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Fred Zinkie

Trading Tips

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Trading Tips: August 12

Sunday, August 12, 2018


Many leagues are approaching their trade deadlines, with some set in the coming days and other coming at the end of this month. With just seven weeks left in the regular season, the time has come for owners to carefully analyze their standings before making trades. This is the time of year where certain players can have massive value to one owner and very little value to someone in a different spot in the roto standings. In head-to-head leagues, looking for players who have soft September schedules is always a great idea.

 

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Buy Low
 
Luis Severino, Starter (Yankees): After performing like a top-five starter for most of the season, Severino has posted a worrisome 7.31 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP across his past six starts. His owners will know that they can’t dismiss his dry spell on having a rough schedule, as he has labored through recent outings against the Rays and Royals before failing to dominate the White Sox. Still, Severino is a supremely talented starter who is backed by a productive lineup and arguably the best bullpen in baseball. There may be a small window to get him at a slight discount before he resumes performing at a game-changing level.
 
Chris Archer, Starter (Pirates): Overall, I’m optimistic that a change of scenery could help Archer to reach his vast potential. The right-hander has shown stellar swing-and-miss skills in recent seasons, but he is on course to post an ERA over 4.00 for a third straight year, as he struggled to put everything together as a member of the Rays. His batted-ball luck hasn’t been favorable this year (.344 BABIP), and his 71.8 percent strand rate is lower than one would expect for a starter who compiles so many whiffs. The switch to the National League should help Archer to strike out even more batters, and he is joining an organization that has typically had success with their hurlers.
 
Hector Rondon, Reliever (Astros): Rondon has performed admirably out of the Astros’ bullpen this season, posting a 2.16 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He has also shown stellar strikeout skills (11.5 K/9 rate) and has not blown a save since picking up his first of 13 saves on June 6. Still, many of his owners are willing to trade him away right now on the assumption that Roberto Osuna will soon take over as the team’s closer. While there is no doubt that Osuna has the skills to be Houston’s stopper, I remain skeptical that the Astros will insert him into that role. In short, the optics of Osuna closing big games down the stretch are terrible. The organization took a public relations hit by acquiring the right-hander in the first place, and they may not want him on the mound when they clinch a postseason berth, division title etc. As long as Rondon holds up his end of the bargain, he could handle the closer’s role for the rest of the season.
 
Jesus Aguilar, First baseman (Brewers): Having built up a marginal fantasy profile prior to 2018, Aguilar has the potential to quickly fall out of favor when he experiences a cold stretch. The described stretch is happening right now, as the slugger has slashed .203/.331/.475 since the beginning of July. But a deeper look at his recent statistics shows that he has dealt with a .208 BABIP during his dry spell. This could be a good time to add Aguilar, who is already starting to heat up from a power perspective.
 
Josh Hader, Reliever (Brewers): Simply put, owners can always use someone like Hader late in the season. Sure, the southpaw is unlikely to compile more than a few wins and saves from this point forward, but he is very valuable due to his ability to post remarkable ratios (1.60 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) while compiling whiffs at a rate that resembles many starters. In many leagues, the Hader owner will likely be willing to trade him for an average starter in a foolish effort to chase wins down the stretch.
 

 

Sell High
 
Carlos Gonzalez, Outfielder (Rockies): Gonzalez still carries plenty of name value in fantasy circles, which means that more than a handful of owners are likely willing to jump on board after finding out that he has posted a .990 OPS since the beginning of July. The lure of playing many of his stretch-run games at Coors Field makes the outfielder even more appealing in trade talks. But CarGo no longer offers notable power or speed and his .287 average has been inflated by a .339 BABIP. In fact, Statcast data shows that his expected batting mark is a less impressive .254. Owners of the 32-year-old should be ready to move him when he wraps up his current homestand.
 
Blake Snell, Starter (Rays): Snell is back from the DL, which gives his owners a brief chance to sell high on his services before they reach their respective trade deadlines. The southpaw owns sterling statistics this season (13-5 record, 2.18 ERA, 1.03 WHIP), and while he has made some skill gains (2.9 K:BB ratio), he has been one of the luckiest starters in baseball (.236 BABIP, 87.1 percent strand rate). The fact that the Rays have six of their 14 remaining series against the Red Sox, Yankees and Indians makes trading Snell even more appealing.
 
Edwin Diaz, Reliever (Mariners): Diaz is here as a bit of a placeholder for a larger point about trading away closers in roto leagues during August. With just seven weeks remaining on the regular season schedule, owners want their high-priced players to be ones that they will want in their lineup for all seven of those scoring periods. But many owners will find themselves stranded in the saves category with a couple weeks to go, having little chance to gain or lose significant points in the standings via that category. For owners who can see this outcome coming, trading away a stud closer such as Diaz for a difference-making hitter or starter could be a wise move. Or to put things more simply, closers such as Diaz have a massive range of values between different teams in the same roto league at this point in the year.
 
Jhoulys Chacin, Starter (Brewers): The trade return for Chacin is unlikely to be a major haul, but dealing him away is something his owners should at least explore. The right-hander has been fortunate in a number of ways this season, producing a favorable 11-4 record while logging solid ratios (3.91 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) largely on the strength of a .259 BABIP. In reality, a starter with a mediocre 2.1 K:BB ratio should be borderline waiver-wire fodder and not someone who can fetch a useful return in a mixed league. Chacin owners who have a need at another position should try to make a minor deal where they plug a hole by parting with his services.
 
Salvador Perez, Catcher (Royals): Perez has been the best power-hitting catcher in baseball of late, producing eight homers and 23 RBIs since the beginning of July. But the power surge has not really been reflected in his skills, and he has shown his typically terrible plate discipline in recent weeks. Overall, there are two main reasons to suspect that this hot streak is likely to soon reverse course. First, Perez hits in baseball’s least productive lineup, meaning that RBI opportunities will be few and far between when he is not hitting round-trippers. Catchers who log heavy workloads are known to sometimes wear down late in the year.



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