A couple days before the trade deadline, the Blue Jays are the ones making all the headlines.
Specifically, they made two moves of great consequence to Fantasy Baseball players. No, the Eric Sogard trade isn't one of them, though what little value he did have will presumably be smothered with the Rays. It's the response to the Sogard trade that's noteworthy here:
It's not just his name that's notable. Of the minor-leaguers expected to get the call the year, he's the best we haven't seen in the majors yet, coming in second in.
The numbers won't blow you away. A recent slump has pulled him down to a .277 batting average and .813 OPS at Triple-A, which has become an unusually hitter-friendly environment with the introduction of a new baseball this year. In fact, he hasn't been much of a home run hitter at any stop in the minors.
But he profiles as one, his exaggerated load generating plenty of torque and making for a quick bat through the zone. The Blue Jays moved the 21-year-old quickly through the system, and he never appeared overmatched, even hitting .410 (16 for 39) with four homers this spring. Twice he has reached the 40-doubles threshold (which minor-leaguers rarely get enough at-bats to accomplish in a single season), and he contributes in other ways, too, following his 32-steal season a year ago with 16 steals in 59 games this year.
Given the depth created around the infield (and at shortstop especially) during the juiced-ball era, it'd be hard to call Bichette must-add in the strictest sense, but his impact could be considerable. If you're hoping to add another big bat (or frankly, a steals source) for the stretch run, he's probably your best bet off the waiver wire. And certainly, if you lost Adalberto Mondesi or Dansby Swanson recently, he represents an exciting replacement.
The other Blue Jays move of note was the unloading of their greatest trade asset, Marcus Stroman, to New York.
No, the other New York.
The Yankees were rumored to be in hot pursuit of the 28-year-old sinkerballer, but it was the Mets who got the deal done with minor-league hurlers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson — a surprise in the sense that they're not really competing for anything this year.
Which makes it a disappointment for Fantasy purposes.
See, Stroman is in the midst of a career season, but it's going widely unappreciated because of his 6-11 record. No doubt, his supporting cast has had a great deal to do with it, and the issue would have surely been rectified if he had gone to a team like the Yankees, Dodgers or Braves.
But the Mets? Well, they're not as bad as the Blue Jays, despite what their national reputation would suggest, but with top-shelf ace Jacob deGrom compiling a .500 record for them over the past two seasons, they're not exactly known for creating and protecting leads.
Still, going from the AL East to the NL East and no longer having to face the DH every time through the order is itself an upgrade for Stroman. He has always performed well in interleague play, going 10-5 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The park is more favorable to pitchers, too, though that particular detail matters less for one as ground ball-oriented as Stroman.
It's an upgrade for him if only because his situation couldn't have gotten much worse, but he's not the big winner he could have been. And now the attention turns to Madison Bumgarner and Matthew Boyd and whether or not they can improve their standing in Fantasy.