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Fantasy Baseball: Buys and Sells – Sell Lorenzo Cain

Josh Collacchi says now is the time to sell high on Lorenzo Cain before his inevitable regression sends his value tumbling back down to earth.

Lorenzo Cain
Lorenzo Cain

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

With just four days of games left before the All-Star break, teams are pressing to get some momentum heading into the break. This is valid in fantasy baseball too, because you want to get some momentum heading into the break. Now, can you make a trade or two during the break? Yes, absolutely. This is when players’ values fluctuate, because there is no recency bias due to the five-day layover. Be sure to keep an eye on owners who are willing to trade.

Buying high and selling low are two things you want to avoid, even if you are in dire need. Be sure to check the waiver wire as well.

Each week, XN Sports 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 what players should we trade, or who should we go after?

This week’s edition of Buys and Sells:

Buy Low

Nolan Arenado, Third Base, Colorado Rockies

Since returning from injury, Arenado has struggled at the plate. He is just 3-for-26 at the plate, with just one run batted in and a stolen base. Before he was injured, Arenado was one of the top third basemen in fantasy baseball. It’s just a matter of time before he gets back to what he was before his injury. Arenado is still hitting .282 despite his recent slide, and has 27 runs scored, 29 runs batted in, and six home runs. He was able to produce those numbers in 190 at-bats before his injury, and was on pace for a season of 15-18 home runs with 85 runs scored and 90 runs batted in. Once Arenado regains his swing, he should have that pace again, so buy him low while he is struggling.

Sell High

Lorenzo Cain, Outfield, Kansas City Royals

Selling high is one of the best things a fantasy baseball player can do. Cain would be the epitome of that. Currently, he is hitting .324 with 27 runs scored, three home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 12 stolen bases. In the last two weeks, Cain has been on a tear, hitting .382 with six stolen bases while scoring eight runs. He is hitting .444 in 27 at-bats, and has been one of the best outfielders in July so far. So why should we sell him?

Cain has a BABIP of .401, which is the highest in baseball. Is that sustainable? That means his BABIP has to stay 20 points higher than Paul Goldschmidt. Can it happen? Yes, but it is very unlikely. What makes it so unlikely?

It’s all in the numbers. Cain is hitting .324, which is 44 points above his career average of .280. Now, his line drive percentage is only 1.5 percent higher this year than his career average, and his ground ball rate is three percent higher. Why is his average 44 points higher? BABIP. As aforementioned, Cain’s BABIP is the highest in baseball. That is usually a good thing, but for Cain’s future, it indicates regression, simply because he is not hitting the ball nearly as hard as others with high BABIP. Now, Cain is one of the fastest players in the game, so a slow ground ball could result in hits for him. Is that the case? Cain has a career-high (already) 16 infield hits this year. Without those hits, he is batting .277. That is nearly a 50-point drop off because of infield hits. You cannot dismiss infield hits, but considering they are lucky in nature, you could be relying on good luck for Cain to be fantasy relevant for your team for the rest of the season. Sell him while he is batting .324, because he will be under .300 before too long, and his value will diminish.

Statistics from ESPN.com, Baseball-Reference.com, and Fangraphs.com

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