Dynasty Dugout: Buy Low Hitter Targets
The month of May is often a time of change in the fantasy world. Players getting off to slow starts are usually given the benefit of the doubt in April, but if those struggles stretch into May, the gloves come off. Once patient fantasy owners suddenly can’t take it anymore and look to trade or dump slumping players. That’s where you come in with the offers to buy low on these players. These buy-low offers are especially important in dynasty leagues, as you could potentially nab a star player without having to pay the star price.
Top Buy Low Targets
David Dahl (OF – COL)
Just stay healthy, David. That’s all we ask. In a perfect world, Dahl would’ve been in the Colorado starting lineup on Opening Day. The man possesses the most fantasy upside on this Rockies team outside of Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. That’s right, more than Ryan McMahon, D.J. Lemahieu, Trevor Story, etc. That damn rib injury, coupled with a head-scratching Carlos Gonzalez re-signing, pushed Dahl to Triple-A, where he immediately went on the DL with an illness. Great timing, right?
With Dahl back in the starting lineup where he belongs, the buy low window for him will likely be slammed shut quickly. Since returning to Colorado, Dahl has slashed .300/.349/.500/.849 in 40 at-bats with one double, two triples, one home run, and one stolen base. That slash line almost mirrors his 2016 line of .315/.359/.500/.859 and his career .306/.352/.507/.859 line in the minors. Sensing a trend? I sure am. This kid can flat out hit and gets to enable the cheat code that is Coors Field. Grabbing some Dahl dynasty stock now is highly recommended.
Ian Happ (2B/OF – CHC)
In a team full of talented players, no one is safe from the lineup shenanigans of Joe Maddon. The biggest victim of that this season has been Ian Happ. After a productive minor league career, Happ burst onto the scene last season with 24 home runs, 68 RBI, eight steals, and a .253/.328/.514/.842 slash line in 364 at-bats. He also ranked in the top-10 of categories like ISO (2nd), SLG (5th), wOBA (7th), and wRC+ (9th) for second baseman with at least 400 plate appearances. Unfortunately, he also had the highest strikeout rate at 31.2%.
Flip to 2018, and that strikeout rate has gotten even worse. You might want to sit down for this one. Through his first 90 plate appearances, Happ has struck out 45.6% of the time. Excuse me while I throw out my now-used barf bag. He’s making strikeout maestro, Joey Gallo, look like Ichiro or something. Now, it’s not all bad, as Happ also has five home runs (two last night) and two steals this far, which would put him on a 35/15 pace over a full season. The problem is, he’s not getting enough playing time to rack up that volume of at-bats. Thanks, Joe Maddon. Thanks a lot. You’ll be getting my angry letter soon.
The Cubs simply have too many bodies vying for playing time at second base, left field, and center field. With how hot Javier Baez is, Maddon isn’t taking him out of the lineup anytime soon. Schwarber and Almora are also hitting well, which creates a problem for Happ and his .228 batting average. The talent is still there for Happ to be one of the top offensive options at the second base positions. He just needs the playing time. The time is perfect to buy low on Happ while his owners are likely getting impatient with the sporadic playing time.
Corey Seager (SS – LAD)
Yes, this one stinks. No other way to put it. The younger and more offensively-gifted Seager brother will miss the remainder of the 2018 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After reaching elite fantasy shortstop status in 2015, Seager has tailed off over the last year plus. Now, 22 home runs, 77 RBI, 85 runs, and a .295 average are nothing to scoff at. That’s a solid statistical line. However, when it seems like the rest of the league, and many at shortstop, are displaying much more power over the last two season, a dip from 27 to 22 dingers is a tad discouraging.
— MLB (@MLB) April 29, 2018
Now, it wasn’t all bad for Seager in 2017. He did improve his walk rate 3%, but unfortunately, that doesn’t make much of an impact in fantasy outside of OBP leagues. I hate to toss around the “better in real life than fantasy” label for players as young as Seager, but he’s making it hard for me not to. Due to his lack of speed, his power totals need to be much higher to get back into the elite shortstop tier with Carlos Correa, Trea Turner, and Francisco Lindor.
Eric, you’re not making me want to buy low on him right now. I know, I know. I’ve been pointing out why Seager isn’t an elite fantasy shortstop and why his value is trending down right now. But that’s exactly why he’s a good buy-low target in dynasty leagues right now. In fact, it’s the perfect time to buy low. There’s a little less shine on this star due to the injury and less than elite production. He might not be up there with Correa and company, but Seager is still a top-five caliber fantasy shortstop once he gets healthy. If you can get him for 80 cents on the dollar, pounce.
Other Buy Low Targets
Miguel Sano (3B – MIN)
There are a lot of negatives surrounding Sano, but the power cannot be denied. One of these days he’s going to stay healthy and swat 40+ home runs. It’s not a matter of if, but when. His mediocre plate discipline and career 36.1% strikeout rate will cap him in the .250-.260 range, but as long as he can keep it near there and not down by the Mendoza line, Sano should a fantasy asset due to his 40+ home run pop. With him once again on the DL and not hitting that well before the DL stint, right now is as good a time as any to buy low on Sano in dynasty formats.
Michael Conforto (OF – NYM)
Conforto is a player that was a near-top-10 dynasty outfielder before his shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, so you know the upside is very high here. That’s what a .939 OPS and a 43/109/116 pace will do for your value. Immediately after suffering the injury, many fantasy owners, myself included, feared that his power wouldn’t be the same once he returned.
Through his first 25 games, those fears have become concrete, as Conforto has only managed a pair of homers, the second of which came last night in Cincinnati. Have no fear, though. This was to be expected according to Fantrax’s own Dr. Mike Tanner. However, Dr. Tanner also says that brighter days are likely ahead for Conforto:
“He may start slow, but by June he should be back to his old self with a mild risk for re-injury. No more risk than anyone else with a previous injury. Get him at a nice discount if you still can.”
You heard the man. It’s not advised to go against the doctor’s orders.
Scott Kingery (2B/3B/SS – PHI)
Patience is key here. Kingery burst onto the Major League landscape with two home runs, two steals, and a .280 average through his first 50 at-bats, including five multi-hit efforts. The last 54 at-bats haven’t gone quite as well. Kingery has hit just .148, with no homers, one steal, and a 33.3% strikeout rate.
The player might be different, but the story remains the same. Pitchers have adjusted to Kingery, and now he needs to adjust back. It remains to be seen if Kingery can make those adjustments, but if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Kingery. If an impatient Kingery owner in your league is getting a little frustrated with the rookie, now is your time to swoop in with an offer and buy low.
Thank you for reading another edition of Dynasty Dugout here on Fantrax. Got a question that I didn’t cover here? Ask below or follow me on Twitter and ask there.