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Dynasty Fantasy Baseball: Corner Infielders To Buy Low

Playing in a dynasty Fantasy Baseball league can be both fun and challenging. It puts you in the general manager’s chair of a fantasy team that you have complete control over. Balancing the major and minor league roster can be a challenge, especially in a deeper league. But ultimately, you are in control of your team and dictate the direction you want your team to go.

A major part of success in a dynasty Fantasy Baseball league is knowing the appropriate time to buy or sell a certain player. In a way, it is kind of like playing the stock market. If you know the right time to buy and the right time to sell, you can find yourself building a successful dynasty. While trading is not everything, it is a big part of being successful in Fantasy Baseball.

After a crazy 2020 season, it could be time to buy players who underperformed. Last week we looked at “Three Starting Pitchers to Buy Low.” Today, we will dive in on several corner infielders that you should consider buying low on in your dynasty Fantasy Baseball league.

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Dynasty Buy-Low Corner Infielders

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Toronto Blue Jays

Some might call me crazy for including the ever-hyped Vlad Jr. on a list of buy low options. The weight loss and some mammoth home runs in the Dominican Winter League have seen the hype pick back up, at least in some circles. Overall, the Fantasy Baseball community seems rather split with their opinions on Vlad. Some are completely out due to the high ground ball rate and low launch angle. Others see the weight loss and think “best shape of his life” means better performance. As fellow Fantrax writer David Mendelson pointed out in his article on Vlad Jr., his weight loss was gradual throughout the season. In his first 21 games of the 2020 season, he slashed .222/.292/.383. He finished his final 39 games, slashing .286/.351/.507.

Steamer projections love Guerrero for 2021. He is projected to slash .301/.371/.521 with 29 home runs and 191 runs plus RBIs. Vlad had one of the best hit tools coming up through the minor leagues, so seeing him hit .300 would not be a surprise. His raw power could easily lead to 40-HR seasons as well. It is important to remember that Vlad is still just 21 years old and still has plenty of time to grow into the hitter we think he can be.

Guerrero’s current redraft ADP on the NFBC is 58.41. While he sits much higher in most dynasty Fantasy Baseball rankings, his stock has fallen. In our dynasty rankings on FantraxHQ, Eric Cross still had Vlad ranked 21st overall. On some lists, I have seen him ranked in the thirties. This time last year, we were talking about Vlad as a top-10 dynasty asset. The cost to acquire him in a dynasty league has dropped and this could be the lowest that his value ever is. It might be time to check in with the person who rosters him in your league to see what it might take to trade for him.

Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles

Orioles first basemen and outfielder Trey Mancini really grew into his own by 2019. After back-to-back seasons with 24 home runs in 2017 and 2018, Mancini broke out in 2019, hitting 35 home runs with a .291/.364/.535 slash. While the 2017 and 2018 versions of Mancini were good, he made major strides in 2019, showing improved plate discipline. He increased his walk percentage and cut his strikeout rate. His on-base percentage soared, and his average was extremely respectable. One of the biggest changes he made was cutting his ground ball rate by nearly 10 percentage points.

Unfortunately, in March of 2020, Trey Mancini was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. He missed the entire 2020 season as he received treatments through September. On November 11, Mancini announced he was cancer-free and would be ready for Spring Training. It unclear how Mancini will look upon his return from his cancer treatments, but we can remain hopeful that he is healthy and returns to form on the field.

Carlos Carrasco was diagnosed with cancer in May 2019 and returned in September. While his final month of 2019 was rough performance-wise, he returned healthy. In 2020, he returned to form and pitched to a 2.91 ERA and looked like his normal self outside of a high walk rate. The hope is, much like Carrasco, Mancini can also return to baseball healthy and with a strong performance on the field.

Mancini is an afterthought in most drafts, going near pick 200. In a dynasty fantasy baseball league, it is likely the person who rosters him stashed him on the IL. It could be a great time to check-in and acquire Mancini on the cheap.

