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Stock Watch: Buy & Sell Analysis

Last week's Stock Watch recommended selling Trevor Bauer to owners in re-draft leagues that would overpay for the rookie hype. After Bauer gave up six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings with four more walks this week, he may end up on waiver wires soon in shallow mixed leagues.

Buy

  • Josh Johnson - After giving up five earned runs in five innings this week, Johnson's season stats are at a mediocre 4.06 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP and only five wins.  But, Johnson has the second highest BABIP among qualifying starters (behind Max Scherzer) and has been pitching much better lately with a 1.87 ERA in 33 2/3 June innings.  Johnson's swinging strike percentage is higher than it was last year, when he enjoyed a 1.64 ERA in an injury-shortened season. Johnson's strikeouts are down this year, which has left his SIERA at 3.86, but his FIP of 3.07 and low left on-base percentage hint at Johnson having a strong second half.
  • Yasmani Grandal - RotoAuthority's Mike Axisa had a nice column yesterday on the spark Grandel has provided to fantasy owners. Although he will not continue to hit for the kind of power shown this past week, Grandal's 136/100 K/BB ratio over 709 minor league plate appearances -- including more walks (37) than strikeouts (35) in Triple-A this year -- demonstrate a command of the strike zone that should result in a nice batting average at the second catcher slot.  
  • Tyler Colvin - The homer binge continued for Colvin yesterday, as he hit three home runs in the four-game series at St. Louis. Colorado cannot keep Colvin's bat out of the lineup while he cranks out 11 home runs in only 188 plate appearances, and if Todd Helton's injury puts him on the DL, then Colvin will have a clear path to everyday playing time. Colvin's ISO is 50 points higher than his breakout 2010 season, and he is making better contact with a line-drive percentage higher than either of the past two years.  Colvin continues to strike out at an alarming rate, so do not expect the .300+ average to continue, but his power potential makes him a must-add.
  • Mike Leake - Four straight excellent starts have Leake's season stats down to a respectable level after he had a 6.21 ERA as late as May 16 and was banished to waiver wires in all mixed leagues.  Leake's first July start continued a hot trend that saw him enjoy a 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 42 1/3 June innings. Leake's peripheral numbers are in line with last season, so we're not looking at a breakout candidate, but pitching in the NL Central makes Leake a solid end-of-the-rotation starter in 12-team mixed leagues.
  • Marco Estrada - Another NL Central starter worth taking a chance on in mixed leagues, Estrada is rocking a 9.75 K/9 innings rate and 3.08 SIERA on the season. Estrada is also coming off two solid starts in a row that included a 12-strikeout performance in six innings against the Reds in Cincinnati.  
  • Adam Lind - Hitting out of the fifth spot in a powerful Toronto lineup, Lind has shown signs of life since his promotion from the minor leagues and is worth picking up for a power potential that is demonstrated by his 26 home runs in 542 plate appearances last season.

Sell

  • Chase Utley - Utley's name still carries significant value to many owners, and two home runs in his first five starts gives you ammunition to try and peddle Utley to an owner hoping to recapture the glory years of 2005-09.  But, the reality is that Utley is not healthy enough to start every game, and the chronic soreness in his knees has most likely taken away the speed element of Utley's game.  
  • A.J. Pierzynski - The All-Star snub is enjoying a monster season with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs at the midpoint of the season. Pierzynski is nearly at his career high home run total of 18 that was set in 2005, and his home run pace is buoyed by an out-of-nowhere home run-per-fly ball percentage of 20.8% that is more than double his career rate and more than three times his rate last season. Time to sell high before the home run pace reverts back to career norms by dealing Pierzynski to a team weak at catcher. Between Pierzynski and Grandal, I prefer Pierzynski, but given the opportunity I would pick up Grandal from waivers for my second catcher slot and then deal Pierzynski to help in other areas.


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