Week Six Trade Possibilities

Hopefully sometime last week you were able to pull off a James Shields for Cliff Lee trade. But even if you stood pat there are still plenty of trade targets and trade bait guys out there for you. So, here are five guys to pick up and five guys to move.


J.J. Hardy – After back-to-back strong fantasy seasons, Hardy was atrocious in the month of April. He is hitting well in May but not to the point yet where his overall stats look good. Hardy may have dug too deep a hole to finish with an average close to what we expected at the beginning of the year, but he still should be right there in HR and RBIs.

Brett Cecil – He is only owned in 2.8 percent of ESPN leagues, which is great news because anyone who owns him is unlikely to trade him. The lefty throws four pitches, gets tons of ground balls (52.6%) and has 12 strikeouts in 14 innings. Cecil’s command may not be this good going forward, but throughout his minor league career he piled up the strikeouts and kept the ball in the park.

Adrian Beltre – The past three seasons Beltre has hit 25, 26 and 25 HR. Right now he has only one. Beltre is swinging at too many pitches and his 3.8 percent walk rate would easily be a career worst. Fantasy players usually undervalue Beltre and his slow start may frustrate his current owners. I still like his power potential for your corner infield slot.

Rick Porcello – After being smacked around pretty good in three of his first four starts, Porcello has had back-to-back strong outings. He may not be ready to dominate major league hitters, but Porcello has shown the ability to get ground balls (54.1%) and get hitters out. There is a minor worry about Porcello becoming the odd man out if/when Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis return, but he is still a nice option for the back of your rotation.

Emmanuel Burriss – The Giants want Burriss to succeed and they recently installed him as the team’s leadoff hitter. He is likely just a one-category performer but the updated ZiPS projection shows him with 41 SB. Burriss also comes with 2B and SS eligibility.


Felipe Lopez – In 2005 F-Lop had his best year in the majors, with a .291-23-85 line. He has not matched any of those numbers in the ensuing three years. Right now he sports a .323 AVG thanks to a .374 BABIP. Also, after three straight years of HR/FB rates in single digits, Lopez has a 13.3 percent mark. He undoubtedly will get a boost from Chase Field, but Lopez is unlikely to maintain his .954 home OPS. His road OPS sits at .710 and that’s with a .385 BABIP.

Corey Hart – It is going to take a strong finish for Hart to match the 20-20 expectations that most everyone had for him coming into the season. And with a .345 BABIP already, it is hard to predict much growth unless he gets his strikeouts under control. After back-to-back years of declining strikeout rates, Hart has a 28.7 K% in 2009. Furthermore, even when he does hit the ball, he is not hitting for much power. Hart’s .164 ISO would be a career low.

Randy Johnson – Everyone is pulling for Johnson to reach 300 career wins and he picked up his 298th Monday night. But Johnson hardly pitched well, as he allowed four ER in five IP. Johnson has had seven starts this season and has a Quality Start in just two of them. The strikeout numbers are still there (except for his 5/6 outing) which might make him attractive to other teams. But Johnson’s ERA and WHIP numbers are detrimental to your staff’s health.

Marco Scutaro – He has been the third most valuable fantasy shortstop up until this point, thanks to his having as many runs scored (32) as Albert Pujols. It is almost a guarantee that Scutaro will have a career year this season, mostly because the bar has been set so low. Scutaro is having a strong May in AVG and R but his power has disappeared and the RBIs have fallen off, too.

Scott Richmond – So far in 2009, Richmond has been a contributor in four categories. He throws four pitches and ranks tied for ninth among major league starters with a 30.8 percent O-Swing%. But Richmond has a 25.9 percent LD% and a .254 BABIP. His ZiPS projection for the rest of the season calls for a 6.21 ERA.

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9 Responses to “Week Six Trade Possibilities”

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  1. mymrbig says:

    Last year Randy Johnson had an ERA of 5.46 after a disaterous July 1 start against Milwaukee where he gave up 7 ER in 3.2 IP. He was basically an ace over the remaining 3 months. Like this year, his K/9 was fairly strong despite his elevated ERA.

    Given the similarity to his start last year, I really expect RJ to figure it out and be very good over the course of the season. I don’t think it makes any sense to sell low at this point.

    Or if you feel like using stats, there is no way in the world his HR/FB stays at 27.0%. He has literally given up more than twice as many home runs as his career average or league average would dictate! This despite slightly improving his GB/FB ratio over last year and despite a very good 16.2% IFFB. Cut 5 HR off his total (maybe 8 ER to account for a few baserunners), and his numbers are vastly improved.

