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Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis

Last week's Stock Watch recommended Bud Norris as an under-the-radar starter, and Norris lived up to the recommendation with seven shutout innings and a win on Monday (his fourth straight start with a win).

Buy

  • James McDonald - I listed McDonald as an underrated pitcher in the spring. In that same post of late-draft starters to target were Ryan Dempster, Jake Peavy and Chris Capuano. Waiting on drafting starters to take these four late in the draft would have made you the post-draft favorite to have the worst pitching rotation but would have resulted in the opposite. McDonald is throwing a slider on 18.5% of his pitches this season after never having thrown this pitch in his Major League career. He is also generating 9.9% swinging strikes, which is well above his career average. After carrying a high SIERA following his first few starts, this mark is down to 3.14 on the season. His 2.38 FIP also indicates a low ERA is sustainable. See if the McDonald owner in any of your leagues wants to "sell high".
  • Brian McCann - His low BABIP of .241 has depressed his batting average despite a line-drive percentage of 20.3%, which is higher than his career mark. McCann has also missed games this week with an illness, which extends the window for owners to buy low.
  • Gordon Beckham - Worth an add off waiver wires to MI or backup MI, as he has turned his season around in May, hitting five homer runs and 12 RBIs. His .218 BABIP is also well below his career mark of .280.
  • Ernesto Frieri - The window to acquire Frieri on the cheap is closing fast, as he picked up the save on Wednesday in extra innings. Frieri has been lights out with the Angels and has not given up an earned run since the trade in early May. Last night, Frieri and Scott Downs were both warming up in the ninth inning of Dan Haren's shutout, so the closer role is still a time share.
  • Carlos Marmol - Predictably, Rafael Dolis has been rocked recently and his hold on the closer job is more an indictment of the Cubs' bullpen than an earned position. Marmol is regaining his confidence and working his way back from a leg injury in the minor leagues, and I expect Marmol to regain the closer role very shortly after being activated. Stash Marmol on your DL or bench as the Cubs will want to increase Marmol's trade value by putting him back at closer.
  • J.D. Martinez - Widely released when he cooled down from his fast start, Martinez is showing signs of life this week and should be picked up off waiver wires where available. Martinez has nearly tripled his walk rate this season, which is a sign of better plate discipline and good things to come.
  • Jeff Francoeur - Another outfielder cut by many owners after struggling through the first six weeks of the season. Frenchy was 20/20 last season and is heating up as he hit two homers this week after a four hit game on Sunday.

Sell

  • David Wright - Leads all hitters by a wide margin in BABIP at .470, compared to his career .344 mark. Despite the inflated .405 batting average, he only has five homers and four steals. ZiPS projects a .291 average with 13 homers and 14 swipes for the remainder of the season. Given Wright's .400-plus average and name recognition an owner should be able to deal him for a player that will provide superior value for the remainder of the season.
  • Dee Gordon - Still held in high regard by fantasy owners after his fast start to the season, Gordon's performance does not live up to the hype. After stealing 10 bases in 87 April at-bats, Gordon only has two steals in 66 May at-bats. To make matters worse, the Dodgers demoted Gordon to the eighth spot in the lineup, which is death to steals in the National League. Deal Gordon to a team hungry for steals and then pick up Cliff Pennington or Everth Cabrera off waivers to take Gordon's spot.
  • Brandon League - A free agent after the season, League is very likely to be dealt in July and may move to a seventh- or eight-inning role with a contender. League's walk rate has skyrocketed this season and he is sporting a poor 4.47 SIERA.


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