One of the best qualities an owner can have in fantasy sports is the ability to know when to let go. To get top value for a player while he has seemed to peak is like playing chess, but you get two moves to your opponents one. It’s like selling your $5000 dollar car for $10,000 dollars. It puts you so far ahead of the game. It is such an advantage and it cannot go unstated.
In this column I’m going to break down some guys that I’m looking to cash in on. I think their value, or perceived value, might be at its peak.
I’m not saying these guys listed aren’t good players or are going to be droppable in your league. Just simply this is likely the time to get the largest return on said player. It’s time to cash in.
I’m going to admit one of the names I had listed was Trevor Story. I had a few sentences typed out, and then I deleted the entire section. I wanted to say last year was his peak, and maybe it was. But if he’s going to be a 20+ steals guy like he was last year and like he was in the minors, I’m not sure I’d want to sell.
I had to get that off my chest.
Now — it’s time to cash in.
Shohei Ohtani, Angels
This is probably my easiest sell, and again, it’s not because ability. Shohei Ohtani is a fascinating player. He significantly out produced what I expected him to do last season, especially with the bat. But Ohtani is recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s already expected to miss at least the first month of this season. He’s going to be DH only in leagues and he’s like only to hit three or four times a week.
In 104 games at the plate last season, Ohtani slashed .285/.361/.594 and slugged 22 home runs while driving in 61 runs. I would expect those number to be fairly similar this upcoming season but that’s just not enough production to be worthy of the perceived value Ohtani carries.
I’m not sure when we can fully expect him to be 100% or when the Angels will give him full playing time next season and that alone is enough for me to sell Ohtani. When will he get 600 at-bats? When will he throw 180 innings? I don’t have the patience to wait, especially if he can fetch you a top-30ish hitter because someone is so enamored with him.
Gary Sanchez, Yankees
Based on what I wrote in my “buys” column, you might wonder why Gary Sanchez isn’t on that list as he pretty much checks every box to be a buy this off-season. I actually think Sanchez does, in fact, bounce back in 2019. But I suppose that isn’t really saying much after the year he just had.
I try not to invest in catchers in dynasty leagues. Their shelf life isn’t as long as other positions and while having Sanchez is a positional advantage, there are just plenty of other hitters I’d rather roster that have less concerns than a catcher. Especially a catcher that is the defensive liability that Sanchez. How long will he even give you the positional advantage?
Oh and not to mention, Sanchez does have a rather low floor. I mean on top of the injury concerns, he did hit an abysmal .186 last year in 374 plate appearances. Cash him in for someone with far less concerns.
Edwin Diaz, Mets
Edwin Diaz has proven to be one of, if not the most electric closers in all of baseball. Like catcher, closer is a position that you shouldn’t be counting on as a building block to your dynasty team.
To expect Diaz to repeat his saves total from last year, 57, is just not realistic. Those 57 saves were second most all-time in a single season. And while I love Diaz and think he’s an elite closer, you always sell your closers at their peak — or anytime you can.
Diaz has a redraft ADP of 48 according to FantasyPros — who takes the ADP of most of the major sites and combines them into a consensus — to give you some yearly value for him. Patrick Corbin is the next guy being taken, and to me I’d much rather the starter. Now I understand these are redraft rankings, but he also has a dynasty ranking inside the top-100 and it’s just not a philosophy I agree with.
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
I hate to add one of the best pitchers of recent memory on this list, but with all of the injuries Clayton Kershaw has endured, he is just simply not a pitcher I want to rely on.
Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, has already shut down the future Hall or Famer due to inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Kershaw has made 30+ starts just once in the past five seasons and while still extremely effective while he’s on the mound, there was a clear decline last season when he was on the mound. However, imagine your decline being a 2.73 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. Both were season highs since 2010.
Kershaw’s velocity was down almost two miles per hour, though. His strikeout percentage was down nearly six percent and his K/9 was down nearly two per nine innings.
That is a significant drop-off from what we’re used to seeing out of Kershaw and those are not signs of a top ten pitcher in fantasy.
Alex Reyes, Cardinals
Alex Reyes has proven to be one of the most dominate young pitchers in the game. The 24-year-old righty was once regarded as the top pitching prospect in baseball, and rightfully so. Reyes has the potential to be one of the leagues best pitchers, but injuries have derailed the start of his young career.
Recovering from Tommy John, Reyes was striking out everyone during his rehab in the minors. Not literally everyone, but damn close to it with a 17.2 K/9 in 23 innings of work. Unfortunately, he strained his lat in his MLB season debut that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
Now, there’s rumblings that Reyes might be on a path to be the Cardinals closer, although it’s highly unlikely he gets that role right out of Spring Training. The upside for Reyes is immense. But so is his risk. And for a guy that might just be a middle relief guy or a starter that might not throw 100 innings anytime soon, I’m just not interested in.
Max Muncy, Dodgers
Kyle Freeland, Rockies
Mitch Haniger, Mariners
Michael Brantley, Astros
Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
Up next is the early round guys I’m avoiding in redraft leagues.
If you have any fantasy baseball questions tweet me @EvansEric10.
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