Buy Low Corner Infielders: Can Maikel Franco Or Alex Bregman Live Up To The Hype & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We are officially at the mid-point in the season, which provides us all an opportunity to catch our breath and take a long, hard look at what our teams need.  Obviously we are all going to try to capitalize on some players we think should rebound after poor first halves, and also try to cash in and players whose performance is likely to regress.  Who should we be targeting?  Today let’s look at a few corner infielders worth targeting for your second half surge:

 

Maikel Franco – Philadelphia Phillies
He feels like a constant disappointment, doesn’t he?  Hitting .217 with 13 HR and 45 RBI, there is room for improvement (specifically in the average department) as the underlying metrics indicate better results:

  • Strikeout Rate – 13.5%
  • SwStr% – 9.6%
  • O-Swing% – 29.2%

That’s an extremely improved approach at the plate, and one that you would think carries .270+ potential.  How about his luck?

  • Line Drive Rate – 18.2%
  • BABIP – .215

So he’s putting the ball on the ground a bit too much (49.6%) and popping it up (11.4% IFFB), but we would still expect a better BABIP.  That said, the latter has been a bigger issue in recent months (17.4% in June, 18.8% in July) and something he needs to correct moving forward.  Either way, he’s shown the power and could easily hit .260+ to finish the season.  That’s more than enough to make him worth a buy.

 

Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers
The idea of buying low on Cabrera seems like a long-shot, but he is 34-years old and has not had your typical Cabrera-like first half (.264 with 11 HR and 41 RBI over 314 PA).  Does the owner in your league think that age and injury has caught up with him?  If they have, that provides you an opportunity to grab him for less than he should go for.

Keep in mind that he’s hitting the ball incredibly hard (28.1% line drive rate) and that should yield a much better BABIP (.307, compared to a career mark of .346).  While his strikeouts are up slightly, no one is going to ring any warning bells off of an 11.3% SwStr% or 31.9% O-Swing%.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see a monster second half, so if you can get him for less than full price it’s worth taking advantage of.

 

Alex Bregman – Houston Astros
Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment, but when you look at Bregman’s underlying numbers you would expect better results (.256, 8 HR) from a player who we had lofty expectations for:

  • SwStr% – 7.2%
  • O-Swing% – 24.6%
  • Line Drive Rate – 23.0%

The biggest red flag is the popups (15.8%), but with his command of the strike zone and line drive rate we’d still expect better than a .291 BABIP.  His 21 doubles also indicates that a power surge could come, though it may be more likely that he taps into that in ’18.  Still, after a terrible June (.215) he’s come out swinging a hot bat in July (.321 in 28 AB) and could carry that throughout the season.

 

Other Potential Buy Low Corner Infielders

  • Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals – The fly ball rate is elevated and his positional flexibility may stop any buy low opportunity, but it’s worth kicking the tires to see what the cost is
  • Josh Donaldson – Toronto Blue Jays – He missed time, which was part of the problem, but he still has just 9 HR over 161 AB. Doubtful there’s much of a buying opportunity, but it doesn’t hurt to ask
  • Manny Machado – Baltimore Orioles – Could you really buy low on him?  It’s hard to believe, especially with 18 HR, but if there’s a frustrated owner due to a .230 AVG it isn’t impossible

Source – Fangraphs

Rotoprofessor recently debuted our Reliever Reliability Quotient (RRQ), in an effort to determine whose skills translate best for late inning roles.  Make sure to check out our introduction of the stat by clicking here.

12 comments

  1. Scott steelers says:

    Better stash. Devers or Moncada? Also would you rather own Bour or Gyorko? Thanks! Love all your articles buddy!

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Devers for this season (Moncada’s stock is falling a little bit for me) and Bour (unless you need the positional flexibility)

  2. Sean D says:

    Is Bradley Zimmer worth an add in a 14 team league as a bench spot? Stealing bases and looks like he’ll be seeing time at leadoff with Kipnis out

  3. MJP says:

    Just traded CMart or Miggy in my 10 team H2H 7×7 (+OPS, +BB). Thoughts on the price, I think it’s a steal if he returns to regular form, but it’s still a top 15 pitcher I had to give away

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      It’s a fair deal, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a buy low. Pitching is harder to find this season, thanks to all of the home runs, so a top of the rotation arm has significantly more value.

  4. Wine says:

    Is there any hope of a Lucroy turnaround?

  5. Tom says:

    Need a buy low outfielder

  6. Timmy says:

    hey prof. would you rather have Story or Lemehiu ROS?? Thanks

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