This week’s batch of fantasy trade tips focuses on hitters, especially those who should be traded away. Many fantasy managers take the wrong approach to trade talks by centering their process on a certain player they want to acquire. This is a bad strategy, as there are plenty of players who can provide valuable levels of statistics in the coming months. The biggest aspect of trading is often figuring out which players you need to remove from your team.
Determining when to sell high on a player and when to stick with someone for the long run can be the difference between a good or great season. And there are times when it makes sense to sell low on a player, getting anything of value rather than watching the player plummet even further in the coming weeks.
Players to acquire
Schwarber has been ridiculously unlucky in May, enduring a .068 BABIP despite a reasonable quality of contact. There is nothing wrong with the slugger’s power stroke, as he is on pace to finish the year with a mid-30s homer total. It’s his .166 average that creates the buy-low opportunity, but his .217 xBA via Statcast is enough reason to believe that better days lie ahead.
Harris has been arguably the biggest bust among early-round picks, and in leagues in which he hasn’t been dropped, he might be available for a small return. The buy-low rationale is easy to put into a trade offer; the 22-year-old wasn’t ready for sustained major-league success and has come crashing back to Earth now that opposing pitchers have more knowledge about him. But there has been a luck component to his struggles, as he has dealt with a .218 BABIP this year that includes a .207 mark in May.
Players to trade away
Adolis Garcia (OF, Texas Rangers)
Garcia has been a top-five fantasy asset this year and should fetch a major trade return. After all, he leads the majors in RBI and sits fourth in runs scored. The 30-year-old has benefited greatly from his membership in the highest-scoring lineup in baseball, while Texas has enjoyed the second-highest team BABIP (.324).
The Rangers have a solid lineup, but they are at least 50 runs ahead of every team other than the Rays and Dodgers, and the club is unlikely to sustain that level of production. I expect Garcia to be an excellent asset going forward, but he shouldn’t be valued as a first- or second-round player.
Marcus Semien (2B/SS, Texas Rangers)
The rationale for trading Semien is similar to that of Garcia; he has benefited greatly from being part of an overachieving Rangers lineup. The 32-year-old has also enjoyed a .328 BABIP, which is his highest mark since his rookie year in 2013. Statcast currently assigns Semien a .259 xBA, nearly 40 points lower than his actual mark, and a .406 xSLG that varies from his actual SLG by 80 points. Those who can get a first-round type of return based on Semien sitting fourth in current Yahoo player rankings should take the deal.
Brandon Marsh (OF, Philadelphia Phillies)
I profiled Marsh as a sell-high candidate in April, citing his extreme good fortune as the reason for moving on from him. One month later, not much has changed. Marsh continues to have one of the highest BABIP marks in baseball (.396) and has massively outperformed his expected stats on Statcast. Even with all this good fortune, he was a poor fantasy performer (1 HR, 2 SB, .191 BA) in May. This might be the last chance to get anything of value for him.
James Outman (OF, Los Angeles Dodgers)
My apologies to those who don’t love a good pun, but Outman has lived up to his name of late. The rookie has hit just .165 in May while showing minimal power (0 HR) and speed (2 SB). His strikeout rate has jumped to a concerning level, and major-league pitchers might've figured out Outman to the point that he needs additional time in the minors. Although I wouldn’t give the 26-year-old away in 12-team leagues, I would trade him for anyone whom I could envision staying on my roster all summer.