Yoan Moncada, Chicago White Sox

It is a distant memory since Yoan Moncada was considered the top prospect in baseball by several services. The same Yoan Moncada that was graded with future plus hit and power and double-plus speed has failed to live up to expectations in the Majors.

In 2015, Moncada stole 49 bases in single-A in just 81 games. He followed that up with 45 steals in 106 games in 2016. After being traded to the White Sox, he slowed down running, despite still posting high-end sprint speed numbers. The White Sox steal at a meager rate, but it will be interesting to see if the new regime will be more open to run.

2019 was the peak version of Moncada at the big league level. He hit 25 home runs, stole 10 bases, and slashed .315/.367/.548. Unfortunately, the hype surrounding his 2020 season was deflated by his COVID-19 diagnosis. He began the season on the Opening Day roster and played 52 of 60 games but was affected by the virus all season. His inability to participate in summer camp also did not help him.

Moncada was quoted saying: “My body has not felt the same after the virus. I feel a lack of energy strength; it’s just a weird feeling. It’s different. When I got to Chicago, before I tested positive, I was feeling strong and with energy. Now, it is a daily battle to find that strength, that energy to go through the day.”

Moncada regressed severely in nearly every category in 2020. His sprint speed took a dip, and his average exit velocity went from one of the highest in the league to better than just 30 percent of hitters. His hard-hit rate dropped by nearly 15 percent. There was nothing pretty about Moncada’s game in 2020, and as he stated, it was likely caused by COVID.

We have seen Moncada show the ability to hit above .300, steal a large number of bases, and hit for solid power. He is still just 25 years old and has plenty of time to reach his prime potential. His value has dropped like a rock in both redraft and dynasty fantasy baseball leagues. It could be a great time to acquire him on the cheap as he should rebound moving forward. The best days are still ahead for Yoan Moncada.

Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

Nolan Arenado has been one of the game’s best defensive players and an elite hitter for many years. Arenado is just 29 years old and in the middle of his prime years. In five seasons between 2015 and 2019, Arenado per-season numbers averaged out to 40 home runs, 104 runs, 124 RBI with a .300/.362/.575 slash line. Those numbers were consistent and elite!

Nolan Arenado Dynasty Chart

Then in 2020, Arenado hit just eight home runs in 201 plate appearances with a .253/.303/.434 slash line. With the poor performance and the fears of Arenado leaving Coors Field, many have soured on him. His redraft ADP is at an all-time low of 34, and his dynasty stock has dropped as well. It is important to remember Arenado battled a shoulder injury all season. His left shoulder soreness first began on July 28, his fourth game of the season. He played consistently until September 21, when he finally landed on the injured list with AC joint inflammation. For more information on that injury, be sure to check out Nic Civale’s article on what it means and how it affected Arenado.

With the injury, Arenado appeared to be focusing on contact rather than hitting for power. His swinging-strike rate and strikeout rate were both career lows at 7.5 and ten percent, respectively.  He did not feel comfortable swinging for power with his shoulder injury.

In addition to his poor performance, his statcast data all dropped to career-worst numbers. It appears that his poor performance was affected by his AC joint injury. With a full offseason to heal, I feel comfortable with Nolan Arenado trending back toward first-round performance in 2021.

I understand the fears of buying in dynasty Fantasy Baseball leagues due to his age and the fear of being traded out of Colorado. But, Arenado is just 29 and still has plenty of good years left in the tank. We have also seen plenty of examples of studs who leave Coors Field and perform at a high level. Arenado is the caliber of player whose bat can play anywhere, despite what his home/road splits say.

Others to Consider Buying-Low:

Max Muncy (Los Angeles Dodgers), Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies), Pete Alonso (New York Mets), Matt Chapman (Oakland Athletics), Matt Olson (Oakland Athletics)

Media Credits: Fangraphs, MLB, Dan Connolly

The hot stove is just starting to heat up, but FantraxHQ has been cooking all offseason! Keep track of all our 2020-21 MLB Offseason Analysis.

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