2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: LaMonte Wade Jr.

by Josh Stevens

In this week’s 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target article I will be discussing a player whose underrated on-base skills make him a steal in fantasy leagues: LaMonte Wade Jr.

“He can’t throw and he can’t field. But what can he do? Guys, check your reports or I’ll point at Pete again.”

Dynasty baseball is usually reserved for hardcore baseball fans. I’m sure you know exactly what this quote refers to. Most of you are probably like me and have watched Moneyball multiple times.

It’s been well documented that the Moneyball way of team building isn’t perfect. Of course, OBP isn’t the only thing that you should look for. The only way to determine the value of a player is to look at his whole body of work.

However, that isn’t to say that OBP isn’t important. It’s one of the most important base stats in baseball and a healthy alternative to batting average. It also helps in Fantasy Baseball, where OBP is a widely used category, as is runs (which correlates with OBP well). Getting on base is a specialty that our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: LaMonte Wade Jr. excels at.

2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target: LaMonte Wade Jr.

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Take a look at the MLB OBP leaders for 2023. One through five are essentially as expected. Acuna, Freeman, Arraez, Soto, and Ohtani are all superstars who are near locks to be at the top of the OBP leaderboards. Right behind them are Yandy Diaz and Mookie Betts, who are also well-established stars. Ninth on that list is Matt Olson, who is arguably the scariest hitter in baseball in 2023.

However, in between superstars Mookie Betts and Matt Olson is perhaps an unfamiliar name to leaderboards. While he is a solid player, LaMonte Wade Jr. is not usually mentioned in the same breath as perennial MVP candidates. However, this underrated nature of Wade’s game makes him a perfect player to get a steal of a trade for.

Wade was in the spotlight in 2021 for his late-game heroics, earning him the nickname “Late Night LaMonte” for his knack for coming through in the clutch. It was awesome to see a career .210 hitter at the time come up clutch again and again. However, Wade has drastically improved, and should no longer be looked at as a below-average player who has a few walk-offs.

More Than Just "Late Night LaMonte"

Wade is having a career year in 2023, as 2.3 of his career 3.5 WAR have come this season. Wade is both hitting well, with a .261 average and 11 homers and drawing a ton of walks, with a .386 OBP.

I mentioned in my Triston Casas article that I think a great indicator is someone who has an OBP of at least 100 points better than the batting average. Wade is one of the highest in this category. His OBP is a full 125 points higher than his on-base percentage.

However, Wade has become more than just a player who draws walks (sorry Moneyball). His 162-game average puts him at 19 homers and 22 doubles a year, which is more than respectable.

A look at Wade’s baseball savant page is also very promising. We know about the plate discipline, as his 98th percentile walk rate, 96th percentile chase rate, and 89th percentile wOBA are all amazing.

Furthermore, the advanced stats show that he can get it done swinging the bat as well. At 10.0, he averages three more barrels/PA than the MLB average, getting more barrels than about two-thirds of all MLB players. While his average exit velocity is right in the middle at the 49th percentile, Wade’s above-average launch angle allows for plenty of extra-base hits.

Despite baseball being in a place where striking out a ton is no longer as much of a death sentence, punching out is still costly in Fantasy Baseball. Thankfully, you won’t have to worry about this with Wade. He seldom chases (96th percentile chase rate), and makes consistent contact (70th percentile whiff rate, 64th percentile K rate).

What will it take to get Wade?

The Giants as a whole seem like a criminally underrated team, and this fully applies to LaMonte Wade. His stats don’t pop out to you at first glance. He can likely be found for extremely cheap on the trade block.

Final thoughts:

Building the best Fantasy Baseball team in 2023 should be a way different process than rebuilding the A’s in 2002. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t take a page out of Billy Beane’s playbook. LaMonte Wade Jr.’s incredible knack for getting on base makes him our next 2023 Dynasty Baseball Trade Target.

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