The Trade List: Hitters Addition: Identifying Prime Buying Opportunities (Polanco & More)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

As fantasy baseball owners we should always be looking for an opportunity to buy low.  Whether it’s a player who has gotten off to a slow start or has recently been placed on the disabled list (or maybe it’s a combination of the two), trying to find the player you can acquire at a fraction of the cost will be key to any long-term success.

Which players currently represent that type of opportunity?  Let’s take a look at a few hitters who we highly recommend targeting if the price is right (all statistics are through Wednesday):

Player
Team
Reason To Target
Kyle SchwarberChicago CubsWhile he's struggled to a .188 average, he has continued to show power (6 HR) and has the potential to improve across the board. His 15.0% HR/FB has room to grow (24.2% in '16) and despite a 27.1% strikeout rate he's significantly cut down his swinging strikes (17.9% to 9.9%). That alone should mean a better average, and along with the potential for more power he's an ideal trade target.
Edwin EncarnacionCleveland IndiansIt's been a miserable start to his time in Cleveland, hitting .203 with 6 HR (and only 2 doubles). It's clear that he's pressing, considering his 11.8% SwStr% (which would represent a career worst mark). His strikeout rate is down in May though (20.3%) and we all know the power will come around.
Gregory PolancoPittsburgh PiratesHe's struggled (.252 with 1 HR) and is now on the DL. When will there be a better time to try and buy low? He's shown a good command of the strike zone (13.3% strikeout rate, 10.4% walk rate) and also has hit the ball hard (22.8% line drive rate). Sure we'd like to see a few less groundballs (51.5%), but there's power and speed. Don't be surprised to see him catch a hot streak not long after he returns.
Maikel FrancoPhiladelphia PhilliesHe's managed to hit just .213 with 5 HR, and considering the hype it's easy to imagine his owner growing frustrated. He's actually not striking out (14.5%) and he is hitting the ball hard (21.6% line drive rate), so you would think that the results would come in time. Throw in that he's popping the ball up far less (7.7% vs. 15.3% for his career) and he has room to grow in the power (12.8% HR/FB) and there's a lot to like.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out all of our updated rankings:

Position
Posted
CatcherApril 25
First BaseApril 26
Second BaseMay 1
Third BaseMay 4
ShortstopMay 8
Outfield--
Starting Pitcher--
Relief Pitcher--

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