Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Sell High' Fantasy Trade Options

Eric MatulaContributor IIMay 28, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Sell High' Fantasy Trade Options

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    Playing fantasy baseball is much like playing the stock market. I have limited Wall Street knowledge, but I do know the expression, "Buy low, sell high."

    The same thing can be said for your fantasy players.

    You want to ride a player who is hot for as long as possible. Ride that train all the way to the top and then ship him away.

    Here's a list of 10 players who are on fire right now but could be in for a regression pretty soon.

Brandon Beachy, SP, Atlanta Braves

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    2012 stats: 66 IP, 5-3, 51 K, 1.77 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

    Brandon Beachy has been great to start off the 2012 season, but his numbers might be a little misleading right now.

    His 1.77 ERA is very good, but there are some other underlying stats that need your attention.

    For one, his xFIP is 3.90. This suggests that he's not pitching nearly as well as his ERA implies. Secondly, his left-on-base percentage is nearly five percent higher than last year. Base runners are getting on, but he's finding a way to strand them for the time being.

    Lastly, his batting average on balls in play is almost 100 points lower than last season. His BABIP is .209, and the Braves defense isn't exactly the greatest. That number should definitely increase.

    You can use Beachy as valuable trade bait right now. Don't be afraid to pull the trigger.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers

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    2012 stats: .271 BA, 29 R, 6 HR, 33 RBI, .753 OPS

    On May 16, Nelson Cruz was hitting .216. Now, he's all the way up to .271. It's time to sell high on Cruz.

    Cruz is capable of being an MVP when he's healthy, but he's never been able to stay healthy in his MLB career. He hasn't spent time on the DL yet this season, which means he's due pretty soon.

    Get rid of Cruz right now while he's hitting. Most people will overpay for him. He's mashing right now, and they'll remember the postseason he had last year.

    Cruz will either cool off or get injured.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins

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    2012 stats: .292 BA, 28 R, 11 HR, 34 RBI, .928 OPS

    After hitting one home run in his first 21 games, Giancarlo Stanton has now smashed 10 homers in his last 26 games.

    The power numbers aren't a fluke, as the kid can flat-out mash. But what is a fluke is his .292 batting average.

    Over the last week, Stanton has arguably been the best fantasy hitter. He's hit .393 with three home runs and 10 RBI.

    Stanton's batting average on balls in play is around 30 points higher than last season, meaning his average will eventually drop closer to .260. Also, he's streaky with the long ball. He'll have a month with 10 home runs, but then he'll finish with three in another.

    Save yourself the frustration. Cash in on Stanton now.

Andy Pettitte, SP, New York Yankees

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    2012 stats: 21.1 IP, 2-1, 19 K, 2.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

    Andy Pettitte looks like he hasn't missed a beat since rejoining the New York Yankees.

    But, he hasn't exactly faced playoff-quality teams so far, other than the Reds. He gave up four runs to the Mariners at home and then pitched very well against the Royals at home.

    In fact, he hasn't made a road start yet. That's something to keep in mind.

    Also, his K/9 rate is the second best it's been in his career. It's at 8.02, and his career high is 8.57, done in 2004 with the Astros. Furthermore, his FIP is 4.36, which is almost two runs higher than his ERA.

    The biggest red flag: His left-on-base percentage is 97.7 percent. That's absurd. That's obviously going to come down, which means his ERA will increase.

    I like Pettitte. I think he's a pretty good play, but you can use his hot start to your advantage right now. Perhaps the big Yankees fan in your league will overpay for him.

Jonathan Lucroy, C, Milwaukee Brewers

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    2012 stats: .345 BA, 17 R, 5 HR, 30 RBI, .976 OPS

    Jonathan Lucroy is absolutely on fire this month. He's hitting .393 with 22 RBI in May.

    Lucroy raking in May sounds all too familiar. He did the same thing last year, hitting .298 with five homers and 20 RBI in May last season. He then limped to the finish line, hitting .256 in August and then .188 in September.

