Fantasy Baseball: 10 Latest 'Sell High' Fantasy Trade Options
That's the thing about fantasy baseball: you can't really enjoy the small victories. Or, at least, you shouldn't.
If you're an especially savvy owner, you don't have the luxury of kicking back when a player hits a hot streak. Instead, you probably need to see it as an opportunity to flip that player for potential profit.
I'm not saying the players on this list can't keep up their current numbers or that they're headed for certain regression. Tyler Colvin? That guy above? I really like him. But not enough to keep me from seeing if there's someone better he can bring me.
Here are 10 guys who are at a personal high point but who might not stay there much longer.
10. Chipper Jones
You know who doesn't love Chipper Jones right now? Communists.
Not only is this year more or less a victory lap for the soon-to-be-retired Braves legend, he's coming off a lot of positive press thanks to All-Star Game coverage that portrayed him a little like an amalgamation of Lou Gehrig and Jake Taylor from Major League. And while it'd be easy to assume Jones is coasting downhill, he's actually been pretty productive, hitting .313 with seven home runs and 34 RBI.
But while Jones is 40, his knees are closer to 73.
He's no sure thing to start (especially after long trips), and although he shows flashes of his former self, he's still only on pace for 13 homers and 63 RBI. Use his recent hot streak (.419 in July) to grab someone at the other end of the spectrum.
9. Tyler Colvin
There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to Tyler Colvin.
On one hand, you can believe. This is the same kid who took a jagged bat to the chest in 2010. Although he hasn't really had a steady gig in the Rockies lineup, Colvin has still managed a .301 average with 13 homers and 40 RBI.
And now that he's taking over in right field while Michael Cuddyer fills in at first for injured Todd Helton, you could naturally believe Colvin is bound to continue breaking out (he has 10 home runs and 27 RBI just since June started) and benefit from the thin mile-high air. And since he's shown he can homer outside Colorado, that could be true.
But on the other hand, if you aren't completely sold on him, you're having a hard time looking past his .236 career average or think he still needs work on lefties, there likely won't be a better time to sell.
8. Kevin Youkilis
As long as you don't play in a fantasy league with Bobby Valentine, there's a solid chance someone out there is interested in Kevin Youkilis.
After exchanging red socks for white ones, Youk is like a new man—well, more like a new version of his 2009 self. During 42 games with Boston this season, Youkilis hit just .233 with four homers and 14 RBI. In about a third of the time with Chicago, he's basically topped that by hitting .316 with three homers and 15 RBI.
Is it possible he really just needed the fresh scenery and more access to deep dish pizza? Definitely. Youk is a career .287 hitter and a grinder. But unless he really has become an entirely new person, his 41-point output in Week 15 will most likely be out of line with the rest of the weeks when he should be happy with 25.
7. Melky Cabrera
I don't know, maybe it's just me. But it sure seems unlikely that Melky Cabrera will be worth as much as he is this minute.
Another guy who's been getting a lot of compliments from commentators during the past week (due largely to his All-Star Game MVP status), Cabrera has undoubtedly been one of the best surprises of the season. After all, it isn't just luck that he's still batting .353 this deep in July, and he's currently in the middle of his second-best month on the year (.371).
But Cabrera's stats got some heavy padding thanks to his ridiculous May (.429 with 17 RBI), and he's historically been a little better in the first half. Of course, maybe the book on Cabrera (the player who was traded from the Yankees, dropped by Braves then traded by the Royals) is out the window. After all, he's only 27. But if you're looking for the maximum potential profit for Cabrera, you probably don't want to wait for the month he decides to hit closer to his normal .283.
6. Jhonny Peralta
If you withstood Jhonny Peralta's uninspiring first half, you might be shocked to hear that the man with the poorly spelled name has been the second-best fantasy shortstop since the break.
But it's true. In fact, in July, Peralta is hitting .313 (his previous best month average was .299) with two home runs—and those two homers are two more than he hit in every other month except May (when he hit four).
