Here are guys you need to acquire at the Fantasy Baseball trade deadline approaches
The Fantasy trade deadline is fast approaching and the playoffs aren’t too far behind. Now might be your last chance to trade for a hot-hitting bargain or a dominant deadline pitcher that could carry you into the playoffs and possibly on to a title.
Now isn’t the time to be sitting on ceremony, remaining loyal to your veterans or desperately hoping that those high draft picks that you invested your hopes in FINALLY do what you thought you knew they would. Now is the time to start the best and sit the rest. A mediocre player with a hot bat is worth more for teams now than a star pedigree of the past.
Hot Bat Trade Targets
Rougned Odor, 2B Texas Rangers
Seven HRs – 16 RBIs – 15 Runs Scored – .353 Batting Average
I have been screaming for owners to pounce on Odor before everyone realized that he turned things around and this will be my last time. …until I feel it needs to be said again, next time.
One thing I am disappointed about in yearly leagues while I am not concerned about it in Dynasty formats; Odor isn’t stealing bases. The skill is there, but the contribution currently is not.
I am on board with Odor in Dynasty leagues because I am a big believer in his power and speed, while I am less concerned about his struggles and bad batting average. But the price is important. Don’t be the owner that overpaid and bought high. Make sure you receive the proper discounts for his 2018 struggles and his career .247 batting average.
Pssst. I know I am whispering, but I want only the true believers to hear me. Odor hit 30 home runs and stole 15 bases in 2017 and even in a year when most owners have ignored him or believe he has been awful, Odor has 14 home runs, stolen nine bases and batted .272 in 86 games (he batted .204 last season, people). In a shortened season Odor could hit 25 home runs and steal 15 bases.
Jurickson Profar, 1B/2B/3B/SS/OF Texas Rangers
Four HRs – 14 RBIs – 10 Runs Scored – One SB – .317 BA
The best way to improve your roster at the trade deadline is to do it cheaply or through the waiver wire, making Profar your boy. It enhances his appeal that he qualifies everywhere and is swinging a hot bat in the final weeks of the Fantasy regular season.
I am skeptical about jumping on the bandwagon in Dynasty leagues, but I am in until October.
Kole Calhoun, OF Los Angeles Angels
Four HRs – 14 RBIs – Nine Runs Scored – .319 BA
I have mentioned Calhoun in previous segments, but like Odor, it needs to be mentioned one last time as we approach the Fantasy trade deadline. He doesn’t run, he isn’t a Dynasty league buy-low opportunity, but he can hit and when he does he can help.
Calhoun ranks fourth in total points over the last 28 days, outscoring Fantasy stars like Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez and J.D, Martinez over that period of time, and he is owned in only 58% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Nelson Cruz, DH Seattle Mariners
Eight HRs – 16 RBIs – Nine Runs Scored – .286 BA
Cruz is one of the most underappreciated, reliable sources of home runs in Fantasy Baseball. That makes him obtainable and affordable. Making things even better, he has hit the most home runs in baseball over the last two weeks.
Because he only qualifies at DH I am reluctant to plead for Dynasty league owners to target him, but I expect 2019 to be another 25-30 home run season.
Aledmys Diaz, SS Toronto Blue Jays
Five HRs – Two SBs – 10 Runs Scored – Seven RBIs – .350
If he continues the hot hitting there is a chance for a career high 20 home run season from Diaz. In the juiced ball era that isn’t an incredible feat, but he is only owned in 20% of Yahoo! Leagues and he is contributing his best when Fantasy owners need it most.
Diaz isn’t a Dynasty league target, but he is an interesting deep league, late round player to watch as draft madness 2019 comes around.
Mallex Smith, OF Tampa Bay Rays
Seven SBs – 10 Runs Scored – .405 BA
There isn’t a lick of power to be found in his profile, but if you’re an owner that needs cheap steals and above-average BA, Smith is turning a hot bat into top-tier contributions in stolen bases. He is only owned in 52% of Yahoo! Leagues.
Smith is an intriguing Dynasty league target that should be “stealable” at this Fantasy trade deadline. He has zero home run power, but he profiles as a 35-40 stolen base, .300 hitting, 100 runs scored leadoff hitter. His underappreciated Fantasy profile makes him an affordable three-category contributor. If you could turn back time and acquire Dee Gordon when he was a Los Angeles Dodger would you do it? Smith has a legitimate chance to be a comparable Fantasy asset in 2019-2020.