    Catcher is a pretty shallow position, so if you own Lucroy, there' s a good chance you were pretty desperate. I'd try to pawn Lucroy off on someone else.

    If you can get a more proven catcher, then you need to do it.

Jim Johnson, RP, Baltimore Orioles

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    2012 stats: 20.2 IP, 16-for-16 in saves, 14 K, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP

    Jim Johnson has been one of the biggest surprises in the MLB so far. He hasn't blown a save, and he's been pretty close to flawless the entire season.

    But that could change.

    His 0.87 ERA is amazing, but his 3.77 FIP means he's getting pretty lucky. I'd expect that ERA to climb up pretty soon.

    Also, his left-on-base percentage is 100 percent. He's given up two runs and both of them were via the long ball. You have to figure that, eventually, the baserunners who get on will score.

    Johnson is not Superman. He had six blown saves in 2009, five in '10 and five more in '11. He'll come back down to Earth soon.

Carlos Ruiz, C, Philadelphia Phillies

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    2012 stats: .362 BA, 23 R, 7 HR, 29 RBI, 1.004 OPS

    Carlos Ruiz has been one of the Phillies' lone consistent offensive bright spots so far.

    He's hitting well above .300 and has already hit more home runs than all of last year. In fact, he's only two away from his career-high home run mark, which he set back in 2009.

    Chooch has been a good story, but don't be surprised if it comes to an end rather quickly. Ruiz's career home run/fly ball rate is seven percent. His mark this year? 18.9 percent.

    Ruiz's career batting average on balls in play is .292. He's at .361 so far.

    His numbers are way beyond his career averages. I'm not saying it's impossible for history to stop repeating itself; it's just not very likely that Chooch will continue this dominance.

Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals

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    2012 stats: 61.2 IP, 7-1, 79 K, 2.04 ERA, 0.94 WHIP

    Gio Gonzalez is pitching like a changed man. The talent has always been there, but his WHIP was always way out of control.

    That hasn't been the case this season.

    Gonzalez's career WHIP is 1.37, but he's been able to shave that down to 0.94 so far this year. That's been a huge part of his success, but I don't think he can keep that rate up. So, an inflated WHIP will inflate his ERA.

    Also, Gonzalez put up very good numbers before the All-Star break last year. He was 8-6 with a 2.47 ERA. But he struggled in the second half, posting a 3.94 ERA.

    That ERA won't kill you, but Gonzalez's stock is at its highest right now. You should be able to get a lot of valuable pieces for him.

Melky Cabrera, OF, San Francisco Giants

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    2012 stats: .369 BA, 36 R, 9 HR, 25 RBI, .968 OPS

    He's doing it again. After a solid 2011 campaign, Melky Cabrera is putting up great numbers this season.

    He's been good the entire year, but he's especially hot right now. He's hitting .412 with two homers, 11 RBI and four steals in the last week.

    Call me crazy, but I'm not completely sold on Cabrera. I cannot stop thinking about his 2010 season, when he hit .255 with four home runs and seven stolen bases. I don't think Cabrera will have a regression like that, but I don't see him maintaining anything close to his current run.

    Cabrera's stock is red-hot right now. You should be able to trade him for someone more reliable. 

Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

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    2012 stats: .287 BA, 20 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .901 OPS

    Bryce Harper has belted two home runs in his last seven games. During that span, he's also hitting .435 with a 1.302 OPS.

    Harper is one of the most hyped prospects in MLB history, and you can use this to your advantage. There will be a lot of owners wanting to grab him.

    Don't be afraid to let him go.

    His batting average on balls in play is .316 right now, and that will most likely settle around .290. The drop in BABIP will cause the average to go from .287 to something closer to .260.

    Harper will probably finish 2012 with a 15/15 season, which is very good for a rookie, let alone for a 19-year-old.

    With that said, you can significantly overprice Harper and use this hot streak to your benefit. Sell high on Harper now, and collect the rewards for later in the season (unless you're in a keeper league; I'd recommend holding on to the kid in that scenario).