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When You Can Buy Low

Last year, I explained how you may actually be able to buy low and sell high. As you no doubt have learned when trying to make these types of deals, it is much easier said than done. In the coming weeks, we are going to be inundated with articles naming all the same players with the assumption that just a snap of the finger will allow an owner to swoop in and buy low. Rotoworld has already suggested we sell Omar Infante high. Really? What fantasy owner in his right mind is trading for Omar Infante after a week and a half of surprising power? There are ways to buy low and sell high though. You just need a story. Today I’ll just focus on the buy low side.

Now of course before targeting a player for a buy low offer, you have to believe he won’t continue to stay low. So I won’t speculate as to whether the players I name are good targets, but simply name them as guys you have a better chance of pulling off this type of trade for. The story is mandatory to really sell that buy low offer. You’re not buying Jose Bautista or Robinson Cano low. There is simply no fear you could stir around the owner’s mind to truly make him consider that these players are headed for a disappointing season.

Surprisingly enough, this year Albert Pujols actually qualifies as a player in which a story can be conjured up. Between last year’s reduced level of production and a league switch, there is enough here to put some doubt into his owner’s head.

How about Alex Rios? He was atrocious last year and many, including me, expected at least somewhat of a rebound, rendering him undervalued in drafts. But, he’s off to a terrible start once again and is hitting pop-ups like crazy. I have no real idea if the good Rios will ever show up, but he is definitely one that if you believe so, you can likely get him for peanuts.

Then you have the multitude of hitters who made many pre-season sleeper lists off to slow starts such as Ike Davis, Mike Moustakas and Dexter Fowler. As an owner, the longer the slow start continues, the more you’re going to be questioning whether you were right about these players. Since owners were probably expecting these types to post stats they have never recorded before, there’s really nothing to take comfort in to maintain the owner’s confidence.

Moving on to pitchers, right now it looks like a disaster field out there. Among the bottom 15 pitchers in ERA to start the year, you will find names such as Max Scherzer, Daniel Hudson, Josh Johnson, Dan Haren, Zack Greinke and CC Sabathia. Scherzer you may be able to legitimately buy low, as he suffered from a 4.00+ ERA last year. The others, probably not.

Also among those cellar dwellars are prime buy low guys like Francisco Liriano, Luke Hochevar and Juan Nicasio. I don’t even know where to begin with Liriano. It boggles my mind how he can be so dominant in the spring, with stuff supposedly looking great, to sucking yet again over his first two starts with all of his underlying metrics mirroring last season’s disaster. But hey, if you want him, I’m sure his owner is just about ready to give up on him and he’ll be yours for the taking!

Hochevar had a strong second half ERA last year, leading many to label him a sleeper, and his spring was fantastic as well. Then Friday happened and I’m sure most owners are thinking they drafted the bad Hochevar.

The bottom line when buying low is that there’s got to be a story that is reasonable enough to create some doubt inside the target player’s owner’s head. You rarely see these types of players included in buy low articles. All you see is the established players with known levels of production who happen to start slowly. These are the players least likely to be able to be bought low, but the author won’t tell you that the advice is almost impossible to act upon!