You might have the wrong idea about selling high.
Wanting to move one of your players at the height of his value isn't a damning indictment that he's playing over his head—just that right now, you might be able to get more in return for him than you ever will again.
A lot of the players on this list will have adequate to awesome seasons this year, but in fantasy baseball, you can always do better. Instead of hanging onto who you have through better or worse, why not just take the better and let someone else deal with the rest?
(Tell me that isn't a deal you'd like to translate to another aspect of your everyday life.)
There's something eerily familiar about Andre Ethier's season so far.
He's belted six homers with 28 RBI and has reached base in all but a few of the games he's started for the Dodgers. But he jumped out to a similarly terrific start last season. And in 2010. And 2009.
Granted, all but 2011 were still pretty great seasons for him. He traded the 30/100 power from 2009 for a slightly better average in 2010 (bum knees ruined last year), but either way, Ethier is a fast starter.
I'm not saying he can't keep up his current 35-homer pace, but I am saying he won't keep up the 162-RBI one. And that means he likely won't have a better month this season than he's already had.
Residual fantasy gold dust scattered by Matt Kemp has increased the name brand of all Dodgers players. If I'm looking to move Ethier, I'd look for someone comparable who's bound for a different trajectory—like Giancarlo Stanton or Andrew McCutchen.
The name Jason Hammel on its own likely won't evoke all that many feelings in prospective trade partners.
That's because most trade partners will likely have to look up who Jason Hammel is.
However, packaged with someone with a little more star power, Hammel's stats make him look downright intriguing. He's 4-1 in six starts with 38 Ks in 38 innings and incredible ratios on an upstart Orioles squad shocking the AL East.
Still, of all this season's top-10 starters, Hammel is the least likely to remain there—a fact that could be lost on anyone who doesn't realize Hammel bounced in and out of the bullpen for the Rockies last year and has never had an ERA better than 4.33.
Is this the guy? The guy Pittsburgh took second overall in the 2008 draft? The former all-world prospect saddled with carrying the power numbers of the soon-to-be-imposing Pirates?
To fans outside Pittsburgh last season, Pedro Alvarez was largely viewed as a disappointment; to fans at PNC Park, he was a borderline disaster. He hit just .191 when he wasn't hurt or demoted, and he ignored the Pirates' wishes for him to play winter ball.
Now, seven homers and 15 RBI have him finally hitting in the four-spot, but even the most optimistic yinzer would have trouble believing he'll finish the year with 40-plus dings. The time to sell is when the stock is still rising, and you could come out with someone a little steadier like Michael Young or even Alex Rodriguez.
Selling Jed Lowrie is difficult for the same reason Jason Hammel is: He isn't exactly a household name.
But those aware of him probably know Lowrie is a former prized Red Sox prospect with mid-level pop for a shortstop. Now, with a full-time job in Houston, he's delivering PR-pace across the board with a .338 average, four home runs and 12 RBI. But those really aware of Lowrie probably also know he jumped out to a similarly surreal start last season: He had three homers and 12 RBI through just 44 at-bats.
He lost two months to a shoulder injury, but he had quickly fallen apart prior to that. At the moment, he looks like a poor man's Troy Tulowitzki, and that's definitely an appealing commodity.
You can't predict injuries, but it's just about a foregone conclusion that Jake Peavy will wind up hurt—that is, if you look at the past three years.
The former Cy Young winner is currently shocking the AL with minuscule ratios and 39 Ks in 45 innings pitched, and even going the distance in two out of his last three starts.
It's a feel-good story at the minute, but even those tend to have tense moments down the plot.
Peavy has that reputation as a 200-plus strikeout artist, but his velocity is down from his Padres days. Still, his numbers have him right up there alongside upside-heavy upstarts like Gio Gonzalez and Madison Bumgarner—both of whom I'd jump on for Jake.
We very well might all be Kipnises, but I personally don't want to wait around to see.
There's nothing about the minor league stats of Jason Kipnis to suggest he isn't capable of his current clip: a batting average of .300 with four home runs and six steals. After all, he's been one of the Indians' top prospects (if not the top prospect) for the past two years, and he's looking a lot like a legitimate 20-20 threat.
But this is a guy with just about 60 games under his belt, and he's bound to slow down at least to a human second base level. At this point, there are really only about two or three guys I'd rather have at his position, but that doesn't mean you can't try to bump up to Ian Kinsler with the right package.
Not only is he captain of the Yankees, he's finally hitting like it again. Derek Jeter leads the majors in batting average with a crazy .397, and he leads all shortstops in runs. Every hit is history for Mr. 3,000, and he's playing like he's 27 (and not 37).
But it's unlikely he tops 20 home runs for the first time since 2004, and the fact that he already has five means he's gonna scatter no more than 15 over the next five months. And don't forget that this is something of an unexpected output from him. His history (both dating and otherwise) makes him look far more attractive than he is, and the average could realistically drop up to 100 points after a slump.
Once you trend on Twitter, you're probably at your all-time high. Or, actually, it's probably more likely that you're at your all-time low. Either way, people are talking about you, and that makes you a magnet.
Now that everyone's calling Josh Hamilton the new Mickey Mantle and Bryce Harper the new Josh Hamilton, it's easy to obscure fantasy value behind reality hype. It's true that Harper is electric. He did just steal home against Cole Hamels. But even Roy Hobbs had issues.
Harper hasn't homered yet, so there's no real benchmark for where he could end up (consensus predictions have him at about 15 to 20 this year), and he's batting a very average .261.
There's definitely a chance Harper ends up an All-Star and Rookie of the Year in 2012, but his raw fantasy numbers probably won't be anywhere as large as his name. I just saw someone trade Albert Pujols for Harper—and I'd still rather have Pujols.
This year, at least.
David Robertson might not be owned in your league, but that will probably change any day now.
The second Mariano Rivera went down shagging that fly ball, crude fantasy owners jumped to the free-agent list for his understudy. Robertson, his otherworldly 0.00 ERA and 21 Ks in 12 innings make him the most likely replacement—but that's if professional baseball teams were managed by fantasy owners.
In actual baseball, managers like Joe Girardi tend to be more reluctant about labels than a cute 20-year-old art history major. Girardi has already said he'll also turn to Rafael Soriano in the ninth, depending on the situation and workloads.
But there are those who don't believe that will always be the case. (These are the same guys who drafted Kenley Jansen and Aroldis Chapman for when they eventually get promoted.) There's probably no closer with more upside than Robertson right now, but that's mostly because his role and influence haven't yet been defined.
He could end up the No. 1 closer at the end of the year, but I'd much rather take my chance on a guy assured to have a job in two months like Jonathan Papelbon.
Nobody's going to argue that David Ortiz is scary right now.
After four seasons of subpar slugging (mostly because he set the bar so high for himself), the Artist Formerly Known as Papi is hitting .365 with six homers and 22 RBI. He's top-three in the AL in OPS and OBP and looking like he thinks it's six years ago.
And the scariest part of all: He usually takes a month or two to warm up.
Although it seems like it, Ortiz probably won't hit 40 home runs again (he hasn't since 2006). But you don't need to bring up that 30 is a much more attainable mark to your trade partner. In the right situation, you could come away with anyone up to Ryan Braun.
Also, I'm not 100 percent convinced Ortiz isn't a cyborg sent from the future and conflicted by the role he'll play in the future of mankind. And I bet the MLBPA frowns on that.