Fantasy Baseball Trade Talk: Polarizing players to deal for and deal away

·Yahoo Fantasy Contributor
These two fantasy studs are on the opposite end of the trade spectrum. (Photos by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Justin Berl/Getty Images)
These two fantasy studs are on the opposite end of the trade spectrum. (Photos by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Justin Berl/Getty Images)

As we head towards the middle of June, the season starts to essentially have two phases — the initial weeks in late-March and April, and the recent weeks through May and early-June. This week’s 10-pack of trade tips covers those who were especially polarizing during recent weeks.

Buy Low

Tyler Skaggs, SP, Angels

With a 4.97 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP, Skaggs should be an easy player to add on the trade market in deeper leagues. The southpaw has also finished the sixth frame in just one of his last half-dozen starts. But Skaggs has been plagued since May 1 by a dismal 55.6 percent strand rate and actually owns a solid 3.91 FIP across his past seven appearances. He could become a consistent six-inning starter once he experiences some positive regression with runners on base.

Blake Snell, SP, Rays

Snell won’t come at a steep discount in any leagues, but he could be acquired in some circumstances at a slightly reduced cost. The southpaw owns a pedestrian 4.12 ERA since the start of May, but he has logged a 2.66 FIP over that stretch while being saddled with a .343 BABIP and a 70.3 percent strand rate. He remains a sure-fire ace, and his value is accentuated by the Rays being one of the best teams in baseball this year.

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Trevor Williams, SP, Pirates

Although I rarely advocate acquiring injured players, I have to make an exception with Williams. The right-hander has limited name value, which should combine with his current IL status to give him a meager price tag in most leagues. But Williams has been stellar since the start of last season (3.16 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) and has shown a sustainable ability to limit hard contact. He can succeed without having great swing-and-miss skills.

Nick Markakis, OF, Braves

Markakis has been one of baseball’s unluckiest players since the beginning of May, dealing with a lowly .239 BABIP despite producing his fair share of hard contact and line drives. While he belongs on waivers in 10-team leagues, those in deeper formats should pursue him before his meager numbers (four homers, .265 average) start to move in a more favorable direction.

Justin Smoak, 1B, Blue Jays

Smoak has appeared in this space twice this season, as he continues to be one of the unluckiest players in baseball. Since the beginning of May, the slugger has been plagued by a .200 BABIP despite producing lofty rates of hard contact (46.0 percent), line drives (26.4 percent) and fly balls (40.2 percent). Gamers who look at his advanced stats (including a 0.89 BB:K ratio) will see that he is much closer to being a fantasy stud than a replacement level option.

Sell High

Julio Teheran, SP, Braves

Teheran has been absolutely on fire of late, posting a minuscule 0.71 ERA across his past seven starts, which creates the perfect opportunity for those rostering him to get a meaningful return for someone who owns a replacement-level skill set. His 2.0 K:BB ratio is among the worst for mixed-league starters, and his 4.23 FIP is more than a full run higher than his overall ERA of 3.03. I’m expecting something in the vicinity of a 3.80 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP from Teheran from this point forward.

Trevor Richards, SP, Marlins

Gamers who see Richards as part of an intriguing, young Marlins rotation are not looking past his surface stats (3.31 ERA, 1.19 WHIP). The right-hander has benefited from exceptional luck all season, and his good fortune has been especially pronounced of late. In fact, across a seven-start stretch since the beginning of May, Richards owns a 4.19 FIP that is nearly two runs higher than his 2.33 ERA. His overall .233 BABIP and 83.1 percent strand rate simply aren’t sustainable for a hurler with his skill set.

Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates

Bell can fetch a massive return on the trade market, as he sits among the MLB leaders in all three phases of the triple-crown stats (18 HR, 58 RBI, .324 BA). And while the 26 year old deserves major credit for dramatically boosting his hard contact rate, his fly ball rate (33.5 percent), line drive rate (22.0 percent) and BB:K ratio (0.46) do not look like those of an early fantasy pick. Gamers should demand a hefty return for Bell, but they can pull the trigger once they get it.

Shohei Ohtani, OF, Angels

Ohtani has returned from a season-opening DL stint with a bang by swatting six round-trippers across 113 at-bats. And with his legendary status across baseball and in fantasy circles, it doesn’t take much for the buzz on his success to rise to absurd levels. The advanced stats say that Ohtani shouldn’t be hitting for this much power (18.3 percent fly ball rate, 40.0 percent HR/FB rate), and of course, there is the potential for additional in-season interruptions as he reclaims his pitching skills following Tommy John surgery. This could be the time for those rostering Ohtani to cash out.

David Dahl, OF, Rockies

Dahl has been arguably the luckiest hitter in baseball since May 1, as his .418 BABIP leads all players. And although Coors Field is likely helping his cause, the outfielder has logged a mediocre 31.6 percent hard contact rate across that stretch of nearly seven weeks. I am usually reticent to trade away Colorado hitters, but Dahl has been overachieving to the point where I would send his name out in some offers.

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