Fantasy Baseball: a commercial target for every position

While it can be difficult to discern who will and who won’t help you in the long run, there are indicators you can look for to help make your decision easier. I’ve spent a lot of time breaking down smaller lists of guys worth watching in the future. This time, we’ll break it down by position. And as always, we have a great trade value chart to help you determine which trade target is right for you.

(.327 / 5 HR / 18 RBI / 56.5% owned)

Since getting his first major league pitching taste in 2020, only Tyler Stephenson has a better batting average than Kirk at catcher. His average of .287 and his OBP of .365 are second and fourth respectively. Kirk also has an excellent eye for the plate. As of 2022, his 9.3% K-rate is one of the lowest among skilled catchers. This is largely due to his contact rate of 88.2% and his low chase rate at only 28.4%.

That eye for the ball has also translated well to the kind of contact he makes. Kirk’s 8.1% barrel rate and 90.2 mph average output speed are both well above league average. His 18 RBIs so far may seem light, but he’s only had 31 ABs with men in scoring position so far this year. Kirk’s real value is in his high batting average and low K-rate. He’ll be a great trade target in any format, but the scoring leagues are where he shines.

1B: Trey Mancini – Baltimore Orioles

(.298 / 6 HR / 25 RBI / 77.8% owned)

Mancini can just hit the ball. I was trying to think of a cool way to start his breakdown, but the more I look at his batting profile, that’s all I can think of. Since bursting onto the scene in 2019, the dude has been raking. 2022 is no different. Nine doubles and six home runs look damn good on the surface, but that’s only part of the story.

As I write this, Mancini has a batting profile that is legitimately better than his 38 double and 35 home run season in 2019. His barrel rate (10.7%), his average output bike (90.3 mph) and his hard hit rate (44.4%) are all within a few ticks of this 2019 season. The biggest difference for Mancini in 2022 has been his career best 47.3% sweet spot rate, .318xBA and .407xwOBA. As long as he can stay healthy, Mancini will be a fantastic monster the rest of the season.

2B: Ketel Marte – Arizona Diamonds

(.268 / 4 HR / 20 RBI / 97.1% owned)

After a surprisingly slow start to the season, Marte is slowly regaining her form. This is what makes him an excellent potential trade target. Since May 1, Marte is hitting .350 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 14 RBIs while striking out just 15% of the time. He also stole three bases, which is the amount he had the previous two seasons combined. I’d love to see him get on the ball a little more (just 3.9% in that time), but his average exit speed of 91.1 mph and hard hit rate of 46% show he’s still finding ways to establish a quality contact.

While the time to buy really low on Marte has passed, you may still be able to get lucky with this lousy April by maintaining its average and power numbers. On paper, the four homers seem frustrating for those in homer-dependent leagues, but in leagues rewarding total bases, Marte has been a beast. His 21 doubles and four circuits helped him reach the eighth most goals per second base eligible player this year. Catch it before the upcoming surge sends its value skyrocketing.

3B: Luis Arraez – Twins from Minnesota

(.369 / 3 HR / 19 RBI / 87.4% owned)

I talked about Arraez in April and my position on him be a high-value commercial target did not change. He doesn’t offer a lot of power, but what Arraez brings to the table is one of the best contact rates in all of baseball at 92.6%. This contact rate combined with its career best 89.2 MPH the average output bike and sustainable line rate of 26.4 degrees led Arraez to become a monster in the points and OBP leagues.

His extra low base hit cap will certainly turn some fantasy owners off, but the average and base ability Arraez has shown this season is second to none. Especially when you also consider his top three takedown rate. Retiring just 7.9% of the time made Arraez the league’s sixth-best third baseman in points in baseball. Good, that and his .446 OBP. Flashy players are fun to watch, but people with Arraez’s skills are what will bring you a fantastic championship in no time.

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SS: willy adames – Milwaukee Brewers

(.199 / 10 HR / 25 RBI / 83.6% owned)

After a stint on the IL with an ankle injury, Adames should be back in everyone’s sights as a trade target. The only real blow to his fantastic season so far has been his low .199 batting average, but that can be explained. Adames just got really unlucky. Despite a launch angle close to his 2021 season, Adames’ fly ball rate rose to 45.8%, line drive rate fell to 17.7% and his .209 BABIP is the lowest of his career.

Even with bad luck, Adames fits neatly into the standout category of low buy stats. His 16.7% barrel rate, an average exit speed of 90 mph and a hard hit rate of 45.8% are all career highs. Expect Adames to rebound quickly and post numbers on par with the previous year. Especially if he can relearn how to hit the fastball. After reaching it for an average of 0.309 in 2021, it only reaches 0.220 this season. With the top five positions on the upside, Adames is worth the price.

(.234 / 12 HR / 40 RBI / 60.4% owned)

Garcia seems to be the classic definition of a player who contributes in all categories but is still underappreciated. I get it, he hits a lot, but his 28.1% rate this season is actually the lowest of his career. After a year 2021 which saw Garcia break through with 31 home runs and 16 stolen bases, he’s actually on track to hit those numbers again and more. In fact, Garcia is one of only four players this season to have 10+ HR and 8+ SB.

His statcast numbers have a lot to do with his current success. His barrel rate of 11% and average exit velocity of 91.5% are both well above the league average. Combine that with his career-best sweet spot rate (39%) and hit rate (46.1%) along with his 81st percentile speed rating and you have the stuff of a fantasy baseball owners dream. Expect the occasional golden sombrero, but let the two home runs and six RBI games he sprinkles help you forget that.

(3-7 / 79K / 5.10 ERA / 38.3% held)

Greene may be too readily available on the waiver wire to be considered a real trade target, but he deserves a spot on this list anyway. After being tested in his early starts, Greene actually put on an incredibly dominant season. Everyone knew about Greene’s fastball arrival this year, but it’s his slider that has looked like the elite field this season. Batters hit an impressive .352 against the fastball, but his slider currently has a .112 batting average against and an insane 40.4% puff rate.

overall sound Odor rate of 32.7% is in the 89th percentile according to the statistics. His fastball will soon be in shape. As a field averaging 98.5 mph and a 98% active spin rate, he has plenty of life and will find his mark sooner rather than later. The running support may not always be there for Greene, but giving up two or fewer hits in three of his last six starts is a sign things are really starting to settle down for him. In strikeout-dependent leagues, there might not be too many better options than Greene.

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