Fantasy Friday: Trade Deadline Targets
Like many of you, my parents were pretty serious about me keeping my room clean when I was growing up. And, like many of you, I didn’t really give a damn what they said about my room. I was the only one who was ever in it, I’d keep it the way I wanted, right? Right. Except this was the time before I could drive, which meant if I ever wanted to leave my house they had to drive me. If they were upset about the tornado that consistently hit my room, I wasn’t going anywhere. You can understand my dilemma. I remember one time in particular that my father had threatened to ground me if my room wasn’t clean by the time he got home from work. In typical fashion, I completely forgot about it until I saw his car roll into the driveway. My room was a mess and I had to act fast.
It wasn’t time to panic, it was time to get creative.
And thus, the “fake clean” was born. I thought to myself, when was the last time my dad checked under my bed or in my closet? Since I couldn’t remember, I threw every article of clothing under my bed, and the rest of the destruction in my closet. In 45 seconds, my room appeared to be spotless. Sure enough, my dad walked in, saw that my room LOOKED clean, and was satisfied. I cleaned my room on my own terms from then on out (sorry Dad, my room was totally clean).
Now, what in the world does this have to do with the fantasy baseball trade deadline? Well, at this point, everyone know it’s their last chance to improve their teams via trade, but unfortunately, the value of most players is pretty set in stone. Therefore, getting a steal of a deal is pretty hard to do right now. Which brings me back to “cleaning” my room.
It’s not time to panic, it’s time to get creative. Here are a few guys you might be able to get for cheaper than they are worth who could help carry your squad to a fantasy title:
Clay Buchholz, BOS – Lost in another disappointing season in Beantown has been the resurgence of the once-promising Buchholz. A quick peak at his overall numbers (9 W, 4.38 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) may lead his owners to believe that he is expendable, but Buchholz has been nothing short of lights out lately. Over his last 10 starts, Buchholz is 5-1 with a 2.21 ERA and has allowed 2 or fewer ER in 8 of those starts. Those 8 starts include meetings with the Rangers, Tigers, and White Sox. If the Red Sox rotation holds, Buchholz’s matchups will include the Indians, Royals, the offense formerly known as the Blue Jays, and the Orioles three times to finish the season. If you’re looking for low ratios, Buchholz is a great option who can be had for cheap.
Hiroki Kuroda, NYY – Kuroda has a few things going for him, the biggest being that he plays for the Yankees and they tend to score a few runs here and there. Still, while everyone is complaining that this Yankees staff cannot hold up to make a deep playoff run, Super Hiro has quietly put together a strong season. Use his owners worries about the ballpark he pitches in and the overall stigma of Yankees pitching right now to your advantage. Kuroda has posted a 2.74 ERA since the beginning of June and holds a record 6-2. He’s also showing great command over the last month, handing out just 3 BB and posting a fantastic 9-1 K/BB ratio. While everyone is hating on the Yankees’ pitching, grab Kuroda and laugh all the way to the fantasy bank.
Jay Bruce, CIN – I’m hanging my hat on this one for one reason, and one reason only: Joey Votto. Since Votto hit the DL, Bruce is hitting a putrid .218 with 3 HR and 10 RBI in 23 games. Before Joey Votto hit the DL, Bruce was on pace for 33 HR and 105 RBI. When Votto comes back sometime this month, I fully expect Bruce to start mashing again. He still strikes out too much and won’t help your average, but go ahead and take advantage of someone who is sick of Bruce right now and reap the benefits once Mr. Votto returns.
Alex Gordon, KC – The Royals are the Royals, which means they are in the middle of another disappointing season. While most people are concentrating on whether or not to buy in to a strong finish from Eric Hosmer, go out and get Gordon. The former future savior of the Royals has ditched his power stroke this season (7 HR) for more of a leadoff hitter’s approach, but it’s paying off big time in terms of average. Since the beginning of June, Gordon is batting at an impressive .337 clip and he currently leads the entire league in doubles. Billy Butler has been strong since the break (.340 BA 7 HR 20 RBI) and is having a career year, while Lorenzo Cain has been a welcome addition since returning from the DL. If young Royals Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer do finish strong, Gordon could be in for a monster finish to the season in terms of runs. He has even flashed some power and speed as of late, smacking two homers and swiping three bases since the beginning of August. If you need average and runs down the stretch, Gordon is a perfect target who may be had for cheap.