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Fantasy baseball trade value rankings: Buy low on Lance Lynn, sell high on Gerrit Cole

A month and a half into the 2023 MLB season, it’s buy or sell time as we run down our weekly batch of the top 200 players for fantasy baseball.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

We’re coming up on two months down in the 2023 MLB season, which means “it’s still early!” is rapidly becoming a less compelling excuse for fantasy managers trying to decide whether to hold onto struggling stars or cut bait. It’s also the point at which you decide whether you’re in it to win it this year, and what you might need to make that happen.

Which is where our weekly trade value rankings come in. Not only do we rank the top 200 players for fantasy baseball (5x5 roto), but we also break down who’s rising, who’s falling and who we recommend targeting on the trade market.


  • If there’s such a thing as a hitter being too passive, Gunnar Henderson is that guy. The former No. 1 overall prospect has always been willing and able to draw a walk, but he’s taken that to the extreme so far in 2023: He’s swinging at balls in the strike zone less than 60 percent of the time, nearly 10 points lower than the league average, and you almost wonder whether someone with the loud physical tools Henderson has wouldn’t be better off letting it rip a bit more often.

There’s still a lot to like here, from an average exit velocity in the 85th percentile to a barrel rate in the 61st percentile to a stark decrease in his ground ball rate, all of which suggests that the Baltimore Orioles third baseman remains plenty capable of making good contact. A six-game hitting streak has him back above the Mendoza Line, and given his market right now he’s an ideal buy-low candidate. He can be had for relatively cheap in redraft leagues, while his power/speed combination gives him a very high ceiling.

  • I’ve been skeptical on Dylan Cease for basically his entire career, thinking that his spotty command made him far too risky of a proposition for where he was going in fantasy drafts. He was due to come back to Earth a bit after his breakout 2022, but the Chicago White Sox ace is better than the high-4s ERA he’s posted so far this year. Yesterday’s dominant effort against the Cleveland Guardians made it two strong starts in a row, and even more encouragingly, Cease’s fastball — the key to so much success last season — shined again. The righty’s stuff is so electric that he really only needs two of his slider, heater and curve to succeed on any given day, and there’s no reason to think he won’t round into form given his still-very-good whiff rate and spin rates.
  • Cease isn’t the only White Sox starter worth kicking the tires on to see if an owner in your league has grown tired of him. Lance Lynn got off to a truly abysmal start this season, with a 6.66 ERA even after throwing seven strong innings against the Guardians this week. And yes, Cleveland isn’t exactly an offensive powerhouse, especially without Jose Ramirez. But there’s ample evidence to suggest that Lynn is still roughly the solid SP2/3 he’s been for the last three or four years — he’s just gotten horribly unlucky.

The big righty has posted an elite K-BB differential, while he’s among the league leaders in whiff rate on pitches in the strike zone, a sign that his stuff is still more than good enough to get outs consistently. So what’s gone wrong for Lynn? His strand rate — a notoriously fluky stat — is a whopping 14 points below the MLB average, and his .360 batting average on balls in play is some 60-70 points higher than the norm. Bottom line: Lynn still has gas left in the tank, he’s just been subject to a ton of batted-ball noise. With an easy schedule coming up, expect more starts like the last one soon.


  • Look, I’m not saying Gerrit Cole is cooked, or that he’s not still a very good starting pitcher, or that the New York Yankees should regret the megadeal they gave him a few years ago. Put your pitchforks down, please. All I’m saying is that there are some signs that the righty — who will turn 33 in September — is starting to decline a little bit.

Cole’s expected ERA is more than a run and a half higher than his actual mark. His line drive rate is up, while his whiff rate, strikeout rate and walk rate are all the worst they’ve been since he was a Pittsburgh Pirate. His fastball velocity is down a full mile per hour and inducing significantly fewer swings and misses. His HR/FB is a goofy low 7.5%, a huge overcorrection from the homer problems of the past couple of years. Simply put, Cole isn’t blowing people away anymore; he looks less like a dominant ace and more like a very solid starter — still very useful, but if you can convince an owner in your league to value him like a first-round pick, it might behoove you to pull the trigger a year early rather than a year too late.

