Fantasy Baseball Q&A: FBT’s favorite players to target in trades for Dynasty leagues at key positions

Fantasy Baseball Q&A: FBT’s favorite players to target in trades for Dynasty leagues at key positions

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Fantasy Baseball Q&A: FBT's favorite players to target in trades for Dynasty leagues at key positions

Now is an excellent time to build out your roster

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As the Fantasy Baseball season rolls on and we’re reaching the crunch time — playoffs starting in a matter of weeks for H2H leagues — it’s time to shift focus to Dynasty at least for the time being. Today, we’ll look at players to target in your Dynasty leagues via trades at some of the most important positions. 

To kick off each week of the season, I’ll be reaching out to Fantasy Baseball Today’s Chris Towers, Scott White and Frank Stampfl to ask them a few big questions that we hope can lead to actionable advice. If you are reading this and have specific questions you’d love to see Chris, Scott and Frank answer, please DM me @DanSchneierNFL. And remember that if you don’t like any of the answers, I’m just the messenger, and you know what they say about the messenger.

For Dynasty leagues, who is your favorite player to target trading for at the following positions:

  1. Catcher

  • Scott:  At least in Fantasy Baseball, this position is nearly as disposable as relief pitcher, which makes it difficult to identify where the impact will come from. But Daulton Varsho has a couple of cheat codes working for him. He’s not a pure catcher, his athleticism ensuring he’ll split his time in the outfield, and that same athleticism should also make him the rare catcher who steals bases. His slow adaptation to the majors, which began last year, has no doubt soured some against him, but he hasn’t looked like as much of a pushover the past couple weeks. I’d take the discount before it’s gone.

  • Chris:  When you’re looking for players to buy in a Dynasty league late in the season, I think the best targets are typically going to be young players who have disappointed us this season. And at catcher, I’ll go with Joey Bart, who struggled in 2020 and hasn’t gotten much of an opportunity in the majors in 2021, but who has continued to hit well at Triple-A. Bart is hitting .314/.379/.536 a Triple-A Sacramento this season, and now has 14 homers and 17 doubles in 72 games between Triple-A and Double-a, while hitting over .300 at each stop. With Buster Posey’s bounce-back season, it’s not clear where Bart’s opportunity at everyday at-bats will come from, but it’s worth betting on a player who is likely to be steeply discounted at this point finding the opportunity, in San Francisco or elsewhere. 
  • Frank: Investing much at catcher in dynasty leagues is always tough because it’s a position that doesn’t play as much as the rest, therefore they’re just not expected to contribute as much. With that, you have to take a leap of faith when attempting to buy low in dynasty leagues. I’d take that leap with Luis Campusano from the San Diego Padres. He seems to have lost some of his luster but is still having a strong season at Triple-A, batting .284 with 11 home runs and an .864 OPS. He might not have a place to play with the Padres, but they’re a team that trades quite a bit. The hope would be Campusano makes it somewhere else. 

2. Corner Infield

  • Scott: Cody Bellinger is a former rookie of the year and MVP, but he was a huge disappointment last year and looks just plain broken this year. Even going by the underlying numbers, there isn’t much reason for optimism. The strikeout rate is way up and the hard-hit rate way down. Still, it’s important to remember he’s only 26. We know these struggles are to some degree self-inflicted (though injuries haven’t helped) given his bizarre decision to change his mechanics after his MVP season. If he can tweak his way out of an MVP, he can tweak his way back into one, and we’ve in fact already seen him recover from a discouraging sophomore season (2018). Whoever has him in your dynasty league may just be looking for a lifeline at this point, so it’s possible you can get Bellinger for dirt cheap.

  • Chris:  Cavan Biggio. I’ve never been a huge Biggio fan, but I also don’t think he’s as bad as he has looked this season. This is still potentially a very valuable skill set for Fantasy, and the fact that he has only attempted three steals in 77 games makes me think there’s a pretty good chance he just hasn’t been right this season. He’ll always be a low-average player, but there’s still 15-15 potential with a bunch of runs in his range of outcomes. 
  • Frank: Ke’Bryan Hayes might be too obvious, right? Hayes shocked all of us in the shortened 2020 season, batting .376 with five homers over just 24 games. He probably helped some teams win championships down the stretch. But 2021 has been the complete opposite as he’s batting just .255 with a .707 OPS. One of his biggest flaws this season has been the launch angle as his ground ball rate has ballooned to nearly 57%. If he follows the footsteps of another former Pirates prospect in Josh Bell, Hayes could unlock more of that power. There’s a chance Hayes is just a great defender and better real-life prospect than Fantasy prospect, but I’m not ready to believe that. 

