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Dynasty League Sells - Players To Trade Away for Fantasy Baseball

Dylan Cease - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, DFS and Betting Picks

"Selling high" is often misconstrued as selling at the absolute peak of value in fantasy baseball. That itself is difficult to gauge, especially for a contender who would prefer to reap the benefits of that peaking player. Selling high can sometimes just mean selling a good player in the offseason while they are perceived as healthy! They could have had the roughest season prior but a glowing Spring training alone with no setbacks can wipe that dirt away.

Selling players in a dynasty league is the most fun you can have if done properly. There is an art to selling as you don't want to scrap an entire roster, just the parts that may be rusty sooner rather than later. Impact players can always be had on the cheap while also acquiring future draft picks or minor league players.

For those fantasy managers looking to get an edge on their 2023 dynasty leagues, Kev Mahserejian has the insights needed to help win now and for the long haul.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association including Baseball Writer of the Year, Football Writers of the Year, Golf Writer of the Year and many more! Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


2023 Dynasty Baseball - Sells

Dylan Cease - SP, Chicago White Sox

Cease's breakout last season was real for the most part as he fostered the best surface and peripheral numbers of his career. While no one should expect a repeat of Cease's 2.20 ERA, the bigger issue is how far apart said ERA is from performance indicators like SIERA and xFIP, which have him closer to a true 3.50 range. His strikeout and walk rate both worsened from 2021 and he had a career-low home run rate of 8.4% (well below the league average).

While Cease may be a great, young pitcher, he still does not have the necessary backing stats of an ace, which is his borderline price. Cease's BABIP and left-on-base rate in 2022 both indicate luck at play. With the ban on full shifts, his 42.6% pull rate (19th among qualified starters) may become exploited. Cease should be held in points leagues due to his ability to pitch deep into games and compile strikeouts. In roto or H2H formats, he is a sell.

Jacob deGrom - SP, Texas Rangers

Yes, Jacob deGrom is still the best pitcher on the planet but he is hanging on by a thread. The 34-year-old Rangers ace is not getting any younger while his body clearly has not responded well to pitching the past few seasons. deGrom has thrown 156.1 IP since 2021 and just 224.1 since 2020. The COVID year of 2020 can be forgiven across the board. Nonetheless, deGrom has not cracked 125 IP between the majors and minors since 2019.

If the injuries were just one-off issues like a broken finger or leg, there would be legitimate optimism about the former workhorse's future. However, given that we know deGrom's UCL was partially torn and never repaired in 2021, there is reason to suspect he is playing hurt.

Last season, deGrom suffered a stress fracture in his shoulder that resulted in lingering soreness and only pitching between August and September. In February, deGrom was reported as dealing with side soreness and was subsequently shut down just prior to the preseason.

Compound all of this with deGrom's age and the fact that pitchers are already the most injury-prone of all baseball players, and you have a recipe to get him off your roster before the next shoe drops.


Dansby Swanson - SS, Chicago Cubs

Swanson's 2022 was one for the books. He hit career-highs with a .277 batting average, 99 runs, 96 RBI, 18 steals, and for the sake of real-life value, 6.4 fWAR. Swanson finished as a first-round fantasy value thanks to his counting stats and is now playing for the Chicago Cubs. This is partially why we should be down on Swanson. He heads from the seventh-overall offense by wRC+ in 2022 to the 20th. While the Cubs did add pieces along with Swanson such as Trey Mancini and maybe the good version of Cody Bellinger, the offense as a whole remains lackluster.

The prospects that Chicago would have hoped to impact the 2023 roster are either struggling (Matt Mervis) or returning from injury (Brennen Davis). Meanwhile, star outfielder Seiya Suzuki injured his oblique earlier in the offseason and may not be 100% for a while. Swanson is a difference-maker on a roster but not an offense as he is merely above-average in value (109 wRC+ since 2020).

It is also reasonable to believe that he was aided by the strength of the Braves offense over the past few seasons. Swanson was typically hitting lower in the order while also surrounded by some of the league's best bats in Ronald Acuna Jr., Austin Riley, Matt Olson, and past Braves like Freddie Freeman.

Swanson has pulled the rug from under fantasy managers before but should still provide a quality amount of HRs and SB. There is a bonus of him hitting at the top of the order but we should still not expect anywhere close to the runs, batting average, and RBI of 2022.


Xander Bogaerts - SS, San Diego Padres

Xander Bogaerts revealed recently that he was dealing with wrist soreness and received a cortisone shot to address it. Even more revealing was the fact that Bogaerts mentioned this was a common issue for him. Not to speculate about future injuries or surgeries without a proper diagnosis but this is odd.

Nevertheless, Bogaerts' bigger issue heading into 2023 is the fact that he has outperformed his Statcast data by a wide margin for years and this may be aided by the friendly confines of Fenway Park. Last season, Fenway ranked fourth in park factor while Petco Park ranked dead last. By all means, Bogaerts is a talented hitter with serious pop but compounding a move to the league's worst home park for hitters with a wrist injury is not ideal.

Bogaerts' yearly actual wOBA minus xwOBA:

  • 2019: .390 - .355 = .035
  • 2020: .368 - .341 = .027
  • 2021: .368 - .359 = .009
  • 2022: .363 - .323 - .040

It is more than likely we see these numbers flipped in 2023 as Bogaerts will not have the benefit of the Green Monster in left field.


Jake McCarthy - OF, Arizona Diamondbacks

Rake McCarthy had a great run in 2022 as he set fantasy ablaze with some power and plenty of speed. McCarthy slashed .283/.324/.427 across 354 MLB plate appearances, hit eight home runs, and stole 23 bases. Unfortunately, his xwOBA and wOBA do not match much as he performed as an above-average bat (.337) with the contact profile of a below-average one (.298). Luckily, speedsters have the benefit of legging out singles relative to better hitters and that can close the gap a tad but not much.

McCarthy is likely an average-at-best bat who lucked out in 2022. Even his strikeout rate of 21.5% may not be sustainable as he was higher at every level of the minors since 2018 until his Triple-A stint last season. McCarthy is projected as a bottom-of-the-order bat to start 2023 and may even sit versus lefties. The speed and average are a juicy combo but we may have a dream here rather than the next Cedric Mullins.


Other Notable Players To Sell

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