Pitching Trade Targets
Zack Wheeler, SP New York Mets
27.7 Innings Pitched – 26 Strikeouts – Four Wins – Three Quality Starts – 1.95 ERA – .90 Whip
Wheeler is fourth in scoring in standard points leagues over the last 28 days because of a strikeout per inning, three quality starts and somehow four wins for a Mets team that never scores for rotation mate Jacob deGrom.
He always had plus-stuff, he is owned in only 60% of Yahoo! Leagues and he is pitching great. Wheeler is a must-own for the final weeks of the Fantasy regular season and into the playoffs.
If you’re a rebuilding Dynasty franchise or a borderline contender that lacks the assets to make an impact trade for the playoff push there are worse ways to try and steal value. Wheeler isn’t a must-own trade target because his career is littered with injuries, but he is the perfect player to include as the second or third piece of a larger trade or on a cheap flier.
Jon Gray, SP Colorado Rockies
29.7 IP – 25 Ks – Four Quality Starts – 1.52 ERA – .71 Whip
It wasn’t that long ago that Gray was demoted and pitching in the minor leagues. Gray has pitched seven innings or more and allowed two earned runs or less in all four of his starts since returning to the Rockies rotation.
Gray has a career K/9 of 9.82 and a HR/9 of .92 in spite of Coors Field being his home park, a place he actually pitches better than on the road. He is a must-start while he pitches like this.
I am still waiting for that breakout season, but I will be targeting him as a draft-day value in 2019. I suggest owners “buy low” and in the worst case scenario, use him as a cheap, contrarian Daily Fantasy Sports tournament play or streaming daily transactions league starter.
Tanner Roark, SP Washington Nationals
27 IP – 25 Ks – Three Quality Starts – Three Wins – 2.00 ERA – .93 Whip
Roark doesn’t have filthy stuff and he is talked about a lot less than Max Scherzer, but over the last month he has been almost as good and can be acquired at a fraction of the cost. I have repeatedly commented that any Major League pitcher can have short periods of dominance and with the Fantasy playoffs within sight, now is the time to ride Roark for all he’s worth. He is owned in only 56% of Yahoo! leagues.
Roark is a yearly league target because of how well he is pitching at an opportune time, but he is an intriguing Dynasty league possibility too. In 2017, he struck out 166 batters in 181.1 innings pitched. In 2016, he struck out 172 batters in 210 innings pitched and finished the year with an ERA of 2.83 with a Whip of 1.17. In 2014, he pitched 198.2 innings and finished with an ERA of 2.85 and Whip of 1.09. There is a lot of inconsistency in his career, but Roark has shown that he can be a must-start caliber starter over a full season and not in just small-sample stretches.
Quick Hits: Prospects Edition
Jacob Nix, SP San Diego Padres
He lacks the ceiling or the dominant repertoire to be worth a roster spot in anything but the deepest of leagues. He has the command to be a viable Fantasy contributor, but two-start weeks is the place where his lack of strikeouts makes it worth starting a rookie with pedestrian “stuff.”
Robert Stephenson, SP Cincinnati Reds
He always had a big arm, above-average secondary offerings and poor command, both in and out of the zone. A career that started with high prospect rankings and lofty potential has been mired by underwhelming statistics and significant struggles. He has repeated multiple levels, multiple times, never a good sign for a future star. He has the velocity and secondary offerings to make a Fantasy impact in strikeouts while his command can result in a lot of walks that leads to a blowup of ERA and Whip in weekly leagues. He has the ceiling to be worth a flier, but it’s extremely risky to trust him in a do-or-die situation when your season could be on the line. The risk/reward ratio is more feasible in daily transaction leagues.
Cedric Mullins, OF Baltimore Orioles
Mullins profiles a lot like Dustin Fowler, previously of the New York Yankees and now on the Oakland A’s. The ceiling is limited, but he has the tools to contribute to all of the Fantasy categories and it looks like the Baltimore Orioles plan to provide him an opportunity for the final two months of the season. He won’t carry a Fantasy team in any one category, but in deeper leagues he can be a fifth outfielder that peppers them all with something of value, if he is able to manage his debut at the Major League level. Dustin Fowler struggled in his, maybe Mullins will be different.
Jurickson Profar Featured Image: (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)