What good is talent to a fantasy owner who lacks timing?
Fantasy baseball, just like the real thing, is a game of skill, luck and timing. That last trait in particular comes in handy in regard to trading.
Knowing which player to trade away and which to deal for—and knowing just the right time to do so—can make all the difference. It doesn't get much better than making a move to unload a hot flavor-of-the-month type who's about to cool off in exchange for a slumping stud about to take off.
If you want to check out last week's suggestions, look no further.
Now, speaking of timing, let's get to a batch of players to sell high and a group to buy low.
Michael Cuddyer, 1B/OF, Rockies
Fantasy Stats: .337 BA, 43 R, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 6 SB
Hey, have you heard that Cuddyer is in next week's Home Run Derby?
That's just the sort of selling point to help you peddle a guy who's having a career year at age 34.
The longtime vet is a fine player, but he's being propped up by baseball's fifth-highest BABIP at .374, per FanGraphs. Plus, Cuddyer's never hit north of .284, has only three seasons of 20-plus homers, has topped 81 RBI only twice—and he's been around for 13 seasons.
Cuddyer's on pace for for a .337 average, 26 homers and 91 RBI.
You do the math.
Raul Ibanez, OF, Mariners
Fantasy Stats: .253 BA, 36 R, 22 HR, 51 RBI, 0 SB
Fresh off his 41st birthday and his 22nd home run—seventh-most in baseball!—Ibanez has been one of baseball's biggest individual surprises. And after toiling with a batting average in the .220s and .230s for much of the year, he's raised that figure into the very respectable .250 range.
All the more reason to move him while all the numbers look as pretty as they do.
If you need a statistical push to make you feel better about marketing Ibanez, understand that he's got a career-worst 24.3 strikeout percentage and an unsustainably high 26.8 home run-to-fly ball ratio that is twice as high as his career rate of 13.5 percent.
You've certainly enjoyed what you've gotten out of Ibanez, though!
Adam Lind, 1B, Blue Jays
Fantasy Stats: .303 BA, 35 R, 11 HR, 34 RBI, 1 SB
Lind was dead to a lot of fantasy owners after posting a triple-slash of .246/.296/.428 in the three seasons following his 2009 breakout (.305/.370/.562).
But! People once again bought in—and let's be fair, benefited—as the 29-year-old hung a .348/.383/.607 line in May and June to go with 11 homers and 30 RBI in 49 games.
Lind has started to turn back into a pumpkin again, though. Over his past 10 games, from June 28 to July 10, the lefty has only seven hits in his last 36 at-bats (.194) with no homers and only three runs batted in.
Worse? He's whiffed 14 times (a 37 percent strikeout rate!) and walked but once.
It could be just a slump—or it could be something worse. Why should you wait around to find out when Lind's season stats should be enough to make him part of a package deal to get someone a little less Lind-y?
Kevin Gregg, RHP, Cubs
Fantasy Stats: 2 W, 15 SV, 1.78 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 9.8 K/9
It's tough to say who's enjoying Gregg's 2013 more—Gregg or the Cubs.
After all, it was Chicago who picked up the 35-year-old reliever off the scrap heap in April—after the season had started—then managed to sprinkle some of last year's leftover Fernando Rodney Dust on him to concoct an ideal trade chip for a rebuilding team.
That's the problem with Gregg, who's been so good for the Cubs, he has to be traded sometime this month. Of course, he could remain in the closer role and rack up even more saves with a better club...but he could just as easily be used as a setup option for a contender instead.
Plus, do you really have faith that a dude with a career 4.02 ERA and 1.37 WHIP is going to maintain those stats you see up above?
Jose Iglesias, SS/3B, Red Sox
Fantasy Stats: .387 BA, 25 R, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 2 SB
When the 23-year-old Iglesias was coming up as a prospect, he was known for being a stellar defender.
As a hitter? Let's just say he was a stellar defender.
Iglesias sported a .257/.307/.314 line over his four-year minor league career. That, folks, adds up to a .622 OPS.
