Thursday, December 7 2023

In the world of fantasy sports, inaction is a form of action. There are missed opportunities in fantasy leagues all the time, as potential deals pass by because no one is willing to put themselves out there and get the ball rolling. As we roll into the player-specific portion of the article this week, my advice to managers is to throw their hat in the ring by sending out a few offers in the next few days. Sure, most of the overtures will not end with a deal. But some will get to the finish line, and it may be the difference that wins your league.

Players to acquire

Spencer Strider (SP, Atlanta Braves)

As I said in the opener, you have to try. Strider is one of the best pitchers in baseball. Most fantasy analysts have him ranked among their top-5 starters and some have him inside the top-3. But Strider hasn’t been awesome of late, logging a 5.68 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP across his past seven starts. His walk rate was a problem in those starts, and he struggled to keep the ball in the yard. That’s a bad combination, which I’m sure you will bring up in your trade talks. His swing-and-miss skills are still there (57 SO in 38 IP) and the right-hander is worth acquiring at any level of discount.

Zack Wheeler (SP, Philadelphia Phillies)

From a skills perspective, Wheeler has been awesome. His 10.0 K/9 rate and 2.1 BB/9 rate are outstanding marks, and his 2.68 FIP is third among qualified pitchers. Casual fantasy managers will see six wins and a 3.48 ERA as signs that Wheeler is less than special, but he has the potential to put together a dominant summer stretch by enjoying some positive regression on his 68% strand rate. Acquiring the right-hander for anything less than an ace-level return is a wise move.

Sandy Alcantara (SP, Miami Marlins)

Alcantara is having a miserable season (4.97 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), making him the perfect trade target for fantasy managers who are sitting in the bottom half of their standings and have nothing to lose. After all, the right-hander is the reigning NL Cy Young award winner and could be a game-changer in the fantasy landscape by rediscovering his top form soon. I’m not especially optimistic that Alcantara will soon turn things around, but he is a risk worth taking for those who are seeing their season slip away. A quick trip to the Yahoo Trade Market shows that some frustrated Alcantara managers have recently traded him for meager returns.


Cedric Mullins (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

Those who are looking for a versatile contributor at a discounted trade cost could make an offer for Mullins, who is currently on the IL. Players who are out of action are sometimes easier to acquire, and Mullins should return to the Orioles lineup at some point in the next two weeks. With eight homers, 39 RBIs and 13 steals in 194 at-bats, Mullins perfectly fits the description of someone who can help in an area of need without causing a deficiency in other areas. And the fact that the Orioles are on a postseason trajectory should ensure that he remains well-supported throughout the campaign.

Players to trade away

Esteury Ruiz (OF, Oakland A’s)

Ruiz has been one of the best value picks from 2023 drafts, and I expect that trend to continue throughout the remainder of the season. But those who drafted the speedster in roto leagues may soon be at the point where they have already received all that they need from him. Ruiz leads the majors with 37 swipes, and there are just three players who are within 15 steals of his lofty total. Many Ruiz roto managers have a significant lead in the steals category and will be best served by trading the 24-year-old for a player who fits their needs.


Nolan Gorman (2B/3B, St. Louis Cardinals)

Gorman has been an absolute mess in June, striking out in 46% of his plate appearances while hitting .107. His full-season numbers still look good (15 HR, 46 RBI), and in many leagues, managers who are offered the powerful infielder may not dig deep on his monthly production before giving up a substantial asset for him. My plan to trade Gorman would start with targeting a manager who is unlikely to look beyond the full-season stats.

Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B, Pittsburgh Pirates)

Hayes is in the exact opposite situation as Gorman, having rescued a nondescript season by getting hot in June. And to put my thoughts on Hayes in a nutshell — I’m not buying it and I’m not alone, with a roster rate at 55%. The 26-year-old has enjoyed a .479 BABIP this month, while logging a lowly 26% hard-contact rate. Hayes could finish the season with 20 steals but will be underwhelming in every other category and should be traded for any player who could be a roster mainstay.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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