Royals’ Whit Merrifield is Hot, Teammate Jason Vargas is Not
This season seems to be a popular one for the trade deadline in Fantasy leagues and it may be your last chance to acquire the talent you need to win your league. Check your standings. Find out what categories you can gain ground in and what categories are a lost cause. Don’t be afraid to make what seems like an uneven trade if you believe that player is the final piece to your puzzle as nobody knows your team better than you. Players mentioned above could be cheaper adds if they are available on your waiver wire. Always make sure to check the waiver wire, the answer to your problems may just be there.
- Whit Merrifield, Kansas City Royals: Merrifield is one on the true breakout stars this season. He’s also one that very few Fantasy owners had heard of coming into the season. He wasn’t Aaron Judge, Andrew Benintendi, or Cody Bellinger. He wasn’t at the top of any top prospect lists. Yet, he’s still on pace for a possible 20/30 season. These numbers also come with a .300 batting average and possible OF eligibility in your league. He’s close to a must-own if still available in your league.
- Chase Headley, New York Yankees: Headley had been having a terrible season up until the Yankees trade for Todd Frazier, which moved him off third base. When Joe Girardi made a statement that the Yankees were having trouble turning double plays, that was aimed at Headley. Perhaps the defensive pressure was hurting his offense. The good news is that since the move he is batting well over .300. The bad news is that he hasn’t helped in the power department as he only has two HRs during that time. Playing time could also be an issue if and when Greg Bird returns by the end of the month. Choose wisely here.
- Melky Cabrera, Kansas City Royals: Cabrera is another player who has benefitted from a trade. He’s been a bat on fire since coming to KC. He’s 14-39, with two HRs and 11 RBIs. It seems a change of scenery to a team in playoff contention has invigorated Cabrera even though he now calls Kaufman Stadium home, a stadium that is usually not all that friendly to hitters. Cabrera could be a nice waiver wire claim to bolster your offense for the stretch run.
- Trevor Bauer, Cleveland Indians: When you look at Bauer’s season long numbers, you’re not impressed as he has an ERA of 4.79 and WHIP of 1.42. Over his last twelve starts, however, his ERA is 3.69 - last six starts, it’s 3.58 - and in his last three starts it’s 1.23 with a WHIP of 1.09. All of this still comes with more than one strikeout per inning. Bauer has always had the talent, and even when he struggled earlier this season he still piled up 10 wins. If he’s available, you should be able to find room on your pitching staff for him.
- Alex Avila, Chicago Cubs: Although the Cubs have yet to put Willson Contreras (hamstring) on the disabled list, that should be just a matter of time. The beneficiary of this will be Avila, who was having a quiet but productive season with Detroit before the trade to Chicago, with 12 HRs and a .268 AVG. If someone released Avila after the trade, that could be to your benefit as at the very least, he’s a placeholder until Contreras returns and could even be more than that.
- Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians: If you still have Kipnis on your roster with the hope that his season was going to turn around after he returned from his hamstring injury, it’s time to move on. He’s re-injured the hamstring and although the Indians are calling it a minor injury, what was he giving you anyway? In 70 games this season, he was only batting .227 with eight HRs, 26 RBIs, and five SBs. Not exactly numbers you can’t live without.
- Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros: You have to wonder right now if the Astros are having second thoughts about not ponying up what it would’ve taken to get to bring in another starting pitcher by the trade deadline. Since Keuchel has returned from his neck injury, he has given up 14 Rs in 12 IP to go along with 23 hits and eight BBs. Those are ugly numbers. Keuchel is a finesse pitcher who needs to be perfect to succeed, as his fastball only averages about 88 mph. If he’s not perfect, he’s going to get hit and hit hard and right now, he’s far from perfect. You can’t release him, but right now he shouldn’t be in your starting lineup.
- Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers: The Tigers seem to be a team that has gotten old in a hurry. Miguel Cabrera has looked like a shell of his former self this season, and Martinez has been worse. He’s not helping you in any category. If, for some reason, you still have him on your roster, it’s time to hit the waiver wire, as there just has to be someone who can help you more than he can right now.
- Jason Vargas, Kansas City Royals: I hope you enjoyed the run by Vargas while it happened because the clock has struck midnight and it’s time to go home. In his last six starts Vargas has an ERA of 6.94 and WHIP of 1.84 as the league seems to have finally caught up with him. Actually, it looks like the league has caught up with the entire Royals team and they picked the wrong time to fall apart. Since the trade deadline passed they’ve gone 2-8. Such a shame.
- Steven Matz, New York Mets: It’s been a lost season for the Mets, and they are in the process of trading whatever isn’t nailed down right now. That won’t include Matz but this has been a lost season for him too. His numbers are horrible but more importantly, he has only thrown a little over 70 IP this season, which means he may be on an innings limit next season, assuming he doesn’t get hurt again. He’s not a keeper for me in leagues unless you get to keep just about everyone.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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