Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Wednesday 6/1/16

Paul Goldschmidt got off to a slow start, but some recent hard-hit balls are making him look like a solid buy-low candidate.

We're starting a new little diddy here on numberFire to try to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape that is fantasy baseball. It's not easy to keep up with all of the day-to-day fluctuations, so it can help to have someone to bounce ideas off of. That's what our daily mailbag will look to do.

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Now, enough of that. Let's dig into today's mailbag and see what's popping in the world of fantasy baseball.

Man, this is a fun one. I love Anthony Rizzo's power, and his batting average is going to come up in the very near future. That said, if you want to buy Paul Goldschmidt, you had better do it right now, and this is a trade I'd be willing to make.

You would have been fully justified to have legit worries about Goldschmidt up until a few days ago. His hard-hit rate through May 26th was only 31.9%, a disturbing amount lower than his 41.4% rate last year. It also came with a 21.0% soft-hit rate, so this wasn't just a slight decrease in batted-ball stats; it was alarming. All of that seemed to change late last week.

Over his last 19 plate appearances, Goldschmidt has put 11 balls in play. Eight of those have been hard-hit, three have been medium-hit, and none have been of the soft variety. It's hard to say definitively that he has turned a corner, but with how quickly stats like hard-hit rate normalize, we want to find fluctuations like this right when they begin. When it's with a hitter who has a track record as ridiculous as Goldschmidt's, we can buy into a trend of destruction even a bit more quickly.

This isn't to say that Goldschmidt is definitively "fixed," but if you've got a shot to acquire a guy who was one of the best fantasy assets heading into the season at a reduced price, you should do so. Goldschmidt at his best runs laps around Rizzo in the batted-ball categories, and -- as Aaron alluded to -- he can contribute in the steals department, too.

The other reason to buy into Goldschmidt now is that his offense is both underrated and on the verge of getting even better. Jake Lamb, Brandon Drury, and Yasmany Tomas are all in the midst of breakout seasons, and David Peralta is set to begin a rehab stint soon. Things line up well for Goldschmidt, and I'd be buying him wherever I had the opportunity to do so.

Although I would make this trade and ship Rizzo for Goldschmidt, Rizzo's stats should also see improvement soon. He (somehow?) has a .220 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). That's some 40-year-old-bro-who-don't-run type bidness. With Rizzo's respectable 32.2% hard-hit rate and 15.8% soft-hit rate, you'd expect him to be much closer to his career BABIP of .280, which is more than a hop, skip, and a jump away from where he's at now.

A guy with Rizzo's low 12.3% strikeout rate simply isn't going to hold a batting average of .236 for long. Eventually, his hits will start to fall in, and he will improve. That makes him another quality potential buy-low moving forward, even though his owners are likely still happy with his production in that offense. I'd just rather have Goldschmidt going forward if given the choice.

First, Malinda, you have our condolences on Miguel Sano's injury. We will be holding grief counseling each night (assuming I hold my composure through the still-daily Kyle Schwarber meetings), and we will save you a seat up front. Our thoughts are with your roster.

Second, you are not kidding about Joey Gallo's strikeout rate. Striking out in 46.3% of your plate appearances is almost hard to comprehend. However, Gallo has done some positive things that may actually make him a player to buy right now.

Comparing Gallo's Triple-A numbers from last year and this year heads up makes it look as if he has started to cut down the strikeouts a bit. Over 228 plate appearnces there last year, Gallo struck out 39.5% of the time, a simply grotesque number that would make you a bit weary about buying him.

Through his first 119 plate appearances this year, though, he has made a dramatic turnaround. He has cut his strikeout rate almost in half down to 23.5%. That also comes with a 21.0% walk rate, leading to an eye-popping .290/.437/.656 slash. Hot diggity dog.

This doesn't necessarily mean Gallo will suddenly be a low-strikeout hitter the next time he comes up to the majors, but he also doesn't have to be. We've seen guys -- like Sano -- who can succeed despite high strikeout rates. They just can't be 46.3% high, and it doesn't appear as if Gallo will be sitting that high next time he gets a crack. Gallo has showed both with his minor-league numbers and his 49.0% hard-hit rate in the bigs last year that he can do some damage when he makes contact, and a reduced strikeout rate should get us really excited.

I'm not sure if I would make that specific trade just because we've seen Sano obliterate big-league pitching over a larger sample size, and when he comes back, he should go back to his ball-bashing ways. However, if you can get the other owner to budge on a deal that doesn't necessarily involve Sano, acquiring Gallo right now is a quality plan.

Your assumptions are correct, Jerry. Matthew B. Mowery of The Oakland Press wrote last week that the Detroit Tigers would likely limit Michael Fulmer to somewhere in the neighborhood of 156 innings this year. He has already tossed 49 1/3, leaving him around 110 innings left, a number that certainly won't last him until October. I'd be looking to trade Fulmer, but I also wouldn't do so for just any old piece with how good he has been.

Fulmer's 3.97 ERA isn't bad, but it also sells what he has done a bit short. He's holding down a 3.52 SIERA with a 24.7% strikeout rate and 51.0% ground-ball rate, a great combo that gives him both floor and upside. He's had some bad luck with fly balls leaving the yard, but once that stabilizes a bit, he should be sitting with some pretty solid numbers.

That means that -- even if Fulmer does end up getting shut down or moved to the bullpen later -- he can provide you with some really solid help right now. It's rare you can snag a guy with his strikeout potential on the waiver wire this late in the season, so he's definitely a valuable piece. I would be trying to spin a trade to move him, but I also wouldn't be heartbroken if nothing fair materialized.

This puts you in a bit of a tough spot, but things could certainly be worse. If you can acquire some outfielder who fills a hole you've been trying to patch for a while, then absolutely make the deal. But if it's just for some other middling piece, it might be best to just ride Fulmer for now and squeeze as much production out of him as possible.

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