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Sell High Candidates: Four Hitters To Consider Cashing In On

Buy Low, Sell High…  It’s like fantasy owners are playing the stock market, though it’s never quite that easy.  We all like to hold it over our league mates that we found the next big thing late in our draft.  The problem, however, is today’s breakout can easily turn into tomorrow’s bust.  Knowing when to cash in and get maximum value out of your assets are key to your fantasy success.  Let’s take a look at four players who are off to hot starts and determine if now is the time to sell high on them:

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Sell High Candidates

Esteury Ruiz – Oakland A’s

There was never any question about Ruiz’s speed and he’s put it on full display in ’23.  Over his first 75 games, he has 39 stolen bases, one of two players with more than 24 stolen bases (the other is Ronald Acuna).  The question was always whether he’d get on base enough to tap into it.  Thus far he’s slashed .266/.323/.343.

Ruiz’s luck is reasonable for a player with his speed, owning a .324 BABIP.  His command of the strike zone remains a red flag.  He owns an 11.6% SwStr% and 35.5% O-Swing%.  More importantly, he’s struggled mightily against non-fastballs (AVG/SLG):

  • Hard – .301/.393
  • Breaking Balls – .224/.290
  • Offspeed – .200/.233

While opposing pitchers have not yet made the adjustment, you would think it’s only a matter of time before Ruiz starts seeing fewer fastballs.  When that happens, his numbers could fall off a cliff.  Obviously, if you need stolen bases you are going to want to hang onto him.  However, his value is in a tenuous spot.  Now maybe when it’s at its highest, so if you can cash do so.

Verdict – Sell High candidate

Jonathan India – Cincinnati Reds

We’ve long heard about his upside, so it’s nice to finally see it being put on display.  Over his first 337 PA India is hitting .266 with 10 HR, 40 RBI, 58 R and 12 SB.  There’s reason to believe in his numbers improving, considering these underlying metrics:

  • BABIP – .299
  • SwStr% – 7.2%
  • O-Swing% – 23.3%

He’s historically struggled against breaking balls (.224 AVG) and offspeed pitches (.180 AVG).  That trend has unfortunately continued, with AVG of .214 and .185, respectively.  His average home run has traveled just 385 feet, tying him for 221st with Tony Kemp and Brandon Crawford.  Neither of those are positive signs for his long-term success.

India is hitting .222 in June, though his 5 HR and 4 SB help to mask the struggles.  He’s only added 2 doubles, and there’s a good chance that he will continue to slide.  Now is the time to cash in before the rest of your league mates figure it out.

Verdict – Sell High candidate

Lane Thomas – Washington Nationals

The Washington Nationals are full of young players getting an opportunity, but you can argue the guy who has taken advantage of it the most is Lane Thomas.  Over his first 314 PA he’s hitting .290 with 12 HR, 37 RBI, 50 R, and 7 SB.

While his Exit Velocity isn’t impressive (88.3 mph), his home runs have traveled an average of 405 feet.  Couple that with his 19 doubles and 2 triples and there is reason to believe that the power will continue.  He’s always had some speed, so under the new rules it is not surprising to see him pushing 15-20 SB.

The biggest question will be if he’s able to maintain his average.  A .360 BABIP gives reason for concern, though he does bring a strong approach (8.1% SwStr%, 29.2% O-Swing%).  Even if he takes a small step backward, his average shouldn’t fall off a cliff.  That means now isn’t the time to cash in.  If you’ve been reaping the benefits, continue to do so.

Verdict – Hold Him

Bryson Stott – Philadelphia Phillies

A former top prospect, Stott has cashed in on his opportunities.  Over 311 PA he’s hitting .295 with 7 HR and 12 SB.  While the power isn’t overly impressive, he’s added 14 additional extra base hits (12 doubles and 2 triples).  However, the underlying metrics do make you think that things could stagnate:

  • Exit Velocity – 87.9 mph (tied for 196th)
  • Average Home Run – 383 feet (tied for 225th)

Where he’s particularly struggled is against offspeed pitches, hitting .250 with 0 HR.  Opposing hitters are starting to adjust, throwing them to him 15.36% of the time in June.  That could continue to rise, and as his power stagnates the overall appeal is going to diminish.

For those in keeper leagues, the upside is there to hold him.  However, if you are in a redraft league or short-term keeper league it’s a different story.  Now is the time to cash in, because struggles are likely on the horizon.

Verdict – Sell High candidate

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant, Brooks Baseball, CBS Sports

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