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Dynasty Rebuild Strategy Part 3 - Targeting Discounted Players With Upside

This is a continuation of our Dynasty Rebuild Series - check out Part 1: Rebuilding Off The Waiver Wire and Part 2: Rebuilding Using Veterans To Your Advantage.

As we've discussed, improving your team can be done in a variety of ways. You could collect assets to flip for profit, trade for players that have fallen from grace or just compile players with tremendous upside. All these topics will be covered in this series. In this article, we will discuss discounted players with upside that you should attempt to acquire in a trade. Also, in an upcoming article, we will cover players you should acquire from the waiver wire that will pay dividends in the future.

Trade opportunities can be brought on by different circumstances, including injuries and poor play. Now is the perfect time to acquire dynasty assets whose shine has rubbed off, some far more than others. This can be common for players in the Sophmore Slump category. Remember, it isn't indicative of their career-long skills; it is a time that batters are forced to adapt to adjustments the league has made to them. So, keep it simple by trading for players with upside, particularly while they cost pennies on the dollar compared to their value at the beginning of the season. The value of players now is not what it will be at the beginning of 2019 when everyone is presumed healthy and “in the best shape of their life.”

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Parlay For Players With Upside (Time To Buy)

Gary Sanchez (C, NYY)

Sanchez is having an unexpectedly substandard performance after a tremendous 2017 that saw him hit 33 HR, 90 RBI, and .278 AVG. If there ever were a window of opportunity to acquire Sanchez, it would be now. The production this year, 14 HR and a .188 average, is a far cry from the player that finished second in the AL Rookie-of-The-Year competition last season. There is a possibility that a nagging groin injury is the cause of his deflated stats. One day he may be moved to first base to alleviate his defensive concerns behind the plate. However, until that day comes, he still has the capability of being the premier offensive bat at the catcher position. If you can somehow wrangle him away from his current owner without selling the whole farm, do it.

Yoan Moncada (2B, CHW)

Two straight years of uninspiring performance from a former highly touted prospect might grease the wheels of trade with an impatient owner. Moncada is a power/speed option at the keystone with 14 HR and 11 SB in 15 attempts. However, it comes with a deflated batting average and inflated strikeouts; he currently leads the majors in punchouts (163). Also, Moncada doesn't currently possess the essential trait of a successful leadoff hitter; his on-base percentage sits at a lowly .300. His most recent struggles consist of an inability to actually swing the bat, with a below-league-average swing rate of 41%. Despite all his flaws, Moncada is still in the process of making corrections to the league. If an owner doesn't understand that or needs better production now, inquire about Moncada's services. Do not hesitate if you have an opportunity to acquire this former top prospect.

Corey Seager (SS, LAD)

Seager's season was ended abruptly when he had Tommy John Surgery. Recently, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left hip. A prolonged bout of injuries might allow doubt to creep in. Also, if the team is competing this year, they might be willing to part with a dynasty piece for a player(s) that will tremendously increase their chances of winning this year. Just remember, in 2017, Seager hit 22 HR with 77 RBI and a .295 average. That is a very enticing dynasty piece. Keep in mind that Seager generally provides no speed. It isn't a part of his game. That isn't to say you can't find speed elsewhere if it means you can get a top SS. Currently, he can be acquired at less of a cost than the pre-2018 Corey Seager. At 24 years old, he can still come back from this injury to have a very good career. Make an attempt to position yourself as the benefactor.

Elvis Andrus (SS, TEX)

Andrus is already 29 years old but still has the capability of producing at a high level, especially given his hitter-friendly park of Globe Life Park. The discount you get when trading for Andrus will depend on how well the owner has been tracking his team. Andrus' season stats as a whole are not particularly impressive; he has four homers, 35 runs, and a .289 average. However, if you look at the underlying improvements, you'll see there is a benefit in buying. In the first half, he hit .253 with two HR, 17 runs. However, Andrus has turned it on in the second half with a .348 AVG, two HR, 18 runs, and 15 RBI. See if you can buy low now to use or sell when his value increases next year.

Rafael Devers (3B, BOS)

To illustrate how quickly fantasy baseball owners forget about the upside of a player, consider Rafael Devers. When he came up through the minors, Devers was a well-known player that could hit for average and power. In his rookie year of 2017, he had 10 HR, 30 RBI, and .284 AVG in 240 plate appearances. To start the 2018 season, Devers was a darling third baseman in dynasty leagues. This year he has 16 homers, 55 RBI, and a .245 batting average. While the stats are not terrible, it is considered a stumbling sophomore season, which has led many owners to question their prior estimate of his talents. This hesitation gives the rebuilding dynasty owner an opportunity to upgrade at the hot corner. This is not the time to categorize Devers as a mistake. Do not forget that Devers is only 21 years old. Most players his age are still in High-A. Look past the stumbles of 2018 and try to get him on your team.

