Hardball High Week 3: The tricks of the fantasy baseball trade

Hardball High

Hardball High

As much as you may want to deny it, students, Fantasy Baseball is a curved class. It doesn’t matter if everyone in the league succeeds; at the end of the day, there is only one winner, one person in the league that gets the proverbial 4.0 grade. This is why the tactful Fantasy Baseball manager has to do everything in their power to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. Last week we talked about one manner of doing so: “streaming” your pitchers. This week we will talk about a second method: the trade.

My view on things is that you should trade as much as you can, as long as you believe it makes your team better. You should always trade if it’s going to upgrade your team, even if it’s also going to upgrade the other person’s team. Consider this: every team in the league has a team that is pretty good. If you and your trade partner can both work out a deal that moves your teams from pretty good to really good, suddenly you’ve increased your odds of winning by separating your two teams from the rest of the pack. If my team has an excess of pitching and your team has bats galore, then trading between the two of us has low downside and tremendous upside. And in addition to the mutually beneficial trade, I’m an advocate of throwing out as many favorable trade requests as possible. It only takes one acceptance to give your team the extra boost it may need.

I’m writing this now, class, because this is the time to try to strike up a deal. Trading in the early part of the season rewards the patient and punishes the hasty. It can be easier than you think to trade your flash-in-the-pan upstart for an underperforming stud likely to break out of his slump. For example, here are some possible trades to try and make in your league, if you have the resources:

Fantasy Baseball

A timely acquisition of a recently-slumping Encarnacion could neatly turn the tides of your team.

Trade Adrian Gonzalez (LAD, 1B) for Edwin Encarnacion (TOR 1B): Adrian Gonzalez has been putting together a magnificent renaissance year, coming in as the eighth best player on ESPN’s Player Rater. But he’s up there in years, and even though he’s off to hot start, he has a high likelihood of cooling off and regressing to a more reasonable state.

Meanwhile, Encarnacion has been anything but productive the first month of the season. Much of this can likely be attributed to his 22.9 percent K-rate. If he can manage to strike out less and be more patient at the plate, he’ll be likely to return to his career form.

Should also take: Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder.

Trade Alexei Ramirez (CWS, SS) for Jean Segura (MIL, SS): For a man to have been drafted 142nd overall on average to be the third highest player on the Player Rater is an achievement in and of itself. But he is currently experiencing batting and slugging numbers far above his previous career highs, and while a breakout year is possible, more likely would be for his very high BABIP of close to .400 to return to earth.

Jean Segura suffers from the opposite malady, as his atrocious .180 BABIP at home is all but guaranteed to rise; Segura should also put up comparable power numbers and many more steals.

Should also take: Matt Carpenter, Jose Reyes.

Trade Julio Teheran (ATL, SP) for Homer Bailey (CIN, SP): I know, I know, Homer Bailey has been anything but good to start the season, boasting a whopping 518th place on the player rater, behind pitchers the likes of fantasy juggernauts such as Erasmo Ramirez and J.A. Happ. Make no mistake, Julio Teheran is a good pitcher, but Homer Bailey’s upside outweighs his downside, and at this point there’s nowhere for Bailey to go but up. Buy low while you still can.

Should also take: Jordan Zimmerman, Anibal Sanchez.

To catch up on last week’s Hardball High, click here.

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