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Stock Watch: 2012 Season in Review (Hits)

This week's Stock Watch's 2012 Season in Review will discuss many of the best "Buy" or "Sell" recommendations of the year:

  • On April 6, Stock Watch recommended buying Edwin Encarnacion - "Double-E was sandwiched in order between Jose BautistaAdam Lind and Lawrie. It's a good place to be."  Encarnacion was a fantasy MVP with 42 home runs, 110 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and a .280 batting average.
  • On April 27, Stock Watch recommended claiming off waivers Marco Estrada - "Available on most waiver wires in 12- and 14-team mixed leagues, Estrada has a 13.09 K/9 rate this season and is in the rotation -- and pitching against pathetic NL Central lineups -- following the injury to Chris Narveson. Estrada's SIERA was 3.29 last year and is currently at 1.70 on the young season. It will be interesting to see if he can carry this success as a starter, but he's worth a speculative add off the waiver wire to find out."  From April 27 to the end of the season, Estrada struck out a batter per inning with a 3.75 ERA.
  • On May 4, Stock Watch recommended claiming off waivers 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."  Frieri ended up running with the Angels' closer job and collected 23 saves.
  • On May 11, Stock Watch recommended selling Brett Myers - "Fast start should net a good return from owners that have lost saves in the year of the closer carousel. He's not guaranteed to close if he is traded, and I am skeptical he can keep his walks per nine innings at .84, which is far below his 2.96 career average."  Myers did end up being traded into a set-up role.
  • On May 18, Stock Watch recommended claiming off waivers Everth Cabrera - "Recalled by the Padres to play SS, Cabrera had 15 SBs in Triple-A this season and could be a cheap source of speed from the waiver wire if he can get himself closer to the top of the Padres lineup from the seventh slot he occupied last night."  Cabrera was a difference-maker as he ended up wining the National League stolen base crown.
  • On May 25, Stock Watch recommended buying 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."  Marmol was lights out as a closer after May 25 with a 2.66 ERA and 18 saves.
  • On June 1, Stock Watch recommended buying Paul Goldschmidt - "Dropped in many 12-team mixed leagues after a slow start, Goldschmidt has been hot in May with a .314 batting average and homers in two of his past four games. Goldschmidt even will chip in a few stolen bases, so he should be claimed where available on waiver wires."  Goldschmidt was a fantasy beast from June through the rest of the season with 28 home runs and 22 steals.
  • On June 15, Stock Watch recommended selling Ricky Romero and his then 4.15 ERA - "Another AL East starter whose value is inflated by his sparkling numbers last season.  Romero is walking an unsightly 4.48 batters per nine innings this season while his strikeouts per nine innings are down from last season.  That is not a good combination, and owners thinking that Romero and his 4.15 ERA are a good buy-low trade target should think again. Romero's 4.79 FIP and 4.36 SIERA indicate that he is fortunate to have his ERA that low."  After June 15, Romero was a total disaster with a 7.11 ERA in 98 2/3 innings and only 2 wins.  Owners should not stick with struggling AL East starters, particularly ones that are walking a substantial amount of batters.  Stock Watch had also previously recommended selling Romero on May 18.
  • On June 22, Stock Watch recommended running to your waiver wire to claim Anthony Rizzo - "Per Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs can promote Rizzo tomorrow while still delaying his free agency from 2017 to 2018. Expect the Cubs to do so in the near future as Rizzo has nothing left to prove in AAA, as he hits .360 with 23 home runs and 59 RBIs in 261 plate appearances. In shallow leagues where Rizzo is available on the waiver wire pick him up immediately. In other leagues, see if the owner stashing Rizzo has a need you can fill and get Rizzo before he is activated and the hype makes him unattainable. Rizzo should enjoy immediate success having learned some tough lessons in San Diego last year, and stepping into a Wrigley Field that plays like a hitter's paradise with the wind blowing out in the hot summer air."  Rizzo enjoyed immediate success in Chicago, and Stock Watch was very bullish on him from the start.
