Buy low, sell high. That’s the mantra of fantasy sports – so ubiquitous and unspecific that it is a sports cliché itself. At the heart, we are all trying to cut good deals for ourselves. Today, I’d like to look briefly at a few players whose owners may consider “sell high” candidates, but who feel are performing sustainably.
If an owner feels that a player is overperforming, that owner may be willing to take back what he/she believes to be the player’s “true value.” But, if the player isn’t really overperforming at all, the owner exposes him/herself as attempting to short a solid stock. Here are some players who I consider solid stocks, but whose owners may be ready to take their profits thus far and run.
Willingham has been a good player for some years. I don’t feel he’s been given full opportunity to succeed and build his name. He spent many highly productive seasons in the minors before being given a shot in Florida and has bounced around frequently in his relatively short career, always being quite good but not great. This year, he seems settled in and a good fit for the organization and ballpark in which he plays. While his average is a tad high and buoyed by an elevated, though not absurd, BABIP, his production is generally sustainable. Willingham is a decided flyball hitter with legit power and relatively neutral splits against righties and lefties. Many of his owners may think his 30/100 pace is over his head; many of his owners probably don’t even know that he went 29/98 last year in 136 games. Give or take, at age 33, we are seeing the real Josh Willingham this season.
I’ve been a big fan of Lewis since his return to Texas. His low walk rate and above-average strikeout rate minimize the impact of his flyball tendencies at his home stadium. Lewis is sporting a BABIP relatively in line with last year, and though his walk rate is due for a bit of regression, there’s still plenty to like about Lewis as a player you can probably add to your rotation fairly easily through trade and who won’t hurt you anywhere. And, of course, there’s always the Texas line-up out there backing him up. As bonus, the Rangers still have 19 games remaining with the weak offenses of Oakland and Seattle, including a ton in the playoff period for those in head-to-head leagues.
This man can hit! There’s really not much else that needs to be said. Craig can really hit, and depending on your league provider, he may be eligible all over the diamond, including 2B. The Cards love his bat and they want it featured prominently in their order.
Given that Craig started the season on the DL, he may not have been drafted in your league and may have been added off waivers. Perhaps his owner thinks he found a nice little profit and wants to cash it in before Craig turns back into a waiver wire pumpkin. Allen Craig is no pumpkin.
In leagues in which he is MI-eligible, one move to consider would be to trade an MI-stud to Craig’s current owner for Craig plus your other big need. Or, try to acquire Craig and then trade your best MI somewhere else to fill your other need. I’m betting my money on Craig producing at top tier MI level.
If he’s not eligible at MI in your leagues, he’s still makes for a fine OF or CI.
Sure, he will not continue to post a 25% HR/FB rate and his BABIP is a bit high now, but I don’t think this guy is a fluke and while his stock might look high given his current numbers, I think it will continue to soar going forward, sort of the way it happened to Brett Lawrie between last year and this one.
Cuddy is something of a hybrid of the two position players already discussed. He has the established track record of highly productive play that is shadowed by obscurity that Willingham has, as well as the sneaky position eligibility boost of Craig. Oh, and did I mention he plays at Coors Field?
The only league in which I missed out on Cuddyer is the one in which I successfully snatched and stashed Craig. In the five full seasons before coming to Colorado (he missed half of ’08), Cuddyer averaged 90/21/87/7, while hitting between .271 and .284 every season.
Cuddy was pre-ranked pretty highly, but in just about all of my leagues he fell well below his projected rank/price. He is worth it, especially if he is MI-eligible in your league. His owner may not be a believer though and may be happy with having received 250 ABs worth of top-75 performance. With a .289 BABIP, a summer of games in Colorado ahead, and a batted ball profile in line with those previous 5 seasons, there’s 250+ additional ABs worth of top 75 level production remaining in Cuddyer’s bat.