MLB’s trade deadline is coming up on Wednesday, and with it will come some big changes in the fantasy landscape. This weekend gave us a preview of that with some big moves that will have impacts on fantasy teams down the stretch of the season.
Bo Bichette is one of the top prospects in all of baseball. It was a pretty big surprise to see Toronto call him up after the way the team made Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wait a season ago, but Bichette’s call-up is certainly earned. He’s one of the most polished hitters in the majors, and his complete profile as a hitter should yield close to immediate results in the big leagues. He has above average power and speed, and specifically, his bat speed is considered among the best in the minors. He’s a must-add almost everywhere because of his Gleyber Torres-esque immediate upside, but if you’re stacked at middle infielder as some teams are, it’s understandable to not have room for him in the smallest of leagues.
I do not understand how the New York Mets assessed the trade market of starting pitchers and decided the most ground-ball reliant pitcher in baseball would be the best fit for the team with the worst infield defense in all of baseball. Marcus Stroman’s value doesn’t change much in non AL-/NL-only leagues: He’s a midrotation fantasy starter with a limited ceiling and some downside when he’s getting hit hard because of the lack of strikeouts. There’s a chance this goes really badly, but Stroman is a good enough pitcher that he should still be a useful fantasy starter for the rest of the season.
After being surprisingly useful with Miami so far this season with a 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 17 saves, and a 33:13 K/BB ratio in 37.2 innings, Sergio Romo was sent to Miami for interesting first base prospect Lewin Diaz. I don’t consider Romo a drop yet, as the Twins may elect to use current closer Taylor Rogers in a multi-inning Josh Hader-like role. If that’s the case, Romo is likely next in line for saves with Trevor May’s mediocre season and Ryne Harper having a 5.28 ERA in his past 18 appearances. In leagues where saves are super limited and in hold leagues, Romo is somebody I am sticking with for now, but with the Twins likely to make another move that would send Romo down in the pecking order, that may change.
With the aforementioned Romo gone, Nick Anderson seems like the most likely candidate to pick up saves in the Marlins bullpen with his incredible 68:16 K/BB ratio in just 43.1 innings. However, it was a bit alarming to see him pitch in the eighth inning of a four-run game in Sunday’s win over the Diamondbacks, but he also hadn’t pitched since the July 24, and that could’ve just been to get him some work. He should be added in any league where most closers are stashed. The only other name worth monitoring would be Jose Quijada, who’s been used in high-leverage situations since his call-up to the majors. While his 3.77 ERA is fine, it comes with a 7.20 FIP and a 7.5 BB/9 in 14.1 big league innings; despite that, Quijada becomes the main holds source for the Marlins in leagues where that’s valuable.
Jake Diekman is having a very Jake Diekman season in 2019 with huge strikeout totals combined with bad control, which limits his value. He gets a huge team improvement and becomes must-own in holds leagues with a chance to pick up a few saves if the A’s face a left-handed heavy part of the order in the ninth inning. Meanwhile, from the Royals perspective, it gives Tim Hill the new role of the most reliable holds resource in that bullpen, with Hill now also being the player to own for saves if Ian Kennedy is moved.
Hunter Wood, RP, Cleveland Indians
In one of the more surprising trades of the weekend, the Rays sent away Hunter Wood and Christian Arroyo to Cleveland for outfield prospect Ruben Cardenas to create space on their 40-man roster. Wood has intriguing stuff with a fastball that sits around 94-96 with tremendous spin and a solid cutter that has shown swing-and-miss potential. There’s a very exact type of league where Wood could be valuable down the stretch, and that is daily leagues where holds are a category, with his starting pitcher eligibility being more useful in daily leagues. Wood moves from a bullpen stacked with talent to one needing a consistent late-inning reliever, and there’s a chance that role is Wood’s down the stretch
Christian Arroyo, 3B, Cleveland Indians
A former first-round pick, Christian Arroyo has disappointed since being traded to Tampa for Evan Longoria, but there’s still reason for hope in his profile. He really shined in Triple-A this season with a .984 OPS and eight home runs in 134 plate appearances, which is more power than Arroyo had ever shown. In his small major league sample, Arroyo wasn’t great with a .684 OPS and a 5:18 BB/K ratio in 57 plate appearances, but there’s still some pedigree there and Arroyo has the ability to play all around the infield. He’s not expected to return until mid-August from a right arm injury, but if he’s getting everyday playing time, Arroyo is worth monitoring as a batting average source with average power.
Eric Sogard being good this season has been one of the more surprising things to happen in baseball this season, and personally, I just don’t believe in it at all. His batted-ball profile doesn’t show the stark improvements his results have, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him turn back into what he’s always been down the stretch. Sogard will have to compete with Joey Wendle, Willy Adames, and Matt Duffy for starts around the infield, but should play close to every day while he’s still performing at this level. In leagues where you’ve been using Sogard, he’s worth keeping around until he shows signs of cooling off, as his outlook is about the same if not a little better with an increase in lineup quality around him.
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