With most teams having played roughly 10 percent of their schedule, fantasy managers are starting to get more willing to dip their toe into the trade market. But data samples are still extremely small, and many surface stats are misleading. Here are some players who should be prevalent in trade talks this week.
Players to acquire
Francisco Lindor (SS, NYM)
Fantasy managers and Mets fans are losing their cool with Lindor, who is off to a horrible start following an offseason trade and massive contract extension. But the schedule hasn’t done him any favors, as the team has been plagued by weather issues following the cancelation of their season-opening series against the Nats. And Lindor has been in superior control of the strike zone, logging one of the best BB:K rates in baseball. The 27-year-old is posting respectable Statcast data, with an xBA and xSLG that are much higher than his actual marks. I’m expecting him to make a major recovery very soon.
Aroldis Chapman (P, NYY)
I apologize for banging this drum repeatedly early in the season, but good closers with low saves totals are excellent April trade targets. Chapman has been utterly dominant this year, recording 11 of his 12 outs thus far via the strikeout. But the combination of a two-game suspension and the slow-starting Yankees have led to the native Cuban receiving just one save opportunity. New York should soon string together a few wins, at which time Chapman will rack up saves and move to the top of the fantasy closers list.
Lucas Giolito (SP, CWS)
Some Giolito managers will take yesterday’s debacle in stride, while others could make a rash mistake. The right-hander was absolutely awful against the Red Sox, and the fact that the game was played on Monday at 11:00am ET made it even more noticeable to the fantasy crowd and general baseball fans. Going forward, I would still rather roster Giolito than red-hot starters such as Tyler Glasnow or Corbin Burnes, and I believe a 1-for-1 deal of that nature could be made in some leagues today.
Freddie Freeman (1B, ATL)
Although Freeman’s fantasy trade value hasn’t experienced a major dip, his diminished .232 average could make him more readily available. The veteran slugger owns a career-best .343 xBA, as he has been regularly crushing the ball while also dominating the strike zone. One of baseball’s most stable studs, Freeman is worth acquiring if the return is that of a second-round player rather than a first-round superstar.
Ozzie Albies (2B, ATL)
Along with his teammate Freeman and a few other Braves, Albies has been the victim of bad luck this season. His strikeout rate is normal, his batted-ball data is normal and his walk rate is better than usual. In fact, Albies’ Statcast data suggests that he should be off to the best start of his young career. Add in the fact that the 24-year-old is dealing with a minor calf injury and you will likely never get another chance to acquire this young star at such a reasonable rate.
Players to trade away
Ramon Laureano (OF, OAK)
As we all expected, stolen bases are hard to come by this year. In every league there is a handful of managers who are sitting low in the steals standings and can’t find any potential solutions on the waiver wire. Some managers will view Laureano as a savior, as his eight swipes are three more than any of player. But the A’s outfielder is not the next Adalberto Mondesi, having logged just 22 steals in 225 career games heading into this season. Those who rostered Laureano likely weren’t counting on him as a steals foundation and can afford to trade him away while he has enhanced fantasy value.
Javier Baez (SS, CHC)
I rarely put players in this article two weeks in a row, but the reasons to trade Baez grow louder by the day. The shortstop has significant trade value right now, as he is the only player with at least four homers and five steals. But his control over the strike zone has been incredibly weak, having drawn just one walk while leading MLB with 27 whiffs. If Baez doesn’t fix his plate discipline, his .214 batting average is going to sink even lower.
Freddy Peralta (SP/RP, MIL)
The good news is that just six pitchers can top Peralta’s strikeout total of 31. The bad news is that he ranks even higher (fourth) in the walks category. There is plenty of buzz surrounding the right-hander right now, but few starters are able to sustain low ratios while walking roughly three batters per start. I don’t think that Peralta is someone you have to deal away, but I would be comfortable making a trade before his control issues catch up with him.
Justin Turner (3B, LAD)
Although you likely can’t get a massive return for Turner, his fantasy value is likely elevated at the moment. The veteran has already produced more homers (five) than he did in 42 games last year thanks to a HR/FB rate that is nearly triple his career mark. And volume is an even bigger source of concern, as Turner regularly gets days off and is no stranger to the IL. The smart move is to trade the 36-year-old for a more durable player who was drafted much earlier but is off to a slow start.