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.
Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals
The story of DeJong’s season to this point has mirrored that of his team’s. He was one of the best players in baseball over the first month and a half before going into a massive slump. During an absolutely brutal 13-game stretch from May 22 to June 6, he went 4-for-44 with one home run, two RBI and four runs. However, DeJong ripped a game-winning two-run homer against the Cubs on June 7 and he’s been heating up since then. He’s recorded at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 games (16-for-52), and he’s bashed five dingers with eight RBI and nine runs in that span.
Yasiel Puig, OF, Reds
Puig had an awful first two months this season, but the 28-year-old rightfielder has been a different hitter over the past four weeks. Since May 24, Puig is slashing .275/.318/.538 with six homers, 12 RBI and 10 runs. Most of us were expecting a monster offensive year from Puig in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark, and that could still be coming. No matter what, though, it’s time to put more stock in what we’ve seen from him over the last month, and less into his dreadful start to the year.
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres
Renfroe has emerged as one of the league’s premier power hitters, with his 23 home runs tied for second most in MLB, behind Christian Yelich. He’s hit 46 dingers over the last 365 days, again trailing only Yelich. His power is legit, and so is his fantasy value.
Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees
A few weeks ago, I wrote that you should sell Gardner during a hot streak because his value was never going to be higher. Now, with Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton due back soon, Aaron Hicks already back, and the acquisition of Edwin Encarnacion, there is simply no place for Gardner in the lineup. His trade value now is low, but he may be worth packaging in a deal featuring other players. Either way, deal him now for anything before you’ll get absolutely nothing in return when you drop him.
Mike Minor, SP, Rangers
Yes, Minor has been one of the better lefthanded pitchers in the league this season, and he’ll still provide fantasy owners with value if they hold onto him. But with the Rangers’ unexpected success over the first few months of the season, the chances that they’ll trade him have decreased. It’s also questionable how long Texas can stay in the playoff hunt. If the Rangers start to go south but wait too long to trade Minor—the one trade deadline this year instead of two makes a huge difference—his value will be less than it would be with a contending team. Trading him could bring you a hefty package in return.
Ketel Marte, 2B/SS/OF, Diamondbacks
Along with Tommy La Stella, Marte is one of the season’s most surprising power hitters. He’s left the yard 20 times this year after combining for 22 in his first four seasons. And while it’s still a ambitious to expect Marte to finish the year with 40 dingers, he’s definitely done enough for owners to bank on another 10.
Tom Verducci wrote the following of Marte in his column on the 2019 home-run surge: “Now at 6'1", 165 pounds, he swings like Jim Thome: the bat is in the zone longer, he extends fully through contact with his arms extended to a high finish that creates so much loft he often winds up on the heel of his front foot, with his toes off the ground, the way that Thome back-legged home runs. He has learned to create speed and leverage—to hit the ball better and higher, not more often.”
The result of this swing change is not just more home runs. Marte is also hitting for a higher average. He’s at .286 this year after batting .260 in each of the last two seasons, and .259 in 2016. Also, Marte should also continue to score and drive in runs in a solid Diamondbacks lineup. Marte’s 2019 is no fluke, and you definitely shouldn’t think of him as a sell-high trade candidate.
Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians
Bauer was struggling mightily over the last month or so before he delivered one of the best performances of his career on Sunday against the Tigers. Bauer is considered one of the players most likely to be traded before the July 31 deadline, and a lot will change before then. His track record and most recent start is promising for a rebound after a rough stretch. What he does over the next few will determine whether he should be traded in fantasy leagues, too.