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Fantasy Baseball Trade Targets - Buy/Sell For Week 19

Ketel Marte - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, Draft Sleepers, MLB injury News

Making the right trades can be crucial to championship success in fantasy baseball, almost as much as the draft, if not more. While most trades can have a significant impact on your fantasy team, it’s the deals where you acquire undervalued players and then see their production improve that can really tip the scales in your favor where the standings are concerned.

The same can certainly be said about trading away players at the right time when they have the most fantasy trade value. Those deals could happen in the second week of April or the last week of August, but they’re impactful all the same.

Here are some undervalued candidates to pursue in trades and some overvalued ones who you should consider dealing for if they presently occupy a spot on your roster.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!

 

Undervalued Players To Trade For

Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers

What a difference a change in months makes. Before the beginning of August, Muncy was doing plenty of things you look for from quality hitters at the plate, but with little to show for it. He owned a 12.4% barrel rate, 24 total barrels, and a 40.4% hard-hit rate in 339 plate appearances with a walk rate (17.4%) nearly as high as his 25.1% strikeout rate.

Yet Muncy was only hitting .161 in those 339 plate appearances, with just nine home runs, a .142 ISO, and 20 total extra-base hits to show for it. Then July turned to August on the calendar and things have been markedly different for Muncy’s production. His 25% strikeout rate since the beginning of August is about the only thing that’s the same.

Since the beginning of the month, the veteran infielder is batting .349 with a .429 on-base percentage in 49 plate appearances. Perhaps most crucially, he’s logged five home runs and five doubles during the span. He’s also already accumulated nine barrels since the start of August.

The hot streak has helped elevate the 31-year-old back into the heart of the Dodgers order, where he’ll mostly hit behind some combination of Mookie Betts, Trea Turner, Freddie Freeman, and Will Smith.

While Muncy’s overall surface-level season numbers are still a bit unideal with a .186 average and a .325 on-base percentage in 388 plate appearances, he’s clearly trending in the right direction based on his recent play. A late-season surge by the veteran is already upon us.

Fantasy managers who kept the infielder on their roster this season amidst the early-season struggles should continue to benefit down the stretch.

Alex Cobb, San Francisco Giants

Cobb appeared in this column three months ago as an undervalued player to trade for.  Then he had a 6.25 ERA while boasting a bevy of elite underlying metrics. Or, at the very least, metrics that suggested that he was a much better pitcher than his ERA would indicate. It’s a similar story later in the season. And while Cobb’s ERA has come down, it’s still a bit misleading.

The veteran has been limited to 99.1 innings this season due to injury, but when he’s been on the mound, he’s pitched like a starter fantasy managers will want to roster. Skipping past the difference in innings pitched, here’s Cobb’s statistical resume compared to that of another prominent starter, both in real-life baseball and fantasy baseball.

Alex Cobb: 99.1 IP, 3.99 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 9.51 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9

Pitcher A: 132.2 IP, 2.92 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 9.63 K/9, 1.97 BB/9, 0.81 HR/9

Pitcher A? That’s Zack Wheeler. And if you’d rather compare Cobb to a starter with a similar amount of innings, here once again are the veteran's numbers compared to another pair of starting pitchers.

Cobb: 99.1 IP, 3.99 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 9.51 K/9, 2.81 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9

Pitcher B: 105.2 IP, 2.73 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 9.71 K/9, 2.90 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9

Pitcher C: 97 IP, 3.53 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 10.86 K/9, 2.69 BB/9, 1.02 HR/9

Said starters? They would be Luis Castillo and Brandon Woodruff.

One key component in Cobb’s success so far has been limiting barrels, something he excelled at last year and something he’s once again been elite at this season, logging a 4.6% barrel rate. Among starters who’ve thrown at least 90 innings so far this season, only Max Fried, Justin Steele, and Martin Perez have a lower barrel rate.

Another key component has been the veteran’s usage of his split-finger offering. Up to a 44.5% usage rate this year after finishing last year with a 37.0% metric, Cobb’s splitter has the seventh lowest xwOBA (.245) against it among starters who have thrown at least 250 splitters.

 

Overvalued Players To Trade Away

Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians

Somewhat similar to Nolan Arenado in last week’s column, Andres Gimenez has been extremely productive this season, though his underlying metrics suggest he might not be as elite as his numbers would suggest. Mind you, Gimenez’s underlying metrics are still good, but he just might not continue at the elite level he has through the end of the season.

The infielder is hitting .309 with a .376 on-base percentage, 14 home runs, and 15 stolen bases in 387 plate appearances this season. He’s also sporting a .379 wOBA and is on track to set new career highs in hard-hit rate (39.1%), barrel rate (7.7%), and walk rate (5.7%).

