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Overvalued, Undervalued Trade Targets - Buy/Sell for Fantasy Baseball (Week 8)

Matt Chapman - Fantasy Baseball Rankings, MLB Injury News, Draft Sleepers

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 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!


Undervalued Players To Trade For

Matt Chapman, Toronto Blue Jays

Chapman might be on pace for a career year at the plate. At worst, he’s off to an incredibly strong start.

The veteran infielder is batting .322 with a .408 on-base percentage, five home runs, and a stolen base in 174 plate appearances entering play Wednesday.

Some of his production might be a tad bit unsustainable. His strikeout rate, whiff rate, zone contact rate, and chase rate are fairly close to where they were last year. He is making a bit more contact outside the zone when he chases pitches but is also sporting a .431 BABIP.

Still, Chapman has been elite when making contact this season, logging a 65.4% hard-hit rate, a .426 xwOBA, and a .624 xSLG. All three metrics are in the 99th percentile or better league-wide. His .297 xBA is in the 93rd percentile. As an added bonus, he’s hitting pop-ups far less often so far. They’ve accounted for just 6.5% of his batted ball outlay, dropping from 13.1% during the 2022 season.

So even with the high BABIP, he’s going to remain reasonably productive in terms of his batting average. What’s more, where he’s actually undervalued is in the power department.

The veteran third baseman has just five home runs this season despite a league-leading 27 barrels -- five more than the next player and only 18 fewer than the entire Cleveland Guardians team.

Unsurprisingly, his expected home run numbers per park are as high as 10, 12, 13, and 14 in some ballparks.

All signs point to positive regression coming in the power department. As long as Chapman’s batting average remains productive -- which it should -- he could play a key role in a number of fantasy pennant chases this summer. Acquire him now before the home runs start flying with more regularity.

Willson Contreras, St. Louis Cardinals

The fantasy landscape at the catcher position looks decidedly different now compared to what it did earlier in the spring, what with Sean Murphy and Jonah Heim having highly-productive seasons and Elias Diaz enjoying a productive spell for the Rockies.

Francisco Alvarez is in the majors with the Mets, and Gabriel Moreno is finally starting full-time, currently with the Arizona Diamondbacks after an offseason trade from the Toronto Blue Jays.

With all that in mind, not to mention quality performances from fantasy stalwarts like Will Smith, J.T. Realmuto, and Salvador Perez, it might be easy to forget about Willson Contreras. Contreras is in the midst of his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The veteran has appeared in 41 games for St. Louis, batting .252 with a .343 on-base percentage, three home runs, and three stolen bases in 169 plate appearances.

It’s been a solid start for the catcher, but even better production could be coming for the 31-year-old.

First and foremost, he’s doing all this with just a .328 wOBA, a far cry from his actual .353 xwOBA. And it’s not just the xwOBA too, although that’s certainly key. Contreras’ expected numbers and quality of contact metrics across the board are either on track for career highs or close to said career highs.

Willson Contreras In 2023

  • .353 xwOBA
  • 10.6% barrel rate
  • 52.2% hard-hit rate
  • .465 xSLG
  • .268 xBA
  • 117.5 mph max exit velocity
  • 93.2 mph average exit velocity

Willson Contreras Career Highs Entering 2023

  • xwOBA: .364 (2022)
  • Barrel rate: 11.5% (2019)
  • Hard-hit rate: 48.6% (2022)
  • xSLG: .475 (2017)
  • xBA: .262 (2016)
  • Max exit velocity: 116.2 mph (2022)
  • Average exit velocity: 91.8 mph (2021)

From a counting stat standpoint, Contreras should continue to benefit from hitting near the top of the Cardinals' lineup. He’s hit third, fourth, or fifth in each game that he’s started so far. And generally speaking, hitting near the top of the Cardinals' lineup -- at least when a right-handed starter gets the ball for the other team -- means hitting after Lars Nootbaar in the lineup.

Of course, it’s not all down to just Nootbaar. However, it’s worth noting that Contreras had just four runs scored and three RBI in 50 plate appearances from March 30 through April 14, a stretch in which Nootbaar played just once.

Since the outfielder returned and thus provided a spark to the Cardinals' lineup, Contreras has accumulated 15 runs scored and 15 RBI through 119 plate appearances.

It is worth noting that the early-season stretch when Nootbaar was out coincided with a slow start for Contreras. The upside is considerable here moving forward for fantasy managers who missed out on a breakout candidate like Heim or an established impact catcher like Smith.


Overvalued Players To Trade Away

Nick Senzel, Cincinnati Reds

After being hampered by injuries in the last few years, Nick Senzel's breakout season is finally upon us.

And while much of it looks legitimate (in part due to a .346 xwOBA and a .289 xBA), there are a few aspects of his overall numbers that might point to a downturn in fantasy production in the future.

Never one to log an abnormally high barrel rate, Senzel's key to success (or one of them) this year has been his ability to cover the plate and make a bunch of contact.

The outfielder sits on the 68th percentile or better in whiff rate (68th percentile, 21.5%), K% (69th percentile, 18.4%), and chase rate (83rd percentile, 21.6%).

However, with just four home runs, a 6.2% barrel rate, and a 35.8% hard-hit rate, it's unlikely that Senzel will start crushing home runs with aplomb this year.

There are also worrying and curious home-road splits. Curious considering the extremely hitter-friendly nature of Great American Ball Park.

Senzel is thriving on the road, hitting .313 with three home runs and just six strikeouts in 55 road plate appearances. He’s batting just .241 with one home run and 15 strikeouts in 48 plate appearances at Great American Ball Park.

There's a nearly .300 gap between his road OPS (.657) and home OPS (.942). Given the somewhat small sample size and Great American Ball Park, you might think there's a similarly monotonous chasm between Senzel's road BABIP and home BABIP.

There's not, though.

Senzel's road BABIP? .308.

His home BABIP? .316.

Obviously, it's not a full season's worth of data. For a player whose success this year has been centered around high contact rates and not crushing the baseball on a regular basis, it's not an ideal set of circumstances. Especially if he sticks with the Reds all season and isn't traded.

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