I have to admit something. I’m not proud of it but it is part of what makes me…me. I am a grown man who loves to watch trash television. Real World, Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, Flavor of Love, and about 12 shows on HGTV, I am not above any of them. So my beautiful wife and I have been indulging in a new guilty pleasure.
The show is on Netflix, and it is called “Selling Sunset.” It follows around a real estate firm in Los Angeles. Filled with nonsensical drama, beautiful people, and even more beautiful homes. Say what you will about the reality show elements, the Oppenheim Group knows when it is the right time to buy a mansion.
Personally, I haven’t even stepped inside a mansion before, let alone sell one to a gazillionaire. However, I do have a knack for spotting the right players to buy in fantasy baseball. Here are three hitters and three pitchers that I feel are prime to trade for in fantasy leagues.
Hitters to BUY
C Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox
The catcher landscape is garbo to put it nicely. Streaming catchers continues to gain popularity due to the lack of consistent contributors. Check out my article on some catcher streaming options on SPStreamer.com. Yasmani Grandal has been a legit fantasy asset for a long time. So far, he has been anything but in 2022. Grandal is batting below the Mendoza line and has only left the yard once. He is currently C26 in points formats and C43 on the FantasyPros Player Rater.
Now is the time to acquire Grandal and potentially solidify a scarce position in fantasy lineups. The backstop’s Plate IQ has always been elite and that remains in 2022 despite his slow start. Grandal has a 0.84 BB/K-rate, and that mark is top 20 in the big leagues. Take a look at his current BABIP (.197) and it is well below all the projection systems (.253-.260) and his career mark (.275). Grandal’s Barrel and Hard Hit rates are within a percentage point of his career numbers as well. The cherry on top is his 10.83-percent Regression Rate, the best in the MLB at the catcher position. I fully expect his production metrics to improve and when the White Sox are healthy, his counting stats will too. Buy in now while his price is at a low point.
1B Rowdy Tellez, Milwaukee Brewers
Rowdy Tellez is having a great 2022 campaign. The big boy has seven home runs, 15 runs scored, 26 runs batted in, and .258 batting average. He is currently pacing to set career highs in Isolated Power (.309) as well as the previously mentioned counting stats. Rarely is it good practice to buy into a player while he is killing it – but when you pop the top and look under the hood, Tellez’s strong season should continue or even be better than it has been.
The first baseman is performing at a high level and his 12.17-percent Regression Rate suggests his production numbers could be even better. He is getting everyday at-bats and now he is no longer blocking Vladimir Guererro Jr. from playing his natural position, which I can imagine adds some comfort. Tellez is tearing the cover off of the ball. His 20.8-percent Barrel rate and 49.4-percent Hard Hit rate are career bests. The hefty lefty’s maxEV is in the 97th-percentile and he is in the 100th-percentile in xSLG and xISO. If the team builder who rosters Tellez doesn’t realize what they have in the first baseman, swoop and acquire the big boy.
OF Alex Verdugo, Boston Red Sox
I’ll admit it, I am a massive Red Sox fan so Alex Verdugo turning it around is important on multiple levels. But do not let my fandom cloud what I am about to say, Dugie is a massive buy-in fantasy baseball points leagues. Verdugo hit all three of his home runs within his first eight games played. Hasn’t hit one since 4/16. He is currently slashing .213/.252/.324 with 21 runs plus RBIs, and a .249 wOBA. The outfielder’s 58 wRC+ is not something you’d love to see on your roster, but it does present a window for team builders to add him at a discount.
Right off the bat, Verdugo’s current BABIP stands out. It is about 100 points lower than the projection systems and his career average. It’s safe to say that the .208 BABIP will rise into the .300 range. Despite the lack of production, Verdugo’s strikeout metrics are better than his career marks. His called strikes and whiff percentage, swinging strike percentage, and strikeout rate are all encouraging. Verdugo is barreling balls at a career-high rate and has the third-best Regression-percentage. Better days are ahead so buy some shares of Mr. Verdugo.
