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 outfielders worth targeting for your second half surge:
Yoenis Cespedes – New York Mets
He was one of the better hitters in the game before injury struck and since returning to the lineup he simply hasn’t found his footing. Of course you can argue that if you take a three-game stretch out of the mix (5 HR and 9 RBI from April 11-13) none of the numbers have been overly impressive (without those few days he has 4 HR and 10 RBI on the season). We all know he’s significantly better than this, but an owner watching the Mets ship sink around him may just want to cut bait and try to capitalize elsewhere.
The problem likely stems from a lack of line drives (12.8%) as he perhaps is swinging for the fences (56.0% fly ball rate). Look for him to regroup and make the adjustment over the All-Star Break, with a monster second half possible. If you can get him for pennies on the dollar, it’s well worth exploring.
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers
He’s missed a lot of time and is banged up again, though that could provide us with the opportunity to buy (especially with his rather pedestrian .259 average with 10 HR and 23 RBI). When he’s been on the field the numbers and underlying metrics have been similar to what he’s done throughout recent seasons, except for the fact that his BABIP has been down significantly (.267 compared to a career .332 mark). When you look at his 18.9% line drive rate you would think that maybe it’s a realistic number, but his 45.9% Hard% tells a bit of a different story.
This is a gamble, due to the injury concerns, but if you need to take a gamble this is an ideal opportunity to do so.
Joc Pederson – Los Angeles Dodgers
He’s cut his strikeout rate (23.1%) while continuing to draw walks (12.5%) and show off his power (22.0% HR/FB). So why would he be available at a discount? Part of the issue is that he appears to be falling into a platoon role, and he also continues to lack SB (despite what he showed in the minors) and struggle with his average (.241 courtesy of a .280 BABIP). Maybe he doesn’t develop into a stolen base threat, but the average should improve and play well with his power.
A breakout second half is possible, and while you may want to sit him when the team has a slew of southpaws on the schedule going out and grabbing him before he fully emerges makes sense.
Other buy low outfielders:
- Gregory Polanco – Pittsburgh Pirates – His strong finish to the first half may have taken the buy low opportunity away, but it’s worth exploring the price tag. The potential is certainly there for a big finish.
- Kyle Schwarber – Chicago Cubs – The time to buy low was likely when he was originally demoted, but it’s worth reaching out and seeing the cost. The power is there and he’s not a sub-.200 hitter.
Source – Fangraphs
Make sure to check out our other Buy Low articles: