Fantasy Baseball Trade Chart (Week 19)
This is it. For many of you, this week represents your last opportunity to improve your team for the stretch run. You’ve done the legwork. Now it’s just time to put yourself over the top.
Because there’s such little time left, there’s no more waiting around for the course correction that comes with playing over a full season. Every injury and every slump is magnified and needs to be taken into account at this point.
With that in mind, you’ll see a lot of movement this week in the trade chart. So when you’re thinking about your final move, always remember that fortune favors the bold.
The Injury Movers
There are a lot of big names seeing their values fall as a result of troubling injury news. Mike Trout received a cortisone shot in his ailing right wrist and is hopeful to return this weekend. Trout may be back on Friday and be dominant the rest of the way. But with Mookie Betts, Jose Ramirez, and Francisco Lindor all putting up outrageous numbers, there’s just no way you can value Trout at their level.
The news also isn’t promising for Aaron Judge and George Springer. We had already taken into account Judge’s injury in last week’s trade chart, but his recovery appears to be going slower than expected. He admitted he still has lingering soreness in his wrist, and it seems likely that we’re looking past the initial three-week timetable. As for Springer, he hit the disabled list this week with an injured thumb. The Astros are saying all the right things in terms of his recovery, but Springer had only recently come out of a pretty lengthy slump, and the last thing he needs is to miss any time. Plus, a thumb injury is simply never good for a hitter.
Alex Wood and Tommy Pham also see their values fall because of injury. Wood strained his hamstring or his abductor muscle (I’m assuming there’s a difference but I slept through that class in medical school). Wood came through a simulated game on Wednesday with no issues but, as mentioned above, fantasy owners need to be careful with injuries this late in the game. As for Pham, a fractured foot ruined his debut with the Rays, but the good news is that the injury does not appear season-ending. In fact, Pham’s recovery is reportedly going better than expected, and he should be back before the end of August. Still, I mean, you fracture your foot, you lose some trade value. That’s like trade chart 101 right there.
As always, there’s at least a little injury news to brighten our day. Chris Sale is penciled to return this weekend after missing just a bit of time with shoulder inflammation. Sale insisted all along that the injury was not serious and low and behold, we have one of the few instances where the downplaying of an injury turns out to be accurate! And Noah Syndergaard looks to be fully recovered from both his injury and illness and pitched extremely well against the Reds in his most recent start until running out of gas in the seventh inning. Syndergaard seems unlikely to regain his status as a top-10 pitcher this year, but he’s more than good enough to meaningfully contribute to your fantasy team.
The Performance Movers
Trevor Bauer may be a weird dude, but he’s a legitimate fantasy ace at this point. His 2.25 ERA ranks fourth in the league and he’s third in strikeouts with 206. Perhaps most importantly, he’s thrown 159 2/3 innings this season, second behind only Max Scherzer. To be elite is one thing. To maximize the value of your performance by averaging nearly seven innings per start is an entirely different story. Buy Bauer for your stretch run.
What Juan Soto is doing is simply ridiculous. As a 19-year-old, his .999 OPS ranks fifth in the league behind Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, and Jose Ramirez. He has a 17.1% walk rate and a .432 OBP. AS A 19-YEAR-OLD! Truth be told, Soto isn’t quite an elite fantasy option. He doesn’t run and he doesn’t have quite the power of an Aaron Judge or a Giancarlo Stanton. But he is an outstanding asset nonetheless.
But the news isn’t all that rosy for some others, however. Joey Votto has nine home runs this season. It’s the second week of August. Votto has looked like absolute toast before in his career and followed that up with a massive stretch, and he may very well have one left in him. And with a nearly 40% hard contact rate and both a walk rate and strikeout rate that are in line with his career marks, I’d still be willing to buy. But I wouldn’t blame you if you’re afraid.
Luis Severino had an adequate start on Wednesday night, but three runs allowed and eight strikeouts in seven innings against the hapless White Sox is not exactly a sign that he’s back. Severino has struggled for several starts now and does not quite look like he’s found whatever he’s been missing. But with plenty of wins likely still left in the tank (he is tied for the league lead with 15 already) and elite strikeouts, he’s certainly still worth acquiring. But the bloom is off the rose a bit for now.