- Checking in on the fantasy baseball trade market with buy, sell, and hold candidates.
SI.com’s fantasy baseball Trade Winds will help you decide the direction in which you should be going with your fantasy team. Each week, we’ll look at the trade market, giving you buys, sells and holds across the fantasy baseball landscape.
Max Kepler, OF, Twins
Like the rest of the Twins, Kepler’s been on fire recently. The 26-year-old rightfielder is riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he has gone 18-for-38 with four homers and 14 RBI. He has spent most of his time this season as Minnesota’s leadoff man, holding down the top spot in the order against righties. That gives him a ton of run-scoring upside in baseball’s most potent offense. And because the Twins have such a deep lineup, he should also continue to get more RBI chances than most leadoff hitters.
Brandon Wooduff, SP, Brewers
Kaelen Jones included Woodruff as a “buy” in last week’s Trade Winds column, and after his latest start I’m doubling down on my colleague’s call. Woodruff was electric against the Phillies on Sunday, allowing just one hit, a solo homer by Andrew Knapp, and striking out 10 in the Brewers’ 9-1 win. He lowered his ERA to 3.22 and WHIP to 1.09 in the process, and has 75 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. What’s more, he went 2-for-3 with a double, out-hitting the Phillies on his own. The Brewers have found themselves a gem in Woodruff.
Matt Olson, 1B, A’s
Olson missed six weeks at the beginning of the season with a broken bone in his right hand after getting hit by a pitch in the Athletics’ second game of the year. Olson is slashing ..237/.333/.474 with five homers and eight RBI in 87 plate appearances, and that’s after it took him about a week to find his groove upon his return from the IL. There’s every reason to believe he’ll be the easy top-10 option at first base that he was expected to be at the start of the season.
Matt Carpenter, 1B/2B/3B, Cardinals
In two weeks, Carpenter has graduated from “hold” to “buy.” Since his last appearance in the Trade Winds, he’s gone 11-for-31 with three homers, seven RBI and five walks in 41 plate appearances. Plus, Carpenter should have more RBI opportunities now that he’s been moved out of the leadoff spot.
Jason Heyward, OF, Cubs
Well, Heyward’s hot start was nice while it lasted. His month of May has been as awful as his April was fantastic. Heyward went 3-for-4 on May 1 to increase his batting average to .329 and his OPS to .968. Heading into play Tuesday, the 29-year-old outfielder is slashing .234/.347/.395. He’s carrying a .163/.265/.291 line in May, undoing much of the good he did for fantasy owners to start the season. The ideal time to sell Heyward would’ve been two or three weeks ago when he just started his slump. You shouldn’t expect much in return for him now, but don’t be shy about selling low. It’s likely that he eventually shows up in one of our Droppable columns.
Brett Gardiner, OF, Yankees
Gardner had an seven-game hitting streak snapped on Sunday, but he had just a pinch-hit appearance in that game. He got it going again on Monday, going 1-for-2 with a homer and a walk. Over his last nine games, he’s 14-for-30 with two homers, four doubles, five RBI, eight runs, three walks and two steals. This hot streak is the perfect time to shop Gardner. Aaron Judge appears to be inching closer to returning from a significant oblique injury—he’s reportedly going to start swinging a bat soon (!)—and once that happens, Gardner will likely see less playing time. Plus, it was just over a week ago that Gardner was batting below .200. At 35 years old, his final numbers for 2019 will probably look closer to that .193 average that he had before his hitting streak started than the mark he’s posted during these eight games.
Jordan Hicks, RP, Cardinals
May has not been kind to Hicks or the Cardinals. So far this month, Hicks has tallied just one save after racking up nine in April. He surrendered a 3-0 lead in his most recent appearance, allowing three runs on three hits and a walk without recording an out in an eventual loss to the Braves. However, Hicks’ rough stretch is more a symptom of the Cardinals’ bad month than the cause of it. Sunday’s blown save was just his sixth appearance in May, and at least some of his troubles could be written off as rust. Another positive sign? Hicks’ elite velocity hasn’t diminished at all.
Sean Doolittle, RP, Nationals
Nobody will tell you how dreadful Doolittle’s recent stretch has been more bluntly than Doolittle himself. Over his last four appearances, Washington’s closer has allowed seven earned runs in three innings. There’s no indication, however, that this is going to be anything more than small blemish in an otherwise stellar 2019 campaign. And even despite the recent downturn, Doolittle has recorded three saves in that span, giving owners some fantasy value even as he has struggled. Doolittle should remain one of the elite fantasy relievers, even if he’s in another uniform come August and September.