2016 Fantasy Baseball: Buying and Selling Outfielders
SELL: Matt Kemp – This hurts me, as I’ve always been a Kemp fan, but he’s probably only going to help you in home runs this year. He’s already got four, but that goes with zero other extra-base hits, only one walk, and 10 strikeouts. Even with his four home runs he’s got only five runs. With Jon Jay and Wil Myers batting in front of him and a who’s who of Quad-A players behind him his runs and RBI won’t be anything to write home about this year. Petco Park really hurt him last year, as his BABIP dropped to an almost career-low .311 and his average to another almost career-low .265. I wouldn’t expect his average to be any higher than around his current .273 mark. He’s almost the opposite of Carlos Beltran – bad park, bad lineup surrounding a still decent hitter. I’d see if you could sell for a more complete player.
BUY: Gerardo Parra – Parra is the 13th most-dropped outfielder in ESPN leagues in the last seven days, but he’s playing pretty much everyday and he will now with Charlie Blackmon on the DL for a while. Parra is hitting .300 with a homer and three steals. He’s batting behind Trevor Story, Carlos Gonzalez, and Nolan Areando. Oh, and Coors.
SELL: Jeremy Hazelbaker – I call Hazelbaker The Muffin Man because he’s a baker and he makes delicious treats on the field. His ownership percentage in ESPN leagues has gone from 1 percent to 65 percent in the last week. However, he didn’t start either weekend game against Cincinnati, and he’s only a fourth outfielder at best right now. Mike Matheny‘s continually messing around with his lineups, but there’s no way he’s going to continually start ‘Baker ahead of their three starting outfielders. He’d have a shot if Brandon Moss wasn’t raking, but the Boss Man already has four homers and can also play the outfield. I don’t see much value for Hazelbaker outside of NL-Only leagues.
BUY: Carlos Beltran – Beltran batted third, fifth and sixth last week, and he’s got a five-game hitting streak to go with three April home runs. Since there isn’t much to go on this early in the season, I’ll go back to 2015 to tell you why I think Beltran is a buy. He had an .877 OPS post-All-Star break last year, and he had four three-home run months last season. It’s not like this April is an aberration. Beltran’s old, but he’s still got some juice left. He makes a good deep-league add.
BUY: Michael Conforto – It remains to be seen if Conforto’s going to play full-time against lefties, but as long as there’s a righty on the mound Conforto will be hitting third, according to Manager Terry Collins. The 23-year-old is hitting .313 on the year with a homer and five doubles. He’s struck out six times, but walked five times. He’s looked real smooth at the plate, so there’s no reason he should be dropped in almost any league. I’d try to buy low here before the Mets’ offense catches up to Conforto and both benefit from it.
SELL: Nick Markakis – I feel like this is picking on Markakis. He’s a really nice guy and all, but I don’t see how he could continue this hot start. He’s tied for second among outfielders in RBI with 12. But he’s hitting leadoff so anytime he’s up he’s either hitting with the bases empty or with hitters before him who are really mediocre or a pitcher. He’s hitting more fly balls this year, but that shouldn’t be helping him to a .341 average. His .195 Isolated power is obviously a career-high and will come down soon. He hasn’t hit a homer after only three last year, so if there’s no power there the production will soon catch up and leave you with a light-hitting, average-only outfielder.