It is so close you can smell it, but don't fear it! The fantasy baseball trade deadline approacheth. So don't be caught off-guard! I am always ready and excited for my favorite time of the fantasy baseball season. If you read my last post on midseason strategies, you already know I typically don't sit idle this time of year. Pulling off a nice trade can help teams in any position in the standings. In many of my leagues this year I am in contention but not really gaining ground. In those leagues I am taking risks, and trying to shake things up by landing high potential, but struggling or injured players. In those lost seasons I am trying to keep it interesting, or in dynasty formats I am offloading useful 2014 pieces for some prospects, or rebuilding tools.
This week I am going to provide a few names of players I am targeting in trades and depending on the league format (Dynasty/Redraft/Keeper) they may be significantly cheaper than they were to start the 2014 season.
So let's get started!
Fantasy Baseball Trade Targets
These are five players I am banking on having a much improved second half of the 2014 season or players I am buying in to completely and other owners may not be as high on yet.
5. Homer Bailey, SP, Cincinnati Reds- Poor Homer just doesn't get much respect does he? Bailey is consistent and admittedly not an ace, but he has the track record of putting up number two or three fantasy starter each season. Over his last three starts he is 1-1 with 18 strikeouts over 22 innings pitched. His ERA sits at 1.64 and with a WHIP of 0.863.
It appears as if he is turning his season around after a few rough outings. He is also not a hot, or top 20 name so you can likely get him for less than he is worth. Plug the minor injury, his 4.21 ERA on the full season, do what it takes but I am buying Bailey for the second half of 2014.
4. Trevor Bauer, SP, Cleveland Indians- While the Corey Kluber train rolls on Bauer is having himself a nice streak of outings. Over his last 4 he is 2-0 with 23 strikeouts and 8 walks. His ERA is 2.84, but you can use that as sell point in your offer if need be. He has tweaked his mechanics, throwing more strikes and his velocity is up. All signs point upward with Bauer and I am all in, especially in Dynasty leagues where you can still sell the "Disappointing Prospect" plug.
Here is a great read on Bauer if you want more specifics from Jeff Sullivan on Fangraphs: Trevor Bauer
Note: As you can probably tell by now, I am targeting number two-four starters for fantasy. Not necessarily looking for aces, but for guys who put up numbers, get strikeouts, have high potential and can stabilize your rotations down the stretch.
3. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals- This is the trade that will be much more difficult to pull off in dynasty formats, for obvious reasons. It doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Harper is one of the most polarizing players in Fantasy, he has the hype, but also the expectations of a superstar. So when a player of his caliber misses significant time, and then comes back and struggles many jump off the bandwagon. That is when to attack and get Harper for a discount. I landed him in one of my redraft leagues for Kole Calhoun and Jeff Samardzija. The owner lost Tananka so I swooped in to save him, of course. Could Calhoun and Harper put up comparable numbers the rest of the way? Absolutely, but I am taking a risk with Harper.
Harper has shown signs of life over his last 11 at bats. Getting five hits, and adding a solo home run while hitting .455. He also has 4 strikeouts, so take the good with the bad. I believe he will get hot, and produce like the top 15 outfielder he can be. Small sample size sure, but that is all we have since his return from injury.
2. Matt Adams, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals- Adams is surprising some after being tagged as a platoon player by many heading in to this season. I bought plenty of Adams shares during drafts, but have been pleasantly surprised. Adams is near the top of the league in batting average hitting .324. His OBP however is a dissapointing .340, likely due to his near the bottom of the league 2.8 BB%.
Owners may not buy into Adams fully yet and you can't blame them, a regression has to be coming. However, I have to believe it won't be as significant as many think. Adams is a nearly .300 hitter for his career, and although his plate discipline can bear some improvement, his power is very real. He has just as much potential to keep it up. I am buying!
1. Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians- Kipnis is another player I invested in heavily during drafts this season. Considered by some to be a lock for the second best 2nd baseman, or potentially even surpassing Robinson Cano, unfortunately his first half was seemingly atrocious. It is a mystery as his peripherals aren't that much worse than the rest of his career. a .307 BABIP, an 18% K rate and a 10.3% BB rate are all comparable to his career numbers.
However, it has to be noted that Kipnis has been a Jekyll/Hyde kind of player since arriving in the majors. A tale of two halves. 2013 he completely dominated before the All Star break, only to fizzle out in the second half and playoffs. This season his lackluster 2013 finish seems to have carried over in to 2014.
Look at his last two weeks however and you will see a positive trend. He is slashing .283/.377/.413 with 2 home runs and tack on 5 stolen bases and you see the early 2013 Kipnis.
So, am I saying by default and history alone he is due for a fantastic second half? Not necessarily, but what if it does happen and you had the chance to get him on the cheap, in any format? I think you should do it.
Thanks as always for reading and feel free to add players, disagree with me, or laud me with praise in the comments section. You can also find me on twitter @fantsychillpony