What's especially weird is that his OPS in almost 120 at-bats this year at Triple-A, prior to getting called up to Boston, was all of .581.
So we're supposed to believe he's anything close to the .380-plus hitter he's been with the Red Sox? Nuh uh, no way, no how.
A quick glance at the BABIP—.437, second-highest to someone named Puig—and you should already have started sending out trade offers by now. Why aren't you sending out offers?!
Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Cubs
Fantasy Stats: 5 W, 4.06 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 9.3 K/9
Okay, so Samardzija's had it rough of late. He also wins about as often as a dog catches its tail, what with being a Cubbie and all. To wit, in the eight starts since he peaked with his first-ever complete game shutout back on May 27, the 28-year-old has a 5.79 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Yes, for realz.
There are a couple things to point out in that time frame, though. One, Samardzija's been brutally unlucky (.373 BABIP), and two, he's still striking out 8.4 per nine and walking a passable (for him) 3.5 per nine.
After Samardzija's 4.2-inning, nine-run disaster against the Angels on Wednesday, his owner may very well be fed up.
The wins will be few and far between, but there's potential for a turnaround here, especially if you need help in the K category.
Billy Butler, 1B, Royals
Fantasy Stats: .270 BA, 29 R, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 0 SB
Butler broke out in a big way last year, including career-highs in homers (29) and RBI (107), so owners expected even more—or at least a repeat—from the 27-year-old.
Butler is on pace for just 15 homers and 89 RBI, and worse still, he's not hitting anywhere near his usual .300ish average.
What's odd, though, is Butler isn't being bitten by the BABIP fairy (.310), nor is he displaying any downturn in his discipline. So maybe he's just been sucked into the vortex that has trapped other young Royals hitters.
Butler at least has shown some signs, with three homers over the past two weeks. It's small, but it's something, and perhaps with teammate Eric Hosmer heating up recently, Butler can do the same.
Consider this one a gut call.
Ian Kinsler, 2B, Rangers
Fantasy Stats: .287 BA, 39 R, 9 HR, 36 RBI, 4 SB
Kinsler falls into one of this spot's favorite categories: fantasy star whose stats are depressed because of injury.
He missed more time than expected—25 games, in fact—due to a rib cage injury, so no wonder Kinsler's numbers are down across the board.
He also hasn't exactly been good since returning June 15, with a .261/.358/.315 slash line. But Kinsler is still young enough at 31 to bounce back with a strong second half, and he did hit a homer Thursday.
As much as he's been injury-prone throughout his career, we're also, by the way, talking about a guy who has a pair of recent 30-30 seasons on his résumé (2009, 2011).
Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Rays
Fantasy Stats: 8 W, 4.67 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 7.4 K/9
Hellickson's ERA is still unsightly at 4.67, but that's primarily because of a really, really poor start.
Consider: Hellickson has made 19 starts, and through his first nine, the 26-year-old sported a 2-2 record, 5.82 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
But over his last 10, those same stats are 6-1, 3.63 and 1.11.
Hellickson is still prone to occasional blowups because he's always been homer-prone (1.1 per nine for his career). But he's a WHIP helper with wins potential, who is especially good at home.
In short, Hellickson is back on track, and you can get him cheap, even more so if his owner hasn't noticed.
Tim Hudson, RHP, Braves
Fantasy Stats: 6 W, 4.02 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 6.4 K/9
Hudson may be the poster boy for the unsexy starter in fantasy.
He's not young. He doesn't throw hard or get many strikeouts. And so far this season, he hasn't even been doing what he does best—win—all that much.
But the 37-year-old did get his sixth double-yoo Thursday against the Reds and now has a 2.32 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP over his past eight outings. Oddly, he's only won twice now since May 5.
If he keeps throwing like this, though, that'll change.
Hudson's not a guy to get as the main target in a mixed league, but he's a fine secondary piece that you can tell your fellow owner you "wouldn't mind taking."