With the MLB Trade Deadline just over one week away, this is the time for fantasy managers to get ahead of potential moves. Here are some players who will see their fantasy value shift if the most popular rumors come to fruition.
Pavin Smith (1B/OF, 17 percent rostered)
Smith hit well during the first two months of the season before slumping in June. He is starting to pick things up this month (.857 OPS) and could have a primary role for the D-backs down the stretch. I expect Arizona to unload multiple players, with Eduardo Escobar, Kole Calhoun, and Asdrubal Cabrera among the most likely candidates to depart. Once the Arizona purge is finished, Smith should have a clear path to a premium lineup spot.
Nico Hoerner (2B/3B/SS, 16 percent)
I expect Hoerner to hold a regular role the rest of the way, as the fading Cubs should trade some veterans at the deadline. The youngster was effective during Spring Training and is hitting .313 this year, and he could hit high in the lineup once Chicago jettisons a few players who have dibs on those roles. Overall, Hoerner might be my favorite hitter on this list.
Patrick Wisdom (1B/3B, 24 percent)
Wisdom’s up-and-down season is trending up again, as he has gone deep three times since July 9. His strikeout rate is concerning and prevents me from believing that he can consistently hit for average, but the 29-year-old could get regular playing time the rest of the way if the team trades Kris Bryant and/or Anthony Rizzo.
Tyler Anderson (SP, 16 percent)
Anderson has not helped in the ERA category (4.35) but has made up for it by being a WHIP asset (1.20). The left-hander has just five wins to show for his efforts, but he could be in a much more favorable situation by August 1. I’m interested in grabbing Anderson now in hopes that he stays in the National League and joins a contending team.
Jon Gray (SP, 40 percent)
For a starting pitcher, the best trade gets you out of Colorado. Such will be the case with Gray, who is having one of the better seasons (3.68 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) of an inconsistent career. Before anyone points this out to me on Twitter, I know that he has been better at home than on the road this season, but no one in their right mind would take that small sample size as a sign of things to come. Gray is safer for fantasy teams if he is on a contending team with a more favorable home venue.
Paul Sewald (RP, 27 percent)
Seattle manager Jerry Dipoto is an active trader, and despite the team being in the middle of an unlikely postseason chase, Dipoto will likely try to get something in return for pending free agent Kendall Graveman. Sewald has been the 1B to Graveman’s 1A in terms of the closer’s role, and he could take over on a full-time basis in a matter of days. With stellar numbers this year (2.57 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 15.4 K/9 rate), Sewald clearly has the skills for the role.
Anthony Bender (RP, 8 percent)
The Marlins are 11 games back in the division and a recent wave of injuries to position players should be the final blow to their faint postseason hopes. That said, Miami is on the right track overall and could continue to accelerate their rebuilding process by getting Minor Leaguers for relievers Yimi Garcia and Anthony Bass. Bender has arguably been the team’s best reliever this year (2.20 ERA, 0.92 WHIP) and seems like an obvious candidate for August save chances.
Mike Mayers (RP, 4 percent)
I mentioned this in the Tuesday edition of Trade Tips: the Angels will, unfortunately, need to waste another year of Mike Trout and a spectacular season of Shohei Ohtani. The star-powered club is mathematically in rough shape in terms of the Wildcard, which makes trading pending free-agent closer Raisel Iglesias a smart decision. Mayers is the clear setup man in Los Angeles and should slide into the ninth inning, especially because manager Joe Maddon has traditionally enjoyed having a full-time stopper.
And although this edition is primarily related to the Trade Deadline, here is a quarter of waiver wire gems who need to be included in this week’s article:
John Nogowski (1B, 5 percent)
At age 28, Nogowski is long past the prospect stage. But the first baseman knows how to get on base, owning a lifetime .370 OBP in the Minors that includes a .413 mark in Triple-A in 2019. He should have an abundance of playing time opportunities on a rebuilding Pirates team and could be a solid source of batting average and counting stats.
Brandon Marsh (OF, 23 percent)
While we were all waiting for the Angels to promote Jo Adell, Marsh may have jumped ahead in the prospect queue. The 23-year-old has a similar skill set to Nogowski, offering batting average and on-base excellence while hopefully producing respectable power numbers.
Kike Hernandez (2B/SS/OF, 41 percent)
The leadoff hitter in one of baseball’s best lineups is on a hot streak (1.042 OPS in July), is easy to fit into lineups, and remains on waivers in the majority of leagues. I don’t understand it. Please pick up Hernandez and cycle him through your daily lineup.
Trevor May (RP, 9 percent)
The Mets are sticking with closer Edwin Diaz for now but will have to reevaluate if he has another rough outing in the coming days. May has been picked two saves since the All-Star break and seems like the obvious alternative if Diaz needs to be shifted to low-leverage innings.