  • Matt Chapman was quite possibly best player in fantasy baseball for the first month-plus of the season, but the Cinderella story now appears to be turning into a pumpkin before our eyes:

When your xwOBA graph looks like a roller coaster, that’s never a good sign. The bottom has fallen out for the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman this month, with a .551 OPS and 20 strikeouts in 15 games. Really, though, is anyone surprised? Chapman had shown us who he was through the first few years of his career: a good hitter capable of making very loud contact but whose swing-and-miss issues would always keep his average hovering around .210-.220. It’s always possible a guy could have a post-30 breakout, but the smart money was always on water finding its level, and it appears that process is underway. If you can still bail for something of value, get on it before it’s too late.

  • This isn’t so much a “sell high while you can” as much as it’s a “just sell, period”. Carlos Correa has gotten off to an abysmal start to his second go-round with the Minnesota Twins, with six homers, zero steals and an average hovering around the Mendoza Line. That bagel in the speed column is important, because it underscores the main point here: Even in the best of times, Correa was a far better real-life player than a fantasy one. He’s not going to give you much of any speed, even with the new rules, and when you combine that with a ceiling of 20-25 homers, the juice becomes very much not worth the squeeze.

Especially with how deep middle infield is this year, there’s no point in holding on to Correa in the hope that he eventually returns to form — that form simply doesn’t have enough upside to be worth it. His name recognition should fetch you something of value, even a closer or something, and then you can mine the waiver wire for a roughly-equivalent solution at shortstop.

