Four Fantasy Baseball Hitters To Target In Trades Moving Forward

While a good draft and scouring the waiver wire are good steps towards fantasy baseball dominance, a solid trade or two is all it takes to truly separate yourself from the rest of the league.

A few qualifiers before the list begins…firstly, don’t buy high on guys you know are due for a rapid regression. These are trades meant for long term success. Injured players can make great trade targets, for the most part. All of these guys are ones owned in 50% or more of ESPN leagues. Lastly, some of these guys may be way better in different formats. Just because they excel in a points league doesn’t necessarily mean they hold the same value in a category league. Know your league and the players relevancy in said league type.

Luis Arraez – 3B/2B/OF

First of all, the multi position eligibility makes him an excellent person to roster. Secondly, Arraez is a guy you’d mainly target in points leagues. While he doesn’t offer the elite production in any particular area that you’d look for in a category league, he seems primed to make a run at being a top-10 positional candidate in points leagues (bold take).

The big allure for Arraez is the well below league average strikeout rate. Currently only striking out 7.4% of the time with an 11.1% walk rate has paved the way for Arraez’s excellent 2.5 average points per game in points leagues. He may lack in the power and stolen base departments but he makes up for it with his excellent batting average (.354 this season, .315 career) and the lineup flexibility he offers.

Plus if you really wanna look deeper, he’s currently averaging career highs in slugging, OPS, wOBA and xwOBA. And what’s even more intriguing is they aren’t unsustainably high above his previous career highs. He also only makes soft contact 9.1% of the time. His batting average is sure to regress a bit probably closer to .325 but guys like Arraez are the building blocks of a championship caliber fantasy lineup.

Batting .325 with 20 doubles, 4 triples, 5 home runs and a sub 8% strike out rate are numbers that are definietly trade worthy.

Mitch Haniger – OF

Realistically this guy should have been number one on the list. He checks every box you look for in a prime “trade for” candidate. Currently on the IL due to covid, the guy has been both incredibly unlucky while also being an offensive juggernaut. While he’s only played eight games, he’s still put up a double, three home runs and seven RBI.

The thing that really seems to be screwing Haniger over is the unlucky BABIP he’s got going. Even though it’s abysmally low at .136 which is dragging his average down to a career low .176, his xBA is a career high .284. Same goes for his xSLG being a career high .636 despite his current slugging % of .471.

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Haniger is also making excellent contact with the ball this year.

As you can see he currently has a batting profile this season that hitters can usually only dream of. The wild part is he’s managing to do all of this with a ridiculous 24 degree average launch angle which is much too high. That launch angle has lead to a 52% fly ball rate which is going to need to come down closer to his 40.5% rate last year which potentially puts Haniger in line for the first 40 home run season of his career.

Take advantage of the fact the Haniger owner may be getting impatient already. Shoot your shot and reap the rewards of a 40 Homerun, 100 RBI season.

Carlos Santana – 1B/DH

I am putting Santana on this list for two reasons…the first being that he’s advanced stats show a player in line for a pretty significant bounce back. The second being that by all accounts, Santana is the very definition of a player you can get for almost absolutely nothing and the return on investment is all but guaranteed to be nice.

Respectfully, though, the man only has four hits. Granted one is a home run he just hit, but it’s still only four hits total. That’s where it gets interesting.

While he may be getting up there in age at 36 years old, he’s still doing things analytically that many people only wish they could do. His days of hitting 30+ HR may be gone, but he still has the power and peripherals to put up 20 with a high walk rate and very low K rate. Making him an excellent points leagues candidate.

Not only does he barely strike out (career low 10.4%) he also makes incredible contact (88.4% zone contact rate). Much like Haniger, Santana is going to need to dip that launch angle a bit to get his fly ball rate (54%) and line drive rate (8.6%) to stabilize themselves a bit and Santana will be fine. His career high average exit velocity of 92.5 MPH and 11.4% barrel rate give him the profile of someone who should end the year hitting right around the 20 home runs he finished last season with and his xBA of .232 means he should end the year comfortably over the Mendoza line. Go trade away your 6th SP for him with confidence and never look back.

Francisco Lindor – SS

Probably the most prominent name on the list. Let’s be real though, last season Lindor left much to be desired. This season, on the other hand, has gone much, much differently.

After a first season with the Mets which saw him end up with his lowest amount of doubles, home runs, runs, RBI and stolen bases since 2016 along with the a career low .230 batting average, Lindor came into the 2022 season looking to put his name back on the map. And that is exactly what he has done.

Through 18 games Lindor currently has four home runs, 12 RBI, three stolen bases and a .294 average. What once looked like a player who got paid and fell off now looks like he never lost it in the first place. To make things even better, Lindor is averaging a career high in walks (12.5%) while only striking out 13.8% of the time. Combine that with an excellent 22.4% line drive rate and a .917 OPS and you get the kind of player worth strongly going after in a trade. He’s going to take significantly more to acquire in a trade than the other three, but with Lindor having 30/30 potential he will be worth every penny.

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