September 20, 2023

The reason to part out two mighty Rangers

This week’s series of fantasy trading tips focuses on hitters, especially those who need to be traded away. Many fantasy managers take a wrong approach to trade negotiations by centering their process around a particular player they want to acquire. This is a bad strategy, as there are plenty of players who can provide valuable stats in the coming months. The biggest aspect of trading is often figuring out which players you need to delete from your team.

Determining when to sell a player high and when to stay with someone for the long haul can be the difference between a good season or a great one. And there are times when it makes sense to sell a player low, get something of value rather than see the player fall even further in the coming weeks.

Players to acquire

Kyle Schwarber (OR, Philadelphia Phillies)

Schwarber was ridiculously unlucky in May, passing a .068 BABIP despite a reasonable quality of contact. There’s nothing wrong with the slugger’s power stroke, as he’s on track to finish the year with a mid-30 home run total. It’s his .166 average that creates the buy-low opportunity, but his .217 xBA via Statcast is reason enough to believe that better days are ahead.

Michael Harris II (OR, Atlanta Braves)

Harris is arguably the biggest bust among early round players, and in leagues where he hasn’t been dropped, he can be available for a very small return. The buy-low reasoning is easy to slip into a trade offer – the 22-year-old wasn’t ready for continued major league success and has come back down to earth now that opposing pitchers are more knowledgeable about him. But there was a luck component to his struggles as he handled a .218 BABIP this year with a .207 mark in May.

Players to trade away

Adolis Garcia (OR, Texas Rangers)

Garcia is a top-5 fantasy asset this year and should provide a great trading return. After all, he leads the majors in RBIs and ranks fourth in runs scored. The 30-year-old has benefited greatly from being a member of the highest scoring lineup in baseball, while Texas has enjoyed second-highest team BABIP (.324). The Rangers have a solid lineup, but they are at least 50 runs ahead of every team except the Rays and Dodgers, and the club is unlikely to sustain that level of production. I expect Garcia to be an excellent signing going forward, but he should not be appreciated as a first or second round player.

Marcus Semien (2B, Texas Rangers)

The rationale for trading Semien is similar to Garcia’s – he benefited greatly from being part of an over-performing Rangers lineup. The 32-year-old has also enjoyed a .328 BABIP, which is his highest mark since his rookie year in 2013. Statcast currently awards Semien a .259 xBA, which is nearly 40 points off his actual mark and a .406 xSLG which varies from his actual SLG by 80 points. Those who can get a first-round return based on Semien being fourth in the current Yahoo player rankings should take the deal.

Brandon Marsh (OR, Philadelphia Phillies)

I profiled Marsh in April as a high sales candidate, citing his extreme fortune as the reason for leaving him. A month later, not much has changed. Marsh still has one of the highest BABIP scores in baseball (.396) and vastly outperformed his expected stats on Statcast. And even with all this luck, he was still a poor fantasy performer in May (1 HR, 2 SB, .191 BA). This may be the last chance to get hold of something of value to him.

James Outman (OR, Los Angeles Dodgers)

My apologies to those who don’t like a good pun, but Outman has lived up to its name lately. The rookie hit just .165 in May while showing minimal power (0 HR) and speed (2 SB). His success rate has risen to a worrying level, and major league pitchers may have gotten into Outman that he needs extra time in the minors. Although I wouldn’t to give the 26-year-old away in 12-team leagues, I’d trade him for anyone I can imagine staying on my roster all summer.

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