We are swinging for the fences this week, with some of the best fantasy assets finding their way into the current 10-pack. The closer position comes under scrutiny here as well, as the widening saves standings in many roto leagues make stoppers much less valuable to some teams than others.
Adalberto Mondesi, 2B/SS, Royals
Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of Mondesi heading into the season, I have to admit that his fleet feet (six more steals than any other player) make him one of the most impactful players in roto formats. And gamers can find two reasons to possibly buy low on the 23 year old right now. First, his temporary spot on the IL could provide a reason for a discount. And second, many currently rostering Mondesi may be running away with the steals category and willing to move the speedster in order to address another need.
Daniel Murphy, 1B/2B, Rockies
I’m generally a fan of buying low on Rockies hitters as we head into the summer months. Murphy’s overall numbers are being held down by his slow start to the season, but he is quietly hitting .333 with an .850 OPS in June. At the very least, he should be a lineup regular who collects his share of counting stats during high-scoring Coors Field contests. And at best, the lifetime .298 hitter also provides an elite batting average and occasional pop.
Ryan Pressly, RP, Astros
Setup men such as Pressly usually come at a low price on the trade market, but they can be so valuable to gamers who are patching together their pitching staff. Those rostering the likes of Noah Syndergaard, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco could do a lot worse than plugging in an elite middle reliever who can help their ratios and provide 3-4 whiffs per week. And no setup man is better than Pressly, who has logged a 0.95 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP since joining the Astros nearly a year ago.
Rougned Odor, 2B, Rangers
Odor has been so bad in the batting average category (.175) that those rostering him are likely willing to practically give him away. But behind that low batting mark is a power-speed threat who is on pace for 21 homers and 15 steals after averaging 27 round-trippers and 14 swipes in the previous three campaigns. Odor becomes even more appealing as an inexpensive addition when noticing that his .218 BABIP is nearly 50 points lower than his career mark and 87 points below his BABIP from a year ago.
Blake Snell, SP, Rays
Reactionary gamers currently rostering Snell should be ripe for a buy-low offer after watching the southpaw fail to finish the first inning in the Bronx his last time out. And overall, Snell has been fairly disappointing (4.40 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) in a season that has been marked by underachieving aces. But a closer look at his skills shows that the Rays ace has been better in many ways (23.6 percent K:BB ratio, 31.7 percent hard contact rate) than he was a year ago. Wise gamers will add Snell before his .329 BABIP and 69.1% strand rate experience positive regression.
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres
Hitting .323 with eight homers and nine steals in 43 games, Tatis has been one of the most productive rookies. And we all know that instantly impactful freshman tend to be overvalued on the trade market. The youngster has benefited from outstanding batted ball luck (.427 BABIP, 22.2% HR/FB rate) despite showing poor plate discipline (0.31 BB:K ratio) and unremarkable batted ball tendencies. This is a great time to deal Tatis for a king’s ransom.
Will Smith, RP, Giants
Smith appeared in this space nearly a month ago, and he needs to be mentioned once again as we inch closer to the non-waiver trade deadline. The pending free agent is doing great as the Giants closer, but he will almost certainly be traded next month and could shift to a setup role. Once we hit the All-Star break, the trade talk will reach a fever pitch and those rostering Smith will be forced to hold him and cross their fingers. The time to move him for significant value is now.
Ken Giles, RP, Blue Jays
Giles finds his way into this space for a similar reason to Smith. Although the Blue Jays closer will not be a free agent after this season, his skill set is far from the top priority on a club that won’t contend until 2021 at the earliest. The club is likely motivated to deal Giles to a contender, and MLB front offices will be smart enough to notice that his career ERA in the eighth inning (1.47) is far superior to his mark in the ninth (3.37).
Kirby Yates, RP, Padres
Yates has become a terrific closer, so gamers rostering him should demand a massive return for his services. That being said, many teams with Yates are well in front of the pack in the saves category on the strength of the 32 year old having collected four more saves than any other hurler. Gamers rostering Yates and two other ninth-inning men should flip this skilled stopper to plug their biggest holes via the trade market.
Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Dodgers
Bellinger is a terrific talent and should bring in a massive trade return. But after starting the season in a flurry (14 HR, 37 RBI, 32 R, 5 SB, .431 BA at the end of April), the slugger has been more good than great since the beginning of May (11 HR, 25 RBI, 30 R, 3 SB, .301 BA). In fact, Bellinger is not among the top-50 fantasy hitters in the past 30 days. This is the time for those rostering Bellinger to get first-round value for someone who might be a second-round talent.