While the improvements in those categories are certainly positives, particularly the barrel rate, they still aren’t quite elite metrics. Gimenez’s hard-hit rate, barrel rate, and walk rate rank in the 43rd, 48th, and 19th percentiles respectively league-wide.

He’s also sporting a .346 xwOBA which is good, it’s in the 80th percentile league-wide to be exact, but it’s decidedly lower than his wOBA. Plus, his somewhat light hard-hit rate – it’s in the 43rd percentile in the league – doesn’t make for the most ideal pairing with a 26.6% whiff rate and 37.4% chase rate. And that’s all without mentioning a .369 BABIP.

In short, the 23-year-old should still be productive, but maybe not this productive moving forward. Don’t be surprised if there’s some statistical regression over the season’s final weeks.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees

If your league’s trade deadline has yet to pass, now is probably the time to consider dealing Aroldis Chapman. Yes, even with Clay Holmes now on the injured list. And yes, even with Chapman reportedly set to see some save chances.

YES’ Meredith Marakovits tweeted the following on Wednesday:

“Boone said they will continue to determine closer based on matchup/who’s available. Chapman/Effross will get some reps #yankees.”

The reality is that with Chapman, and most closers in committees, is that the lack of full-time ninth-inning work hinders their fantasy value. That’s certainly the case with Chapman – who despite pitching well lately, with a 2.87 ERA and a 3.49 FIP in 15.2 innings since the start of July – will reportedly be splitting time with other relievers in the ninth inning.

Given his track record, name value, and recent success, you might be able to find a trade partner who values Chapman as a full-time closer. If that’s the case, move him now for an upgrade elsewhere and pick up someone like Effross off the waiver wire.

Because while Chapman does have a track record of success in the majors, name value, and a run of quality results as of late, this is still the same reliever who is sporting the lowest swinging strike rate of his career. Chapman’s previous low was 13.5% in 2017. His career average? That would be a 16.6% metric. His 2022 swinging strike rate? Entering play Wednesday it was just 12.5% for the season.

In a vacuum that’s a solid number, but it’s a significant step down for a pitcher like Chapman, who if the season ended today would finish with a strikeouts per nine innings rate below 12.7% for the first time in the majors. Elsewhere his slider, which has generally been his best bat-missing option, is currently sporting the joint-lowest whiff rate (34.8%) of his career.

A ninth-inning timeshare may allow Chapman to net more save chances than a closer on a struggling team like Jonathan Hernandez or Scott Barlow, but it might be prudent for fantasy managers to move him now if possible.

Ketel Marte, Arizona Diamondbacks

After hitting at least .287 in each of the last three seasons, including two seasons with an average north of .315, Marte’s batting average has dropped to .258 this year. The good news is that he’s still drawing plenty of walks, helping him maintain a bit more value in leagues where on-base percentage is part of the scoring. The 28-year-old has a 10.6% walk rate, which is on track to be the second-best of his career, and a .344 on-base percentage.

The not-so-good news is that Marte’s .298 BABIP – which is nearly .020 points below the 28-year-old’s lifetime .316 BABIP – doesn’t tell the whole story as to why the production might be down this year.

The infielder is hitting more balls in the air than he ever has before, with a 27.8% fly ball rate. That can be beneficial for some hitters, but it probably doesn’t help Marte’s production as it also comes at a time when he's making less quality contact. The former Mariner currently has a lower xwOBA (.324) and xwOBAcon (.347) than he's had in a full season since the 2018 campaign. His hard-hit rate is also down from 48.4% last season to 40.8% this season.

Elsewhere, the veteran is swinging and missing at more pitches more often. His 21.5% whiff rate is on track to be the highest of his career, and his 17.9% strikeout rate would be just a percentage point off his previous career high of 18.0%.

Those aren’t terrible numbers in a vacuum, but for Marte, who generally makes much more contact, it creates a less ideal situation for his production when paired with the Arizona stalwart’s decrease in loud contact.



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We're almost a quarter way through the NFL season, but it's never time to stop searching for deep league stashes for short or long-term upside. These fantasy football waiver wire pickup suggestions are geared toward leagues with deep benches or 14-plus teams, so obvious pickups like Mike Boone and Tyler Allgeier won't be featured. Instead,... Read More


IDP Waiver Wire Feature Image

IDP Leagues Waiver Wire - Fantasy Football Pickups (Week 5): Rookie CBs Making A Splash

Through one-quarter of the football season, rookie cornerbacks have been performing exceptionally well. Sauce Gardner, for one, shut down Ja'Marr Chase in Week 3, keeping the ball away from him and visibly frustrating him. It’s not just the early-round draft picks who are doing well. There are many inspiring and unexpected stories behind the names... Read More