3. Middle Infield

  • Scott:  Brendan Rodgers is like the ultimate post-hype sleeper, having been drafted way back in 2015 and debuted as long ago as 2019. But only now is he getting an honest chance, and it’s going pretty well. The strikeout rate is fine. The road numbers are great. There are no red flags to speak of. But he hasn’t gotten hot enough yet to erase the bad feelings of the past couple years. It’s coming, I think. He’s about to blow up, and now may be your last chance to hop aboard.

  • Chris: Gleyber Torres feels like an obvious choice for this one. I’m not confident he’ll find the swing that made him such a dangerous hitter in his first two seasons, but it’s also worth noting that his poor 2020 and 2021 combine for fewer games than his very-good 2019. The Yankees will surely give him plenty of chances, and if you can get him at a discount it makes a lot of sense. 

  • Frank: While Brendan Rodgers has done some nice things this season, he still hasn’t broken out yet. He’s still just 25 years old and a former third overall pick from back in 2015. Like Hayes, Rodgers’ ground ball rate is still a little high at 52% but he hits the ball hard. His 111.8 MPH max exit velocity ranks in the 83rd percentile and is usually a useful barometer for in-game power. If Rodgers can stay healthy with half his games in Coors Field, we could see something similar to Dansby Swanson’s breakout. 

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4. Outfield

  • Scott: Jarred Kelenic is sure to demand a big return in a dynasty league still, but he might have been one of the five most expensive players right before he got called up. His struggles to this point, which have included a return trip to the minors, have surely had a sobering effect — not to the point that anyone’s willing to bail on him in a dynasty league but to the point that reasonable negotiation is possible. We’re so used to prospects of Kelenic’s ilk delivering on all their promise right away that any hurdles might be cause for trepidation, so it’s worth broaching the subject of a trade. I still have complete confidence in him long-term.

  • Chris: Nick Senzel. It might look like more of the same for Senzel, who continues to struggle with health and has hit just .246 across parts of three MLB seasons. However, at least before his most recent injury, he was showing signs of real progress, cutting his strikeout rate to just 12.9% and posting an expected batting average of .303 before undergoing knee surgery. He’s going to be 27 next year, so time is running out, but Senzel has elite speed and finally showed something with the bat, and you can probably get him for dirt cheap right now. 
  • Frank: We’ve called Michael Conforto a buy-low in season-long all season. Why not in dynasty, too? Conforto is at that age at 28 years old and he’s just boring enough where Fantasy managers might just be trying to get something in return for him at this point. Conforto’s struggles are well documented this year as he’s batting just .220 with eight homers across 83 games. His quality of contact hasn’t changed much and overall I just buy that he’s a much better hitter than what we’ve seen this season. He’s also a free agent this offseason. Maybe a change of scenery would do Conforto good. 

5. Starting Pitcher

  • Scott:  MacKenzie Gore is probably the right answer. He was untouchable in dynasty leagues last year, considered as safe as pitching prospects get, but his mechanics have gotten so out of whack since then that some major prospect publications barely have him inside their top 100 still. The drop seems like an overreaction to what may be only a detour. The Padres have been working with Gore on the side, and if they can get his mechanics right, it stands to reason everything else would click back into place. Still, there’s genuine fear of losing everything on the investment now, so you may be able to get him for nickels on the dollar.

  • Chris:  Sixto Sanchez. He’s a significant risk after losing the entire season to a shoulder injury, so you’ve gotta get him for cheap. It’s best to try to do that now before we see him pitch again, because if he looks anything like he did last season, he’s going to see a huge spike in value. Sanchez has ace upside, with a couple of potential go-to swing-and-miss pitches along with a fastball that generates a ton of weak contact on the ground. His chances of getting there are a lot lower today than they were a year ago, but pitcher values change so much, he could be a top-100 player by this time next year
  • Frank: If you have any ounce of confidence left in MacKenzie Gore then you should have already acquired him in your dynasty league. Of course it’s tough to say when Gore only made six starts this season with a 5.85 ERA. Why has he only made six starts? That can be attributed to blister issues and a case of the “yips”. Gore has had major issues repeating his delivery and throwing strikes. There are a lot of factors working against Gore here, but there is still a bunch of talent. It would make sense for him to gain confidence in lower levels before trying to make a run at the majors. 

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