It’s trading season in Major League Baseball and the rumors are starting to fly. At the same time fantasy owners are taking stock of their situation and trying to make plans on how to improve their teams for the second half. Who should we be looking to buy? Who should we be looking to sell? Over the next few weeks we are going to look at the potential candidates and try to make decisions. Let’s kick things off with a look at two potential sell high candidates:
Carlos Gomez – Milwaukee Brewers – Outfielder
Gomez has been a breakout first half star, entering Sunday hitting .312 with 13 HR, 41 RBI, 49 R and 20 SB. Before I get bombarded with comments, let me preface this by saying that there is a lot to like about Gomez. The power is realistic, with a 14.9% HR/FB, and he has a ton of speed. He’s a rare combo player that fantasy owners want to target.
The reason to trade him now is that his value is likely at its pinnacle. Only once has he had more than 415 AB in a season, so we have that risk hanging over us. He also is going to see his average fall, potentially significantly.
Despite a 19.7% line drive rate, he’s benefitted from a .373 BABIP. Couple that with his 22.5% strikeout rate (22.3% for his career) and does anyone really believe that he is going to be able to maintain his current average? It wouldn’t be surprising if there is a significant falloff, which in turn will help limit his value.
If you don’t care about his average, then I wouldn’t trade Gomez. However, in rotisserie formats where that struggle could have a major impact, it definitely is worth exploring. Now is the time you likely can get top dollar for him, so kick the tires and see what’s out there.
Verdict – Worth holding in some formats, but definitely worth exploring trade value in others
Mike Napoli – Boston Red Sox – Catcher/First Baseman
A year after posting a 30.0% strikeout rate, Mike Napoli owned a 32.6% mark entering Sunday. Yet, Napoli still owns a respectable .257 average. It’s not that he’s hitting a significant number of home runs, with just 10 (13.9% HR/FB and what would be a career worst 37.5% fly ball rate).
What Napoli has been doing is hitting line drives at an uncharacteristically high rate. Despite a career line drive rate of 19.4%, he currently owns a 27.1% mark. In fact, the last time he posted a line drive ate above 23% for half a season was in the second half of 2006.
While he could hit for some more power in the second half, you have to think the line drives will start to dry up (and in turn his .374 BABIP will plummet). That will lead to his average falling, making him a lot less desirable of an option.
He plays regularly, since he is manning first base, which does add to his value since he is catcher eligible. That said, his value is strictly as a power threat and little else. If you want a more rounded player, now is the time to cut bait before the average starts to regress.
Verdict – Unless you believe in his power returning all the way, he’s worth selling