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Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer: Players to sell high, buy low — and one to go all-in on

As is the case most years, the initial weeks of the 2024 season have been chaotic. Several seemingly secure starters, such as George Kirby and Bailey Ober, have endured disastrous outings. A handful of high-end closers have blown saves, and several early-round picks on the hitting side are batting below the Mendoza Line.

For the most part, wise fantasy managers will block out this short sample of results. Players who appear to be healthy and have their expected role should be viewed similarly to how they were assessed on draft day.

The concept of buying low and selling high is more appropriate during April than at any other time of the year. On April 10, 2023, Bryan Reynolds was tied for the Major League lead in home runs, while Matt Chapman ranked second in RBI and Andrés Giménez topped the list in runs scored. Of course, all three men were playing over their heads and finished the season with mediocre totals in the respective categories.

That being said, there are times when players get off to great starts and stay hot for most or all of the season. Figuring out which players belong in each category is the key to winning on the Yahoo Trade Market.

Who to Buy Low

Kevin Gausman (SP, Toronto Blue Jays)

This recommendation is for managers who are looking for a discounted ace after losing Spencer Strider or Shane Bieber to injury. There are some worried Gausman managers, as the right-hander struggled with his velocity while getting rocked in Yankee Stadium last time out. And of course, his early April meltdown comes on the heels of shoulder concerns during Spring Training.

Acquiring Gausman is not without risk, but it is the type of bold move that could save the season for those who have lost their ace.

Justin Steele (SP, Chicago Cubs)

The massive volume of injuries across baseball has been the hottest topic in fantasy circles this season. At this point, many managers have more injured players than they can fit in their IL slots, which means that they will be open to trading away some of these men at a discount. The fortunate managers who still have IL room should use the space to their advantage by making buy-low offers for players such as Steele, who could return to action by early May.

Tanner Scott (RP, Miami Marlins)

Managers should be able to get Scott at a massive discount in some leagues. After all, the Marlins closer doesn’t have any saves, has taken two losses already and has compiled more walks (six) than strikeouts (five). And in all honesty, a buy-low acquisition of Scott does not come without risk, as he could lose his closer’s role by struggling for a couple more weeks. All of that being said, Scott has a high ceiling (2.31 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 104 SO in 2023) and is only a small part of the problem on a Marlins team that sits last in baseball with a 1-11 record.

Who to Sell High

Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles Angels)

I have a feeling that Trout is going to show up in this column a few times this season. The best player of his generation, Trout is off to a stellar start by hitting six homers in 11 games. But the main reason that Trout fell in drafts has not changed — he has struggled to stay on the field in recent years. Those who drafted Trout around his Yahoo ADP of 50.5 could deal him now for an early-round pick and remove the risk of his hot start eventually ending due to another injury.

Who to Buy High

Anthony Volpe (SS, New York Yankees)

I'm going to join the chorus with Yahoo colleague Scott Pianowski on this one. Scott was vocal about Volpe's breakout potential this season, and the early results (2 HR, 3 SB, .375 BA) make Scott look like a genius. A premium prospect who was not effective from a real-life perspective (.666 OPS) last year but still helped fantasy managers (21 HR, 24 SB), Volpe reminds me of someone like Bobby Witt Jr., as he could quickly go from being a good fantasy asset to a great one.

BONUS

Buy low on Spencer Strider in Keeper Leagues

Strider should be the most-traded player in keeper leagues during the coming weeks.

Acquired as a late-round pick or waiver-wire gem in most keeper formats in 2022, the Braves ace has propelled many of his teams to title contention. But we are now looking at a situation where he will miss a significant portion of this season and could be out until the middle of next year. Trading for a discounted Strider should be a primary goal of those who manage rebuilding clubs. Even in a worst-case scenario, the right-hander will return from Tommy John surgery in time to be regarded as an elite ace as a 27-year-old in 2026 drafts.