As we make our way towards the heart of the fantasy baseball season, trade targets are becoming more relevant. To truly make a run at a championship, trades should always be on the table.
Knowing who you should and shouldn’t be targeting will always be a must. Understanding the strength and weaknesses of your lineup goes a long way towards knowing where to start. Depth is nice to have in daily leagues, but sometimes moving that depth for an upgrade at the starting position is what will take your lineup from middle of the pack to legitimate championship contender. If you’re unsure what to value your players or what to offer in return, SGPN has an excellent trade value chart to help give a starting point.
The key to this article is guys owned in 80% or less of ESPN leagues as a baseline.
Ryan Mountcastle – 1B/OF/DH – Baltimore Orioles
Arguably one of the most overlooked young hitters, it’s about time we start putting some respek on his name. 44 games into his second season, Mountcastle is proving the power is real. After a 2021 season where he hit 22 doubles, 33 home runs and drove in 89 runs, Mountcastle looks to further expand on those numbers.
Now in 2022, Mountcastle has really started to heat up. Despite missing some time due to a forearm strain, he’s still had quite the offensive season. Five doubles, eight home runs and 24 RBI is excellent on the surface, but digging a little deeper you’ll see the the offensive onslaught has only just begun. His career best barrel rate (13.2%) and hard hit rate (46.5%) have been a big part of his current success. On the other hand, though, his xwOBA (.395/92nd percentile), xBA (.320/97th percentile) and xSLG (.584/94th percentile) point to continued success for Mountcastle moving forward.
Currently owned in 71.4% of leagues, Mountcastle is worth a look in every league. Especially with his multi position eligibility. Trade for him with confidence.
Ryan McMahon – 2B/3B – Colorado Rockies
There are a few non stat based boxes I always look for in a player to add when I can. McMahon checks two of those: Does he have multi position eligibility? Yes. Does he get regular at bats in Coors field? Yes. I’m a simple man, I see advantageous home ballpark, I add to fantasy team.
Through 53 games, McMahon’s four homeruns aren’t going to blow you away, but his 11 doubles, two triples, 26 runs and 27 RBI are good enough to be on your fantasy baseball radar. Especially for a guy rocking the dual position eligibility at second and third. His RBI total is actually the ninth best of all second base eligible players. This type of offensive efficiency is nothing new to McMahon either. He bested 20 home runs and 80 RBI in his last two full seasons (we aren’t counting 2020 because, well, covid…). His advanced stats have him looking primed for a mid-season breakout as well. His 9.2% barrel rate and 44.3% hard hit rate are both well above league average. He also has a career high 40.5% sweet spot rate and .351 xwOBA.
McMahon’s hitting profile is shaping up to be even better than the 32 double, 23 homerun season he put up a year prior. He’s currently one of the most overlooked fantasy baseball trade targets. The Rockies are also set to spend most of the fantasy baseball playoffs at home. If you’re a team already looking good for a playoff spot, he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Jonathan India – 2B – Cincinnati Reds
Another sneaky way to get some good trade value is to try and snag players who’ve been injured for an extended period of time. India is one of those guys. After missing all of May, he’s finally set to begin his rehab stint. While you could have gotten better value trading for him earlier, India is the perfect player to wait on for news of his return such as this. He’s missed just enough time for many fantasy owners to have forgotten about just how good of an option he is.
Limited to just 11 games so far in 2022, he’s shown the ability to hit is still there. His .295 average gives just enough hope he can build off of 2021 that he’s worth taking a flyer on. In that 2021 season India hit .269 with 34 doubles, 21 home runs, 69 RBI (nice) and an impressive .376 OBP. His 9.8% barrel rate and only 15.7% soft contact rates are a big part of what helped India burst onto the scene.
Even though it’s a very small sample size, India has raised his contact rate this season from 77.2% to 80.2%. It’s these slight under the radar adjustments that lead to continued success. Monitor his rehab assignment and as long as everything is good to go, he’s well worth the addition to your roster. Especially at his current price.
Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3B – Pittsburgh Pirates
Maybe it’s just me, but Hayes is another guy who seems to be routinely overlooked. In a league where young guys are now expected to hit 40 home runs and compete for an MVP title, Hayes has found his own highly productive lane.
At this point, Hayes officially has a full season’s worth of MLB experience. Well, 168 games, but we’ll round down and call it a full seasons worth. In those games, Hayes has hit .282 with 40 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 69 RBI (nice), 17 steals and a .350 OBP. In 2022, Hayes has really taken the steps to go from elite defensive prospect to defensive prospect with a plus bat. His 7.8% barrel rate is an improvement over last season and his average exit velo (91.7 MPH) and hard hit rate (49.6%) are in the 89th and 91st percentile. A lot of the improvement has come with how he’s seeing the ball. Chasing the ball well below league average at only 24.5% and making an excellent 90.9% zone contact.
I’m all in on Hayes at this point. He’s relevant in every league type and size. He has the low strikeout rate and extra base ability you want in points leagues, the OBP and multi category ability you want in roto and category leagues. Hayes is one of the more enticing trade targets at third base.