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.
- A trendy sleeper pick in fantasy drafts this spring, Suzuki had his start to the season slowed by an oblique injury. He’s perking up recently, though, with five homers and three multi-hit games over his last eight, and the advanced metrics back that up — particularly an improved walk rate and a very healthy 94 mph average exit velocity. We know from how scorching he was at the end of last season that Suzuki possesses the skills to be a star in the Majors, and he’s now finally healthy and in enough of a rhythm to show it. You should be valuing him as an OF2 who you can probably get for something a bit less right now.
- Another disappointment based on how excited owners were to snag him in drafts: Hunter Greene, whose elite strikeout and whiff rates are offset by shaky command that results in lots of loud contact (and a home park that turns that loud contact into homers). But Greene, too, is showing signs of coming out of it, most recently his 10-K performance over seven solid innings against the New York Yankees. If you take out his blow-up start at Coors Field a couple weeks ago — a fair caveat for any pitcher — the hard-throwing righty has a 3.37 ERA since April 17, and his best days could be ahead of him. When he commands his fastball, his ceiling is astronomical.
- Anderson had his early season waylaid by a knee injury, but he had five steals prior to going on the shelf, and his track record suggests that the running game will return for him in a big way this summer as he gets healthy. So what about the rest of his offensive profile? The shortstop owns one of the biggest differences between his wOBA and expected wOBA, according to Statcast, largely due to a BABIP some 40 points lower than his career average. That will normalize soon, and when it does, Anderson’s average will return — and so will the counting stats atop a solid Chicago White Sox lineup. If you need speed, target him and see what his price looks like.
- I’m not saying you need to ship Bryce Miller out for a bag of baseballs, but it seems like owners are sky-high on the righty after his admittedly great start to his rookie season — just one run with seven hits allowed, a walk and 18 strikeouts over his first three starts — and there’s plenty of reason to think that a comedown is on the way. Miller’s fastball gets all the love, and for good reason considering its league-high spin rate and .093 batting average against. But it’s also masked the fact that Miller doesn’t have a ton else in his repertoire, meaning that his margin for error is very low: If he doesn’t have elite fastball command (or if the league just adjusts over time), he’s in trouble. Again, make sure you’re getting value in return, but he could have a bumpy rest of the year.
- Harrison Bader’s return from an oblique injury was a godsend for a Yankees offense in need of a spark, with the outfielder putting up five homers, three steals and a .290 average over just 20 games. For as good as he’s been, though, the contact profile has been far less impressive: Bader has an enormous gap between his wOBA (.369) and his expected wOBA (.301, well below league average). His average exit velocity is just 83 mph and his hard-hit rate is just 23.8%, suggesting that a lot more of Bader’s batted balls are going to start turning into outs soon — he’s exactly the kind of guy you should be looking to flip for a profit, especially given his injury history.
- I’m not here to throw cold water on Christopher Morel’s torrid pace since being called up to the Chicago Cubs earlier this month — he’s hit the bejeezus out of the ball, even if nine homers over 12 games obviously isn’t a sustainable pace. But there’s one stat that has me bearish on the utilityman: his astronomical 36.5% K rate, even higher than last year when he hit just .235. Morel is swinging at absolutely everything, with a 52.3% swing rate and paltry 5.8% walk rate, and that approach is bound to come back to bite him eventually once he cools off and pitchers adjust. The raw tools are certainly there, and even his floor isn’t too bad (think double digit homers and steals), but if you can find an owner valuing him at anything near his current value, pounce.
Fantasy baseball trade value rankings: Week 9
As of 5/26