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Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Players to Buy Low & Sell High (Week 1)

Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice: Players to Buy Low & Sell High (Week 1)

Opening Day is nearly here. Whether you have had your draft or are waiting until the last minute, you might have second thoughts on some of your draft choices or targets and might be looking at other options to relieve your concerns. For now, we only have spring training stats and news to see and hear. However, we can also look at past season performances to try and gauge player rankings.

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It’s the beginning of the season but it’s never too early to take advantage of panicking owners since you’re clearly the calm one. Below are some buy-low and sell-high trade candidates.

Fantasy Baseball Trade Advice (Week 1)

Buy Low

Ian Happ (OF – CHC) 

I’m not crazy about the hamstring injury Ian Happ has been dealing with this spring, especially since hamstring injuries tend to stay around for a while. The latest news suggests Happ could be facing an injured list (IL) stint at the beginning of the season. Personally, I would be ok with him getting the extra rest and not coming back too soon. I don’t believe there is any long-term concern for Happ’s injury this season.

This is where I would kick the tires on a possible deal. Perhaps his owner is frustrated with an early IL stint and would be willing to listen to an offer. When healthy, Happ will bat at the top of a competitive Cubs order. He should hit at or near the .250 mark with 20+ home runs and 10+ stolen bases. I believe we can see more out of Happ and better numbers than in the past. I would be willing to take that chance this season.

Paul Goldschmidt (1B – STL)

Paul Goldschmidt is currently a top-10 first baseman. No, he’s not a Freddie Freeman, Matt Olson, Pete Alonso or Bryce Harper value, but he’s still a solid first baseman. He’s not doing so well this spring, though, hitting just .122 with only a single home run. Perhaps a current Goldschmidt owner is feeling nervous about the 36-year-old? Maybe that owner has an exciting Christian Encarnacion-Strand as a backup? I wouldn’t pay an arm and a leg for Goldschmidt but if you need a first baseman, roll the dice on Goldschmidt. He should hit around .270 with close to 30 home runs. He’s also a free agent after the season and would be looking for a three- or four-year deal.

Vinnie Pasquantino (1B – KC) 

Vinnie Pasquantino could be a staple for this lineup and looks locked in at either the third or fourth spot. He had an injury-shortened season last year and was ranked as the 20th first baseman off draft boards. If you’re not feeling great about your first base position, look into Pasquantino before he cements himself as a top option. He’s having a decent spring but nothing that makes his value go through the roof. He’s projected to have a .275 batting average with around 20 home runs this season.

Jeff Hoffman (RP – PHI) 

The Phillies could have a closer committee this season but I am starting to believe Jeff Hoffman, a former top prospect, could separate himself as the top option for saves in the Phillies bullpen. He had a solid second half last season with a 2.32 earned run average and 39 strikeouts in 31 innings. He’s having a great spring and currently has a 0.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched. Unless you’re playing in a deep league, you might be able to get Hoffman for free off the waiver wire. Whichever way you need to acquire Hoffman, do so before his value rises.

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Sell High

Miles Mikolas (SP – STL) 

It seems odd to have Miles Mikolas listed here because of his draft value but he’s quickly being added because of his strong spring where he’s sitting at a 2.15 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 21 innings. He also was just named the Cardinals’ Opening Day starter. Mikolas is far removed from his 2018 career season where he went 18-4. It seems like some owners are still chasing those past numbers. He can probably get you 200 innings but he has a bad career K/9 rate (below 7.00). He also gives up some home runs with a HR/9 rate of around 1.10. If you have the pitching depth, look to move Mikolas, especially if you have some Cardinal fans in your league.

Alexis Diaz (RP – CIN) 

On the surface, Alexis Diaz had a great 2023. He had 37 saves (out of 40 chances), an ERA of 3.07 and a K/9 of 11.50. Not bad considering he was pitching at one of the most hitter-friendly parks. The bad is that he has had an awful BB/9 rate and it’s gotten worse the last three seasons. His career BB/9 rate is 4.74 and he still pitches in Great American Ball Park. He’s ranked as a top-10 closer this season and his job isn’t in jeopardy. He does have value right now and some owners tend to overpay for relievers.

You might’ve taken Diaz when relievers started going off the board, or you loaded up on relievers and he’s your second-best reliever. It doesn’t matter how you got him but it does matter that you get something for him. His spring isn’t going great with an 8.10 ERA in 6.2 innings and a 1.50 WHIP. Yes, it’s only spring but it doesn’t inspire much confidence since he’s putting these numbers up and still has a full season in hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park ahead of him.

Elly De La Cruz (3B, SS – CIN) 

Elly De La Cruz is a great talent and a fun player to watch. Personally, I will watch from afar. I have no shares of De La Cruz in any leagues. If I did, I would try to move him. It’s not that I think he will be a complete bust in fantasy baseball, it’s mainly because he’s valued so highly. You can get good value out of De La Cruz and some owners will pay out the nose to get him. The high-value days will fade though and I wouldn’t want to miss out on a great opportunity. De La Cruz will strike out, that much is certain. Some think because of his youth that he can turn those struggles around.

I’m doubtful because I think he’s just that type of hitter. Outside of his time in Rookie ball, he’s never had a strikeout rate under 25%. If he can bat at the top of the lineup, which he probably will at the beginning of the season, that will help. However, he was pushed down the batting order late last season because of his struggles. This is a Reds team with a ton of young talent and they want to compete now. I don’t believe De La Cruz’s playing time is in jeopardy. However, if he struggles and lowers himself in that batting order, it won’t help his case for being a top-30 pick. Move him now for the value and avoid a future headache.

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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