    RJ’s xFIP over at hardballtimes (basically FIP with a normalized HR/FB) is 3.77 (last year it was 3.88. He has definitely walked a few more guys this year, but that is mostly due to one bad start against Arizona. Other than that and the fluky HR, he looks the same as last year.

    So trade him if you want, but please trade him to me so I can reap the rewards!

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    • Brian Joura says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Hi mymrbig – thanks for reading and commenting!

      The latest ZiPS update has Johnson producing 7 W, a 4.90 ERA, 124 K and a 1.35 WHIP for the rest of 2009.

      Would you be kind enough to predict what you expect him to do from this point forward?

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    • Jack says:

      the FIP at hardball times show up at 5.74 for me

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  2. Justin says:

    Excellent comment, mymrbig – I had almost the exact same post written up a few minutes ago and then got distracted by my contractor and didn’t get to post it. The Big Unit’s health is obviously a concern (though his velocity this year is right in line with last) and he’s not going to go deep into games, but I suspect the innings he does pitch going forward this year will be far better (by ERA) than they have been thus far. (Oh, and just for fun: look at his crazy home/road splits this year!)

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  3. fanOFdefenseAGAIN says:

    I concur with the above two posters.

    That was a terrible analysis of Randy Johnson. You might as well write for Yahoo! Sports with that type of junk.

    Furthermore, why is Corey Hart a long shot to reach 20/20? Zips updated projection puts him at 19/19.

    It’s so funny how you like to cherry pick your stats and pretend as though they are meaningful. Do you really believe that he will continue to strike out so prodigiously? Yes he is trending downward, but to what degree….

    Do you really think that he will continue to his 8.3% of his FB for HR? Unlikely. Maybe that affects his ISO…

    I don’t like Hart either, but I especially dislike disingenuous analysis.

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  4. R M says:

    I wouldn’t touch Porcello with a 15 foot pole. He clearly isn’t ready for the MLB, and two decent starts aren’t going to change that. His FIP sits at 5.30, and his K rate is terrible. He should be at A+, or AA tops right now.

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    • Brian Joura says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      You know, Porcello was the one I expected to get raked over the coals for, not Johnson.

      I agree that he would probably be better off in the minors but since you would probably get him on the waiver wire I view him as a low-risk, high reward kind of guy.

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  5. mymrbig says:

    Yeah, that was a pretty terrible Randy Johnson analysis. Worse than I expect of Fangraphs or Rotographs. I mean, a couple of the numbers any writer on this site should look at for any pitcher in any fantasy analysis are BABIP, LOB%, and HR/FB. To me, these are the big three “fluke” numbers that you expect to regress to the mean and are most indicative of either good or bad luck.

    When I am analyzing a player for fantasy purposes, I use Fangraphs all the time. Here is what I look at:
    (1) Luck Factors (BABIP, LOB%, and HR/FB)
    (2) Controllable Skills (K%, BB%, fastball velocity, O-Swing%, O-Contact%, and Z-Contact%, F-Strike%)

    Looking at RJ, his BABIP, LOB%, K%, fastball velocity, O-Swing%, O-Contact%, and Z-Contact% are all pretty much in line with what he has done recently. So looking at just these numbers, he looks like the same pitcher we saw last year.

    The difference in HR/FB tells me his has been really, really unlucky on fly balls. No one gives up HR on 27% of flyballs over a statistically significant sample (except for maybe the batting practice pitchers at the home run derby). So I instantly expect massive reduction in his ERA as this regresses to the mean. xFIP over at Hardballtimes confirms this.

    Now RJ’s BB% and F-Strike% are both worse than last year, so unless he improves his control he probably doesn’t end up quite as good as last year. But with 7 BB in one game, most of this increase is probably just because of one really bad start in a small sample size. The F-Strike% is a little more concerning (54.2%, down almost 10% from last year and 8% less than his average since 2002). This means he is falling behind hitters more often, which can result in more BB and HR due to finding himself in more batter-friendly counts. That said, this is more of a small red flag than anything else and I don’t know that it really holds much predictive value this early in the season where we know his control hasn’t been as good as the past few years (particularly in one start).

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  6. Jason T says:

    I quite often think that people tend to forget age when evaluating players. It’s irresponsible to assume 45 year-old Randy Johnson to pitch at the same level as the one or two previous seasons. Likewise with Portello. He’s an excellent talent and will only continue to improve.

    With things like smaller ballparks, steroids and ‘juiced baseballs’ we’re beginning to expect players to dominate at much older age than it seemed they did 20 years ago. I love Randy. He helped save baseball in Seattle. And I get the arguement commentators are trying to make, but at his age it could just all fall apart all the sudden. Nevermind the insults hurled out at the author, that’s just bad pool.

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