Hopefully you were able to pick up John Danks and trade Bobby Abreu last week. But even if you stood pat there are still plenty of acquisition targets and trade bait guys out there for you. So, here are five guys to pick up and five guys to move.
Lance Berkman – It has been a disappointing season for Berkman so far, as he has failed to keep pace with last year in four of the five fantasy categories. Surprisingly, HR is the one category he is currently outperforming last year, as he has both a slightly higher FB rate and HR/FB mark than in 2008. It was unrealistic to expect him to match last year’s career best in SB and R. But his AVG and RBI numbers have been disappointing. But Berkman has just a .248 BABIP (he’s never been below .303 since becoming a full-time player). The past two years Berkman has been a different player before and after the All-Star break. There is a strong possibility we will see that play out for a third straight season as he should experience regression with his BABIP, leading to a better average and more R and RBI.
Cole Hamels – Few imagined that Hamels would be sitting with just four wins and a 4.24 ERA after 13 games but that is where we are. However, Hamels has Quality Starts in three of his last four outings. His K/9 and BB/9 are both improved over last year. Hamels has been dinged by the long ball and is suffering from a .355 BABIP. His FIP is slightly lower than it was last season and is 60 points lower than his current ERA. RoS ZiPS sees him getting eight wins and a 3.60 ERA from here on out, making him a nice buy candidate.
Vernon Wells – Coming into the season the big question with Wells was could he stay healthy. So far, the answer has been yes. But while he’s been a regular in the lineup, his production has been a disappointment. Wells has been hitting for neither AVG nor power. His FB% is a normal 40.3 percent but he is hitting only 5.8 percent HR/FB, compared to a career average of 12.1 percent. Also, his BABIP checks in at just .266. Wells is finally showing signs of life with a modest six-game hitting streak, with three multi-hit games. Hopefully, this is the beginning of an extended hot streak for him.
Javier Vazquez – Year in and year out, probably no pitcher confounds those who carefully monitor statistics more than Vazquez. Currently, he has a brilliant 5.85 K/BB ratio, a 0.91 HR/9 mark, a 1.05 WHIP and a losing record. At least this year Vazquez is able to translate his fine peripherals into a good ERA. Given his history, there is no guarantee that he will get more wins from here on out, but even if he does not, Vazquez is still a fine contributor in three categories and worth investigating if his current owner is fed up with him.
Daniel Murphy – All the injuries suffered by the Mets this year have helped Murphy keep regular playing time, despite his poor start with the bat. Last year in the majors he had a .386 BABIP and a 33.3 percent LD rate. This year he has an 18.6 percent LD rate and a .265 BABIP. There is room for growth in his AVG and Murphy has displayed more HR pop this year than previously. With the uncertainty surrounding Carlos Delgado’s return, Murphy is likely to have at least another month of regular ABs for his BABIP to stabilize.
Brad Hawpe – Throughout his major league career, Hawpe has used above-average BABIP to post good AVG and solid HR numbers. This year he has a .389 BABIP and a .335 AVG, which is 47 points above his career AVG. And even with that elevated AVG, Hawpe has a career-best .276 ISO. Either Hawpe has moved into elite company or the time has come to sell high on him. I am banking on the latter.
Dan Haren – Throughout the off-season, I encouraged everyone to draft Haren. So, I feel a little bad about declaring him a trade candidate now. But he has a 0.82 WHIP (the lowest mark in the majors for qualified hurlers), a .238 BABIP (again, the lowest mark in the majors for qualified hurlers) and an 86 percent strand rate (the second-best mark). Haren should remain an elite pitcher the rest of the season but his trade value will probably never be higher.
Adrian Gonzalez – According to ESPN, Gonzalez is on a pace for 55 HR this season. If he keeps that up it would be a mistake to trade him. But Gonzalez has a HR/FB rate of 29.5 percent, which dwarfs last year’s career-best 20.7 percent. Also, his .326 ISO is 95 points above last year’s career-best mark. Here is another guy we are trying to sell at the height of his value who will nevertheless be a very productive player the rest of the season.
Ted Lilly – The past three seasons, Lilly has been very good for W and K but with his ERA and WHIP (two of the three years) dragging him down somewhat. So far this year, Lilly sits with a 3.04 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP, both of which would be career-best marks. He has a lifetime 3.26 BB/9 mark and this year it stands at 1.96 so far. And his BABIP checks in at .256, 30 points below his career average. He is still likely to finish with 15 W and 175 K but both the ERA and WHIP figure to rise significantly the rest of the season.
Alexei Ramirez – A brutal start has dragged Ramirez’ overall numbers down but he has been hot in June with a .280 AVG and five HR so far this month. Owners were bullish on Ramirez, giving him an ADP of 70 (just a few spots behind Gonzalez). They were expecting him to build on last year’s numbers but instead Updated ZiPS has him merely repeating or falling short of last year’s fantasy output. Use his hot June to sell now and minimize the damage.