Buy or Sell: Guzman, Kipnis, Matsui

Among ESPN.com’s most added players are Jesus Guzman, Jason Kipnis and Hideki Matsui. Are these bats ready to help your team the rest of the way?

Jesus Guzman, 1B, SD
Since his call-up, Guzman has been on fire, hitting .336/.376/.582 with five home runs and three stolen bases. The 27-year-old has spent the last two seasons mostly at triple-A Fresno (Giants) before being signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent. What he did at triple-A Tuscon was continue to hit, putting up a .332/.423/.529 line with eight home runs in 286 plate appearances. The guy can hit.

The problem with looking at his recent triple-A numbers is that Guzman was repeating the level for a third time. Still, there is something to the fact that he was consistent from year-to-year, even if he was repeating levels into his upper 20′s. There are two parts of his game that seem likely to regress: His triple slash line and his home run pace.

It took Guzman 244 at-bats to hit eight home runs at triple-A this season, a very hitter-friendly home park and league, but he has hit five home runs already with the Padres, four in the pitcher-friendly PETCO. His HR/FB rate at PETCO is a very high 28.6 percent, which seems like a figure that is due to regress. Along with the home run pace slowing a bit, Guzman’s AVG has been at least a little bit fueled by a BABIP over .370.

All-in-all, I do believe that Guzman will be a nice bat to have in mixed leagues down the stretch. He could probably hit .280/.330 with around 20 home runs over a full major league season. That being said, if someone is willing to offer you a player with more of a major league track record that Guzman, I’d sell while his stock is likely at it’s peak.

Eyeball ROS projection: .284/.335/.478 with four home runs and three stolen bases

Jason Kipnis, 2B, CLE
Five home runs in 50 at-bats is impressive. It’s also unsustainable. Don’t get me wrong, Kipnis is a top-notch prospect and should be a mixed league commodity fro years to come. However, there is just no way to sustain a 42 percent HR/FB rate. Four of his homers came in back-to-back-to-back-to-back games, also a feat that doesn’t happen very often.

Other then the home runs, Kipnis hasn’t done much at the plate, hitting only .240. I believe he’s a better hitter than that, but it can be tough sometimes for rookies to adjust in their first big-league exposure. If anything, I expect his AVG to rise and home run output to regress. Once his power numbers drop off, I could see him being mass dropped, at which point I’d look to add him in deeper mixed formats.

Eyeball ROS projection: .266/.341/.415 with three home runs and three stolen bases

Hideki Matsui, OF, OAK
Unlike the two players listed above, Matsui has plenty of major league experience, but is on the downside of his career. Throughout most of the first half of the season, Mastui wasn’t doing much of anything at the plate (.209/.290/.327, 6 HR pre-all-star break), but he has been absolutely on fire since the beginning of July, hitting .365/.444/.553. He’s 10-for-24 so far in August and has five home runs in his last 17 games. His line drive rate in the month of July was over 30 percent, so his high BABIP for that time frame is somewhat justified.

For the past two seasons, with the Yankees and Angels, Matsui hit .274 with a .364 OBP and 20-plus home runs per year. However, his slugging percentage has regressed now for three seasons in a row — assuming he doesn’t continue to go ballistic over the season’s final two months, which I’m not betting on — and playing his home games in his spacious home park in Oakland certainly hasn’t helped (.250/.333/.384 at home). That factor should contribute to Matsui’s cooling off period somewhere down the line.

Matsui is a veteran hitter who knows how to make adjustments, but at age 37 even the best adjustments won’t compensate for deteriorating skills. That being said, if you are in need of a little bit of power down the stretch, Matsui could certainly help in deep mixed leagues.

Eyeball ROS projection: .270/.345/.433 with six home runs