Fantasy Baseball: Trade mailbag helps find offers for Nolan Arenado, Cody Bellinger

If you need some help pulling off a trade, head over to SportsLine.com and check out the Grade The Trade tool, to help you figure out if you're making the right call. That tool takes our in-house projections and Ariel Cohen's valuation system (explained here) to come up with trade values to help you pull off the right deal. 

We took to Twitter earlier this week to ask our readers for some trade questions. It's still early in the season, and you may be best served holding pat, but if you want to make a trade, we're here to help. Ariel Cohen offers a few answers using our valuations, plus his own expectations:

Player

Trade Value

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

Whit Merrifield

27

552

93

65

14

36

.299

Adalberto Mondesi

25

495

79

72

21

44

.265









TOTAL INCOMING

52

1047

172

137

35

80

.283

















Player

Trade Value

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

Nolan Arenado

20

536

79

92

30

2

.282









TOTAL OUTGOING

20

536

79

92

30

2

.282

I think asking for both Merrifield and Mondesi would be far too much. According to the latest Sportsline projections, the duo is projected to steal 80 more bases this season.

Caution: Unless the intended trading partner has a surplus of steals, it may be hard for that team to trade either of the two. Early on in the season, when a "super steals" player is involved in trade discussions, workable solutions may have to be of the 2-for-2 or multiplayer nature. For instance, it may be necessary to return a 15 SB player to counterbalance the speedster.

From a value standpoint, Both Merrifield and Mondesi are individually ranked higher than Arenado, thanks to their elite steal potential. You would be getting excellent value in a rotisserie format by trading for either one alone. Merrifield would be the superior target.

If you feel that some of your leaguemates value Arenado very highly (and if you are comfortable with his projection), try trading him for Merrifield PLUS a low-end power bat. This will fill in some of the power lost in the trade; perhaps a Josh Bell or a Maikel Franco type.

Player

Trade Value

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

George Springer

24

536

99

81

29

7

.282

















Player

Trade Value

IP

W

S

K

ERA

WHIP

Luis Castillo

4

144

8

0

149

3.88

1.19

Springer is a lock for 20+ HRs, 90+ runs, a handful of steals – which is fantastic and reliable. His batting average oscillates between .260 and .280, which won't hurt you in today's hitting environment. He is 29 years old and has a rest of season value of $24 according to the projections.

Luis Castillo doesn't model all that well according to the rest of season Sportsline projections. He is the 48th ranked starting pitcher in a 12-Team Roto format, which translates to a $4 cost. The low value has much to do with a mediocre 8-win projection as anything else.

Projections aside, I am intrigued by Castillo. Since the beginning of May last year, Castillo has a 3.25 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP and 166 Ks in 160.2 IP. Castillo had a wPDI of .374 in 2018, which ranked 20th among all starters with 35+ IP (explanation of wPDI is found here). In almost 20 innings this season, Castillo is pitching to a 0.92 ERA, with a .081 batting average against. Castillo is three years younger than Springer at 26.

If this was a redraft league question, I would suggest holding onto Springer for the superior overall value. For a dynasty league, especially where you have excess hitting and could use some long-term pitching – I could see this as a trade that would make sense for you in the long run.

INCOMING








Player

Trade Value

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

Charlie Blackmon

13

544

85

58

22

10

.279

















Player

Trade Value

IP

W

S

K

ERA

WHIP

Blake Snell

19

166

17

0

188

3.26

1.21









Total

31







Capped Total

31















OUTGOING








Player

Trade Value

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

Mookie Betts

42

554

119

87

30

23

.301

















Player

Trade Value

IP

W

S

K

ERA

WHIP

Chris Paddack

-13

136

7

0

127

4.31

1.41









Total

29







Capped Total

42







Here we have a classic 2-for-2 trade. A stud pitcher is offered for a stud hitter, and two other players are placed in the trade in order to try and keep balance.

In a 12-team league, Chris Paddack is projected for negative Trade value. He does not lie within the 108-best pitchers. Compared to Snell, Sportsline projects Paddack to have an ERA of over a full run higher, have 10 fewer wins, and 60 fewer strikeouts. Snell models out as a $19 player, whereas Paddack amounts to negative $13. The full value difference between the two pitchers is $32, however, capping Paddack at a $0 Trade value level gives the difference between the two at $19. Sportsline is not optimistic about Paddack.

On the hitting side, Betts is projected for a much better rest of season than Blackmon. The Red Sox outfielder projects for 8 more HRs, 13 more steals, 22 points of batting average and 63 more RBIs + Runs than his Rockies' counterpart. Betts models out as a $42 player – the 2nd highest position player. Blackmon values out to only a $13 player, the 64th best hitter in roto. Their difference is $29.

