Each week this space identifies players to target for trade and those who could be shuttled away before their fantasy baseball value takes a dip. But there is one huge part of trade strategy that is specific to every league and therefore can’t be quantified in these articles.
Managers need to read the other managers in their leagues. There are several types of managers who are ripe for specific types of trade offers. And I can’t figure out who they are for you. The only way to come to these conclusions is to be active on the trade market throughout the season and maintain mental notes on the tendencies of your competitors. Here are some common types of managers:
The reactionary manager: This manager is the perfect target for a buy-low or sell-high offer. They struggle to put the long MLB season into perspective, which causes them to constantly overrate the recent successes and failures of certain players. For example, this is the manager who would overpay for Jon Berti (18 June steals) right now.
The draft-day manager: The opposite of the reactionary manager is the person who stays married to draft-day values for far too long. This manager doesn’t put enough weight into the fact that things change every year. This is the manager to target if you’re trying to trade Juan Soto, as they likely still value the Nats slugger as a top-5 player. They might be right — maybe Soto will pick things up this summer. But he has barely been a top-100 player so far.
The one-category manager: There are managers in every league who get swept away with players who contribute greatly in one category. This manager will overlook holes in a player’s category production in order to get someone who has an eye-popping total in one area. They are prone to overpaying for someone such as Berti, Kyle Schwarber (21 homers) or Dylan Cease (121 strikeouts).
The power manager: I have played alongside many fantasy managers who get extra excited about players who rack up plenty of dingers. I can see the infatuation, as homers help in multiple categories and are prominently displayed in highlight packages. But those who go too far in search of sluggers are likely to overpay for players such as Schwarber, Pete Alonso (22 homers) or Christian Walker (19 homers).
The prospect manager: Every league has a couple managers who overvalue prospects and rookies. The hype train speeds out of control on these players, and these managers are the first to get on board and the last to get off. They are primed to overpay for Oneil Cruz right now on the trade market. They tend to remember only the success stories such as Julio Rodriguez but conveniently forget the tales of players such as Jarred Kelenic, who have been big disappointments.
The job is now yours to figure out which managers in your league fit each description. You will find your clues in the trades they make and also in the words they choose during trade talks. With the remaining space this week, I’ll cover a trio of players who could be acquired right now.
Players to acquire
Giancarlo Stanton (OF, New York Yankees)
Stanton has been arguably the unluckiest hitter in baseball this month. The slugger has ripped some June homers (seven) but is hitting .149 while suffering through a .079 BABIP. And he has deserved better, as is evidenced by his healthy 46.7 hard-hit rate in June. Stanton is a great power source, and he could be plucked at a discount from managers who are sick off see 0-for-4 games in his recent stat lines.
Teoscar Hernandez (OF, Toronto Blue Jays)
Hernandez endured a tough start to the season, spending most of April on the IL and struggling with his timing after returning to the lineup (.428 OPS in May). But he has found his groove of late (.901 OPS in June) and has the type of skill set that can stuff stat sheets in a hurry. Hitting in the heart of a productive Toronto lineup, Hernandez could be among the league leaders in homers and RBIs the rest of the way while also producing a helpful average and chipping in a few steals. His buy-low window is small, but his mediocre full season numbers (.247 AVG, 7 HR, 3 SB) still leave it open a crack.
Carlos Carrasco (SP, New York Mets)
Carrasco has been among the unluckiest pitchers this month, recording a .364 BABIP that has contributed to a 5.33 ERA. His season-long ratios now sit at a 4.42 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, which makes the right-hander seem like a replacement level pitcher in shallow leagues. A deeper dive shows that Carrasco has an impressive 77:18 K:BB ratio, a 3.58 FIP and a 3.53 xFIP. Working in front of a successful Mets team, he could win plenty of games down the stretch.