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Sell! Sell! Sell! Trade these players before it’s too late

Matt takes a look at what players it would be wise to trade while their value is at a season high.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

We are now almost a month into the season and fantasy owners are now beginning to look at their teams and think about making a trade. There are plenty of players who have greatly increased and decreased in value since opening day. Rash moves are sometimes made to either give up on a player off to a slow start or buy into a player who is on a hot streak. Patience is your friend this time of year, and you need to keep your eyes open for bargains available from eager owners in your league. Today we will be talking bout the other side of the spectrum, players that are playing well that you should try and sell now while their value is at it’s probable highest from this point moving forward. The players below may be good, and most of them are, but they happen to be outperforming their actual value. Below each player is some suggested names to target in a trade. Note that some of these targets are buy-lows that may require a trade beyond a one-for-one, but the spirit of the trade can be made by selling your asset at their peak. It’s time to cash in your chips for the following players:

Sean Manaea

Sean Manaea is good. The former top prospect struggled and in his first full season in the majors, mostly due to command issues and walks getting the better of him. This season though his free passes are down to 1.47 BB/9, his ground ball rate is up and line drive rate is down. Not to mention that Manaea just tossed a high profile no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox. He is good. I am not saying he is not. I am saying he is not this good. Manaea current holds a 1.23 ERA and has looked pretty good doing it. However, the young southpaw has a 100% strand rate, one hundred percent, that is quite obviously unsustainable. If you pair that with his low .135 BABIP, it is reasonable to expect more of those base runners will find a way to score at some point once his luck runs out. Like I said, Manaea is good and he is a fine pitcher to have in mixed leagues, but he is closer to the pitcher his 3.53 suggests that his 1.23 ERA does. If someone believes he is all of a sudden a top-15 starting pitcher then you need to trade him now.

Target: Y.Darvish, R.Ray, C.Archer, J.Quintana

Miguel Cabrera

Miguel Cabrera is a future hall-of-famer that is off to a seemingly good start with a slash line of .300/.398/.457 so far this season. Last season Cabrera struggled with a back injury that robbed him of his power and ruined his 2017 season. Although the cold likely had something to do with it, Cabrera has already missed time this year due to a sore back. Miggy also has a alarming 61.4% ground ball rate, well above his career mark of 40%. He has had a down-tick in line drives and has also seen a decline by almost half in the amount of fly balls hit. Cabrera is also currently sporting a career low contact rate, which makes sense due to the amount of non-quality contact (ground balls) he is making as well. These are all red flags that suggest a serious decline in production, due to injury or age. Would I be surprised to Cabrera to turn it around and have another all-star season? Well, I wouldn’t be shocked but I would be surprised at this point. Miguel Cabrera is an aging ballplayer with a chronic back problem, career high ground ball rate, and career low contact rate. Take his current .300/.398/.457 slash line and sell it to someone who believes that Cabrera is back (no pun intended).

Target: M.Ozuna, J.Upton

Ken Giles

This is a tricky one because Ken Giles value is already down, but humor me. Everyone knows the Astros’ closer situation is currently a mess. Ken Giles lost his job last year during the playoffs due to poor performance and his back at it again this season. Giles currently has a 3.86 K/9 to go with a 4.50 xFIP. The thing is, Giles has actually been lucky so far this season. The Houston righty currently has a career high 41.7% fly ball rate but has yet to give up a home run. Those who have watched Giles know that to be true as he came within inches of losing a game over a week ago on a home run to Bryon Buxton. Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch has tried to make excuses for Giles, citing a sore back, but make no mistake Giles is in the doghouse and I am not sure he can get out of it. Houston is stocked with better relievers such as Brad Peacock, Chris Devenski,and Will Harris. Why would you continue to use a crumbling Giles on a winning team when you have them at your disposal? Ken Giles may not be worth much now, but he may be worth nothing at all soon. Test the water for believers, and try to turn Giles into something before you are forced to drop him later this year.

Target: B.Hand (longshot), C.Knebel (injured), G.Holland

D.J. Lemahieu

D.J Lemahieu is a great hitter, recently winning the batting title over a season ago and becoming a fixture in the Colorado lineup. The kid could always hit, even in the minors. That being said, the second baseman’s career high in home runs is 11 , which he hit back in 2016. He has already hit five this season, helped by an unsustainable 20% HR/FB rate. Lemahieu is still probably going to have a great year by his usual standards, but he is not going to all of a sudden hit 30 home runs (although at Coors Field anything can happen). I would do what I could to sell an owner on his elite hitting ability and a possible career year at Coors Field. D.J Lemahieu is good, just not this good.

Target: C.Seager, A.Rendon, W.Contreras

Dansby Swanson

Dansby Swanson is former top draft pick that fantasy owners have been looking for reasons to believe in. This year he is off to a .329/.375/.524 start with two home runs and two stolen bases. Sounds great? Welcome to RedFlagVille. Swanson boasts an insane .417 BABIP to go with a massive drop in walk rate. There is plenty to like about Dansby Swanson, but he has been carrying around a flour leaf clover inside of a rabbit’s foot so far this season. I would try and find a prospect loving owner to sell him to before Swanson’s hot air balloon starts to lose altitude.

Target: M.Conforto, M.Gonzalez, B.Buxton

Starlin Castro

This one will be short and sweet. Starlin Castro is the worst .300 hitter in baseball. The Marlins’ (redflag) second baseman has a .371 BABIP, 20.4% strikeout rate, and 57.1% ground ball rate. No thanks. If you own him in a deep mixed league or NL-only league, now would be the time to try and trade Castro to a team that needs a middle infielder and turn him into something a bit more useful.

Target: Anyone