Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading: Jayson Werth, Brennan Boesch

by Rich Arleo on June 23, 2011 @ 17:49:51 PDT

 


Some batters and pitchers on the other teams in your fantasy baseball league are becoming real drags. A few MLB players on your fantasy baseball team are performing better than you expected. Is it time to move in? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Insider Trading series is your accomplice when it's time to do shady business in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball game.

Buy

Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals

The 32-year-old outfielder was given a seven-year, $126 million contract this offseason, a contract many think Werth has little chance of living up to. That being said, Werth was expected to have a productive 2011, but so far, the results are somewhat uninspiring.

He is flashing some power, with 10 home runs, but is also sporting a .235 average while slugging .408. Werth's ground-ball percentage is up to 45.0 percent, and his line-drive rate continues its dive at 16.8 percent. Werth has been moved up and down the Nats' lineup and recently hit leadoff, which will likely stick against southpaws. He's expected to hit second, in front of Ryan Zimmerman and hot bat of Michael Morse, the rest of the time, so he should continue to see some pitches to hit.

Detroit Tigers OF Brennan Boesch
Boesch stands better chance in '11

Werth has been making solid contact. He has a career low 6.2 swinging strike percentage to go along with a career-high 83.0 percent contact rate, and his .266 BABIP could indicate a lot of these ground balls Werth is putting into play just aren't finding holes. If he continues to make solid contact and his BABIP evens out, Werth's average should rise a bit, with his increasingly hard contact of the last month and a half especially encouraging.

Owners need to understand Werth's true value. He may have the reputation of a .285-30-100 hitter and was being drafted as such; the fact is that Werth has put up those kinds of numbers for only a couple of seasons, when he was behind some excellent run producers.

With nine steals, he looks poised to improve on his total of 13 from last year. Werth is a career .268 hitter, and that's a reasonable expectation, along with 25 home runs if things even out. His walk rate is still in double digits; as his on-base percentage rises, he should run a bit more frequently. Be careful not to overvalue Werth, but if you can find an owner who is willing to give him up for a good price, take a stab at him.

Hold

Brennan Boesch, Detroit Tigers

The tall lefty burst onto the scene in 2010 by hitting .342 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs before the All-Star break, but he crashed hard, hitting just .163 the rest of the way. The dreadful second half scared many owners away from him this season, but he's responded with another great first half: 10 home runs, 38 RBIs and a .300 average. Now, the question on everyone's mind is: Will he fall off again, or is he the real deal?

Boesch's 10 home runs include the Tigers' longest of the season, at 438 feet. According to ESPN Home Run Tracker, he is tied for second in the league (behind Jose Bautista) with six "No Doubts," and his home runs' average true distance is 395.6 feet (which includes a 329-foot homer around the Pesky Pole).

His second-half performance in 2010 was in part due to the usual adjustment period for rookies; pitchers learn more, find weaknesses and exploit them. Whatever they found, Boesch seems to have fixed, with his strong first half again. It takes time, but he's proven that he can make some adjustments.

It's worth noting that he's pulled nine of his 10 bombs to right, with one landing in the center-field seats. He has been fortunate thus far, but his inability to go the other way consistently and with authority could do in his average again.

Still, Boesch has had a stronger first half peripherally than he had last season, improving his walk rate, K rate and more. If you own Boesch, hold on to him unless you receive a reasonable offer. If you can find an owner who is expecting another second-half drop-off, try to grab Boesch for relatively cheap. While there's likely a slide in store, it shouldn't be of quite the same magnitude as last year's.

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About Rich Arleo

Rich Arleo is a Marist College alum who has been playing fantasy sports since he was 14 years old. He is a local editor with AOL's Patch.com and became a staff writer with Bruno Boys Fantasy Football in 2010 and a contributor to KFFL in 2011.

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