says:

    And I was hoping to flip Salazar if he started off hot, but jeez, what a horrible first few games…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. sailenac says:

    Can you make a pitcher version of this article

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Ruki Motomiya says:

    So what you’re saying is Dee Gordon might hit .250-.260? Because I’ll take those AVG numbers with 40+ Steals, which considering he had 32 in a half season before, has 10 already and had 10 in 38 last year, at the SS spot with 2B eligibility, especially with a lineup that should boast increased run points. The only thing I’d be concerned about is if he stays starter all year. And Prince Fielder would be a terrible choice for returns: Steadily declining HR and .ISO, Rangers Ballpark might not be the bandbox it used to be due to wind changes, Fielder’s body type ages poorly…Fielder was firmly on my avoid list before the season and he hasn’t had me change my mind, he’s a prime candidate to be a BJ Upton: Not necessarily as unplayable as BJ Upton, but someone you hang onto all year expecting to turn it around and then they never do.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • wily mo says:

      yeah. as one of the four people who can watch dee gordon play right now, he definitely looks like he’s turned a corner. he’s put on muscle and just been around the block a few times now. totally different vibe to him now than there was two years ago. go ahead and take the projection systems as gospel on his BA if you want to. i’m holding him if i’ve got him.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        My point was mostly just Dee Gordon is still pretty valuable if he does what the article suggests is regression.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jdbolick says:

      The issue with Gordon and Colabello isn’t so much that they’ll fall apart, although they could, but that each will have looming playing time issues. Alex Guerrero is brutalizing AAA pitching and the Dodgers will want a return on that investment sooner than later. Meanwhile Colabello may be the odd man out if Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham are ever healthy at the same time.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        He’s played in 5 games so far, which is hardly brutalizing, HanRam is a guy who is frequently banged up and the Dodgers third basemen is Juan Uribe, so we could see Uribe getting spelled out for HanRam at 3B, Gordon at SS and Alex at 2B. Plus, Guerrero is actually older than Gordon: If Gordon keeps doing well, why replace him with the older unproven guy? Because he was hyped to be good? And it’s not like Guerrero is going anywhere…

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. LD Smith says:

    13 team, NL Only.

    I have Yelich @ 10 in his 2nd year of 3 year deal.

    He’s nearly an untradeable guy in our league.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Chancellor says:

    Would you package Yangervis (just hit his first homer) and Colabello (just went 5-7 with 4 RBI, 3 doubles and 2 walks in a doubleheader today) for Iwakuma or is that not enough? 14-teamer so these guys are eminently ownable and even startable.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brad Johnson says:

      Iwakuma is tricky just because of his health. As always, the biggest question is what are your alternatives?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Chancellor says:

        Both guys are utility/off day/matchup play fill-ins for me, so while I might like Yangervis a bit better than Brett Lawrie some days, or Colabello over Rajai/Khris Davis, I do have guys that I drafted in any position they would fill. My pitching is headlined by Bumgarner and Hamels with guys like Fister and Archer filling out the staff. I guess I’m just wondering if I should try for someone more reliable or if I need to make sure to sell these guys while they’re red-hot and if so if Kuma’s enough.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        I think you should make the trade then. Guys like Colabello and Solarte crop up throughout the season. Iwakuma’s are much harder to find. As long as you aren’t creating a blackhole, it’s usually good to acquire the best player in a trade. A scenario like the one you propose is why this article got written in the first place.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • DJ Ramgo says:

        There is no way in blue hell any idiot would give you Iwakuma for Solarte and Colabello. This dicussion should have ended years ago.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brad Johnson says:

        Oh, I thought he had the offer in hand. That doesn’t smell particularly insane to me. Not that I would ever sell Iwakuma at that price, but I’ve seen at least a dozen worse trades already this season.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • tylersnotes says:

      trading utility pieces for a strong no 2/3 SP? Yes, definitely go for it. Iwakuma’s injury was a broken finger, so not nearly as concerning as something like a shoulder or back injury. Take it, and you’ll find plenty of replacement level utility guys to replace solarte and colabello at any point in the season

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • cs3 says:

      Go ahead and make that offer if you want to be ridiculed and possibly blackballed from the trade market in your league.

      Nobody with even half a clue is going to give up a pitcher of Iwakumas caliber for 2 waiver wire heroes who are just as likely to be out of a job in 2 months as they are to be fantasy relevant.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Ol' Abner says:

    Why the Trumbo hate for someone due for his career year? Age, ballpark, past production all point to a player going strongly in the opposite direction that Adam Done is sliding. If I had Dunn I would switch leagues to take advantage of an owner who thinks they will have comparable stats this year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Corey says:

    Errr… Ahhh… You guys might want to rethink that Solarte thing…..

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Billi Cyrus says:

    I am really glad that today I came across your blog and read about this wonderful post on online sports betting websites. I loved each and every part of your post in which you described all the important facts very clearly. Here, I would also like to announce about my own online sports betting website which offers a very safe platform and environment to bet on the major international sports games. The interface of my website is also very user friendly hence the bettors can appreciate it.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. cs3 says:

    I read the title and my first thought was “Stanton”, followed by “Utley”.
    If youre going to attempt to sell high, the only way to get anything back of real value is if the player you’re trying to sell had some name recognition *before* the hot streak.

    All of the guys in this article are pretty much scrubs that nobody who knows anything about baseball would trade for.
    Also if you list guys like Collabello/Solarte/Uribe/etc how can you leave off Blackmon/Melky/Alexei/Pagan?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Dave Miller says:

    Your post was brilliant and I loved reading it in which you so clearly mentioned about how to begin with sports betting through online sports betting websites. I am glad that I came across it and I thank you for this. I would also like to acquaint people to one of the wonderful online sports betting websites which offers all the international games to bet over and which is also known for offering some of the best bet to win ratios on major sports.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>