MLB Team Trades and more MLB Spotlights

by Corey Pieper
Ronald Acuna Injury

MLB Team Trades are the focus of this week's MLB spotlights article, and we also get an updated prospect watch.

The baseball season is already a quarter over. There have been both predictable and unpredictable occurrences so far this season. The Dodgers, Phillies, and Orioles each being division leaders was predictable before the season. Meanwhile, no matter how many bold prediction articles you read, I expect no one predicted the Astros being nearly 10 games below 500.

The same level of predictivity also has carried over to an individual level. First-round talent Kyle Tucker leading the league in home runs was predictable. But what about the incredible production of Marcell Ozuna? He routinely went outside the Top 100 in Fantasy Baseball drafts even coming off a 40-home run ,100-RBI season. He hopes to beat those marks again this year as he already has 12 home runs and 40 RBI.

Pitching is always tough to predict. Tyler Glasnow leading the way in strikeouts is not surprising if he can stay healthy. But did anyone see Ranger Suarez leading the league in wins and WHIP after 40 games?

The good and bad news about unpredictability is that changes quickly especially with the MLB team trades starting. The good news is that your slow starters (Corey Seager, Julio Rodriguez, and Kevin Gausman) can turn it around quickly.  The bad news is that your hot starters (Jordan Westburg, Jurickson Profar, and Ranger Suarez) can slow down just as quickly. You have to keep up with the latest happenings in major league baseball to know which way your players are trending.

A good starting point is to read the MLB Team Trades and MLB Spotlights piece. But when you're done reading this, check out some of the other fine work at Fantasy Six Pack such as the weekly hitting planner and pitching planner.

MLB Spotlights

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Prospect Watch

Both of the recommendations from the last edition of the Prospect Watch did indeed make their debuts. So far, I've hit on three of four players getting promoted within two weeks of this article. My miss was Paul Skenes. Instead, he made that debut this past weekend. It would have been nearly impossible to deliver on the hype of the outing. In the end, seven strikeouts over four innings with three earned runs is perfectly fine. Treat him as a Top-30 pitcher moving forward.

You can read on below to see two more prospect spotlights for players that we should see in the major leagues soon.

James Wood, OF, Washington Nationals

James Wood was part of the return that sent Juan Soto to the Padres in 2022. Two players in that return, MacKenzie Gore and C.J. Abrams, have already made Major League impacts. Wood could be the highest upside of all of them.

Wood's power and speed combination is what fantasy managers crave. In 35 games at Triple-A this season, Wood has seven home runs, nine stolen bases, and is batting a robust .346. The only Major League players with at least seven home runs and nine stolen bases are Shohei Ohtani (11 home runs and nine stolen bases) and Elly de la Cruz (nine home runs and 25 stolen bases). They are the top two overall hitters to this point in the season in rotisserie leagues.

The Nationals are starting an outfield of Jacob Young, Eddie Rosario, and Victor Robles.  Wood has played all three outfield positions at Triple-A this season, and soon could replace any of those outfielders.

Sem Robberse, SP, St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis starting pitching isn't keeping Sem Robberse in the minor leagues. Sonny Gray has proven to be an ace in the first month of his Cardinals' career. Other than him, the rotation includes Lance Lynn, Miles Mikolas, Kyle Gibson, and Steven Matz, who is currently on the injured list. Lynn, Mikolas, Gibson, and Matz each have FIPs over 4. At Triple-A, Robberse's FIP is 3.

A big reason for that low FIP is a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. At this point, Robberse has struck out 42 batters and only walked 11. He has a 2.81 ERA at Triple-A with four wins.

The Cardinals just paid some of those starting pitchers making them unlikely to be removed from the starting rotation. However, with Matz on the injured list, there is an opening.  Matthew Liberatore has replaced him in the rotation. The team had moved him to the bullpen before the injury so it's hard to envision him standing in Robberse's path.

The biggest hindrance to Robberse getting the call is other prospect pitchers in the Cardinals' organization. Tink Hence and Tekoah Roby have bigger names, but both are only at Double-A.

