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Buy Low on Braves’ Matt Adams, Sell High on Rays’ Alex Cobb

Special from InsideInjuries.com August 15, 2017 1:06AM EDT
Matt Adams ATL – BUY LOW

Adams has been scuffling a bit lately, going 6 for his last 35. He also might be in line to lose some playing time when Matt Kemp returns from his latest hamstring strain, which is expected to be this Friday. However, the Braves will need to find a way to keep his bat in the lineup against right-handed pitching. Adams is currently hitting .301 with an .895 OPS against righties this season, and the Braves just don’t have enough firepower to keep him out of the lineup too often. This week, Adams gets seven right-handed match-ups, four of them in Coors Field. Adams and his 43 percent fly ball rate should fare well in the altitude. He’s a great look as a short-term addition and should be able to provide solid value moving forward in deeper leagues.

Jose Urena MIA – SELL HIGH

alex cobb

Alex Cobb may be approaching an innings limit soon.  Photo Credit: AP/Chris O’Meara

Urena has pitched well in his first full Major League season, going 10-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 25 games (19 starts) with the Marlins. This is the first season that he’s shown any consistency in the big leagues, but he has the track record at Triple-A that makes his performance believable. However, his 5.42 xFIP indicated that Urena really hasn’t pitched to the level that his ERA would indicate. He’s only striking out a mediocre 6.17 batters per nine innings, while walking over three per nine, another indication that he hasn’t been overly dominant. The youngster is also coming close to a career high in innings, and he hasn’t thrown more than about 130 innings since 2014. Overall, Urena has been a nice surprise in a year of pitching busts, but cutting ties with him now might be the right move.

Alex Avila CHC – BUY LOW

Avila’s value took a hit when he was traded to Chicago along with Justin Wilson, as he went from being a starter in Detroit to backing up Willson Contreras. But now that Contreras is on the DL and out for 4-6 weeks with a grade 2 hamstring strain, Avila is worth a look. He hasn’t done much since June from a production standpoint, but this week he will get the chance to break out against a litany of struggling right-handed pitching, as the Cubs go up against the struggling Reds’ and Blue Jays’ rotations. His line drive and hard hit rates are also still very high, even with the dip in production since June. Now that he has the necessary at-bats, look for Avila to put up solid production.

Alex Cobb TB – SELL HIGH

Cobb has been a nice comeback story in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. He was very solid for the Rays in 2013 and 2014 before going down with a UCL tear in 2015 and returning for a brief stint towards the end of last season. He’s posted a 3.80 ERA in 147 innings while racking up 1.7 WAR according to FanGraphs. However, a deeper look at Cobb’s numbers paints a somewhat gloomier picture. His xFIP sits at 4.47 and he’s striking out fewer than six batters per nine innings, which just aren’t the kind of numbers you’re looking for in a solid starting pitcher. Also, with Cobb having racked up nearly 150 innings this year, you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank, as teams often look to limit pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery to somewhere in the 160-180 inning range. Cobb’s put up a good season so far, but getting rid of him now, in case he starts to fade, would not be a bad move. His stint on the DL is also now going to last longer than the expected 10 days, a sign that his turf toe isn’t healing as fast as expected. Get rid of him now if you can find a willing trade partner.

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