Dynasty Players to Sell After Career Years (Fantasy Baseball)
Dynasty leagues can be a whole different beast for fantasy baseball managers. Players in redraft leagues are looking for value in every draft pick, but that needs to come in the season ahead. In dynasty leagues, managers build teams to win in both short and long-term, creating plenty of different conundrums.
One of the most difficult aspects can be selling a player after a breakout season. He just did it. That player produced a ton of value and likely helped you contend the previous year.
Perhaps now his value is at its highest point, though. It is always wise to trade a player at his peak value. Today, we will look at five players dynasty managers should consider trading away and cashing out after a career year in 2018.
Christian Yelich (OF – MIL)
Yelich is the poster boy for this category. The Brewers outfield won the NL MVP last season after hitting 36 HR with 118 R, 110 RBI, 22 SB, and .326 AVG. It was the massive increases that should lead owners to believe the production is not sustainable, though.
Yelich’s previous career-highs were 21 HR, 100 R, 98 RBI, 21 SB, and a .300 AVG. On top of that, he had a .373 BABIP last season well above his .359 career mark. Yelich’s slugging numbers show the massive difference as he hit .598 last season, and his career average is .463.
He is only 27 years old, so there is potential to sustain his breakout numbers. It is fair to point out that Yelich moved from the pitcher-friendly environment in Marlins Park to a hitter-friendly venue in Milwaukee, but the gains were through the roof. They will be difficult to maintain in the coming season.
Yelich’s value is sky high at the moment. He finished second in 2018 and is ranked eighth heading into 2019. Yelich likely finishes outside the top-20 this season. Some managers get wild for last year’s numbers, so try to trade him for a top-five talent and reap those benefits all season long.
Javier Baez (SS/2B/3B – CHC)
Baez is a similar case to Yelich. He broke out last season and now fantasy managers are going wild for the 26-year-old. Baez’s also produced some highly unsustainable numbers, though.
His production was well over his career-highs in HR (34, previously 23), R (101, previously 75), RBI (111, previously 75), SB (21, previously 12) and AVG (.290, previously .273). To make Baez’s numbers more complexing, he decreased his walk rate, but took a massive leap in his slugging percentage (.554, over a career .470).
Baez is young, but those numbers are due to tail off a bit this season. He finished eighth in VBR in 2018. Baez is ranked 23rd heading into 2019, but there are plenty of established more consistent players in that range. Trading Baez for anyone inside the top 25 seems like smart business heading into this season.
Trevor Story (SS – COL)
Story also broke out last season as a 25-year-old for the Rockies. He and Baez are similar players. Both are power hitting shortstops who have high strikeout rates. Story’s numbers also fall into the category of a bit unsustainable heading into 2019.
His breakout came after a surprisingly poor 2017 season. It made it that a bit more unlikely as he produced a .239/.308/.457 triple slash during his down year. Jumping up to .291/.348/.567 was surprising to say the least.
It also makes Story a bit harder to predict in 2019. Will managers see 37 HR and .291 again? Or 24 HR on a .239 average? The stats likely fall somewhere in the middle. He will have Coors Field backing him meaning plenty of power numbers, but the average likely falls closer to .270 than .290.
Story finished sixth in VBR in 2018 and enters this year ranked 18th. I believe he falls outside the top 25, meaning trading him for any top-20 player could create significant long-term value.
Dynasty managers should have extra incentive to move Story at the peak of his value because if he moves away from Coors Field the numbers could take a significant hit. For his career, in nearly equal at-bats, Story averages .290/.354/.617 at home with 55 HRs. On the road, the numbers are .246/.310/.442 with 33 HRs.
Scooter Gennett (2B/3B/LF – CIN)
Gennett is the type of baseball story that warms fans hearts. In March 2017, he was waived by the Brewers, and his career could have taken a lot of different paths. Gennett was 27, and likely looking at a bench role no matter his landing spot. The Reds quickly swooped in. Before long he was their starting second baseman and finished the year with 27 HR in 461 at-bats.
Gennett followed it up with another stellar season in 2018. He produced 23 HR, 86 R, 92 RBI, and four SB with a .310 average over 638 PA. His triple slash line was .310/.357/.490. Gennett was helped by a .358 BABIP (career .334 mark). Expecting him to hit even .290 in 2019 seems like a stretch.
Gennett finished last season 22nd in VBR, but enters the year ranked 62nd. Now is your chance to sell high, though. Gennett likely finishes outside the top 50, so sell your opposition on the last two seasons numbers. It may be easiest to find that value on a team in need of a second baseman for the upcoming campaign.
Whit Merrifield (1B/2B/OF – KC)
Merrifield is the oldest player on this list. He turned 30 in late January. Merrifield also only has two full seasons of playing time under his belt at this point.
Merrifield had a ton of his value tied to his SB production last season. His 45 led the MLB and saw him vault to 12th in VBR.
The rest of his line was also strong, but unspectacular. Merrifield had 12 HR, 88 R, 60 RBI, and a .304/.367/.438 triple slash line. He had a .352 BABIP last season well above his .336 career mark.
The Royals standout enters the year ranked 30th, but will need another massive stolen base total to stay inside the top 50. Trading him for a player less reliant on steals with a longer track record seems like a winning move.
Tyler Watts is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Tyler, follow him @tylerpwatts.