Selling Low

On Saturday, I identified a couple of players who fantasy owners might consider buying high on. I purposely ignored players who were expected to be top guys to begin with, but were having even better season than projected (David Wright, Adam Jones), as I preferred to look at more of the cheaper players with surprising performances. Similarly, the sell low guys will be players that were expected to generate high dollar values. I think it’s tougher to recommend selling low on a player than buying high, because we always preach patience and believe that a player will bounce back to his established level of performance, rather than weight the first 3 months of the season so heavily. At the risk of being very wrong…

Kevin Youkilis

With the trade to the White Sox and the promise of full-time at-bats again, some owners might feel that this move will jump start his bat. I, on the other hand, think that injuries have taken their toll and he’s now just a lower tier option at the corner positions in mixed leagues. He’s striking out at a career worst pace, which combined with his career worst walk rate (and the first time it has been below 10%), means that for the first time he is striking out more than two times for every free pass he takes. So his plate discipline has eroded, and so has his power. But his ISO isn’t down because of his HR/FB ratio, which sits where it always has. It’s down because he his hitting a ton of ground balls. Previous to the 2011 season, Youk was always a fly ball hitter, hitting more of them than grounders. Then last year that was reversed, and he was close to the league average. This year, however, his GB% is suddenly above 50%, which is not the level you want to see from a power hitter. Without the home runs and limited speed to leg out infield hits, it will be difficult for him to contribute in batting average.

Michael Young

Young’s fantasy value was always predicated on a great BABIP and prime spot in the batting order of a scary offense. At age 35, it may finally be the beginning of a steep decline. Never a big walker to begin with, his BB% is now at a career low, while his power has disappeared. He is hitting a higher percentage of ground balls than ever before, which should be good for his BABIP, but really limits his home run power, which wasn’t never that great anyway. If he’s not hitting for much power or hitting over .300, his RBI and runs scored will obviously suffer and suddenly he is no longer the all-around contributor we have been accustomed to. The upside simply isn’t here to worry about being wrong selling low on him either, so he’s a pretty safe bet not to completely make his current owners look foolish if they do decide to trade him away.

Ricky Romero

I was not a fan of Romero heading into the season. Of course, that was more a reaction to how he was being valued by the fantasy community, rather than what I thought of him as a pitcher. I did like his skill set, but he has disappointed even me. His control has regressed, supported by a dive in his F-Strike% and his strikeout rate has dipped, backed by a decline in SwStk% that now sits below the league average. He is still getting a ton of ground balls, which is a good sign, but it doesn’t really matter when he is allowing so many base runners. His SIERA suggests he is wholly deserving of his 4.34 ERA right now and since he was extremely lucky last year in posting a sub-3.00 ERA, we shouldn’t necessarily expect his ERA to plummet even if his skills do improve a bit. Someone in your league needs pitching and might think he’s buying low. He’s your trading partner.

**A note on Tim Lincecum: I’m torn here. His F-Strike% suggests that his control should improve dramatically in the future, and his SwStk% is as high as always. His problems almost solely stem from pitching from the stretch, which seems correctable to me. Yet, with his velocity so down sitting between just 90.0 and 91.0 miles per hour, I just don’t know if all the rules still apply.

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Mike Podhorzer produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

31 Responses to “Selling Low”

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  1. jon says:

    Do you still think Youkilis and M. Young are preferable options to Mark Reynolds? How would you rank these guys in a 10-teamer with AVG and OPS the rest of the way?

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    • Matt says:

      I’ve been sitting on both Reynolds and Rickie Weeks. My other guys are crushing the ball so I’m comfortably in first for now. It’s a deep keeper league, so 2b is awful on waiver wire. Reynolds is easier to replace.


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      • Reynolds should be fine and do what he usually does. His HR/FB is a bit down, but everything else is normal. He should be back to the 30+ HR pace and pathetic average we love him for.

        Weeks I’m more concerned about. Some of his underlying skills have eroded, but I can’t imagine a better option on free agency. And I’m not sure you can get much selling since he wasn’t a top option at 2nd to begin with. So might have to just cross your fingers at this point.

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  2. mymaus says:

    I thought I read somewhere that Timmy had made an adjustment and that his velocity was back up the last game or two. I can’t remember the web site where I check this.

