xStats Buy Low/Sell High

A little over two weeks ago, we took a look at four players – two buy low, two sell high – based on their Statcast xStats. Today, I’m looking at four more (and, if you stick around to the end, a quick review of the four we talked about last time). Given that we are beyond the trade deadline in ottoneu and many other leagues, for the “Buy Low,” we’ll focus on players who you may find on the wire. For “Sell High,” we’ll look at players you might want to shop in the off-season or just drop now.

Buy Low

David Bote – Rostered in only 5.5% of ottoneu leagues, David Bote has put up a pretty blah line this year. His .331 wOBA is fine, and right around his career numbers, which is why no one is taking notice. But his xwOBA is .387. His EV on LD and FB is 21st in baseball, out of 256 qualified hitters. His barrels per PA is 37th. Bote is killing the ball. He has had eight starts in the last two weeks and has put up 55 points in ottoneu points leagues over those eight starts, all with 3B eligibility that is sneaky valuable and 2B eligibility that is valuable without the sneakiness.

J.P. Crawford – Crawford’s .303 wOBA is bad, even for a MI, but his xwOBA is .355, which is good, even for someone who is not a MI. Crawford isn’t hitting the ball hard (24th percentile EV, only 42nd percentile HH) and it shows in his slugging, but he is getting on base at a .342 clip and his 3% HR/FB rate is likely to regress positively – 42nd percentile HH isn’t good, but it isn’t 3%-HR/FB-rate Bad. Only one MLB player had a HR/FB rate below 3% last year and that was Yolmer Sanchez at 1.5%, with a 15th percentile average EV and 8th percentile HH%. Crawford is only rostered in 68% of ottoneu leagues, but he is a solid player, with upside, who should be rostered more often.

Bonus Buy Low! Tommy Pham – This one is a “buy low” for anyone playing for next year. Pham went on the IL a couple weeks ago and was slated to be out 4-6 weeks, suggesting his year is over. In ottoneu, his roster % dropped by more than 12% in that time and he is now rostered in less than 86% of leagues. He was off to a rough start and some managers, frustrated with that start and now knowing he likely can’t help this year, have just let him go. The .277 wOBA is ugly so you can see why people jumped ship, but his xwOBA is .360, right in line with his .359 career wOBA. Pham was walking like always, striking out like always, but saw a drop in BABIP and HR/FB rate. Exit Velocity is up, Hard Hit is up. His launch angle is down, as a bunch of line drives have turned into ground balls, but that kind of batted ball data takes a long time to stabilize. I fully expect Pham to be Pham again when he gets back, whether that is in a couple weeks, for the post-season or for 2021. If you can wait on him and another manager is moving on (or moves on), go get him.

Sell High

Willy Adames – The Rays have been incredible and Willy Adames has played a big role in that. Adames has a too-high 30.8% k-rate, but you can live with that when you have an 11.3% BB-rate and a 20% HR/FB rate. But he also has a .458 BABIP and the underlying data gives him an xwOBA of .344. This would still be a big step up from his previous level of performance and it is still good…but it is not nearly the .408 he is posting so far. It’s good enough that you shouldn’t cut him, but he should be on your trade block this off-season – and don’t be surprised if his “second half” is a far cry from his first.

Brian Goodwin – Goodwin had a good run earlier this season and saw his roster percent rise. As of August 18, he had a .411 wOBA through 74 PA. In just two weeks, it is all the way down to .329, after just another 41 PA. But that .329 isn’t bad (no, it is not good…but it is not bad) and that hot start is still in people’s minds. As a result, he is still rostered in 47.9% of leagues. But his xwOBA is just .295. His Mike-Trout-esque hot start has given way to a maybe-acceptable-as-your-5th-OF overall line, and is about to become a why-did-I-ever-roster-this-guy line. It’s time to move on (and I need to take this advice myself, as I still have him on a roster in one league).

Review

In my last article, I covered Evan Longoria and Colin Moran as buy lows and Paul Goldschmidt and Rio Ruiz as sell highs. Let’s see where they are now.

Longoria – Longo had a .274 wOBA and .392 xwOBA when I wrote about him. Since that day, he has posted a .423 wOBA in 61 PA. Hope you bought!

Moran – Moran had a .340 wOBA and .425 xwOBA. He only has 34 PA since then, thanks to a stint on the 7-day IL, but his wOBA over those 34 PA? .436.

Goldschmidt – With a .391 wOBA and .313 xwOBA when I wrote, Goldy looked like a prime sell high. Name brand, big numbers, underlying data raising questions. Since then he has a .456 wOBA. His wOBA for the season is now .426 and his xwOBA has caught up – it’s .429. Was just straight up wrong here.

Ruiz – A .366 wOBA and .299 xwOBA suggested he had a fall coming. His wOBA since then is .221. The fall was hard.

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