Marcell Ozuna (OF, STL)

There is no question that Ozuna has disappointed many fantasy owners this season, particularly with an average draft position of 47. A slash line of .312/.376/.548 in 2017 combined with 37 HR and 93 RBI inflated the expectations for Ozuna coming into the season, especially with the trade to the Cardinals. His 13 HR and .265 AVG this year has everyone scratching their head wondering where Ozuna's talent went. There is no reason to worry. Ozuna is only 27 years old. Also, he has been dealing with tendinitis and inflammation in his right shoulder all season. So, Ozuna should be able to resolve his shoulder issue this offseason and come into the 2019 season fresh. So, canvas the Ozuna owners to see if they've soured enough to move him at a discounted rate compared to his value at the start of 2018.

Michael Conforto (OF, NYM)

Another case where things are not always what they appear. Don't let Conforto's season stats of 14 HR and .233 average fool you. He is better than that. Conforto started the season on the disabled list recovering from a shoulder surgery. It likely affected him upon his return because his first half of 2018 was a letdown. While he did have 11 homers, Conforto had a dismal .216 batting average and a hard-hit rate of only 33.5%. It seemed as if he was buying into the fly ball revolution (38%) as well. In the second half, Conforto has provided reassurance of his ability to recreate the performance of his 2017 breakout season. He is hitting .304 and his hard-hit rate has skyrocketed to 49%. He has also reverted to a line-drive approach (33%). Make a bold gesture to acquire the only Mets bat currently worth his salt.

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN)

With annual injuries (fractured toe at the start of the season and current wrist injury since 12 July) and continual below-average performance, it is no surprise that people are jumping off the bandwagon. Fantasy managers just don't stay for the elite defense. In 2017, he hit 16 HR with 29 stolen bases and a .253 batting average. Some considered that disappointing compared to expectations but it looks enticing when tied to his 2018 numbers (zero HR, five SB, and .156 AVG in 94 plate appearances). Buyers need to keep in mind that Buxton has been in the majors for four troubling years so far and he is only 24 years old. If you have the intestinal fortitude to weather these seemingly endless troubles, make offers to relocate Buxton to your welcoming bosom. When he finally gets by all these maladies, you'll be thankful for the fractional cost you paid.

Alex Reyes (SP, STL)

Reyes at one point was the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. His career trajectory has gone in the opposite direction for the last two seasons. That doesn't mean he is a lost cause. Reyes missed all of the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. During his rehab starts, he demonstrated the dominant skills that every fantasy owner covets in a starting pitcher. In four starts, Reyes struck out 44 batters while walking seven and only allowing a .048 batting average. His 2018 MLB debut lasted only four innings as he tore a lat muscle. Reyes had surgery to repair the injury resulting in his second consecutive missed season. Do not be discouraged. Reyes' rehab is presumed to be six months so he is expected back in time for spring training 2019. Send an offer to his owner to gauge the frustration and see if you can benefit from the possibility of getting an ace to your pitching staff.

Aaron Sanchez (SP, TOR)

For two straight seasons, Sanchez has made his way to the disabled list for long periods of time. He missed a great majority of 2017 with repeated blister and nail issues that he was unable to overcome. 2018 has been a frustrating year as well for Sanchez; he is 3-5 with 4.52 ERA in 15 starts before succumbing to another injury. Sanchez has been on the DL since 23 Jun with a right index finger contusion. In his first rehab start, he struck out four and walked two while allowing four earned runs in three innings. Despite two years of frustration, Sanchez still has plenty of upside. We are not far removed from a 2016 season where he went 15-2 with a 3.00 ERA. Sanchez could still potentially provide more value than a current investment. Send an offer to see if you can capitalize on Sanchez's extended period of little-to-no production.

Other players to consider:
Miguel Sano (3B, MIN); Wil Myers (1B/OF, SD); Manuel Margot (OF, SD); Robbie Ray (SP, ARI); Chris Archer (SP, PIT); Luis Castillo (SP, CIN); Luke Weaver (SP, STL); Michael Fulmer (SP, DET); Marcus Stroman (SP, TOR); Brent Honeywell (SP, TB)


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