Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Are The Recent Hot Adds Worth Grabbing (Contreras, Reed & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Let’s take a quick look at the five most added players (as per CBS Sports) and try to determine what their future outlook is.  Are they worth owning?  Are they more of just a flash in the pan?  Let’s take a look:

Willson Contreras – Chicago Cubs (+44%)
It’s not a surprise that owners have been scurrying to the wire in order to grab the top catching prospect in the game.  However, with three catchers currently on the roster just how much playing time is he really going to get this time around?  Bruce Levine recently answered that question (via Twitter):

Joe Maddon on Contreras – 2 out of 5 starts where we may go with him”

Obviously that’s not enough to warrant utilizing him, even in two-catcher formats, and it’s hard to imagine him sticking for long.  Remember the team took a similar tact with Kyle Schwarber last season just to get his feet wet, before sending him back down for a few weeks.  This could be a similar situation, with his return to the Majors coming in mid-July.  In re-draft or one-catcher formats, buying now doesn’t make much sense.

Verdict – Deny ‘Em

 

Shawn Kelley – Washington Nationals (+43%)
While there was some uncertainty initially, Kelley appears to have the Washington closer’s role all to himself while Jonathan Papelbon in on the shelf (at least as long as he’s doing the job).  There hasn’t been any word as to when Papelbon could be primed to return from his strained intercostal muscle, just adding to the potential appeal.  Obviously anyone earning saves is going to have value, and Kelley is no different (even if his value is fleeting).

Verdict – Buy ‘Em

 

Whit Merrifield – Kansas City Royals (+29%)
The Royals are missing Mike Moustakas and Merrifield’s play helped lead to Omar Infante being designated for assignment.  In other words, given his versatility (he also can play in the outfield) there is little doubt that Merrifield is going to be in the lineup most days.  Can he come reasonably close to this type of production though:

.333, 2 HR. 12 RBI, 21 R, 4 SB

He’s hitting atop the order, so there’s every reason to think that he’s going to rack up the runs scored.  He also has a little bit of power and plenty of speed (32 SB in ’15, 20 total SB in ’16), so there is going to continue to be value even if he slumps.  With a .400 BABIP (despite a 26.6% line drive rate), there’s reason to believe that a slump will come before long.  It’s not enough to eliminate his value however.

Verdict – Buy ‘Em

 

Cody Reed – Cincinnati Reds (+24%)
We talked about him in the Top 10 Stories article a few days ago, so let’s look at what we said after his debut:

“Taking on the Astros he allowed 4 ER on 6 H and 3 BB, striking out 9, over 7.0 IP though he did get hurt by a pair of home runs (Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis).  Obviously pitching against Houston is going to help to inflate anyone’s strikeout rate, though he had an 8.77 K/9 at Triple-A (8.1 for his minor league career).  He also has shown solid control coming up through the minors (2.6 BB/9 in ’15, 2.4 at Triple-A in ’16) and generated 8 groundballs vs. 3 fly balls yesterday.  It’s certainly an intriguing package, especially as a left-handed pitcher, though pitching for the Reds will help to deflate his value slightly (thanks to it being unlikely that h gets W).  That said, if you are in a deeper format and are looking for pitching help he’s a flier that’ll be worth taking.”

He may not be the perfect buy for everyone, but there is going to be appeal thanks to the strikeout potential and solid control.

Verdict – Buy ‘Em

 

Doug Fister – Houston Astros (+23%)
The veteran owns a 3.26 ERA (prior to yesterday’s start) and we all know he has good control (2.93 BB/9 in ’16, 1.85 for his career), but there are ample reasons to be fearful:

  • Strikeouts – 5.63 K/9
  • Strand Rate – 81.8%
  • BABIP – .254 (19.4% line drive rate)

So he doesn’t strikeout many batters and there’s a good chance that the luck regresses.  That’s not a combination we should be looking to invest in.

Verdict – Deny ‘Em

 

Sources – CBS Sports, Fangraphs

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