The month of June is a prime time to make fantasy baseball trades. At this point in the season, it is much easier to determine where your team is strong, where your squad is weak and typically owners are open to making moves as they fret about falling too far behind in the standings.
Many people avoid trading for fear of turning a team with a broken ankle into a terminal patient attached to an iron lung. But only a very few people can draft a championship-caliber team from preseason information. It is about as easy as correctly choosing all the correct winners in your office’s March Madness pool.
So, change is good. Change is actually vital to most teams, and the following players should be high on each squad’s trading targets list.
OK … the owner of Chase Utley in your respective leagues isn’t likely to jump ship just yet. Utley was solid to start the season. However, he recently went 4-for-35 on a nine-game road trip and has posted a well-below-normal .241 batting average in the past month. During that same time period, he has gone yard just twice. Of course, Utley will turn it around sooner rather than later, and certain owners will likely balk on dealing the second baseman, but it is worth at least a feeler or two.
I have never been a huge fan of Dustin Pedroia … perhaps it is the Yankees fan in me. However, there is little doubt that Pedroia is producing well below what many expected out of him. Just one home run in a month’s worth of play? A .221 batting average? A pathetic six RBI over that stretch? Like Utley, Pedroia started the season on a tear, and his current funk may just be the second half of his bell curve, but at least gauge the potential tradeability of him in your leagues.
One trip to the DL in a season is bad enough. Two trips in two-plus months of action? Enough to wear the patience thin of respective fantasy owners. So, while Nelson Cruz is again nursing a sore hammy on the DL, he could be attained for less than previous market value. We know he can bop it big and could fuel a nice power surge on your respective squads … if the other owner is ready to jump ship.
Another power option that has struggled this season is Carlos Pena. The first baseman has failed to produce big numbers from the plate, ranking 1,204 among all fantasy options over the past month in overall production. If you can get him cheap enough … like for a stick of gum or a lower-level player who’s currently playing over his head, than take a chance that Pena turns things around.
Three of Yahoo’s top seven starting pitchers heading into the season have an ERA of more than 5.00 in the past month. Two of the three (Tim Lincecum and Zack Greinke) are not striking out batters with as much authority as we are used do. The other, Dan Haren, whiffed 42 batters in the past 42 innings of work, but has just two wins and a 5.14 ERA to show for it. All three are guys will be fine as the season progresses. All three merit at least a feeler offer, although it is possible Haren could be the best bet of the three to land … and since no one can continue to sit down batters as well as he has without the ERA and wins to slowly come around.
Those three hurlers too lucrative? How about Wandy Rodriguez? A 6.46 ERA over the past month is enough to scare the most courageous of fantasy owners. However, in his last outing, Rodriguez looked like he may be turning the corner. He struck out eight in five innings of work and handled two bases-loaded threats with resiliency. If the other owner shares the same optimism about Wandy’s last outing, remind them it came against the Nationals. I’d still make a play for him … as long as you don’t give up the farm for him.
Francisco Liriano was highly touted prior to the season by we Chinstrap Ninjas, and here we go tooting his horn again. Owners are a little annoyed at his 5.46 ERA over the past month. However, we didn’t say Liriano would post the lowest ERA in the league this year, but were in awe of his comeback ability in the strikeouts department. In the past month, he has fanned 30 batters in just under 30 innings. The ERA will slowly diminish moving forward. Like Rodriguez, he has been unlucky.
Manuel Corpas recently blew a save and hasn’t exactly been lights-out as he carries the closer mantel in Colorado. But I’m not calling him a buy-low guy right now. Instead, look ahead to Huston Street, who is inching closer to a return to the bigs, and shouldn’t have any trouble supplanting Corpas as the Rockies’ end-game option.
Who are your buy-low candidates at this point of the season? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.