Trading season is upon us and it is time to capitalize on our fellow owner’s frustration. In Germany, they call this schadenfreude or for those of us playing American baseball that is taking pleasure in the misfortune of others! It is time to scour the league and find the ugly ducklings and try to convince our competitors that we are really helping them out by taking problems off their hands. If you can convince somebody Ronald Acuna is a problem, then stop reading now. If you are the other 99.99% of fantasy owners, our hitter profiles focus on a few prime trade candidates that can be just what you need to push into the summer.
Willson Contreras – Contreras has been a lock to hit .240 with 20+ home runs and fantasy relevance the last four years. However, this season has seen a drop off across the board in his production. While the Cardinals have been a disaster on offense at times, there are a number of hints that Willson can turn it around. First off, Contreras has the second best exit velocities of his career while making contact in the zone at his highest rate ever. A rough BABIP and a low HR/FB rate are partially to blame and hide the fact that he should be right in line with those last few years. A .250 average and 15 homers the rest of the season should easily be a top 7-8 catcher if not more.
Keibert Ruiz – We covered Keibert last week in the Top 100 Hitters for the rest of the fantasy season. If you missed that read, check it out here. Ruiz is amidst the best season of his career, although it is being covered up by some very unfortunate luck and being hidden away on a last place Nationals team. Looking at his x-stats, he is performing like a hitter with a .291 batting average and .500 slugging rather than the .229 and .380 figures he has put up so far. If you are struggling in the catching space, now is the time to make a play for Ruiz. Hold tight while I go make a trade offer…
MJ Melendez – Breaking from the catcher mold to a guy who has only started seven games at catcher this season, MJ Melendez is an enticing buy low candidate. A .219 average with five homers and 30% strikeout rate with limited counting stats do not scream buy. However, a real rough March/April has held down his numbers. Since May 1st, he is slashing .254/.336/.407 with nearly a 50% flyball rate. With top 2% of the league exit velocity and a surprisingly low HR/FB rate we should see the ball flying out of the park soon simply through regression. Melendez will not be an asset in the average department but there is a lot of power coming that can be had for cheap.
Ryan Mountcastle – Sitting outside the top 100 on the Razzball Player Rater between Whit Merrified and J.D. Davis, Mountcastle seems to have taken a step back in his age 26 season. However, outside of his BABIP he is eerily in line with last season across the majority of his underlying metrics. Sure the low batting average is a detriment, but he really should be better without making much of an adjustment at all. With Baltimore being a strong lineup, I would not be surprised to see him finish with 25 homers, 175 R + RBI and a .250 average.