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Overvalued, Undervalued Trade Targets - Buy/Sell for Fantasy Baseball (Week 11)

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.

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Undervalued Players To Trade For

William Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers

Contreras, in his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers after an offseason trade from Atlanta, is settling in nicely with his new club. The 25-year-old is batting .231 with a .333 on-base percentage, a .172 ISO, and seven home runs in 195 plate appearances for the National League Central franchise.

While those numbers seem a far cry from the .278 average, .354 on-base percentage, .228 ISO, 20 home runs, and two stolen bases Contreras collected in 376 plate appearances last season, his underlying metrics are right in line with his 2022 production.

The catcher’s xwOBA has only gone down four points, from .347 last season to .344 this season. While his barrel rate has dropped a bit as well, falling from 13.4% to 10.9%, it’s still a decidedly above-average metric. Both Contreras’ xwOBA and barrel rate rank in the 69th percentile or higher in the league.

Elsewhere, the catcher has improved his plate discipline considerably, cutting down on strikeouts and swings and misses in general while drawing more walks.

  • William Contreras In 2022: 10.4 BB%, 27.7 K%, 28.8% chase rate, 34.3% whiff rate
  • William Contreras in 2023: 12.3 BB%, 21.0 K%, 24.5% whiff rate, 28.0% whiff rate

Considering Contreras struggled with swings and misses last season – neither his strikeout rate nor whiff rate finished above the 13th percentile in 2022 – the step forward in terms of fewer swings and misses is significant.

It’s also coming at a time when the catcher has improved upon his already quality hard-hit rate from last season.

  • William Contreras In 2022: 46.6% hard-hit rate
  • William Contreras In 2023: 47.7% hard-hit rate

All things considered, he’s a candidate for some significant positive regression, especially when taking into account the catcher’s .264 BABIP, which is down nearly .080 points from last season (.344) and well below the league average (.297).


Overvalued Players To Trade Away

Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox

After four consecutive strong seasons at the plate from 2018 through 2021, in which his ISO never dipped below the .190 mark and he logged an on-base percentage of .340 or higher, Yasmani Grandal struggled mightily in 2022, hitting just .202 with a .301 on-base percentage, five home runs and a stolen base in 376 plate appearances.

He was still drawing walks at a decent rate, with a 12.0% walk rate, but the power simply wasn’t there. In addition to only the five home runs, Grandal logged the lowest ISO (.067) of his career. His 4.8% barrel rate was the lowest it’s been in any season in the last nine seasons, with the previous low being 7.6%.

On the surface, it may appear that Grandal is having a bounce-back season this year. He is, to a degree. The veteran is hitting .256 with a .326 on-base percentage in 181 plate appearances. He’s nearly reached his 2022 home run total in almost half as many plate appearances and is sporting an ISO (.128) nearly twice that of what he logged in 2022. Grandal is also hitting for a higher average than J.T. Realmuto and Willson Contreras and has more home runs than Tyler Stephenson. It is, decidedly speaking, a bounce-back year.

However, it’s certainly not what fantasy managers have been used to from Grandal in his time with the Dodgers, Brewers, or early in his White Sox tenure. There’s also reason to believe it might not be all that sustainable. Grandal is logging a .303 xwOBA, a 5.5% barrel rate, and a 32.3% hard-hit rate so far. All three rank in the 27th percentile or lower in the league. If the 2022 season didn’t happen, the xwOBA and barrel rate would be the worst metrics by Grandal in those categories in any of the last nine years by a significant margin. The 32.3% hard-hit rate would be a career low, regardless of the 2022 campaign.

If there’s a catcher-needy team in your league, now might be the time to trade away Grandal before his production drops off a bit.

Thairo Estrada, San Francisco Giants

Speaking of production dropping off a bit, all signs would seem to point to some regression coming for San Francisco Giants infielder Thairo Estrada. The 27-year-old is batting .308 with a .354 on-base percentage, six home runs, and 13 stolen bases through 212 plate appearances this season as of the beginning of play on Wednesday. He’s also sporting a .362 wOBA.

However, there are a couple of things to keep in mind here in terms of Estrada’s production having the potential to start faltering – to a degree. The wOBA is certainly one of them. Estrada’s xwOBA is a much less appealing .304 on the season. And that’s all without mentioning the .385 BABIP.

The BABIP is especially crucial here, especially considering it isn’t paired with elite contact ability at the plate. Sure, Estrada’s 18.4% whiff rate is decidedly good, but his 23.1% strikeout rate is very much middle of the pack, and his 36.1% chase rate could be better.

Thairo Estrada 2023 Percentile Rankings

  • Whiff Rate: 84th Percentile
  • Strikeout Rate: 42nd Percentile
  • Chase Rate: 12th Percentile

Furthermore, considering the lack of consistent hard contact, it’s hard to see the batting average remaining so high if Estrada’s swing-and-miss metrics continue as is. The infielder is sporting just a 34.9% hard-hit rate, a 5.4% barrel rate, and a .375 xwOBAcon.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering all that, Estrada’s xBA of .255 is markedly lower than his actual batting average. Overall, the stolen base production is a definite plus and should continue. Estrada ranks in the 80th percentile in Statcast’s sprint speed metric and he has the eighth-most stolen bases so far. We’ve also been here before with Estrada logging solid home run numbers despite a lower barrel rate. The 27-year-old collected 14 home runs in 2022 despite just 18 total barrels and a 4.4% barrel rate.

Still, the batting average doesn’t look all that likely to continue at the high rate it’s maintained so far. Estrada brings plenty of fantasy value with the stolen bases, occasional home runs, and versatility – he’s eligible at second base, shortstop, and in the outfield in Yahoo leagues – but he’s probably not going to hit for this high of an average forever.

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