MLB Team Trades?

It's not often that we see MLB Team trades this early in the season. Over a week ago, the Padres acquired defending National League batting champion Luis Arraez with a package of prospects returning to the Marlins. Now that trading season has begun, we have to look at what teams may be looking to trade off pieces and the affect to our fantasy teams.

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Miami Marlins

Moving on from Luis Arraez won't be last trade the Marlins make. For a team that is 11-32, many teams are envious of the collection of young pitching that the Marlins have accumulated.

Jesus Luzardo is the most likely to be traded. He just returned from this past week, and looked like his old self.

The Baltimore Orioles should look to him as an option to help fortify the backend of their rotation. The team may look to move another starting pitcher as well, but I am confident that the team will try to move closer Tanner Scott.

Scott only has four saves as the Marlins have struggled to win games. The 2.25 ERA looks great, but a 4.95 FIP shows warning signs. That's because he has walked 16 batters in only 16 innings. Eventually, some of those batters will come around to score. For the sake of the Marlins, hopefully, that's after he is on a new team. A name to remember is Andrew Nardi. He could step in to save games for Miami if Scott is moved.

As for batters, the team would love to move Tim Anderson and his one-year contract. Remember, he didn't sign till the end of February because there was no real demand for him in the offseason. Considering he is batting just .197, it's hard to imagine that there is renewed interest now.

Colorado Rockies

Baseball Reference currently gives the Rockies less than 0.1% of making the playoffs. It doesn't help that they play in the same division with some of the best teams in all of baseball. Historically, the Rockies have chosen to keep their assets (see Trevor Story and Jon Gray). If the Rockies look to sell, their will be interest from other teams.

Cal Quantrill was traded to Colorado this off-season without much fanfare. Considering he was coming off a season where he finished with an ERA over 5 and barely over five strikeouts per nine innings with the Guardians, it made sense that it was under the radar. So far though, he has at least prevented runs at a better rate with only a 3.94 ERA. That does come with a career-worst 5.02 FIP which shows he has been a bit lucky. As a player with just one season left under contract, it would make sense for him to be traded to a team searching for pitching. Even still, he is probably not someone that would be considered except in the deepest of leagues.

The Rockies would likely have to pay a substantial amount of the $13 million that Charlie Blackmon is owed to move him. Trading him would likely be as a favor to Blackmon to allow him to play for a contender one more time before the soon-to-be 38 year old calls it a career. Blackmon remains usable in five-outfielder leagues especially when he has a week at Coors Field. Losing the home-park advantage would make him unusable for fantasy.

Another place where the team may look to move pieces is the bullpen. The team has only had seven saves all season. Left-hander Jalen Beeks has recorded the last four. His surface stats are as good as ever with a career-low 2.21 ERA. He is rostered in just 4% of Yahoo leagues, but that number should rise as a seemingly solidified closer.

Beeks would likely return to a setup role elsewhere. A trade would solidify Justin Lawrence as the closer in Colorado. He would only be useful in deep leagues where saves are scarce.
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Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox trading season started in spring training when the team moved ace Dylan Cease to the Padres. With a record of 12-29, the team's start has to have them thinking about who else they could sell.

Designated hitter Eloy Jimenez is a name to watch. It seems that the injuries may have sapped the immense upside that he showed early in his career. He has spent time on the injured list every season, except for the shortened 2020 season, back to 2019. This season his numbers are also lagging with career lows in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. He could use a change of scenery to reset his career.

The next starting pitcher who could be on the way out is Erick Fedde. Cease was moved with an extra year of team control to increase his market value. They could do the same thing with Fedde, and move him during this season. His return season to MLB has been a bit up-and-down, but overall the numbers have been solid with a 3-ERA and just under a strikeout per inning. His fantasy value would increase if moved as nearly every team has a better team context for wins than the White Sox.

That's all of the spotlights on the MLB team trades. Be sure to check out some of our players who have their stock rising or falling.

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