In a vacuum, since the aggregated capped total (all players with no less than a $0 value) favors the Betts side, I would not do the trade. However, if you have enough hitting excess - Snell as a top 10 starting pitcher, may provide you with more help. 

Editor's Note: If you're more optimistic about Paddack than the projections, I think it becomes a no-brainer to turn it down. And I am very optimistic about Paddack. -Chris Towers

Player

Projected Points

Jean Segura

440

Eugenio Suarez

422



TOTAL INCOMING

861



Player

Projected Points

Pete Alonso

385

Mitch Moreland

341



TOTAL OUTGOING

725

Above are the projected rest of season points for the players involved in the potential trade. Both of the incoming players project for a higher point total than either outgoing one.

Segura has started the first few weeks of 2019 with a .378 OBP. He has no homers or stolen bases thus far, but he has 7 RBI and 10 runs in a loaded lineup. Suarez has started out slower but has launched two balls out of the park in '19.

Alonso is leading all rookies right now with a 1.352 OPS. His 5 homeruns in his first 10 games (a new Mets record), has highlighted his impressive initial performance. He alone has been more productive than Segura and Suarez combined (to date). Moreland, who has received a lot of playing time in Steve Pearce's absence, has made the most of it – with 4 HRs and 10 RBIs thus far.

This is a classic case of hot start vs. projections. This is a potential buy low and sell high type offer. This requires looking a bit deeper into the players to see if the projections conflict with any of our changed player expectations.

Segura will be just fine – he bats in a great lineup and plays in a hitter's ballpark. I buy the season long projection. Suarez has been extremely consistent in past years. On the Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational – Beat the Shift Podcast, I have referred to him as a "low variance projection player." He has been extremely consistent year to year, and I expect that he will come close to meeting his projections once again. In Moreland's case, I have to assume that he will cool off, and may lose a bit of playing time down the stretch. I can't change my expectations on this aging player so early in the season.

Alonso, I would treat differently – I may want to increase his current projection. Let's take a look at what Sportsline currently projects:

Player

AB

R

RBI

HR

SB

BA

Pete Alonso

459

64

76

29

3

.268

I cannot imagine Alonso hitting any higher than .268. He profiles more of a power bat than a contact / batting average one.  I'll take the under on the rookie for BA. The HR and SB counting stats seem about right to me. I certainly can't project more than a 35-homer season for him to start his career.

The run production stats though, may look light. Batting high up in the order on a daily basis, may help provide Alonso with possibly 10-20 more runs and 10-20 more RBIs. The projections might have assumed a lower batting spot for him.

Even if I add in an additional 30-40 Runs+RBI, the projected points still tip in the favor of Segura/Suarez. At this point, I would think you would be wise to accept the trade – to buy low on the consistent year to year hitters, and to sell high on the hot start player and the rookie.

To me, this is a question of risk tolerance. Clevinger in a full season would flirt with 200 strikeouts. However, he won't even touch a ball now for another 6-8 weeks.

Darvish on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. So far in two starts, he has 8.1 IP, with an 8.10 ERA and an ungodly 2.70 WHIP. His FIP is even worse, at 8.18. His HR/FB rate thus far has been an unlucky 33%, which will come down – but even so, I worry that he will fail to dip below a 4.00 ERA, even if his strikeout rate remains high (above 8 or 9 K/9). The walks may be a problem all year long.

I would answer this question differently depending upon your league depth. In a shallow mixed league, where there are better arms to scoop up for Darvish – I would trade him away for the injured Clevinger, hoping to get a couple months out of him later in the season. In a deeper mixed league or mono league, Darvish may still provide better ratios and counting stats than what is available on the waiver wire. You may want to hold onto him in those deeper formats – hoping that he figures it out. For the time being, just play him in favorable matchups. 

When making a one-for-one trade, you typically want to acquire more value than you are giving up. The following are the top rest of season Trade values:

 

Player

Trade Value

Mike Trout

49

Mookie Betts

42

Christian Yelich

41

J.D. Martinez

40

Anthony Rendon

35

Bryce Harper

35

Paul Goldschmidt

33

Javier Baez

31

Ronald Acuna

31

Jose Ramirez

30

Rhys Hoskins

30

Nelson Cruz

29

Cody Bellinger

28

I would trade Bellinger for anyone on this list, with the exception of Nelson Cruz. Positional flexibility is important to have, as injuries start to pile up. With Bellinger eligible at both 1B and OF, I would judgmentally add $1-2 to his Trade value. Everyone on the list (including Cruz) would provide you with an excellent power base, plus they would afford you an overall value advantage on paper.

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