Dynasty Baseball Trade Targets: Vinnie Pasquantino And Taj Bradley

by Josh Stevens
Dynasty Baseball Trade Targets

How detrimental are injuries to a young career? Both of our Dynasty Baseball Trade Targets: Vinnie Pasquantino and Taj Bradley hope that they can overcome early injuries to make an impact.

2024 sure seems like the year of the injury. Superstars like Shohei Ohtani, Jacob Degrom, Spencer Strider, Sandy Alcantara, Shane McClanahan, and Felix Batista will not throw another pitch in 2024. They are the headliners of the 38 pitchers who have gone under the knife via Tommy John Surgery. This doesn’t include other devastating injuries like Acuńas second ACL tear this past weekend.

As a result, “the best ability is availability” really reigns true in Fantasy Baseball. Getting a top-name player means nothing if he’s injured for over a year.

With the increased number of pitchers who choose to throw as hard as they can at all costs, this injury problem likely isn’t going away. However, players who can stay healthy are extremely coveted. While Vinnie Pasquantino and Taj Bradley have dealt with injuries early in their career, they look to put those behind them.

Dynasty Baseball Trade Targets: Vinnie Pasquantino And Taj Bradley

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Vinnie Pasquantino, 1b, Kansas City Royals.

After hitting .295 with ten homers through his first 72 games in 2022, expectations were sky-high for the Italian slugger coming into 2023. While the Royals were looked at as a few years away from contending, they hoped for Pasquantino to team up with Bobby Witt Jr. to be a dynamic duo for the foreseeable future.

Witt exceeded all expectations with 30 homers and 49 steals in 2023. However, Pasquantino had an up-and-down opening half. He hit .247 with nine homers and a 106 OPs+ in 61 games. While there was still a lot of time to go on a run, Pasquantino tore his labrum in June, a season-ending injury.

As someone who tore his labrum while playing baseball, I can attest to how tough of an injury it is. However, it is definitely an injury one can make a full recovery from. Pasquantino looked to start anew in 2024.

However, 2024 hasn’t been kind to Pasquantino so far. Despite hitting third in a surprisingly red-hot lineup, Pasquantino is hitting a mere .225, hitting five home runs, 33 RBI, and an OPS of .699.

When you hit behind Bobby Witt Jr, you’re bound to have a ton of RBI opportunities. However, Pasquantino has missed out on many more RBIs so far this year.

A Slump or Bad Luck?

It is far from time to hit the panic button yet. While his numbers aren’t there yet, the quality of the at-bats are. Pasquantino’s expected stats (xBA, xSLG, xwOBA) are all in the 77th percentile or better. These disparities are all in the 15 worst in baseball, suggesting that Pasquantino has been extremely unlucky so far.

Expected stats tend to tell the truth over time, so stick with Pasquantino and look for these line drives to start finding grass. Pasquantino’s 94th percentile strikeout rate is also a huge point of emphasis. He won’t cost you too many points on that end.

As long as he can stay healthy, continue to draw walks and not strike out, look for Pasquantino to deliver a huge summer.

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Taj Bradley, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays.

Bradley, who missed the first part of the season with a pec injury, hasn’t missed a step since his return a month ago.

Bradley showcased his incredible stuff during his rookie season. He fanned 129 batters over 104 innings. Even though he had an ERA over 5, his FIP was a full run lower at 4.30, giving a lot of hope for 2024.

So far, Bradley has been very solid in 2024. He’s posted an ERA of 3.13 while keeping his K:9 rate consistent at 11.3.

Even more impressive, he’s walking batters at a far lower rate than last year, as his BB:9 has fallen from 3.3 to 2.2 this year.

However, lost among the 3.13 ERA is a concerning trend of hard-hit balls against Bradley. His expected ERA is more than a full run higher than his actual ERA. He ranks in the bottom ten percent in hard-hit and barrel rate.

Yet, Bradley is different from some of my other trade targets in that his value doesn’t really lie in limiting runs. Yes that’s obviously a huge part of the game, but Bradley’s fantasy value comes in his strikeout ability.

Bradley runs his fastball up to 98. He drops a nasty splitter/cutter combo around 90, with a good curve to boot too. This electric mix racks up the strikeouts for him. He also has solid stamina and tends to regularly work deep into games.

Where does this lead us? Taj Bradley’s ceiling seems to be somewhat of a Spencer Strider-type. The prodigious strikeout numbers more than offset the runs given up. In any case, Bradley’s potential is one to take a bet on in a trade.

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