Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer: Two targets for every hitting category

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·Yahoo Fantasy Contributor
·4-min read
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Several weeks ago, I wrote a Trade Tips fantasy article that included category-specific trade targets. Having received plenty of positive comments on social media about the concept, I decided to go back to the well over the next two weeks, and update the list of players who could help fantasy teams in very specific ways.

We will look at category-specific hitters this week, with pitcher tips coming next Tuesday.

Homers and RBIs

Kyle Schwarber (OF, Philadelphia Phillies), Anthony Rizzo (1B, New York Yankees)

Since numbers in the two power categories tend to go hand-in-hand, I’ll give two picks for these areas. Fantasy managers knew right away that Schwarber would be a great fit on a Phillies team with a hitter-friendly park, and the lefty-swinging slugger has not disappointed despite hitting most of his long balls on the road. He currently sits third in homers, 16th in RBIs and he has even chipped in four steals. Schwarber’s lowly .215 average will keep his trade cost down.

Unlike Schwarber, Rizzo has taken full advantage of his home launching pad, tallying 13 of his 22 homers at Yankee Stadium. Rizzo also has a poor batting mark (.223), which will keep his trade value down as well.

Runs

Jake Cronenworth (1B/2B/SS, San Diego Padres), Alejandro Kirk (C, Toronto Blue Jays)

Despite watching Cronenworth get off to a slow start this season, Padres skipper Bob Melvin didn’t move away from his plan to keep the 28-year-old in a premium lineup spot. And Melvin’s faith was rewarded in June when Cronenworth logged a .417 OBP and 24 runs scored. The utility fielder is easy to fit into a fantasy lineup, and he should have reasonable trade value due to his modest totals in homers (7) and steals (1). He should rank among the runs scored leaders in the second half.

Jake Cronenworth #9 of the San Diego Padres has fantasy value tied to run production
Jake Cronenworth is a fine fantasy trade target due to his run production. (Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)

Simply put, catchers don’t score many runs. Players at this position tend to be slow afoot, bat lower in the lineup and are often removed for pinch runners after getting on base late in the game. Kirk is certainly no speedster, but his outstanding hitting skills from the heart of Toronto’s productive lineup have resulted in 39 runs scored since May 1. To put that stat into perspective, only one catcher (Willson Contreras) is within 14 runs scored of Kirk over that time frame.

Steals

Tommy Edman (2B/SS/OF, St. Louis Cardinals), Cedric Mullins (OF, Baltimore Orioles)

Edman won’t come cheap on the trade market, as he ranks third in baseball in both steals and runs scored. But that’s ok, as the multi-position asset is in prime position to be an excellent contributor in the second half. Edman could lead the Majors in runs the rest of the way from his leadoff spot in a St. Louis lineup that already ranks third in runs scored. And he won’t leave managers abandoned in the power categories, having already produced seven homers.

Many managers would be surprised to know that Mullins has mostly lived up to his draft price so far this year. The path hasn’t always been pretty, but the Orioles spark-plug ranks sixth in steals while putting up half-season stats in runs (41), RBIs (32) and batting average (.260) that resemble preseason expectations. Mullins has been a disappointment in the homers category (7), which should drive down his trade value.

Batting Average

Luis Arraez (1B/2B/3B/OF, Minnesota Twins), Tim Anderson (SS, Chicago White Sox), Nico Hoerner (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs)

Although Arraez is such an easy target for this section of the article, he still has to be mentioned. The contact hitter leads baseball in batting average (.348) and owns a lifetime mark of .321. He is one of the few players to collect more walks than whiffs, and his regular placement in premium lineup spots has thus far led to 46 runs scored. Having tallied just four homers and two steals, Arraez is such an easy trade target for those who are looking strictly for batting average help.

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Anderson spent most of June on the IL but has otherwise given fantasy managers exactly what they were looking for. The 29-year-old won’t come cheap on the trade market, but he could be the safest source of batting average in baseball (four straight seasons of .309 or higher) and he also contributes plenty of steals and runs.

A few miles north of Anderson, we find a batting average source who can be acquired much easier or plucked off waivers in shallow leagues. Hoerner has become the Cubs' regular shortstop and hit .340 with an .844 OPS in June. And according to Statcast, his .310 average this season is a slightly unlucky mark (.313 xBA). Hoerner hits in the bottom half of the lineup and has modest totals in other areas, but he is a good target for those who want to trade for batting average help at the expense of a low-level starter or middle reliever.

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