After going deep on hitters in last week’s trade article, I decided to focus on hurlers this week. Fantasy managers will notice some trends in my thinking — mostly trying to acquire those who have endured bad luck so far while trading away pitchers who have benefited from good fortune.
Also, looking at recent Yahoo! deals on the Trade Market page helps to understand a player’s value.
PLAYERS TO ACQUIRE
Nathan Eovaldi (SP, BOS)
Eovaldi has been among the unluckiest pitchers in baseball, ranking in the bottom-five in both BABIP (.342) and strand rate (60.8 percent). The massive gap between his 4.62 ERA and 2.05 FIP is the highest of any qualified pitcher, which creates an opportunity for those who wish to acquire him. This is the best time to pick up Eovaldi, as his three worst 2021 outings have come in his past four starts, which will likely push some of his managers to consider benching him. But he posted a 23:4 K:BB ratio in those four outings and still hasn’t allowed a homer this season.
Luis Castillo (SP, CIN)
Some Castillo managers are panicking right now. Drafted as a staff ace in most leagues, the right-hander has the highest ERA (6.42) of any qualified pitcher. He has dealt with the highest BABIP in baseball (.357) and also the second-lowest strand rate (54 percent). I’m not expecting Castillo to immediately snap into the form that made him a top-30 pick in most drafts, but there is massive upside in this 28-year-old. My best advice is to hope that Castillo gets rocked at Coors Field this week; then you can make a trade offer.
One of the most traded players in Yahoo! leagues of late, Castillo has been acquired in 1-for-1 deals for the likes of Mark Canha or Eddie Rosario.
Dylan Bundy (SP, LAA)
Some Bundy drafters must be wondering if they foolishly selected a one-year wonder. After all, the right-hander owns a 5.03 ERA and has yet to earn a victory. But beyond those two numbers, Bundy has been a solid hurler who has logged a 1.14 WHIP while striking out at least six batters in all but one of his starts. His xERA is an impressive 3.07, and he should hit his stride as soon as he experiences an improvement with his 60 percent strand rate.
Charlie Morton (SP, ATL)
Morton managers must feel like they dodged a bullet when the veteran allowed six unearned runs while recording just two outs against the Phillies on Friday night. And many of those managers would prefer not to take any more chances on this 36-year-old, especially since he allowed nine earned runs over 10.2 innings in his previous two starts. But beyond the surface stats, everything looks great for Morton. His average fastball velocity is higher than it was last season, and he continues to produce excellent batted-ball data that includes plenty of ground balls and little hard contact.
PLAYERS TO TRADE AWAY
John Means (SP, BAL)
I mostly believe in Means, which makes it hard for me to put him in this article. That being said, this is a great time to float the left-hander’s services on the trade market. Means has been incredibly lucky this season, enjoying a .158 BABIP and a perfect 100 percent strand rate. Means should continue to be a helpful pitcher, but anyone who puts too much stock in his 1.37 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP is going to overpay for someone who isn’t an ace. The AL East remains full of strong lineups and hitter-friendly parks, and at some point, those two factors could impact the 28-year-old.
Means managers have recently been getting returns such as Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez, which is highway robbery.
Kevin Gausman (SP, SF)
Like Means, Gausman has been fortunate to rank among the league leaders in both BABIP (.211) and strand rate (87.2 percent). Although the right-hander should have a successful season, he is most likely to post an ERA going forward that is similar to his 3.62 mark from 2020 or his 3.63 xERA this year.
In one Yahoo! league, Gausman was recently dealt for Lucas Giolito. That’s the type of move his managers should be looking to make.
Ian Kennedy (RP, TEX)
I like everything about Kennedy’s skills this season. The veteran has posted a 20:2 K:BB ratio in 15 innings, converting all 10 save chances in the process. So, why is he in this article? I expect the summer trade market to ruin his fantasy value. The Rangers will likely be sellers in July, and Kennedy is perhaps their most likely player to be dealt. The 36-year-old could end up closing for a contending team, but working in a setup role is the most likely outcome.
Fantasy managers will be aware of this possibility in July, but there is a window now to trade him for full value. Kennedy was recently traded in Yahoo! leagues for solid hitters such as Alex Verdugo or Marcell Ozuna.