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Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis

Last week's edition of Stock Watch recommended Pedro Alvarez as a buy candidate showing signs of a hot streak. Alvarez has certainly justified the buy this week and is now one of the hottest players in fantasy baseball. Hopefully some of these recommendations will also pay immediate dividends:

Buy

  • Ernesto Frieri - Traded to the Angels and may find himself in the closer role in short order. Frieri has struck out 18 batters in 11 2/3 innings on the season with a 1.95 SIERA. Frieri also has closer experience as he saved 17 games in 2010 for the Padres' Triple-A affiliate with a 11.71 K/9 rate.
  • Jonathan Broxton - Although widely doubted (including in this column), Broxton has been impressive in converting four straight saves and has a long leash as closer, with setup man Greg Holland on the DL. Owners should feel confident in Broxton's job security if targeting lower-tier closers in trade.
  • David Robertson/Rafael Soriano - With the unfortunate news that Mariano Rivera is lost for the season with a torn ACL, owners are likely rushing to their waiver wires to pick up Rivera's replacement. Robertson was likely already taken in competitive leagues before the Rivera injury, but Soriano may still be available on many waiver wires. Although Soriano has allowed too many baserunners this season and pitched in the eighth inning yesterday, he may get a chance at closing if the Yankees don't want to disturb Robertson's lights-out work in a setup role.
  • Jason Kipnis - Quietly having a monster season with 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, 15 runs, 5 steals and a .292 batting average. Kipnis got out of the gate slowly but has been tearing it up since. Kipnis does not carry much name-recognition, so he may be available for much less than his numbers indicate he is worth.
  • Jed Lowrie - Streaky hitter is in the midst of a hot streak and should be owned until he cools off.
  • Jarrod Dyson - Hitting leadoff for the Royals and playing every day while Lorenzo Cain remains on the DL. Dyson is available on most waiver wires and is a good temporary source of steals for owners short on speed.
  • Tony Campana - More of a daily league recommendation, Campana is lightning in a bottle that is let loose whenever he reaches first base. Campana is mostly a one-category player, but he makes an excellent bench player in daily leagues where he can be inserted into a lineup on days when he is starting for the Cubs (who have indicated that Campana will start about 80% of games). At this point, it is surprising when Campana starts a game and does not steal a base.
  • Jemile Weeks - Another excellent source of speed, Weeks' batting average is depressed by a .207 BABIP. Weeks is showing improved plate discipline compared to last year as his B/KK rate has increased from .34 to .67, and Weeks has nearly doubled his walk percentage from last season. The more walks Weeks draws the more opportunities he will have to steal bases on a SB-happy team like the A's.

Sell

  • Bryan LaHair - Although LaHair has been one of the season's nicest surprises, his lofty batting average is not sustainable, as he's striking out once in every three plate appearances. So far he has enjoyed the good fortune of a .545 BABIP while reducing his ground ball percentage and increasing his line drive percentage. It is a good idea to see just how much a power-starved owner is willing to pay, and sell high before a BABIP correction and reduction in his over 35% HR/FB rate occurs.
  • Jered Weaver - Coming off a no-hitter, most owners would never think of entertaining trade offers for Weaver. But, Weaver is historically a better pitcher in the first half of the season, and he makes for a potential sell-high candidate for owners that drafted Weaver as their No. 2 starter and were fortunate enough to also have a very strong remainder of their rotation. Despite Weaver's success this season, his swinging strike percentage is lower than any other year he has been in the Majors. Also, his 4.2% HR/FB rate is likely to climb toward his 7.5% career rate, and his .236 BABIP is likely to rise toward his .275 career BABIP. When these events happen his exceptional ERA and WHIP will climb.
  • Derek Lowe - 4.83 SIERA compared to his 2.27 ERA with an anemic 2.56 K/9. Hopefully another owner sees the 2.27 ERA and gives something of value in exchange for a guy who will likely be on all waiver wires in a month.
  • Ted Lilly - Time to see what Lilly can get you in trade since his value should be very high given his 1.38 ERA. But, Lilly's BB/9 has steadily increased from 2.04 (2010) to 2.38 (2011) to 3.12 (2012). Meanwhile, Lilly's K/9 has trended the opposite direction from 7.71 (2010) to 7.38 (2011) to 5.19 (2012). Lilly pitches in a favorable stadium with a team that is scoring lots of runs so he should not be given away, but a savvy owner will be pushing the 1.38 ERA on unsuspecting owners.


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