Fantasy baseball has the ability to lift spirits, as well as destroy them, and being about a month into the season now, I think it is a good time to look at who’s hot and who’s cold.
Recognizing these hot and cold streaks is not a special talent, but knowing who to keep or get rid of becomes a little more challenging. I hope to help you make decisions on who to keep hold of and who to put on your trade blocks and get rid of for the highest value you can.
Below is a list of players currently hot or cold, giving my opinions on why they are like that, and my opinions whether or not to keep a hold, drop, or trade these players.
Tim Anderson– How can you avoid discussing the hottest hitter in baseball over the last month? With a slash-line of .402/.422/.632, Tim Anderson has, without a doubt, been one of the best hitters in baseball going into late-April. This slash-line is paired with him repeating his 20 home-run, 20 steal trends, and there is a lot to like about Tim Anderson. The fear surrounding this player, in my opinion, is the lack of walks and the high strikeouts. Even though his K% is down to around 19.7%, his BB% is down from five percent to 1.7% in 2019. Having a walk rate this low, to me, is scary because when he goes on a little cold streak, he does not have the ability to keep his OBP high, which can limit his value in certain formats. In my opinion, I would be looking to trade him in most single-season formats, but in dynasty and keeper leagues, I would hold on to him solely based on the fact that he has proven to be a 20 home-run, 20 stolen base player, and if he has figured out how to keep his average up, he will be an amazing player for years to come.
Tim Beckham: 2019 must be the year of Tim. Tim Beckham, like Anderson, has started the 2019 MLB season extremely hot, with a BABIP of .377 and a slash line of .287/.363/.535. Importantly, Beckham has continued to increase his walk rate, up to 9.7% this year compared to his 6.6% career rate. Given these trends, 2019 looks good for Tim Beckham, but I am not completely sold. Personally, I am trying to flip him for as much value in a package deal as I can. Some fantasy owners like to overreact and try to win early, rather than win late in the season where it counts. Try to find one of these owners in your league and get as much value for Tim Beckham as you can.
Yoan Moncada: Yoan Moncada, to me, is a tough player to assess. Not because he isn’t talented, but because his game is flawed in a way that limits his fantasy value. This season, Moncada is slashing .323/.374/.596 and looks to have figured out his past flaws. He is striking out less than in the past (22.4% in 2019 compared to 33.4% in 2018), and his power numbers look to be improving as well. I want to believe he has figured it out, but I need a little larger sample size to say definitively. With that being said, in formats that penalize for strikeouts, STAY AWAY, as the strikeout percentage is too high for the other value you might get. But in other dynasty formats, if you can get him for the right price, he is a player worth getting your hands on, because he has the tools, and if this stint is over the course of a full year, you will have a perennial All-Star on your roster.
Tyler Glasnow: Making the transition to a pitcher, who better to discuss than Tyler Glasnow? Tyler found a home with the Tampa Bay Rays and seems to have tapped into the potential a lot of scouts saw in the minors. Coming off his worst start of the season, giving up only 2 runs in 5.1 innings, Glasnow has still been dominant, posting a 1.53 ERA in 29 innings, along with 8.9 K/9 and 1.84 BB/9. In all formats, I am trying to get Glasnow wherever possible. The talent has always been there, and with the Rays, he has finally tapped the potential scouts saw everywhere.
Chris Sale: The ace of the Boston Red Sox, one of the best pitchers in the game, Chris Sale has not live up to those expectations in 2019. Sale has a 8.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched, 7 K/9, 2.50 BB/9, and his velocity is down around 2-3 MPH. After winning the World Series and getting a major contract extension, some might say Chris Sale is getting complacent and just going through the motions, and others would argue that he is hurt. No one really knows for sure, but for me, a 30-year-old pitcher that is struggling (not just once, but every time) is something I do not want that on my roster. Am I giving up on Sale? Absolutely not. I believe he will turn it around and return to that form, but I own 0 shares of him and I intend to keep it that way. However, if you do have Sale on your roster, do not overreact. If that means sitting him a few starts, do it, but do not be so quick to trade him, cause all it takes is one start to turn his whole season around.
Yu Darvish: Pitchers have not been super effective in 2019, but Yu’s struggles date back to 2018. After signing with the Cubs, he has not been the same pitcher he was in Texas. Injuries have played a part, but 7.15 BB/9 indicate that the problem is more than just injuries. Darvish hasn’t been able to keep hitters off the basepath (1.72 WHIP), and he hasn’t been able to keep the ball in the ballpark (2.38 HR/9). In all formats, I am getting rid of Yu Darvish. I do not want him on any of my rosters going forward.
Jose Ramirez: A candidate for MVP in 2018 has gotten off to one of the worst starts to a season in 2019. Early on in the season, his strikeout rate has increased to 14.3% and his walk rate has dropped to under 10%. A .185 BABIP indicates that even when he puts the ball in play, he isn’t getting very many hits. Jose has maintained his launch angle, hitting only about 2% less fly balls than last year, but that launch rate has not translated to more home runs, because he is only turning 5% of his fly balls into home runs. This slow start could be because he didn’t have lineup support, so he is having to try to hit more breaking balls, or he could just be in a really bad slump. Regardless, Jose Ramirez is not a player I am looking to deal, but if the price is right, I would not be against it, because with Cleveland’s team context, Jose will not be seeing very many pitches to hit, limiting his fantasy value.
Who to Buy in Single Season formats?*
- Tyler Glasnow
- Jose Ramirez
- Chris Sale
Who to Buy in Dynasty/Keeper Formats?*
- Yoan Moncada
- Tim Anderson
- Jose Ramirez
- Tyler Glasnow
- Chris Sale (Keeper, not Dynasty, because he doesn’t have to be kept)
Players to Avoid/Trade at All Costs?*
- Yu Darvish
- Tim Beckham
*My opinions, whether or not these moves work is not up to me, but these are the moves I would perform
Looking at who is hot and who isn’t in fantasy can be tedious and a hassle, but it is important for the success of your team. Finding the right players is important, as is getting rid of the right players at the right time.
Part 2 of this series (looking at more players, as well as tracking the ones mentioned above) will be coming around late May-early June.
Featured Image: Keith Allison