Thursday, July 26, 2012
Hitters I’m buying low onPosted by Mike Silver at 5:03am
Adam Lind, 1B
I’ve been burned by Adam Lind as many times as you have. Yet, I keep dipping into the well time after time. His exceptional 2009 campaign remains burned in my memory, though I can’t imagine him ever repeating that level of performance again.
Nevertheless, he can still be a competent fantasy first baseman, even if a bit underwhelming.
The .232 average is ugly, but that figure is also why he is so attainable, at only 46.6 percent owned in ESPN leagues. Things aren’t actually that grisly, however. His plate discipline characteristics indicate a 14.8 K percentage, not a 19.2 percent rate as is currently. In addition, his BABIP should recover to the .285-.290 range— a 30-point improvement. All told, he should be able to pace about 25 homers from here on out and should hit in the .265-.275 range the rest of the way.
The fact he’s still allowed to bat fifth is laughable, but that’s the Blue Jays’ problem, not yours.
No one ever accused a buy low player of being a stud, and Lind certainly isn’t one. What he is, however, is a useful corner infielder in 12-team leagues who should be slightly below league average. It shouldn’t cost much to get him—I would consider a No. 4 or No. 5 starting pitcher a fair offer. And if a guy like this can fill a hole, it can add a few points of value.
Projection, rest of the season (pro-rated to 155 GP): 75.5 R, 24.7 HR, 84.2 RBI, 1 SB, .272 AVG
FantasyPlayerRater.com Value: -0.735 points below average (12-team leagues)
Current pro-rated value (155 GP): 5.458 points below average
Alex Presley, OF
He’s fought through an ugly campaign thus far, batting just .231 with six home runs and a .633 OPS. As a result, his ownership has plummeted to under one percent in ESPN leagues.
Things should be trending up soon, and owners in need of outfield help should think about adding him. I see a batting average recovery of approximately 40-50 points the rest of the way, brought on by a reduction in K-rate of 6 percent and BABIP increase of about 50 points.
Further aiding the comeback is that, somehow, Alex Presley is still batting leadoff. I can’t overstate how valuable this lineup position is for a hitter like Presley, whose skills align him to either first or eighth/ninth.
Pick him up if he’s on the waiver wire or target him as a toss-in to complete a deal if he’s already owned.
Projection, rest of season (Pro-Rated to 155 GP): 94.8 R, 14.0 HR, 58.3 RBI, 22.9 SB, .2835 AVG
FantasyPlayerRater.com Value: 0.946 points above average (12-team leagues)
Current pro-rated value (155 GP): 4.416 points below average
[Note: This article was submitted prior to Starling Marte's recall, meaning Presley's chances to bounce back are hampered even further. Timing is everything.]
It’s hard to qualify the major league home run leader as a buy-low candidate, but to see exactly why I categorized Dunn as a buy-low, check out his value with a .210 average at the end of the blurb. He loses almost two points in value. Even with the homers, there are plenty of owners scared off by his .210 average and you can be there to capitalize.
An improvement in his ghastly O-Contact percentage should pull his strikeouts into the 29-30 percent range as opposed to 35, where he currently stands. Combined with an uptick in his .250 BABIP, you’re looking at a batter hitting .235-.245.
I think the rest of his line stays about where it is, though a slight drop in power is expected. I see vintage Adam Dunn the rest of the way.
Projection, rest of season (pro-rated to 155 GP): 93.2 R, 40.7 HR, 108.3 RBI, 1 SB, .2387 AVG
FantasyPlayerRater.com Value: 2.514 points above average
***Adam Dunn’s stats with .210 average: 89.7 R, 40.7 HR, 102.6 RBI, 1 SB, .210 AVG
***FantasyPlayerRater.com Value, with .210 average: 0.795 points above average
Pedro Alvarez, 3B
Alvarez is suffering in many of the same ways Adam Dunn is suffering: a strikeout rate way out of line with his contact rates and a BABIP that should be far higher.
Sure, Alvarez is no wizard in concerns to contact, but he isn’t this bad. While he did strike out at over a 30 percent clip last season, he has improved in every meaningful indicator that determines strikeout rates: his O-Contact is up, his Z-Contact is up, and he’s swinging more. My regression equations suggest a batter more in line with a 25 percent strikeout rate.
In addition, he should be capable of improving his BABIP up into the .305-.310 range. This, combined with an improvement in his strikeout rate should haul his batting average up into the high .270s, an increase of almost 50 points.
With fewer strikeouts (more balls in play) comes more home runs. With more home runs and average come more runs and RBI. The only thing holding him back is the batting order, where he’s hitting sixth.
For those in need of third base help, Alvarez is a great target. Being owned in just 84 percent of leagues means he’s readily attainable, though he will cost you a decent player. I’d say that a number three or good number four starting pitcher should be a good opening offer, and don’t be afraid to give up more.
Projection rest of season (pro-rated to 155 GP): 78.9 R, 31.5 HR, 78.2 RBI, 1 SB, .2772 AVG
FantasyPlayerRater.com Value: 1.552 points above average (12-team leagues)
Current pro-rated value: 1.553 points above average
J.D. Martinez, OF
Early in the year, a lot of owners pegged J.D. Martinez as a breakout candidate after flashing decent power and average in 2011. Four months later and those claims seem amiss—but there is hope for Martinez yet.
I expect his O-Swing and Z-Swing rates to climb a bit back into the upper 20s and upper 60s, respectively, and a stabilization of his contact rates. With an improvement in his BABIP to about the .320 range, you’re talking about a hitter who can eclipse the .270 mark.
Don’t give up much for Martinez, but with a 16 percent ownership rate, you shouldn’t have to. He can fill a fifth outfielder or utility role for you.
Projection, rest of season (pro-rated to 155 GP): 71.3 R, 19.4 HR, 75.8 RBI, 1 SB, .2761 AVG
FantasyPlayerRater.com Value: -1.259 points below average
Current pro-rated value (155 GP): 3.592 points below average
Returning from a brief hiatus, Mike is excited to be back at THT.
Mike's former writing homes include FireBrandAL.com and StatSpeak.net, while his content has appeared on Fangraphs.com, ESPN.com, and others. A lifelong Red Sox fan native to New York, Mike loves to blend baseball and statistical analysis.
Feel free to email him at mjasilver AT gmail DOT com.