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Fantasy Baseball Buys and Sells

Josh Collacchi looks at some prime undervalued fantasy baseball targets and players to shed while they still have value.

Justin Smoak
Justin Smoak

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

We’re just a few days into the regular season of fantasy baseball, but it seems like we’ve been playing for months. The Astros are undefeated, the Yankees have not won a game yet, and Emilio Bonifacio is leading the league in hitting.

What a few days it has been, but keep in mind that despite the small sample size there will be some owners willing to overpay, or undervalue players.

Each week, XNSports will have a Buys and Sells column, describing a few players to go after, or to get rid of. We all know to buy low and sell high, but are there players that are worth buying high or selling low? Each week we’ll get into that, and explain why to buy or sell.

This week’s edition of Buys and Sells:

Buy High

Seth Smith, San Diego Padres

Smith has always had the ability to hit, but was only given 400 at-bats once in his career. In 2011 Smith hit .284 with 15 home runs and drove in 59 runs in 476 at-bats. This year he already has two home runs, so he will be highly sought after, and an owner may want to sell him high. But, Smith looks to be a full-time starter for the Padres, especially against right-handed pitching. If he is available on the waiver wire, try to add him. But if you need outfield help, trading one of your low-level starting pitchers for him would be a good idea.

Buy Low

Jim Johnson, Oakland Athletics

Every year someone starts out slowly and a savvy owner is able to grab him for cheap. Last year it was Jason Kipnis. So far this year, there have been some closers who have just been wretched. Fantasy owners are always short-tempered when it comes to closers because it quickly inflates their ERA and WHIP with one bad outing. Johnson was quoted as saying that the Athletics should be 3-0, and that is was his fault. Some owners will cut him, leading to an easy pick up, but most will be willing to trade him after two horrific performances. Why trade for him? He has not had an ERA above three since 2010 and has 101 saves in the last two seasons. Someone will overreact, be sure to take advantage.

Sell High

Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners

Smoak has been on a tear so far this season, hitting .462 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. With some top-tier first basemen struggling in the young season, someone will want Smoak, and will be willing to pay. In his career, Smoak’s career high is a .238 batting average with 20 home runs. He has been given every opportunity in the last three seasons, but is no better than a replaceable option in fantasy baseball. The key this early in the season is to not overreact, but some fantasy players will, especially those who are new to fantasy sports. If you were lucky enough to draft Smoak and have him on your team, someone will want him. Try to swap him for a struggling pitcher like Trevor Cahill or C.J. Wilson and see if someone is willing to bite.

Sell Low

C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees

Selling low is the complete opposite of what we want to do in any market, especially fantasy baseball. But, there are some players that just look like they will not be able to turn it around. Not just because of a slow start this season, but a period of regression over the last few seasons and the lack of production in terms of fantasy value.

While Sabathia will net you more in a trade than a normal sell low option (why trading him is advised!), he is worth selling for anything you can get. Yes, the former Brewer and Indian will get you wins, but is a high ERA and WHIP worth the extra three or four wins throughout the season? Sabathia has thrown 200 or more innings every single year since 2007 and those include years of 241, 253 and two 237 inning seasons. Now, C.C. is a workhorse right? Yes he was, but that wear and tear takes a toll on your arm and body, and it showed last season when Sabathia posted career highs in ERA, WHIP, hits allowed, home runs allowed, and the lowest strikeout amount since 2007. In addition, Sabathia’s velocity has dropped considerably in the last few seasons and it has finally caught up to him. Ask for a lot, but someone will bite on Sabathia’s big name, and you could get a good player for the regressing lefty.

Stay tuned for XNSports’ fantasy baseball coverage and next week’s edition of Buys and Sells.

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