10 Fantasy Baseball Players to Buy and Sell for Week 20
If you've managed to stay engaged and stick it out through another season-long fantasy league, my hat is off to you. The Major League Baseball season is a marathon, and some owners who fall out of contention in the first couple months lose track of their teams altogether.
But if you're reading this piece, you've likely had a very good 2018 fantasy season and are looking for that final edge to springboard you to a fantasy title.
In this week's list, we take a look at two players returning from injury, an uber prospect on the verge of a call-up, and a number of starting pitchers who have been relegated to the bullpen. Let's get to it.
Buy Josh Donaldson
This has not been the year Josh Donaldson had hoped for as he prepares to enter into free agency. He's been dealing with a calf injury all season, but reports are he may be nearing a return to game action. He's only played 36 games here in 2018, with a .234/.333/.423 slash line and five home runs, a far cry from the 33 he hit a season ago and the 37 and 41 he hit in the previous two seasons.
When Donaldson is ready, the New York Yankees are rumored to be interested in adding him for the stretch run, should he clear waivers. If he's healthy and returns anywhere close to his MVP form, he could be a massive upgrade to New York -- or whatever other team adds him -- and to a fantasy roster for the postseason. That's if he's healthy -- which is no guarantee, but the upside is there.
Buy Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
By now, you've likely heard about the exploits of the best minor league player in baseball, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. At just 19 years old, Vlad Junior is hitting .406/.460/.690 across four levels this season, and in 11 AAA games, is batting .441/.535/.853 with a home run in four straight games through the weekend.
There seems to be little doubt that Guerrero is ready for the Majors, but the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be waiting until they can move Donaldson somewhere, opening up third base to their top prospect. Regardless, if someone has already rostered him in your league, and it's not a dynasty league, try to make a play for the teenage sensation. Just be prepared to give up a lot in return.
Buy David Peralta
Over the last two weeks, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta has been the hottest hitter in baseball. He leads all major leaguers in wOBA (.579), wRC+ (271), batting average (.455), slugging percentage (.909), and OPS (1.398).
Last week against the Philadelphia Phillies, he also accomplished a rare feat of sorts.
David Peralta saved his best for last yesterday for @Dbacks.
He homered in the 9th, singled in the 10th, doubled in the 12th and hit a walk-off HR in the 14th.
He's the 1st MLB player in at least the last 10 years with 3 extra-base hits in the 9th inning or later of a game. pic.twitter.com/L6EdXmhYsS
â€” ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 7, 2018
Peralta has been one of the D-Backs' better players for a while now, but adding him as he's getting red-hot for the stretch run would bolster your offense immediately.
Buy Wilson Ramos
When the Phils traded for Wilson Ramos at the trade deadline, they did so with the knowledge that he was still nursing a hamstring injury that would keep him out of action a bit longer. They cautiously said they hoped to have him back by September 1, but it now appears he may be ready as soon as this week.
Ramos will likely need a few more games just to make sure he's ready to go, but when he does come to the Phillies, he's probably going to be the team's everyday catcher. That's bad news for Jorge Alfaro and good news for Ramos owners, who should have a lot of RBI and run-scoring opportunities in what looks to be a deep Philadelphia lineup. Ramos is not just a good offensive player for a catcher, he's a good hitter, period. He has an .834 OPS with 14 dingers and 53 RBI in 78 games, and would likely hit cleanup in the middle of the Philly order.
Buy Tyler Glasnow
It's looking like the Tampa Bay Rays got an absolute steal when they acquired Tyler Glasnow from the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the Chris Archer deal. Granted, it's only been three starts since joining Tampa, but so far, Glasnow has pitched better than Archer did at any point for Tampa this season.
That's 3 starts for #Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow:
12 IP 7H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 20K
â€” Neil Solondz (@neilsolondz) August 12, 2018
That's a 2.25 ERA in three outings for Tampa, and it includes 15.0 strikeouts per nine innings. Again, three starts aren't much, but the 24-year-old is at least showing Rays fans they got a good return for Archer. And he can certainly help a fantasy rotation down the stretch, as well.
Sell Kenley Jansen
This is going to be a tough sell, and you may just be stuck with him. But if you play in a fantasy league that goes all the way through September, you might be able to sell Kenley Jansen to someone. Jansen, one of the best closers in baseball, is going to be out of action for a while due to a medical issue.
Sources: Kenley Jansen is expected to miss about a month as he goes through treatment for his irregular heartbeat.
â€” Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) August 10, 2018
Jansen dealt with velocity issues and some struggles early in the season, but he has since rebounded and has now put up a 2.15 ERA and 32 saves in 51 appearances this season, striking out 28.4% of batters. That rate, of course, is way down from the 40.0% he whiffed in each of the past three seasons, but he was getting the job done for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And Jansen's departure has had a ripple effect on the entire Dodgers pitching staff.
Sell Kenta Maeda & Ross Stripling
Maeda's transition to the 'pen appears to be more permanent. The 30-year-old has had a fine season, going 7-7 with a 3.80 ERA and a 3.27 FIP in 20 starts (22 appearances), and striking out a career-high 28.0% of hitters this season. Opponents hit just .235 off him this year.
Stripling could be headed back to the rotation before the year is out. He has a 2.62 ERA, 3.10 FIP in 17 starts (28 appearances) this year, with a 27.1% strikeout rate that represents a career high. Opponents are hitting .250 against him in 110 innings of work.
These could be effective relief options, and one or both may get some save opportunities. But if you were counting on them to be a part of your starting rotation for the playoffs, it's time to find other options.
Sell Felix Hernandez
You've likely already booted Felix Hernandez from your starting rotation, but if you hadn't yet, now's the time to do it. The Seattle Mariners announced that Hernandez, who has been in their starting rotation since 2005, would be moving to the bullpen after putting up a 5.73 ERA and 5.04 FIP to this point in the season.
This was a move the team had to make, especially as they try to hunt down the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics in the NL West race. Hernandez is striking out just 17.9% of hitters this year, a number that ranks 63rd out of 77 qualified MLB starters this season.
It was time for the Mariners, and now it's time for you to sell Hernandez if you haven't done so already.
Sell Ryan Madson
When the Washington Nationals traded away Shawn Kelley and Brandon Kintzler at the trade deadline, they left themselves a bit vulnerable in the back of the bullpen. On Sunday night against the Chicago Cubs, the weakness of the 'pen came to light in what may have been the moment of the 2018 season so far.
Ship it. â›µï¸#EverybodyIn pic.twitter.com/uZFLJ2WtOK
â€” Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 13, 2018
Ryan Madson had a nightmarish ninth inning for the Nats, hitting two batters before giving up David Bote's incredible walk-off grand slam. After the game, it was revealed Madson has been trying to pitch through a back injury, which would certainly explain his wildness last night. It certainly didn't help his 5.19 ERA, and it's unlikely he's going to see another save situation anytime soon. Greg Holland and his 7.24 ERA would be next up. Yikes.