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With all of the hype surrounding rookie call ups like Joey Gallo, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton some Fantasy players may have lost sight of the fact that there is still amazing value within the existing player pool that is available to you via the trade market. There is plenty of value out there that can help your team. You just need to use all of your powers of persuasion and all of your skills to work out a deal. If you are looking for some players who offer you good value to focus on in the trade market, and others that currently have high value that could potentially drop, I can help. As in past weeks, I’ve identified four Fantasy players whose value is low enough that they can be traded for or bought at a reasonable price. In addition, I’ve included two players who you should be able to sell high. Put them on the trading block, and who knows? Someone might hit you up with a trade offer that can help complete your Fantasy team. Good luck and happy trading!!
All stats are current as per the morning of 6/18/15
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Rockies
After his monster 2010 season Carlos Gonzalez became one of the most sought after Fantasy Baseball players in the game. Unfortunately, this young five-tool player was bitten by the injury bug and he has struggled to stay in the lineup over the past few seasons. Gonzalez hasn’t played in more than 135 games since that 2010 campaign, but so many Fantasy Baseball managers were hoping that he could put his health issues behind him that he was the 52nd player off the board in drafts prior to the 2015 season. He struggled mightily early on and as recently as May 26 his overall batting average was a rancid .201. He had four home runs, 13 RBIs and just one stolen base. Since that date, he has drawn a line in the sand and has turned it around, hitting the ball for power like he used to. In his last 19 games he’s batting .324 with five home runs and 11 RBIs. The one thing that’s still missing from his game is his ability to steal bases. Although the Rockies and Gonzalez both insist he is healthy, the fact that he has only two successful stolen base attempts, when he used to regularly steal more than 20 bags in a season, is a definite indication that he is still feeling the effects of last year’s knee surgery.
There are some signs that some of his early season offensive underachievement has been due to bad luck. Gonzalez’s BABIP is almost 60 points below his lifetime average. Stephen Brown created a tool that he shared with the Fangraphs Community Research Blog, which measures the type, velocity, direction, and distance of a hitter’s batted balls in order to calculate expected values in several batting categories including batting average, OBP and wOBA. Browns’ tool finds that as of 6/9 Gonzalez’s expected wOBA was .398, .88 points higher than his actual average. Although Gonzalez’s overall .243 batting average, nine home runs and 24 RBIs are nothing to write home about, his walk and strikeout rates are both better than his career average and his line drive rate is above the major league average. Try to swing a deal for him while you can still buy him low.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies
You can never have enough Colorado Rockies hitters on your Fantasy Baseball roster. I wasn’t targeting Charlie Blackmon in my preseason drafts but I should have. Aside from his batting average, Blackmon has pretty much picked up right where he left off after his breakout 2014 campaign. With a .265 batting average, eight home runs and 15 steals, Blackmon is a cheap source of decent power and speed. He already plays in a great hitter’s park and his batted ball data suggests that he will continue to put up good numbers. His line drive rate, which was above the league average last season, is even higher in 2015. In addition, his HR/FB and Hard Hit rates have both increased. He has become a more disciplined hitter. Blackmon’s walk rate has increased while his Swinging Strike rate and percentage of balls he swings at that are out of the strike zone have both decreased. Although Blackmon is having more problems hitting left-handed pitching this season than usual, he is no longer an automatic out when playing away from Coors Field and has narrowed the gap between his home and away batting average. With Corey Dickerson coming on and off the disabled list as he deals with this plantar fasciitis, Blackmon is guaranteed at bats and is a good target in your Fantasy trade talks.
