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Fantasy Roundup: Sell Baez

Baez barrels up a ball in Colorado (Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY)

Baez barrels up a ball in Colorado (Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY)

Last night Javier Baez had a monster day, hitting two home runs (he has three for the year) and driving in four. If I’m in a redraft league I’m selling high and trying to take advantage of his perceived market value. Right now this is going to be the peak of his 2014 value.

It’s important to be aware of the circumstances surrounding his three home runs. First they occurred in Colorado, where fly balls turn into home runs more often than any other park. And yes, I recognize his raw talent is so good that he can barrel balls out of any park, but judging from the angle on TV, the balls he hit received some benefit from the ballpark. Another aspect to consider is the pitchers who allowed the home runs: Boone Logan, Yohan Flande, and Juan Nicasio. I want to see how performs against more elite pitching before I’m totally buying for this season.

Baez has impressive raw power, but he’s far from a finished product and will likely take more time to start to actualize his lofty tool set. I’m not a fan of the swing as he’s going to be vulnerable to sliders and curveballs (from righties) that are down and out of the zone. Every swing I’ve seen looks as though he’s always trying to hit a home run, which can be good if the pitcher throws a fastball; however, if he doesn’t get a fastball that approach and swing is going to get exposed. He’s going to hit home runs, but I don’t see the batting average going beyond the .230 mark.

Game Notes

After missing two weeks of the season in mid-July, Victor Martinez is hitting .307 with a .768 OPS, which indicates he’s not slowing down from the pace he showed before he started to miss time. However, I’m selling because he’s not making nearly as much hard contact as before. Before missing time he had .339 well-hit average (WHAV), but since then it’s only .258. To put those numbers into context, from 2009-2013 his WHAV was .299. It’s important to note we’re dealing with a sample size, but with the fantasy trade deadline almost here I would sell high.

In the last three weeks Brock Holt is turning back into a pumpkin as he has a .197/.260/.254 slash line (in 78 PA). I have to believe they’re going to start to give Mookie Betts more at-bats as the season progresses because I don’t see how keeping him on the bench five days a week improves his development as a prospect.

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About the author: I write a daily column for Baseball Professor called the Fantasy Roundup. You can also find my writing at Through the Fence Baseball and MattCommins.com.

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  • Doug Anderson

    I agree with much of what you said, but he’s actually had pretty good success against breaking balls… when they are in the zone. Good pitchers will probably eat him alive with the down and out sliders you were talking about… Luckily for fantasy owners, there’s a lo of mediocre pitching in baseball… I’d compare him to Alfonso Soriano, with a little less speed. Soriano looked pathetic against the same pitches you mentioned, but the numbers were always there at the end of the season.

    • http://www.fishtankmedia.com/ Matt Commins

      That’s a pretty interesting comp; I don’t think Baez is nearly as fast. Soriano was a 40/40 player in his prime. I love Baez, but he’s a below average runner and its only going to get worse as he ages. He may get 20 stolen bases once but I’m going to project him for 10-14 next year.

      • Doug Anderson

        I wouldn’t say below average, but yeah he’s not as fast as Soriano was. His SB really depend on what the Cubs approach will be. I wouldn’t be surprised by a few years of 20-ish and then like you say, he’ll probably settle into the pure power mode.