While Peralta used to average a home run in about every 26 at bats during his previous year-and-a-half with Detroit, he's averaging one in a much less impressive 46 this year. A notoriously streaky hitter, there's no safer time to unload Peralta than when he looks like he's finally figured things out.
5. Jake Peavy
If you're nostalgic for 2007, seeing Jake Peavy's name at the top of fantasy leader boards has to be as sweet as watching Spider-Man 3 again. Largely written off after a few injury-plagued years, Peavy has been proving conventional thinkers wrong with his best year since he was a Cy Young contender with the Padres.
Although he's just 7-6, Peavy owns a sparkling 3.12 ERA and 1.04 WHIP—both top 10 in the AL. And even though he's already got 113 Ks, his K/9 of 8.01 is still lower than his 8.78 lifetime average.
But there are tangible reasons to worry about him. Peavy is on pace to pitch 190 innings—his most in five years and that's only if the 31-year-old stays healthy. His ground ball to fly ball ratio of 0.56 is also the lowest of his career—and that can be a problem at cozy U.S. Cellular Field.
While there's a chance Peavy stays on pace all season, there's nearly as much chance he shows he's human.
4. Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Soriano wasn't going to hit 1.000 over the second half, but for a minute there, it looked like he might.
He was 4-for-4 in the Cubs' first game back after the break, and that included two homers. Considering Soriano had already been somewhat of a revelation with 15 homers and 48 RBI before that day, optimistic fantasy owners might be entertaining the notion that Soriano is back to his 40-homer heyday.
While he's definitely been rejuvenated as a vital cog in the Cubs machine, there's no certainty he won't be moved into a different situation with a new team and a whole new potential set of factors that could affect his already temperamental tendencies.
Prone to just as many statistical peaks and valleys as anyone this side of Adam Dunn, Soriano has five weeks of 20+-point fantasy production this year and 13 or fewer in all the rest.
3. Francisco Liriano
Francisco Liriano is the arch-enemy of two things: himself and your sanity. And he hasn't even really been all that bad.
He's only 3-8, but his 4.93 ERA is better than it's been in two of the past four years. Throw in 97 Ks and you've got a starter who could be of help. But the problem is that we believe Liriano is capable of so much more. It's a curse he saddles himself with when he does something like strike out a career-high 15 batters like he did against Oakland on Friday.
But that's precisely why it's one of the fleeting times during each season when Liriano is a movable option. It's not that he's due to do a whole lot worse—it's that he doesn't always look this good.
2. Justin Ruggiano
You might be saying to yourself, "I have no idea who this guy is." If so, don't worry: it's a question everyone has had to ask during the past few weeks.
Justin Ruggiano—the replacement in right field while Giancarlo Stanton repairs his knee—has been the hottest hitter on the Marlins for a month. Seemingly a minor league lifer, Ruggiano has taken his role and run. He's hitting a ludicrous .382 with six home runs, six steals and 17 RBI—most of which came in three games earlier this month.
Can it last? Maybe. But not like this. He was good in the minors (.296 career average) and especially before his latest call-up when he smacked .325 and five homers with AAA Houston. But Stanton will be back in a month and Ruggiano will have regressed to the mean by then.
1. Ryan Dempster
There's a good chance everything about Ryan Dempster will be outdated by the time you read this.
He's all but certain to be traded by the Cubs, and very possibly has already played his final game with the team. In a lot of ways, this sounds like great news for Dempster and his 33-inning scoreless streak. Maybe R.A. Dickey already satisfied the need for a bearded NL pitcher in blue, but Dempster—who leads the majors with his 1.86 ERA—probably deserved more recognition than he's gotten.
But let's try to be real here. It's not like he hasn't been on the scene for a while. Dempster's career ERA is 4.30 and he'd never finished a season better than 2.96 (but usually much closer to 4.0). His all-time low BB/9 of 2.30 seems bound to rise and his 75 Ks are down from last year's pace.
True, when he puts on a new uniform his chances to bring you wins will certainly increase. But he might not take that ERA with him. If Dempster goes to a real contender like, say, the Dodgers, I'd definitely try to cash in on his new-found hype. But even if he doesn't, your window to sell is currently open.
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