  • On June 22, Stock Watch recommended buying Miguel Montero - "Finally coming out of a season-long funk, now is the time to buy Montero while his season stats still look poor.  In June, Montero has hit .302 with five home runs and 17 RBIs.  This is consistent with Montero's career in which April and May have been his worst hitting months. In the RotoAuthority League, I had a decision last week whether to deal Montero or MLB home run leader among catchers Jarrod Saltalamacchia - I decided to move Salty."  Montero certainly turned his season around and hit .301 after June 22.
  • On June 29, Stock Watch recommended selling Trevor Bauer - "Despite posting excellent strikeout numbers and a low ERA in the minors this season, Bauer's 4.6 walks per nine innings mark is a red flag for his chances of enjoying immediate success in the Majors.  Bauer continued his wild ways by walking three batters in his four-inning debut. While Bauer's future is certainly bright, the 21-year old makes for an excellent sell candidate in re-draft leagues to an owner that is buying the rookie hype."  At this time Bauer was receiving a ton of hype.  Hopefully owners in re-draft leagues were able to quickly trade Bauer.
  • On July 13, Stock Watch recommended buying Mat Latos - "After giving up only two earned runs in his last three starts covering 25 innings, Latos is finally out of his season-long funk after an offseason trade to the Reds.  With a 4.13 ERA on the season, perhaps Latos can still be acquired on the relative cheap from a disgruntled owner that suffered through Latos' terrible start to the season. Last year Latos had a slow first half before compiling a 2.87 ERA and 1.00 WHIP after the All-Star break (however, the opposite was true in 2010).  Compared to last year, Latos is walking fewer batters and (predictably) giving up substantially more home runs with a HR/FB percentage that has nearly doubled after his move from the Padres to the Reds. Settling into his new surroundings, I expect Latos' second-half ERA to be in line with his current SIERA of 3.63, which is exactly half a run lower than his ERA."  After July 13, Latos rocked a 2.84 ERA and 7 wins.
  • The same July 13 Stock Watch recommended buying Max Scherzer - "Has the second highest K/9 innings rate (11.19) and the second highest BABIP (.349) among qualifying starters.  Scherzer has five straight quality starts that has brought his ERA all the down from a 5.88 mark on June 6 to its current 4.72.  Here is another starter that may have left owners who drafted him with a bad taste in their mouths after his slow start.  Scherzer's 3.08 SIERA shows the upside that exists with a BABIP correction despite pitching in front of the Tigers' poor defense."  After July 13, Scherzer had an incredible 2.69 ERA and 8 wins.  Lesson to learn here is that a strong strikeout rate with corresponding low SIERA is an indicator of good things to come.  Stock Watch also recommended buying Scherzer on May 11.
  • On July 13, Stock Watch recommended selling C.J. Wilson - "After enjoying a spectacular first half, now is the time for pitching-rich owners to see what they can get for this "ace" pitcher.  Wilson's strikeouts are way down (7.11 K/9 compared to 8.30 last year) and his walks are way up (3.96 BB/9 compared to 2.98 last year).  His success can be partly attributed to a .242 BABIP that is nearly forty points below his career average.  ZiPS projects a 3.48 ERA for the remainder of the season, which is far below his current 4.28 SIERA."  At this time, Wilson had a 2.43 ERA.  After the recommeded sell, Wilson imploded to a 5.74 ERA in 84 2/3 innings.
  • On July 20, Stock Watch recommended claiming on waivers Steve Cishek -
    "When Cishek was bypassed for a save chance on Monday for Mike Dunn, many owners figured that a closer committee was in place.  However, Cishek was dealing with a bout of the flu and all indications are that he should get the Marlins save chances going forward.  Recent trade rumors involving Heath Bell may further signal that the organization has soured on Bell and is ready to let Cishek run with the job."  Cishek was a solid closer for the rest of the season with 13 saves and a 3.80 ERA beginning July 20.
  • On July 27, Stock Watch recommended claiming on waivers Justin Ruggiano - "With Emilio Bonifacio shifting to second base after the trade of Omar Infante, Ruggiano should be in line for everyday at-bats. Ruggiano has both seven home runs and steals in only 137 plate appearances, and he showed a good power/speed combination for the Rays' Triple-A minor league club with 15 home runs and at least 23 steals in both 2009 and 2010."  Ruggiano ended up being a difference-maker for fantasy teams down the stretch and ended the year with 13 home runs, 14 stolen bases and a .313 batting average.

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