Fantasy Baseball Trade Value Chart (Week 2)
It is never harder to be patient than the first two or three weeks of the season. Watching Nick Pivetta get hit hard over and over again while Andrew Benintendi starts slowly makes their fantasy owners cringe. It is tempting to shake up an under-performing roster with some flashy moves.
It is during these moments when fantasy owners need to dig deep and do whatever they can to exercise patience. A slow first two weeks can turn into a white-hot start to the season with just a couple of big games (check Austin Meadows’ slash line from a few days ago for proof). Fantasy owners built their teams as they did for a reason. Don’t let a small sample size ruin your fun.
With that said, sometimes fantasy owners have legitimate needs to fill, whether because of injury or simply bad luck. It is then that our trade chart comes in handy, helping you assign value to both sides of any deal to evaluate whether a particular trade is right for you. So before pulling that trigger, make sure to refer to the chart below, updated each week through most fantasy leagues’ trade deadline.
This early in the season, you shouldn’t expect much movement in trade values. As I said earlier, preseason rankings and projections are based on months of data-crunching and analysis. Absent something that shows a drastic change in situation or underlying skill set — such that it cannot be written off as simply the product of a small sample size –trade values should remain relatively static.
Of course, there are always injuries that can cause an immediate and seismic shift. This week, we see some major drops in value from Mike Clevinger and Luis Severino. Clevinger’s back strain and Severino’s lat strain should keep each pitcher out of action until roughly the All-Star break (assuming no setbacks). Those developments hurt both pitchers’ values significantly, but you could still be looking at almost a half-season of excellent numbers. When comparing that upside with the full-season value of a J.A. Happ or Tyler Skaggs, it’s worth it to go with the unknown and take on the injury risk.
Positive injury developments can mean an equally quick rise in value, as with Clayton Kershaw, who made his second successful rehab start on Tuesday and looks ready to rejoin the majors. It seems unlikely that Kershaw will run through the rest of the season without some sort of second stint on the injured list (phantom or otherwise). But even with his diminished stuff last season, he was still an upper-echelon pitcher. On a great team and with his stuff reportedly looking crisp, Kershaw’s trade value could continue to rise in the coming weeks.
Although you should not make too much of a hot or cold start, some players’ values have changed based purely on their early performance. Chris Sale’s lack of velocity, spotty command, and poor results continue to negatively affect his worth, but you shouldn’t completely abandon ship. To be clear, I would not be looking to trade away or for Sale at the moment, because I simply do not feel confident in which direction this situation will go. Although his value is lower than last week, I would not give him away entirely.
Yasmani Grandal and Willson Contreras move up in value, as much due to their early-season performances as the dearth of reliable options behind them. Contreras is finally lifting the ball in the air more, and Grandal is benefiting from batting in a strong lineup in a hitter-friendly park, as expected. But truly, their rise in value is because they –along with Gary Sanchez and J.T. Realmuto — are showing themselves to be so far ahead of the rest of the catcher field that it should take a significant haul to consider trading them.
Finally, Pete Alonso’s early performance warrants movement up the trade chart. Alonso already has five home runs and 10 barreled balls, the latter mark tied with Sanchez for the MLB lead. Batting second in a strong lineup and with prodigious power, Alonso is no longer merely a speculative play. He’s a legitimate power threat.