FunGraphs is changing up the format for the Fantasy Notes section a bit this week. Rather than write about four players worth buying and selling, I will write about two, while adding a section of commentary on the fantasy-relevant news of the last week.
This Week in Fantasy-Relevant News
- Super Two Deadline (probably) Passes. Although no one knows when the exact Super Two deadline is, it’s likely some time in the first week of June. What does that mean for fantasy owners? Teams will be more likely to promote prospects to the MLB squad. While names like Moncada (45% owned in Yahoo, 21% in ESPN), Torres (12% / 5%) and Rosario (11% / 6%) might already be stashed on some fantasy rosters, be on the lookout for lesser known but equally impressive prospects like Rhys Hoskins and Derek Fisher.
- Humidor Construction at Chase Field Continues. While Coors gets all the attention for its run boosting effects, Arizona’s Chase Field is quite the band box as well. So much so that Arizona is building a humidor to store game baseballs in order to subdue some of their “bounciness” off the bat. Early estimates have the humidor effect reducing home run totals at Chase by as much as 25%, if not more. The humidor balls will begin being used in late June/early July, so it might be smart to target under-performing Diamondback pitchers and sell on their hitters.
- Mike Trout Out for 6-8 Weeks After Surgery. By now most of the baseball world is aware that Trout tore ligaments in this thumb on a slide into second and is out for up to two months. What does that mean for fantasy? Sell your remaining Angels offensive players like Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun. The Angels had the 4th worst OPS in the league with Trout, and it’s likely that they’re in four weeks time. Additionally, if you’re into streaming pitchers, make sure to target guys facing the Angels.
Buy, buy, buy!!!
Scott Schebler / RF / Cincinnati Reds (Ownership: 62% ESPN / 57% Yahoo)
Given that Schebler is tied for the NL league lead in home runs with 16, this buy recommendation might seem a bit obvious. But I believe there is still untapped upside in Schebler’s offensive performance this season.
The lefty slugger obviously possesses prodigious power, with the aforementioned home runs and a .303 isolated slugging percentage. Most of the power is legitimate, with Schebler’s 42.3% flyball rate and 41.7% hard hit rate leading to plenty of batted balls with home run potential. Schebler is also 16th in the MLB in barreled balls (balls hit very hard and at ideal launch angles for inflicting damage) per plate appearance. His 26.7% HR/FB ratio is a probably a bit high, but his batted ball authority should enable him to consistently maintain a HR/FB ratio in the 20%s.
The further upside with Schebler comes from the poor luck he’s received on batted balls to date. Despite hitting the ball very hard, Schebler’s .227 BABIP is 11th worst in the majors this season. While flyball-centric hitters tend to have lower BABIPs, Schebler should at least be in the .280-.290 BABIP range given his hit tool. That type of regression would turn his current .243 average into something like .275, which will lead to many more run and RBI opportunities.
Schebler is a stud. The fact that he’s still available in 40% of fantasy leagues is very perplexing. Pick him up for free or try to acquire him before the price gets too steep.
Get rid of him!!!
Dylan Bundy / SP / Baltimore Orioles (Ownership: 90% ESPN / 88% Yahoo)
The Baltimore Orioles have been sputtering over the past couple weeks as their poor pitching and one dimensional offensive approach are being exposed. Yet, in that span, staff ace Dylan Bundy has kept turning out quality outings. In Bundy’s 11 starts this season, he has gone six or more innings 10 times and has surrendered more than three earned runs only once. Unfortunately for Baltimore, that performance is built on a house of cards, with bleaker times looming ahead.
Bundy’s 10 quality starts and 2.89 ERA conceal some extremely worrying trends in his performance. Essentially every peripheral statistic for Bundy has regressed from last year. Strikeout rate down (21.9% to 17.3%). Swinging strike rate down (10.5% to 9.8%). Groundball rate down (35.9% to 32.1%). Hard contact rate up (28.0% to 33.0%). This has all combined to give Bundy a 4.05 FIP and 4.87 xFIP, which ranks 83rd out of 101 starters who have thrown 50+ innings.
What’s more, Bundy’s fastball velocity is also significantly compared to 2016. Not surprisingly, his fastball is also getting hammered this season, with his four-seamer yielding a .500 slugging percentage and his two-seamer a .579 slugging percentage. It looks like Bundy has added a slider to his repertoire that is having some success, he’s still throwing his highly ineffective fastball over 50% of the time.
Bundy is going to start getting hammered at some point. Owners should put him on the trading block immediately and get what they can.
Previous Long Picks:
1B, Miguel Cabrera (DET) – 5/6
1B, Yonder Alonso (OAK) – 5/13
C, Alex Avila (DET) – 5/22
OF, Cameron Maybin (LAA) – 5/29
SP, Trevor Cahill (SD) – 5/6
SP, Nate Karns (KC) – 5/13
SP, Luis Perdomo (SD) – 5/22
SP, Josh Tomlin (CLE) – 5/29
Previous Sell Picks:
1B, Ryan Zimmerman (WSH) – 5/6
1B, Mark Reynolds (COL) – 5/13
LF, Corey Dickerson (TB) – 5/22
SS, Zack Cozart (CIN) – 5/29
SP, Dallas Keuchel (HOU) – 5/6
SP, Robbie Ray (ARI) – 5/13
SP, Gio Gonzalez (WSH) – 5/22
SP, Seung Hwan Oh (STL) – 5/29