Week Four Trade Possibilities

Here are seven players for your consideration to either acquire or send packing.

BUY

Aaron Harang – Since winning 16 games in 2007, Harang has gone 6-17, 6-14 and is now off to a 1-3 start in 2010. His K/9 has fallen a full point over last season and his WHIP is an ugly 1.59, which is tied for 16th-worse in baseball. But Harang is suffering from the one-two punch of a .352 BABIP and a 59.6 LOB%. And to make matters worse, he has a 20 percent HR/FB rate. On the plus side, Harang is getting more ground balls than he has since 2004 and his K/BB ratio remains a very nice 3.00 despite the drop in strikeouts. Harang’s velocity is a tick better than last year but he is having some problems with his curve. An improvement with his breaking ball, combined with regression in his BABIP and LOB%, could make Harang a valuable pitcher the rest of the way.

Matt Lindstrom – Not many people viewed Lindstrom as a good bet at closer, coming off a 2009 season where he lost that job twice while a member of the Marlins. To make matters worse, the Astros had a viable alternative available in Brandon Lyon. But all Lindstrom has done this year is to be lights out in his nine games. His fastball velocity is down and he is throwing his slider more often. And with that he has 10 Ks and 1 BB in 9 IP. Lindstrom is getting a career-best 33.3 O-Swing% and has a personal best 48.1 GB%. Ideally, owners would have traded for Lindstrom while the Astros were losing every game at the beginning of the season. But it is still worth checking to see what the asking price is on a pitcher who looks primed to have a dominating season.

Brian McCann – His AVG is down 31 points and his SLG is 57 points beneath his final 2009 numbers. Pitchers are treating McCann with extra care, as Martin Prado is the only Braves player currently riding a hot streak in the season’s first month. McCann carries a career-best 21.6 BB%, which is tied with Josh Willingham for the sixth-best mark in the majors. But McCann has been unlucky with a .240 BABIP. And historically, April has not been the best month for him. McCann has a .271 lifetime AVG in April and an .829 OPS. In May those numbers are .350 and .976, respectively.

SELL

Robinson Cano – An unbelievably hot start for Cano has caused the hype machine to go into overdrive, as evidenced by this story, where Reggie Jackson said the Yankees second baseman would be recognized as the best in the American League and ready to take on Chase Utley by the end of the season. While Cano has usually had an above-average BABIP, his current mark of .390 cannot last. Additionally, his .292 ISO is nearly 100 points above his personal best. Cano is likely to be one of the top players at his position at the end of the year, but now is a great time to see if you can cash in on his value. His ADPs put him at the end of the fourth round coming into the season and he currently has delivered first-round production.

Adam Jones – A breakout season last year made Jones a favorite of many fantasy players. This year he is off to a slow start, thanks to a .242 BABIP. But his ISO of .178 is nearly identical to last year’s .180 mark. Updated ZiPS shows him beating last year’s marks in HR, R and RBIs while tying his production in SB. But I am pessimistic about Jones reaching that forecast. His BB rate has collapsed from bad to atrocious, his HR/FB rate has regressed significantly from last year’s 17.8 mark and his 38.9 O-Swing% is tied for the 10th-worst mark in baseball.

Mike Pelfrey – One of the feel-good stories for the first-place Mets has been the production of Pelfrey, who is 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA. In the process, he’s gone from being owned in 25 percent of CBS Sports leagues on Opening Day to 86 percent currently. But by xFIP, Pelfrey is essentially pitching the same as he did last year, when he had a 5.03 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Yes, he is throwing strikes and adding more pitches to his arsenal. But he also has a .249 BABIP, a 93.6 strand rate and has yet to give up a home run. Trade him before regression hits.

HUNCH

John Maine – As good as Pelfrey has been for the Mets this season, Maine has been every bit as bad. Both his FIP and xFIP are over 6.00, his BB/9 are up to an unacceptable 5.40 and his velocity is down two miles per hour on his average fastball. But I like Maine’s chances to turn things around. He has been able to throw his slider nearly 20 percent of the time. If he can regain the velocity on his fastball he can return to being the pitcher he was during his 15-win 2007 season. Maine had to leave his last start early, due to muscle spasms in his non-throwing arm. He has been cleared to pitch, and is scheduled to take the mound this afternoon, in just under an hour from when I write this. Make me look good, Maine!




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15 Responses to “Week Four Trade Possibilities”

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  1. Keith says:

    While you should certainly look to sell high on Big Pelf, don’t just give him away.

    Full Disclosure: I am a Mets fan.

    Big Pelf has learned a splitter that has looked quite promising and has increased his K/9 rate as a result. Also, his BABIP will increase, but don’t rely on last season’s BABIP too much because he was without Reyes at SS for most of last season. This is huge since Pelfrey generates a lot of groundballs.