Josh Reddick, OF, A’s
When I picked up Josh Reddick off of the waiver wire in late April, I figured I’d ride him while he’s hot and drop him when he cools off. Well, he’s not batting in the .380 range any longer, like he was when I grabbed him, but his .303 batting average, 10 home runs and 41 RBIs aren’t going anywhere. What is going somewhere are his stats, and most of them are moving in the right direction. Reddick’s strikeout percentage has dropped from 15.9 to 9.3 in the past year and his walk rate has risen from 7.1 to 9.7 percent this season. His line drive rate, HR/FB rate, swinging strike and contact rates have all improved as well. I don’t anticipate that he will be batting over .300 by season’s end, but .270 isn’t out of the question. With his ability to hit 20 plus home runs across a full season, he is definitely someone you should consider adding to your Fantasy team.
Ben Revere, OF, Phillies
At the start of the season, I looked at Ben Revere as a poor man’s Billy Hamilton. He has great speed and can hit for average. Hamilton had a 54 ADP and Revere’s ADP was 154. Hamilton can steal 50 bases for you at the blink of an eye but he’ll do it while batting .250. If you try adding him to your team, your trading partner is going to ask you for top dollar based on where he was drafted. Revere has a .290 lifetime batting average and stole 49 bases last season. He also plays for one of the worst teams in baseball, which, by osmosis and no fault of his own, lowers his market value. Revere got off to a slow start and as recently as June 2, was batting just .252, but since then he has put all of the ugliness surrounding the Phillies’ season behind him and started playing like…well Ben Revere! Since the start of June he is batting .288 with six stolen bases and eight runs scored. His line drive rate is over 30 percent, his walk rate is up this season and as per his norm, his overall contact rate and swinging strike rate are both well above the league average. If you are looking for affordable speed, Revere is your man!
Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles
Sometimes you have to accept who you are, and as a Fantasy Manager, sometimes you need to accept who your Fantasy players are. Chris Davis has Fantasy value. He can hit the ball out of the park along with the best of them. His 23.3 percent HR/FB rate is a testament to that and Fantasy owners will pay a hefty premium for the long ball but we need to accept that Davis is a one trick pony. He’s hitting the ball as hard as ever but he either hits the ball out of the park or he strikes out. Overall, Davis strikes out nearly a third of the time and his whiff rate jumps to 44 percent when he tries to hit off-speed pitches. He provides the Orioles and his Fantasy owners with a perplexing dilemma. Although you’d like to, you can’t just start him versus lefty pitchers against whom he is batting .298, because he’s hit just three home runs against them. On the other hand, he’s hit 11 of his 14 home runs against righty pitching even though they’ve held him to a .204 batting average. Davis is batting almost 40 points higher than his overall .228 average over the last two weeks. This is the perfect time for you to use that to your advantage. Find a team in your league who is desperate for home run power and try to swing a deal in which you get back a complete Fantasy player. The sooner you accept who Chris Davis really is, the better off your Fantasy team will be.
A.J. Burnett, SP, Pirates
After suffering through an 18 loss season with the Phillies last season, A. J. Burnett is happy to be back pitching for the Pirates and it shows. With a 6-2 won/loss record and a microscopic 1.89 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, the 38-year-old pitcher with the 277 preseason ADP has been a great investment for your team. Be thankful for what Burnett has given your team, take advantage of his current high value and trade him for a Fantasy player who can help your Fantasy team for the long haul. Burnett has a history of fading as the season progresses and you need to move him off your team before that happens. Over his career, Burnett has a .532 first half winning percentage compared to a .497 winning percentage in the second half. His first half career ERA of 3.79 rises to 4.17 after the All-Star break. Last season, the difference between his first and second half numbers was even more pronounced. His first half winning percentage was a lowly .429 but it bottomed out to .167 the rest of the way. Similarly, his early season ERA catapulted from a first half mark of 3.83 to an ugly post All-Star break 5.82. Put Burnett on the block and see what kind of interest he generates. If it helps you to squeeze out every last drop that you can out of him, try to package him in a multi-player deal. Just don’t wait too long because some rogue Royals fan may have found a way to rig the ballot box, and the All-Star game is right around the corner. Do I need to remind you about what happens to Burnett’s numbers once the midsummer classic rolls around?