Have you been waiting for enough of the season to pass before taking a hard look at your league's standings? Maybe you've merely been thinking about making trades rather than, you know, actually making trades.Here's hoping you're rested and ready after the long weekend, because now's the time to spring
Have you been waiting for enough of the season to pass before taking a hard look at your league's standings? Maybe you've merely been thinking about making trades rather than, you know, actually making trades.
Here's hoping you're rested and ready after the long weekend, because now's the time to spring into trans-action, baby. June is just around the corner, summer starts soon and small sample sizes -- well, they aren't so small anymore.
So get a jump on the rest of the season by trading for a buy-low candidate ... or five. (All stats entering action Monday).
Trea Turner, 2B/SS/OF, Nationals
Back in March, few players had more hype surrounding them than Turner, the do-it-all youngster coming off a ridiculous rookie half-season (.342 average, 53 runs, 13 homers, 40 RBIs, 33 steals in 73 games) who was primed to hit at the top of a dynamic Nationals lineup.
So far? Meh. The owner who drafted the 23-year-old has to be underwhelmed by Turner's stats through 39 games (.248 average, 28 runs, five homers, 23 RBIs, 11 steals), particularly his batting average, even when factoring in an early-season strained right hamstring that resulted in a DL stint. Then again, expecting Turner to come anywhere close to last season's projected pace probably was foolhardy from the get-go. He did, after all, own a mere 4.3 percent walk rate in 2016.
Well, the walk rate actually is down so far this year (3.5 percent), which is something to mention in trade talks. The thing is, Turner has one of the rare fantasy skill sets around, given his coveted pop-speed combo and eligibility at three key positions. Besides, his .290 BABIP should be much higher with his elite wheels, and he continues to maintain his perch hitting ahead of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Zimmerman.
Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder, Rockies
It's hard to believe that the Rockies have started so hot -- best record in the National League -- while getting so little from Gonzalez. How little? A .244 average, four homers, 17 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
So what gives? Well, for one thing, while his .291 BABIP isn't necessarily low, it is low for him (.334 career mark). So is his 9.3 percent HR/FB rate, which is barely half his 18.9 percent career mark. On the plus side, the 31-year-old's plate-discipline indicators and batted-ball profile look to be in line with his usual performance.
If you're still uneasy about going after Gonzalez due to his lack of production to this point, take comfort in the fact that these were his fantasy stats on June 1 back in 2015: .219 average, 20 runs, four homers, 13 RBIs. He's been here before, and he wound up hitting .292 with 67 runs, 36 home runs and 84 RBIs the rest of the way.
Don't go counting on that from here on out, but it should at least give you some added incentive to make a low-ball offer for the underperforming yet streaky CarGo. When in doubt, Coors Field wins out, and Gonzalez -- sporting a cool .996 career OPS at the park -- is not going to hold a .688 OPS there all year long.
Adrian Beltre, third baseman, Rangers
Hey, remember this guy? Beltre has been battling a strained right calf since Spring Training, and he has yet to play a regular-season game. There's a good chance his current owner has forgotten about or mentally moved on from this fantasy stalwart. That presents a buying opportunity.
You'll have to act quickly, though, since Beltre finally is getting close to returning. You'll want to remind your trade partner that this is a 38-year-old who has had a couple of setbacks with this same injury already. That and a hot-hitting corner infielder like Yonder Alonso, Justin Bour or Logan Morrison might be enough to land Beltre.
And in case you're the one who's forgotten just how consistently great Beltre has been in recent years, the future Hall of Famer's average slash stats since 2010 are .310/.359/.521 (.300/.358/.521 in 2016).
Jason Kipnis, second baseman, Indians
Although he's one of the more unpredictable, streaky fantasy performers around, Kipnis has typically ended up posting starter-worthy stats in some form or another. Some years, that comes with a strong average; other seasons, he helps in homers; and his runs-scored and stolen-base numbers tend to be above-average.
This season, however, the 30-year-old's overall production (.242 average, 13 runs, five homers, 19 RBIs, two steals) has been depressed in part by a right shoulder injury that sidelined him for the first three weeks.
Since returning to the leadoff spot on May 14, though, Kipnis has hit .351 with eight runs, 13 RBIs and all five of his homers. That's over just the past 13 games, by the way.
If you present Kipnis' owner with a proposal while the keystone man's season-long stats remain unimpressive, you may come away with a sneaky-good starting second-sacker.
Kyle Schwarber, outfielder, Cubs
After Schwarber's impressive 2015 rookie campaign and miraculous return in the World Series last October from an early-season knee injury, this is not at all how his owner expected things to go -- especially after Schwarber was anointed the Cubs' leadoff hitter to open the season.
A .177 average? That's in the bottom five in all of baseball. And it's not as if Schwarber's 21 runs, seven home runs and 19 RBIs have helped much, either.
Not to mention, he's now dropped out of the top spot in the lineup and, worse yet, fallen into a platoon of sorts in the wake of Jason Heyward's return from injury and rookie sensation Ian Happ's arrival. The once-prized slugger's stock has dropped dramatically.
There's enough concern here -- what with the crowded outfield situation and Schwarber's overall struggles, especially against left-handed pitching (.559 OPS) -- that you should not be paying more than, say, half-price to try to acquire Schwarber. But you shouldn't need to.
Consider this more of a fingers-crossed situation, where you buy as low as possible and hope for enough of a turnaround that Schwarber can become fantasy relevant again. Signs that things could get better? For starters, look at his unsustainably low .218 BABIP (bottom 10 in MLB) and encouraging .345 expected wOBA, according to Statcast™.
Jason Catania is a fantasy writer for MLB.com.