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Fred Zinkie

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Trading Tips: July 15

Sunday, July 15, 2018


With the All-Star break set to begin in a matter of hours, most fantasy owners will cool their jets for a few days. But those who put in a little extra work during the absence of regular season action could make a key trade that sets their squad up for second-half success. At the very least, owners should float an offer or two regarding the players listed below and find out which of their league-mates is staying engaged during the three-day siesta.

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Buy Low
 
Carlos Carrasco, Starter (Indians): Simply put, Carrasco hasn’t been very valuable of late. The right-hander has posted a 5.13 ERA across 12 starts since April 28, and he mixed in a late-June DL stint to further suppress his value. But those who dig a little deeper will see his trademark ace qualities across that 12-start stretch, as he has logged a 4.8 K:BB ratio including a game-changing 11.1 K/9 rate. Owners who are looking for a discounted ace could find an excellent match in Carrasco, who should enjoy a series of favorable stretch-run matchups against his four retooling divisional opponents.
 
Masahiro Tanaka, Starter (Yankees): Tanaka owners are likely feeling pretty frustrated right now. The right-hander spent more than a month on the disabled list before returning with a lackluster effort (4.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER) against an unproductive Orioles lineup. Tanaka continues to be plagued by the long ball (2.0 HR/9 rate), which has led to an unimpressive 4.68 ERA. While all of his warts are legitimate, the 29-year-old still has plenty of redeeming value for those who have some wiggle room in the ERA category. His career-long pattern of being a WHIP asset has continued this year, and with the help of a productive Yankees lineup and a stellar relief corps, he has won seven games across 14 starts. Tanaka is far from an ace, but he remains useful in all leagues.
 
Jack Flaherty, Starter (Cardinals): Youngsters who have built up little fantasy trust are prone to wild fluctuations in value. Such will be the case with Flaherty in some leagues, as the 22-year-old has logged an unsightly 8.03 ERA across his past three starts. However, his recent struggles may create a brief opportunity for owners to pick up one of baseball’s most talented young hurlers at a discounted cost. Flaherty has shown stellar swing-and-miss abilities (10.5 K/9 rate) and solid control (2.7 BB/9 rate), while also doing a solid job of limiting hard contact (34.4 percent). He should get back on track immediately following the All-Star break.
 
Kyle Tucker, Outfielder (Astros): Last weekend, Tucker was the shiny new toy. This week, he’s heading back to waivers in some shallow leagues. Such is life for someone without a big-league track record when they get off to a miserable start (.174/.240/.217 slash line). But Tucker oozes potential, having produced 14 homers and 14 steals in 80 Triple-A games this season after tallying 25 long balls and 21 swipes in the Minors a year ago. Now part of the second-highest scoring lineup in baseball, the 21-year-old could soon be stuffing the stat sheet in spectacular ways. At the very least, owners should take a moment to find out if the Tucker owner in their league is running out of patience.
 
Joey Votto, First baseman (Reds): Overall, second-half stats are rarely predictive of late-season success in future campaigns. But this may not be the case with Votto, who is the arguably the most dangerous second-half hitter in baseball. The 34-year-old owns an incredible lifetime 1.008 OPS in the second half, including a .327 average and a .562 slugging percentage. His career OPS in August is an outstanding 1.023 and his lifetime .995 mark in September is also incredibly impressive. Owners who are looking to buy low on a stud can take advantage of Votto’s .859 OPS this year and hope that he enjoys his customary late-season surge.
 


Sell High
 
Chase Anderson, Starter (Brewers): On the surface, Anderson has righted the ship after posting a 7.08 ERA in May, logging a 3.05 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP since the beginning of June. But the right-hander has shown little dominance over that eight-start stretch (2.4 K:BB ratio) while experiencing stellar batted-ball luck (.232 BABIP, 9.5 percent HR/FB rate) despite allowing a dangerous level of hard contact (43.1 percent). Even with his good fortune, Anderson has finished six complete innings in just two of his past eight appearances. Owners of the 30-year-old should be highly motivated to trade him away before he experiences another month like the one he had in May.
 
Billy Hamilton, Outfielder (Reds): In short, Hamilton can’t hit. His whiff rate is way up this year (26.1 percent), and his 10.8 percent swinging-strike rate is also a career-worst mark. When he finally makes contact, the speedster is producing his typically low rate of hard contact (23.4 percent). The extra whiffs are limiting Hamilton’s ability to compile swipes, and he has become a one-category contributor by virtue of the Reds giving up on him as a leadoff man. Hamilton owners enjoyed a rare hot streak last weekend, when he collected seven hits and five steals in a series against the Cubs, and they may want to sell his services to a speed-needy team before he cools off once again.
 
Wil Myers, Outfielder (Padres): Myers is on fire of late, producing six homers and a pair of steals across his past seven contests. Unless he can stay at this absurd level of personal production (which he likely can’t), Myers is going to have trouble collecting runs and RBIs at a great rate. As an example, the slugger collected 30 homers and 20 steals last year but didn’t produce more than 80 runs or RBIs by virtue of his membership in an unproductive Padres lineup. With San Diego sitting 28th in the Majors in runs scored this season, history seems likely to repeat itself in terms of Myers’ counting stats. Additionally, the 27-year-old owns a 29.6 percent HR/FB rate this season that is nearly double his lifetime 16.2 percent career mark.
 
Avisail Garcia, Outfielder (White Sox): A sell-high candidate during much of last season, when he hit .330 with a .392 BABIP, Garcia returned in late-June from nearly two months on the disabled list to resume his inflated status. But this time it isn’t his BABIP that is driving his trade, but rather his HR/FB rate. The 27-year-old has produced nine homers across 148 at-bats this year largely on the strength of a 25.0 percent HR/FB mark that is nearly 10 percent higher than his career mark. Overall, Garcia produces too few fly balls (lifetime 26.3 percent fly-ball rate) to be an impactful power hitter, meaning that owners who deal him upon his upcoming return from a brief DL stint are unlikely to regret the decision.
 
J.T. Realmuto, Catcher (Marlins): Realmuto’s inclusion on this list is in no way a judgment of his talent. The 27-year-old has been the best fantasy catcher this season, batting .312 with full-season paces that would have worked out to roughly 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 90 runs scored if he had not opened the season on the disabled list. His batting-ball luck has been a little bit favorable (.356 BABIP) and his control over the strike zone isn’t great (0.29 BB:K ratio), but those are minor complaints about someone who has been so effective this season. Still, Realmuto belongs to one of baseball’s weakest lineups, and his situations seems unlikely to change until the offseason. He may not continue to accumulate counting stats at his current rate, meaning that owners of the catcher could look to move him for a package that includes a solid backstop and key contributor at another position.



Fred Zinkie is a baseball writer for Rotoworld and BaseballHQ. You can find him on Twitter @FredZinkieMLB.
Email :Fred Zinkie



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