Pitchers to BUY
SP Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies
Team builders that roster Aaron Nola may be ready to move on from the Philly ace. He is currently SP 30 on FantasyPros’ Player Rater. Since the beginning of the 2021 season, Nola’s win-loss record and 4.49 ERA is not getting anyone excited. It has been a lot of the same for the starter in 2022. Nola is currently staring at a 1-4 record with a 3.83 ERA. Giving up a ton of home runs to the opposition is the root of all his evils. Nola has given up 32 home runs since the start of the 2021 campaign which is the seventh most in baseball. He has already surrendered six round trippers in 40 ’22 innings. Buying windows are rare for true aces, but it may be cracked open for Nola.
There is a lot to love about the pitcher from the City of Brotherly Love. His ERA may be in the high threes, but he owns a 2.55 xFIP and 2.47 SIERA. Nola’s strikeout metrics look magnificent. He has posted a CSW-percentage of over 30-percent and a 25.2-percent K-BB which is in the 88th percentile. Nola’s control has been on point also. He has a career-low, 4.4-percent walk rate so far. Opposing batters aren’t making too much hard contact which is encouraging when you pair that up with the stuff metrics. I am willing to bet on Nola’s talent profile, his predictive metrics, and that the home run numbers slow down. With the buy window slightly ajar, now is the time to try to acquire a high-end fantasy baseball starter.
SP Eric Lauer, Milwaukee Brewers
Four and a half weeks into the season, Eric Lauer is trending like a contender to be the 2022 version of 2021 Robbie Ray. Lauer is about 85-percent rostered and it feels like the community isn’t sold which creates a chance for team builders to add via trade. He is flashing in so many key statistics, so his price tag is higher than it was when the season kicked off. Lauer is supporting a 1.82 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and a 36.2% strikeout rate (No. 4 among SP with 20 IP). The lefty will not come cheaply but he is still worth pursuing.
What Lauer is doing so far this season is everything but smoke and mirrors. His 2.33 SIERA is in the 95th-percentile and his 2.49 xFIP is in the 94th-percentile. Both of these metrics suggest that he is pitching at an elite level right now. I always check to see what a pitcher’s K-BB rate is because I believe it is a great snapshot of how well their stuff is playing. If pitchers are striking batters out and not walking many then it indicates that the pitcher is performing at a high level regardless of luck or misfortune. As of now, Lauer’s K BB percentage is sitting at 29.2-percent (No. 6). The lefty needs to be pursued before his price tag becomes astronomical and team builders are running out of time.
SP Brandon Woodruff, Milwaukee Brewers
Another Brewer starter to buy? Yes! But unlike Lauer, team builders have a chance to acquire Brandon Woodruff at a slight discount. Let’s make it clear, Woodruff carried an ADP of 19 overall in drafts so teams that roster the righty aren’t going to ship him off for 50 cents on the dollar. But can he be acquired for 75-80 cents? I think so and that is enough to pursue the fantasy ace. Woodruff’s 5.97 ERA and 1.36 WHIP are hard to ignore. Especially for everyone who used a top 20 overall selection to draft the Brewer. In his last start, he was tagged for five earned runs in four and a third innings pitched. Use that recency bias to attack a trade when a rival team builder may be at their most frustrated.
Looking at Woodruff’s analytical profile, there is still plenty to be excited about. He is striking out batters 29.4-percent of the time and that is right at 2022 projections and slightly above his career average. He is walking guys a tad above what was projected but even with that being the case, he still has a K-BB rate above 20-percent. Which is my threshold for that statistic to be a clear green light. Woodruff does have a case of the BABIP’s. That metric is about 50 points higher than the projection systems have listed. When pitchers have an inflated BABIP and they are giving up harder contact, it is a perfectly horrible mix that will lead to higher earned run totals than they should. That is the case for Woodruff, and he also dons a 59.3-percent left on base rate. Given that the expected stats suggest that his numbers should be better and my belief that the previously mentioned metrics will stabilize, I think Woodruff is a screaming buy.
The art of buying at the right time can make you rich. Whether it is buying a house at the right time so you can turn a profit or buying into a player at the right time so you can reap the rewards. I hope this list of hitters and pitchers can help team builders acquire good players at the right time. Now…get out there and wheel and deal!
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