With May underway, the Trade Market in Yahoo! fantasy leagues is really heating up. Before diving into this week’s picks, I would like to take a minute to highlight the usefulness of the Yahoo! Trade Market page, for those who are unfamiliar with its existence.
The Trade Market page is a great resource for those who are struggling to put together a deal. By searching a player’s name, you can see all of his recent trades in Yahoo! leagues. This exercise gives a good idea of the perception of the player to other managers.
Sure, you’re going to see some outlier trades that do not accurately reflect a player’s true value. But with plenty of trades to look at, you can often get some good ideas on how to put an offer together. Now, let’s get to the specific players who I am looking to acquire or trade away right now.
Players to Trade Away
Eric Hosmer (1B, San Diego Padres)
Hosmer is rostered in 73 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which creates an artificially high impression of his value. My advice is for fantasy managers to get anyone whom they value for the first baseman as soon as possible. Hosmer has been slightly better than usual in terms of strikeout and walk rates so far this season, but his quality of contact remains poor. He has continued a career-long pattern of putting most of his batted balls along the ground, and there is simply no way that he can be a serviceable power hitter with a ground ball rate in the range of 60 percent.
Nolan Arenado (3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
Arenado is the type of player whom I love to trade away early in the season. The veteran is off to a spectacular start, having posted a 1.095 OPS that ranks third in the Majors. And as a player who had so many glorious seasons with the Rockies, there is an easy case to be made that Arenado has returned to being a fantasy star.
But most of his initial success has been spurred by a .371 BABIP that is much higher than his marks of .241 and .249 in the previous two seasons. Overall, Arenado is a solid fantasy asset who may be able to fetch a star-level return right now.
Sandy Alcantara (SP, Miami Marlins)
To be clear, I like Alcantara and would want full value for him. That being said, there are some blemishes when we look past his 2.90 ERA. The right-hander has regressed in strikeout rate (7.6 K/9) and walk rate (4.1 BB/9), and his numbers in those categories don’t look like those of a fantasy ace. Managers who have plenty of pitching could consider shopping Alcantara for a star hitter on a pitching-needy team in their league.
Carlos Rodon (SP, San Francisco Giants)
This one would take plenty of guts, as Rodon is deserving of his outstanding ratios (1.55 ERA, 0.83 WHIP) this season. That being said, the left-hander is a major injury risk who has topped 140 innings just once since reaching the Majors in 2015.
I would want a substantial return for Rodon, as there is a real chance that he wins a Cy Young award this season. But I can’t shake the thought that the southpaw will eventually wind up on the IL, which makes me open to trading him for a safer high-level player.
Players to Acquire
Whit Merrifield (2B/OF, Kansas City Royals)
Merrifield has been one of baseball’s worst players this season, posting a .397 OPS that ranks as the second-lowest of any qualified player. But the speedster hasn’t played as poorly as his numbers suggest, as his walk rate, strikeout rate and batted ball tendencies are all in line with his career norms. In fact, Merrifield’s .258 xBA is just five points lower than his mark from last season.
Some Merrifield managers are very frustrated right now, creating an excellent buying opportunity for those who need steals, which is by far the hardest offensive stat to acquire in roto leagues.
Nelson Cruz (OF, Washington Nationals)
Things have become so bleak for Cruz that he was dropped in one of my 12-team leagues on Sunday. There is an easy case to be made when presenting a buy-low offer for the 41-year-old (who is dealing with back stiffness), which is that he’s too old to be effective any longer. But the truth is that Cruz is controlling the strike zone better than he did last season. And even though his batted ball tendencies are a bit worse this season, his .240 xBA and .319 xwOBA are not terrible marks in this offense-deprived environment.
I expect that major discounts on the veteran slugger will pay off in the long run.
Ryan Pressly (RP, Houston Astros)
Pressly has just three saves this season and has been on the IL in recent weeks with a knee injury. Some of his managers may have grown frustrated with the right-hander, who could have stretches this season where he'll be among the top closers in baseball. The Astros are a good team who can give Pressly plenty of save chances, and I fully expect him to return by the end of this week and resume being a top-10 closer.