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With major league baseball’s trade deadline just around the corner, you might be tempted to jump on the bandwagon and start trading as well, but it is important to use discretion. If you play in a season-long roto league you need to carefully analyze your league’s standings before you make a deal. For instance, if you and three other teams are bunched together in the stolen base category, it might make sense for you to trade for a player like Billy Hamilton, but you need to realize and understand how his .230 batting average will affect your team. Will the slight drop in your team’s batting average, along with the loss of whoever you had to trade away in order to get Hamilton, make up for the rise in stolen bases? Maybe, but that is for you to decide. Sometimes you don’t need to make a blockbuster deal in order to improve your Fantasy team. The two players that I have identified as buys in this article have been flying under the radar but have the potential to improve your team. I’ll also reveal a player who has put together a strong first half but might be due to regress as the season progresses and has some pretty high trade value right now. Happy trading everyone!!
All stats are current as per the morning of 7/30/15
Preston Tucker, OF, Astros
If you play in a season-long Fantasy Baseball league that requires you to start five outfielders, you probably know how hard it is to sometimes find a fifth outfielder who can help your team on a daily basis. Preston Tucker, who is owned in just 11 percent of Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Baseball leagues, might just be the guy that you’ve been looking for. Tucker hasn’t garnered the same kind of attention as former Astros prospects like Carlos Correa and George Springer, however, he is quietly putting up numbers that warrant a spot on your roster and in your lineup, especially when he faces right-handed pitching. He has been coming on as of late, batting .307 with six home runs since July 5. Tucker is another power bat that the Astros can throw at the opposition but unlike some of their other sluggers, George Springer and Chris Carter come to mind, he doesn’t strikeout as much. His minor league numbers show that he has the potential to develop into a power-hitting outfielder who can also hit for average, and Fantasy Baseball managers are definitely willing to pay a premium for that type of player. He’s not perfect; he has to do a better job against lefty pitching, but he is a work in progress who has some pretty high upside.
Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
Led by players like Carlos Correa, there have been several high profile rookies who have made their major league debuts this season. Some, like Joey Gallo for instance, quickly exploded onto the scene, only to fade away just as fast as they had appeared. Other rookies, like the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, look like they have a long and productive future ahead of them. The Indians’ call up of Francisco Lindor was met with a bit of trepidation by many Fantasy Baseball managers. Don’t get me wrong, he was quickly gobbled up off of league waiver wires, but there didn’t seem to be as much hype or expectations for Lindor. By July 4, when he was batting close to .200, many Fantasy Baseball managers had declared their independence from him, but maybe they acted a bit too quickly. Since July 5 Lindor has batted .297 and smacked four home runs. If you play in a season-long league, you know how hard it is to find a viable player to fill both the shortstop and middle infield positions in your lineup. Lindor may have had his early season issues, but he has kept his strikeouts in check and has a contact rate that is slightly above average. Although he has stolen just one base for the Indians so far, his three minor league seasons with 20 plus stolen bases shows that he has the ability to help you in that category. With a 12 percent ownership rate in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball leagues, he is someone that you may be able to pick up off of your league’s waiver wire, and if he is already owned, you may not have to give up too much in order to obtain him in a trade.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Indians
At the start of the 2014 Fantasy Baseball season, many expected Jason Kipnis to hit close to 20 home runs and steal approximately 30 bases. He was considered one of the best second basemen in the game but unfortunately, 2014 ended up being a season that Kipnis would soon rather forget. Kipnis’ 2015 stats are more in line with what was expected from him last season. He’s batting well over .300 and is stealing his fair share of bases. Although his wOBA and ISO numbers are above average, his home run production is much lower than what had been projected. He’s hitting plenty of doubles but his six home runs so far this season shouldn’t be totally unexpected since his average fly ball distance has fallen from just over 287 feet in 2013 to approximately 263 feet this season. Kipnis is another one of those players who typically crawls to the finish line during the second half of the season. His career first half batting average, slugging percentage and OPS of .291, .448 and .816 drops to .249, .364 and .688 after the All-Star break. Will your Fantasy Baseball team withstand a second half slump from Kipnis that includes a .253 career batting average during the months of August through October? If you think that those kind of numbers can hurt your chances of winning a championship, put Kipnis on the block now.