8 Players to Buy Now (Fantasy Baseball)

Jul 19, 2019

Being traded away from the Mets could uplift Zack Wheeler’s production

MLB’s trade deadline is less than two weeks away, folks! This is the time for savvy fantasy owners to wheel and deal for players who may benefit from the actual trades that may take place in real baseball. Even if a potential fake baseball trade target isn’t dealt, or even involved in rumors to be sent to another club, it’s still wise to stay on the lookout for possible second-half studs you can acquire for a discount.

You don’t want to lose your opportunity to nab someone on the cheap who turn their season around because you waited past the optimal buying window or missed the fantasy trade deadline. German Marquez was an example of someone who produced elite numbers in the 2018’s second half after having an undesirable first half. His production was a huge boon for forward-thinking fantasy owners who got him before the deadline. Today, our featured pundits will share their insight on which athletes have second-half stud potential and can be had for a relatively low price.

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Q1. What one starting pitcher are you trying to acquire ahead of fantasy trade deadlines?

Zack Wheeler (SP – NYM)
“I think that the uncertainty surrounding Wheeler makes him one of my favorite targets as the fantasy trade deadline approaches. Many will shy away because he is currently on the injured list and a potential real-life trade candidate, but I see a buying opportunity. Among 75 qualified starting pitchers, Wheeler ranks 64th in ERA with a 4.69 mark. However, he is 19th in that same group in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP). That suggests Wheeler has been a bit unlucky. Sure enough, he has the 17th-highest BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and fifth-lowest LOB (left-on-base percentage) among qualified starters.

I also view a possible trade as a positive for Wheeler’s rest of season outlook. If a team is willing to acquire Wheeler, it will certainly be a team with an eye on the playoffs. That can only increase Wheeler’s win potential going forward. He has just six victories in 19 starts with the Mets. I think a team with Mike Soroka or Chris Paddack on their roster should consider trading them for Wheeler. Both pitchers have been outstanding in their rookie campaigns, but they are candidates to have their workloads tinkered with as the season progresses. Trading one of these young guns for a pitcher like Wheeler, who will toe the rubber every five days during August and September, is a savvy move in my opinion.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Eduardo Rodriguez (SP – BOS)
“Rodriguez has allowed six runs combined in his last four starts, a stretch which includes a London game against the Yankees and a 10-strikeout gem to defeat the Dodgers. His 4.34 ERA has mostly caught up to his peripherals (4.22 FIP, 4.24 SIERA), but a higher ceiling may still remain. The Boston southpaw is striking out over a batter per frame while improving his walk rate (7.5%) and ranking among MLB’s leaders in stifling hard contact. Try to swap a veteran with a higher floor, but lower ceiling, such as Jose Quintana, Wade Miley, or Nick Markakis.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Yu Darvish (SP – CHC)
“Darvish recently said that he was 110% now. Since then, he has gone 12 scoreless with 15 Ks and just five runners let on base. Now, it is possible that he returns to the meltdown stage, but if I can make a minimal investment for a chance to net myself an ace in the second half, I’m going to do it. Perhaps you could acquire him for a mediocre hitter like Alex Gordon or Kole Calhoun.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Madison Bumgarner (SP – SF)
“Can I name 16 starting pitchers so you can just cycle through them when each is blown up? Have you seen starting pitching this year? Buy low on a starter? Why not buy low on a kick to the groin? With that said, Bumgarner is pitching the best he has in three years, and you might be able to acquire him for a Matt Olson-type.”
– Grey Albright (Razzball)

Q2. What one hitter are you trying to acquire ahead of fantasy trade deadlines?

Jose Ramirez (2B/3B – CLE)
“Don’t look now, but Ramirez may finally be coming out of his year-long slumber. The first-round fantasy pick has posted a .340 batting average and 1.026 OPS in 12 July games. He has also totaled 13 runs, 13 RBIs, four home runs, and two stolen bases during that stretch. If you are in “go big or go home” mode, Ramirez makes for an ideal target for Fernando Tatis, Jr. owners.

Tatis Jr. has dazzled so far, but there is a lot to suggest that major regression is in store for the rookie phenom. Tatis Jr. has the biggest spread in all of baseball between both his BA and xBA (batting average and expected batting average, respectively) and also between his wOBA and xwOBA (weighted on-base average and expected weighted on-base average, respectively) not only of this season, but of the entire Statcast era. Tatis is certainly talented enough to outperform his underlying metrics, but I think he is much more likely to fade down the stretch than keep up his current pace.”
– Mick Ciallela (Fantrax)

Aaron Hicks (OF – NYY)
“Hicks is hitting a meandering .243/.332/.462 in 46 games since returning from a lower back strain in May. He has just one steal and even poorer Statcast numbers (.211 xBA, .300 xwOBA), so managers might be willing to cash out below market value despite his recent turnaround. The 29-year-old outfielder, who notched 27 homers, 11 steals, and a .360 wOBA in 137 games last year, is batting .325/.400/.675 in July. He’s a better rest-of-season investment than the likes of Avisail Garcia, Joc Pederson, or Dallas Keuchel.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

J.D. Martinez (OF/DH – BOS)
“I’d be thrilled to find a way to land superstar, J.D. Martinez, before the deadline. His on-paper stats have not been quite as impressive as years prior, but the underlying metrics are still every bit as impressive. His K-rate has dropped from 22.5 to 19.0 %, his launch angle is up, and his average exit velocity is the second-highest in his career. I’d trade Lucas Giolito for him in and wouldn’t hesitate.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Franmil Reyes (OF – SD)
“You know those vending machines in Japan that dispense steaks? Well, Reyes is a $54 vending machine T-bone steak. He is so juicy and primed for a huge second half. Plus, the San Diego Dads are about to trade away one of their children who play outfield and free up PT. Won’t need to trade more than some gas station sushi to acquire the $54 Vending Machine T-Bone Steak. Think Mike Minor.”
– Grey Albright (Razzball)

Thank you to the experts for naming their top buy-low targets. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter if you’re not already doing so and check out our latest podcast below for more great advice.

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