After writing last week about players I thought are good buy low candidates, I was asked by some league mates and acquaintances which players were on the opposite side of the spectrum – those that were at their peak value and due for a tumble. I wasn’t planning on broaching this subject but after the questions thought it was something that actually made sense. Kind of combining yin with yang; or Buffalo with wings.
So now the question is which players do I choose? In some regards, this is a more difficult list to put together. Not so much because many of the players are not any good and clearly playing over their head, but because some of them are good – and even very good – players who their owners don’t want to admit may experience any extent of a fall from grace.
One of the first things we heard when we became fantasy owners, however, is to buy low and sell high. But it’s often hard to avoid falling in love with players and to consider the glory days won’t last forever when the players should actually be nameless, stat producing pawns to be moved wherever and whenever they suit us best. Sometimes, that’s on the opponent’s side of the board. If it helps assure the accumulation of the most stats across the categories and a title in the long run, anything goes – as anathema as it might seem.
Choice number one on my list to seriously consider jettisoning would be none other than current National League batting leader Troy Tulowitzki. The thing isn’t that the Colorado Rockies shortstop stinks; quite the opposite. He is clearly the premier player at his position in all of baseball and his owners should use that to their advantage. The 29-year-old is on pace to play in 152 games (which would be the most since 2009) and get over 500 at-bats (which he hasn’t done since 2011). He’s not the picture of health and is usually dealing with some kind of injury which costs him time. So far in 2014, he’s only missed four games, and the odds are that won’t hold up over the rest of the season. While a .373 batting average and 14 home runs are very easy to take, there are some things to at least consider if not worry about. First, the former Rookie of the Year winner is a career .299 hitter. Second, Tulo owns a career .323 BABIP, and at .384 presently is over 60 points higher than that. Third, a career ISO of .220 is currently off the charts at .338. Toss his name out there and see what kind of king’s ransom he could reap in return.
The next name on my list is Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies. The second baseman is currently sporting a .333 batting average – a lofty number he hasn’t seen since 2007. The 35-year-old is also on a pace to play in 152 games and accumulate 605 at-bats, numbers he hasn’t had since 2009 and 2008, respectively. The batting average is being fueled by a gaudy .375 BABIP which most certainly will correct. The biggest thing that concerns me is the four-time Silver Slugger award winner has a degenerative knee condition in both legs and at his present age doesn’t project to getting any younger. We’ve likely seen the best from the five-time All Star.
The third name that immediately came to mind when I was considering this topic is the Milwaukee Brewers’ Kyle Lohse. In fact, he was involved in a trade in one of my leagues where I just had to resort to my rough draft to e-mail off my thoughts on him. And basically, that is he’s just, well, Kyle Lohse. This is not to say he’s not a serviceable pitcher, but I don’t believe he’s what we’ve seen so far this year. On the surface, his 1.08 WHIP and 2.92 ERA isn’t out of line with his 2012 season-ending numbers, but that came after the tutelage of pitching coach Dave Duncan for five years. Nobody’s accused Brewers’ pitching coach Rick Kranitz of being an identical twin of Duncan. When you look deeper into Lohse’s performance, he still only possesses an 89 mph fastball and is throwing the same types of pitches for pretty close to the same amount of time he’s thrown them for the past six seasons – there hasn’t been a new pitch added to bolster his arsenal. Therefore, a K/9 of 7.18 shouldn’t be projected forward when his career average is a 5.7/9 mark. When the strikeouts start to drop (and I believe it’s certain they will), everything else will regress upwards. Play up the increase in K rate and see what you can get in return.This is not nearly a complete list but just a few players that stick out to me as trade bait. Again, sometimes it’s hard to part ways with the current batting leader, but we need to look at everyone on our roster in the light of how we can improve our team. After all, even the Belle of the Ball has some hidden pimples.