    Anyway, I think Pelfrey will end up having a nice season. His K/9 will probably settle in around 6 and I would expect his BB/9 to decrease as he becomes more comfortable with the new pitch. Yes, he will give up a HR eventually, but he does a pretty good job keeping the ball on the ground and the park anyway and he plays most of his games at Citi, which has a huge OF.

    Basically, sell high if you can but don’t just give him away for anything.

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    • Jimbo says:

      In my league, nobody is going to overpay for his start to the season. Even if he wasn’t the focus of a trade, I think he’ll be more valuable on my roster for now.

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  2. OremLK says:

    Regarding Matt Lindstrom, new pitching coach Brad Arnsberg (over from Toronto) apparently helped him adjust his grip on his slider, which Lindstrom said almost immediately improved his command and made him much more comfortable throwing the pitch.

    You can see the results, as Lindstrom is using the new slider much more often and it’s become a good weapon for him.

    Might be the last piece for him to have long-term success as a closer. As an Astros fan, I hope so! We need more inexpensive, productive players.

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  3. R M says:

    Got Matt Lindstrom for Josh Hamilton just before he went crazy….feeling pretty good about that trade. If you’re wondering why I would ever make that trade, it’s a really competitive roto league, and I had Frank Francisco and Huston Street as my closers.

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  4. keithr says:

    Somone in my 6×6 roto league is trading Greinke for Kuroda and Polanco. If this doesn’t get veto’d I might just quit.

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  5. DonCoburleone says:

    Freaking Maine always sucks me in too. He has really good, repeatable mechanics and like you said there is always that 2007 season to hang your hat on… Harang I don’t know, I used to love the guy but he hurt me bad in 2008 and I don’t think I’ll ever recover. When do you think the Reds will learn and start developing ground ball pitchers that can actually survive their home park?

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  6. DonCoburleone says:

    Maine is looking good so far. Lets see if he hits his usual 5th inning WALL though…

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  7. coreyjro says:

    I’ve given up on Harang. Each year I expect him to return to form and he disappoints. The home run problem doesn’t appear to be going away.

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  8. will says:

    i traded mike pelfrey for josh beckett. i hope it was a good trade in the long run, because they’ve been polar opposites in preformance

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  9. EFS says:

    New to Fantasy and am getting destroyed in my 12 team league. I am desperate for pitching. I am being offered Carlos Zambrano and Justin Duschescherer for Raul Ibanez, who has been sharing my bench with Pence. Gut Reactions?

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    • perry says:

      dont love the trade, but if its that tough a league gotta do it. atleast zambrano should help your whip from the bullpen, and when he returns to the rotation it will help you, but i dont think it will make an immediate impact on your team

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  10. D-Rock says:

    Selling Robinson Cano…bad idea. There’s no reason he can’t have an extraordinary breakout season at the age of 27, one that could include a batting title. Considering the position, I wouldn’t deal him unless you’re getting a top-20 quality back. You’d have to get someone pretty sharp back at 2B for the replacement value to be worth it.

    Harang…I also think he’s done. He pitched well against the Astros. Whoop-dee-doo.

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    • AngMohClay says:

      I agree on Cano. The guy is is the #2 2B in fantasy baseball I think.

      I really don’t think 120-30-120-.340 is unreasonable. Yeah, he probably has no more than 10 SB upside, but so? The guy had 75 extra base hits last year, and is in arguably one of the top 5 batting slots in terms of RBI and R production in all of baseball.

      I like him, with more power, a better career average, hitting in a great spot on the best offense in baseball (IMO by a considerable amount) more at this point than an injured Ian Kinsler or a healthy Dustin Pedroia. I think he is the #2 2B in fantasy baseball, and possibly in real baseball as well.

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  11. perry says:

    i just traded Lindstrom and Carlos Lee ( who i picked up on the waiver wire for free) for Carlos Pena and David Aardsma. any thoughts? i thought pena had more power upside in a possible walk year, and aardsma was the safer bet for big saves. Lindstrom is rolling and looks like he will continue to, but could derail at any time ya know

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  12. erik says:

    Maybe I am reading this article wrong, but there is no way I am trading FOR Harang or Lindstrom. If anything you should be selling high on Lindstrom as he will never have this much value again and Harang should not be touched with a ten foot pole.

    If you sell Robby Cano then it will be a big mistake. This guy is legit and batting 5th in the most potent lineup in baseball. Plus, how are you going to replace him at 2nd? Unless you get a kinds ransom for him DO NOT trade Cano.

    Not sure how you are going to sell Adam Jones at this point, what could you possibly get for him? He has too much potential to drop this early but I can’t imagine you would find a trading partner, in fact, now would probably be a great time to BUY low on him if you wanted too.

    All-in-all, not real impressed with this articles advice.

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