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.



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Brad is a former collegiate player who writes for FanGraphs, RotoWorld, and Rotoballer. Follow him on Twitter @BaseballATeam or email him here.


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Daniel
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Daniel

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.

FeslenR
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FeslenR

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

Bobby
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Bobby

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.

MLB Rainmaker
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Member
MLB Rainmaker

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.

ThePanman99
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ThePanman99

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.

Cidron
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Cidron

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.

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants

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.

jdbolick
Member
Member

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.

jdbolick
Member
Member

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.

I Like Baseball Sports
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I Like Baseball Sports

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

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