For more than a month now, I've made a special effort to resist talking in depth about my Mixed Auction Tout Wars squad. And there's a good reason for this. For more than a month now, I've resided in first place, and when it comes to fantasy baseball, I tend to be very superstitious. The less attention the better. The season is still young and the standings can still change significantly from one day to the next. There's still plenty of work to be done, plenty of seemingly impossible lineup decisions to make and plenty of instances where my loyalty to one or more of my drafted players will be tested. As with any winning team, there are a number of players on my roster who have far exceeded even my own optimistic expectations, and my toughest decision in the coming weeks will be whether to try to seemingly stay ahead of the curve and "sell high" on some of these guys or simply do nothing. After all, I'm not much of a trader to begin with and it's also possible that these overachieving players are simply having career years, and why fix what isn't broken?
The purpose of this article isn't to proudly proclaim that I'm in first place. In fact, it will be a long time before I again mention my place in the standings. You can go look that up yourself. What I will do, however, is discuss a handful of my players who logically belong in the sell high category, but since fantasy baseball is just as much an emotional game as a logical game, I'm hesitant to deal because I'm having so much fun owning them.
Josh Reddick - An endgame $1 purchase, Reddick spent the first week of the season on the DL, but upon his return, he didn't waste any time producing at a high level. Through 44 games, the A's right fielder has racked up seven homers to go along with 30 RBI. The most surprising stat is the .372 OBP, this compared to his .311 career mark, so one of those 3-for-30 stretches wouldn't be all that shocking. Reddick has been injury-prone throughout his career and the fantasy community long ago dismissed his 32-home run 2012 campaign as an anomaly. So I must be crazy not to have traded him already, right? Well, he is walking at a career-high rate and striking out at a career-low rate. And he's still only 28 years of age. And it would be unfair to pretend that 2012 never existed. And in an expert league like Tout, it's not like anyone is going to grossly overpay for his services. I might be better off hanging onto him.
Mike Moustakas - When I called out Moustakas' name in the reserve rounds, I figured that there was minimal risk in taking a chance on the former top prospect at that point. Maybe I'd get 20 homers with a .250 AVG. In other words, a quality bench option who might graduate to part-time starter status. Instead, Moose has been a fixture in my starting lineup since the second week of the season, and there are several statistical indicators suggesting that the significant improvement is for real. No, I'm not expecting him to maintain his current .377 OBP (career .297 OBP), but who is? Like with Reddick, when it comes to Moustakas, I get the sense that there are still more doubters than believers, which makes the idea of trading him a rather unappealing one.
Kendrys Morales - My opening bid of $3 for Morales was followed by crickets, and that's exactly what I was hoping for. Unlike many fantasy pundits, I was willing to forgive Kendrys for his disastrous 2014 campaign, mostly because he got such a late start due to contract negotiations that dragged into the season. I figured that a repeat of his .277-23-80 line from 2013 was well within reach, and in this era of declining offense, three bucks was an excellent price for him. Through 47 contests, Morales is batting .309 with six homers, and as of Saturday morning, he ranks 4th in the AL in RBI (37). But a .396 AVG with runners in scoring position has a lot to do with the high RBI total. While I do think that Morales will finish the season with a fine overall stat line, the best part of his season is likely already in the books. I'm in no rush to trade him, but I am open to the idea if the right offer comes along.
Chris Archer - Archer was a popular breakout candidate heading into this season, so his impressive first couple of months might not be a huge surprise. But if anyone tells you that they penciled him in for a 2.12 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 82 strikeouts across 68 innings through his first 11 starts, they would be lying. Perhaps the biggest key to Archer's improvement is his 4.1 K/BB, this compared to his 2.4 K/BB from a year ago. Some regression is inevitable, as no pitcher not named Clayton can put up these numbers over the course of a full season. But I don't see him falling apart either, and the strikeouts are especially valuable. It would take a big-time offer for me to consider dealing him.
Glen Perkins - When drafting closers, I pay minimal attention to the projected record of the team. The idea that fantasy owners should avoid taking closers on bad teams since they won't save as many games as closers on better teams is total nonsense. Even if the team's overall record is poor, chances are most of the games they do win will be by three runs or less. It was only two years ago that Perkins was a surefire top-10 closer, and that along with the fact that he battled a forearm injury for much of last season was the reason why I opted to give him a mulligan for his underwhelming 2014 showing. Even after Friday night's blown save, his first of the season, Perkins boasts a 1.96 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 21-to-3 K/BB across 23 innings.
Oh, and as it turns out, the Twins are pretty good this year, and Perkins leads the Majors with 18 saves.
I think I'll hold onto him too.