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  3. Alex Chamberlain says:

    What should we do about Eric Hosmer? Do you think he will turn it around or is it time to sell low/ drop?

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    • RotoYoda says:

      I think it depends on the type of league. Is it a keeper league? If so you hang on to Hosmer. Is it a shallow redraft league? If so you can probably find better options on the waiver wire.

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    • Depends on how shallow the league is, but doubt anyone better is on free agency. Can’t ignore the 6 steals. His peripherals are generally in line with last year, but hitting a couple more grounders than usual. But it’s really just a BABIP issue, which has been covered on here recently. You gotta assume that rebounds, but how much, we can’t be sure, because of the shift. I’d stick with him.

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  4. SirTheory says:

    Grabbed Youk off the waiver-wire, just in case something clicks in a new venue.

    But also have to agree with the worries…

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  5. Logan Morrison says:

    What about me?

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  6. Sean says:

    Mike Trout is my hero

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  7. worm turner says:

    What are your feelings on Lester?
    I expected a slow start but this…

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    • I own him in my home league and annoyed already that the first year I own him, he stinks! He’s been unlucky so far (3.63 SIERA) and he has been vintage Lester in June. His K/9 was back up to 9.1 and that came along with a 1.7 BB/9. He actually makes for a prime buy low, absolutely do not sell him for less than you paid during the draft.

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  8. jfree says:

    Disagree with the core premise for Youk or Young. Reality is that if you have them on your team, they have zero trade value and haven’t had much all year. Fantasy owners simply do not like older players unless they are doing well at the moment. Regardless of whether they are simply slumping or age is catching up, fantasy owners seem to assume that every older player who isn’t streaking hot is preparing their Social Security application. So there is no “sale” value. Or rather, the sale value is going to be the absolute worst player on someone else’s team. The choice is drop them to waivers or keep them. And both Youk (a real potential for a turnaround now that he is no longer dealing with a schmuck like Valentine) and Young (positional eligibility) are probably better bench/reserve options than whatever is on the waiver wire in most leagues.

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    • You make a good point, which is why the caveat of “it depends on who you can get in return” will always apply. I certainly don’t advocate dropping either of these players, but do believe they will not rebound to pre-season expectation levels. So whereas I typically don’t reduce my expectations for players off to slow starts, for these guys, I am.

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    • Ned says:

      Right after Hamilton’s 4-dinger game, I moved Young and Ethier for Josh and And Hardy in my 10 team keeper. At the time, I felt kinda nervous, but I feel better now. Should I? Will Hamilton adjust? Is Ethier going to turn it around? Surely Young returns fairly close to normal. It was a lot to get Hamilton, but in a keeper, I’m thinking it was the right move. That same manager is Packaging Young back in a different deal along with Hanley Ramirez, Worley, and Marshall for Beltre, Aviles, Utley, and Capuano. I’m thinking I keep to the status quo right now. Thoughts?

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  9. Sean says:

    The “sell low” window has definitely slammed shut on Youk and Young recently.

    I subscribe to the strategy, but them time to sell low was over a month ago…

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  10. Telo2 says:

    What happened to NL Sell High. I wish there was a statistic for articles on NL players vs. AL. I am in an NL only league and I rarely recieve any great articles on NL Tiers and players to pick up at waiver wire or anything.

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    • Just a coincidence! I didn’t intend to only name AL players, but if you have specific NL players in mind you want my opinion on, feel free to ask here or send me an email.

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  11. Telo2 says:

    Can you please tell me about Chris Young Arizona? Thanks for your response.

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    • Ervin Santana says:

      I am also very interested in an opinion on Chris Young. Is his shoulder injury really to blame, or does he have a history of slow recoveries from injury?? or something?

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    • Shoulder injuries are always scary for power hitters. Young was already expected to kill your batting average, so without 20 HR power, he’s not going to be worth much. Speculating on how injuries may affect a player is a fool’s errand I’ve learned, but the safe bet right now is expecting him to disappoint the rest of the way.

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  12. Norris Division says:

    Is Haren a sell low?

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  13. TD says:

    Reynolds, Rizzo, Morneau or K Morales ROS?

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  14. Brisco says:

    Packaged a sell low candidate, Ryan Zimmerman w/ a sell high, Michael Bourn for Roy Halladay in keeper league. I like that strategy to get value on sell low dump.

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