Fantasy baseball trade value rankings: Week 8

Week of 5/19

Rank Player Eligible Value
Rank Player Eligible Value
1 Ronald Acuna OF 44
2 Fernando Tatis SS/OF 43
3 Aaron Judge OF 43
4 Kyle Tucker OF 43
5 Shohei Ohtani DH 43
6 Bo Bichette SS 43
7 Jose Ramirez 3B 43
8 Julio Rodriguez OF 38
9 Mookie Betts 2B/OF 35
10 Trea Turner SS 35
11 Vladimir Guerrero 1B 35
12 Juan Soto OF 35
13 Rafael Devers 3B 34
14 Freddie Freeman 1B 31
15 Yordan Alvarez OF 31
16 Mike Trout OF 31
17 Pete Alonso 1B 29
18 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 27
19 Shane McClanahan SP 27
20 Gerrit Cole SP 27
21 Randy Arozarena OF 27
22 Spencer Strider SP 27
23 Max Scherzer SP 27
24 Manny Machado 3B 26
25 Justin Verlander SP 25
26 Matt Olson 1B 25
27 Corbin Burnes SP 25
28 Kevin Gausman SP 27
29 Bobby Witt SS/3B 24
30 Marcus Semien 2B/SS 24
31 Sandy Alcantara SP 23
32 Zack Wheeler SP 23
33 Zac Gallen SP 22
34 Bryce Harper OF 22
35 Nolan Arenado 3B 22
36 Austin Riley 3B 21
37 Emmanuel Clase RP 21
38 Framber Valdez SP 21
39 Luis Robert OF 20
40 Luis Castillo SP 20
41 Josh Hader RP 20
42 Aaron Nola SP 20
43 Cedric Mullins OF 18
44 Francisco Lindor SS 18
45 Bryan Reynolds OF 18
46 Kyle Schwarber OF 18
47 Jazz Chisholm 2B/OF 17
48 Yu Darvish SP 17
49 Ozzie Albies 2B 17
50 Jacob deGrom SP 17
51 Adolis Garcia OF 16
52 Will Smith C 16
53 Wander Franco SS 15
54 Willy Adames SS 15
55 Joe Musgrove SP 15
56 Devin Williams RP 15
57 Jordan Romano RP 15
58 J.T. Realmuto C 15
59 Felix Bautista RP 15
60 Daulton Varsho C/OF 15
61 Xander Bogaerts SS 15
62 George Springer OF 15
63 Julio Urias SP 15
64 Cristian Javier SP 15
65 Nate Lowe 1B 15
66 Teoscar Hernandez OF 15
67 Byron Buxton OF 15
68 Christian Walker 1B 15
69 Shane Bieber SP 15
70 Salvador Perez C 15
71 Brandon Woodruff SP 15
72 Alex Bregman 3B 15
73 Ryan Helsley RP 15
74 Vinnie Pasquantino 1B 15
75 Corbin Carroll OF 15
76 Michael Harris OF 15
77 Dylan Cease SP 15
78 Corey Seager SS 15
79 Clayton Kershaw SP 15
80 Pablo Lopez SP 15
81 Joe Ryan SP 15
82 Tim Anderson SS 15
83 Dansby Swanson SS 15
84 Max Muncy 2B/3B 14
85 Logan Webb SP 14
86 Nico Hoerner 2B/SS 14
87 Camilo Doval RP 14
88 Gleyber Torres 2B 14
89 Jose Altuve 2B 14
90 Ryan Pressly RP 14
91 Jonathan India 2B 14
92 Sean Murphy C 14
93 Rowdy Tellez 1B 14
94 Christian Yelich OF 14
95 Kris Bryant OF 14
96 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B 14
97 Logan Gilbert SP 14
98 Matt Chapman 3B 14
99 Starling Marte OF 13
100 Ryan Mountcastle 1B 13
101 Nestor Cortes SP 13
102 Kenley Jansen RP 13
103 David Bednar RP 13
104 George Kirby SP 13
105 Carlos Rodon SP 12
106 Jeremy Pena SS 12
107 Tommy Edman 2B/SS/OF 12
108 Carlos Correa SS 12
109 Andres Gimenez 2B/SS 12
110 Seiya Suzuki OF 11
111 Freddy Peralta SP 11
112 Adley Rutschman C 11
113 Ian Happ OF 11
114 Tyler Glasnow SP 11
115 Taylor Ward OF 11
116 Lance Lynn SP 11
117 Anthony Rizzo 1B 11
118 Hunter Renfroe OF 11
119 Eloy Jimenez OF 11
120 Thairo Estrada 2B/SS/OF 11
121 Chris Sale SP 11
122 Jarred Kelenic OF 11
123 Anthony Santander OF 10
124 Raisel Iglesias RP 10
125 Steven Kwan OF 10
126 Nick Castellanos OF 10
127 Javier Baez SS 9
128 Masataka Yoshida OF 9
129 Gunnar Henderson SS/3B 9
130 Luis Severino SP 9
131 Sonny Gray SP 9
132 Brandon Lowe 2B 8
133 Alexis Diaz RP 8
134 Brandon Nimmo OF 8
135 Ty France 1B/3B 8
136 Alek Manoah SP 8
137 Paul Sewald RP 8
138 Alex Verdugo OF 8
139 Willson Contreras C 8
140 Hunter Greene SP 8
141 Ketel Marte 2B 7
142 Giancarlo Stanton OF 7
143 Miguel Vargas 1B/2B 7
144 Hunter Brown SP 7
145 Blake Snell SP 7
146 James Outman OF 7
147 Alejandro Kirk DH 7
148 J.D. Martinez RP 7
149 David Robertson SP 7
150 Charlie Morton SP 7
151 Nathan Eovaldi 1B/3B 7
152 Alec Bohm SP 7
153 Jordan Montgomery RP 7
154 Jose Alvarado 1B 7
155 C.J. Cron C/OF 7
156 MJ Melendez SS 7
157 Anthony Volpe SP 7
158 Chris Bassitt RP 7
159 Jhoan Duran RP 7
160 Liam Hendriks C/1B 7
161 Harrison Bader OF 7
162 Jesus Luzardo 1B 7
163 Josh Bell SP 6
164 Jose Berrios 2B 6
165 Jorge Polanco SS/OF 6
166 Amed Rosario SP 6
167 Lucas Giolito 2B/OF 6
168 Jeff McNeil RP 6
169 Andrew Chafin OF 6
170 Cody Bellinger OF 6
171 Mitch Haniger OF 6
172 Ke'Bryan Hayes 3B 6
173 Ryan McMahon 2B/3B 6
174 Carlos Estevez RP 6
175 Luis Arraez 1B/2B 6
176 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 6
177 William Contreras C 6
178 Alex Cobb SP 6
179 Evan Phillips RP 6
180 Triston McKenzie SP 6
181 Marcus Stroman SP 6
182 Josh Naylor 1B/OF 6
183 Lourdes Gurriel OF 6
184 Eugenio Suarez 3B 6
185 Joc Pederson OF 6
186 Anthony Rendon 3B 6
187 Jorge Soler OF 6
188 Max Fried SP 6
189 Lars Nootbaar OF 5
190 Tyler Stephenson C/1B 5
191 Michael King RP 5
192 Grayson Rodriguez SP 5
193 Jake Cronenworth 1B/2B/SS 5
194 Andrew Heaney SP 5
195 Scott Barlow RP 5
196 Reid Detmers SP 5
197 Andrew Vaughn 1B 5
198 Charlie Blackmon OF 5
199 Ezequiel Tovar SS 5
200 A.J. Puk RP 4