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TRADE NUMBER ONE

Team A gets Noah Syndergaard.

Team B gets Lucas Giolito, Joey Gallo, and Robert Stephenson.

(Submitted by @New_Lexicon.)

Noah Syndergaard is a top-10 fantasy pitcher in the big leagues right now. He owns a 1.84 ERA, is striking out 32.9 percent of hitters, and is only walking 3.7 percent. He’s averaging 99.22 mph (!) on his fastball, according to Brooks Baseball, and has a 14.6 percent swinging-strike rate—which ranks fourth-best among qualified starters. In effect, Thor is elite and it takes a monster package of players to acquire any legitimate ace.

And Team B did receive a couple of gems in return, including the best minor-league pitcher and the best minor-league power bat. The Nationals have handled Lucas Giolito with kid gloves thus far in his professional career—at times limiting his pitch count and repertoire—so his stats belie the type of stuff he has. The 21-year-old has compiled a 3.17 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 27 walks in 48.1 innings, fine but not special, but he’s one of the few pitching prospects that have true ace-level upside. In fact, our own Bret Sayre opined that Giolito may be the next pitcher who’s drafted ahead of Clayton Kershaw in fantasy leagues. With Syndergaard taking yet another step forward this year, perhaps we should amend that and say maybe Thor could legitimately be the next pitcher to be drafted ahead of Kershaw.

So, really, we could break this down and say Syndergaard is an actualized version of what Giolito could be in 2-3 years. That leaves Gallo and Stephenson needing to make up for the risk of ditching what we hope Giolito will become.

Joey Gallo is a well-known dynasty commodity at this point in his professional career. As of Wednesday morning, the 22-year-old slugger is hitting .290/.437/.656 with nine homers and a 21.0 percent walk rate with Triple-A Round Rock. He’s the best source of power in the minors and has the potential to be a fantasy monster if he’s able to hit enough to access his prodigious stores of power.

That’s been shrouded in more doubt in recent years. He struck out 33.6 percent of the time in Double-A, 39.5 percent of the time in Triple-A and 46.3 percent of the time in the big leagues last year—leaving his batting average languishing at .195 in Triple-A and .204 in the majors. That left many wondering if he’d ever hit enough to be anything more than a Russell Branyan-type player.

The good news is that he’s lowered his strikeout rate to 23.5 percent this year without sacrificing any of his power. He still has a .366 ISO to go with his .290 batting average and decreased K-rate. That’s great news. He’ll still need time to adjust to the big-league level, but I feel a lot better about him potentially being a star than I did six months ago. I also feel that we don’t talk about his downside enough.

Lastly, Robert Stephenson boasts an impressive prospect pedigree; however, he’s lost some of his luster in the past 12 months for me. Although, he’s always been a potential-over-results prospect, I don’t like how he’s shown less aptitude for missing bats in Triple-A, and that’s paired with continued command issues. Inconsistency could ultimately sink his fantasy production. I’d much rather have acquired another bat to pair with Giolito and Gallo, as relying on a post-hype guy (of sorts) as a third piece in such a big trade is very risky.

If Giolito hits his projection, this trade is wonderful for Team B. If Joey Gallo becomes a top-10 fantasy hitter who launches 40-plus bombs per year, this trade still looks wonderful for Team B. If both come to fruition, Team B makes out like bandit. For that alone, I think Team B gets the nod here, even with the acknowledgement that Syndergaard is a bona fide stud. I’d feel loads better about trading a Giolito-plus-Gallo package if the return was an elite hitter. But it ain’t.

The Verdict: Team B wins.

TRADE NUMBER TWO

Team A gets Troy Tulowitzki and Yusniel Diaz.

Team B gets Andrew Miller and Ben Revere.

(Submitted by @skipperxc.)

This trade hinges on the health and productivity of Troy Tulowitzki, which is an uncomfortable position in which to be. He’s hitting .204/.289/.383 with eight homers for the Blue Jays. While his .232 BABIP should make one confident that his batting average will bounce back in the final four months of the season, it’s perhaps just as important to recognize that he’s back on the 15-day DL with a quadriceps injury. When healthy, Tulo is the best fantasy asset in this deal and he’s a personal favorite. He just hasn’t eclipsed the 600 PA mark since 2011, which torpedoes much of his dynasty value.

Granted, Tulo isn’t being traded for any so-called sure thing. Andrew Miller owns a 0.87 ERA and has been filthy since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2012, but who knows when he lands a closing job again. It helps that he’s good enough to provide value in a non-closer role; however, he’s not someone worth trading assets for without a clear path to the ninth inning. Perhaps the Yankees re-sign Aroldis Chapman. Perhaps Miller gets traded to another contender with an entrenched closer, such as the Dodgers, who previously acquired Chapman before his domestic violence charges cast significant doubt on his baseball future and his character.

Ben Revere could actually be the best player in this deal. He’s 28 years old and has stolen 30 bases in four of the past five seasons. He owns a career .290 batting average and should lead-off for one of the better offenses in the National League. In short, despite his early-season injury, Revere offers significant production in three of the five traditional roto categories—a profile that was good enough to make him a top-20 fantasy outfielder. Put in this way: He’s really what people desperately wanted Billy Hamilton to be, and he’s still being treated as a fringe top-50 outfielder. Huge fan of picking up Revere at this point in the season.

Yusniel Diaz has gotten some hype this spring, but is ultimately 19 years old and we don’t have much of a track record here at all. He’s hitting .259/.333/.393 in High-A with three homers and three stolen bases. I think Diaz could end the year as a top-100 prospect; however, let’s not pretend that he’s a key piece in this trade. There’s a good gap in value between the three majors leaguers and Diaz.

There’s a good chance that Miller and Revere could be the most valuable pieces to this trade, both this year and beyond this year. Tulo and Diaz are assets with too much risk for me, especially at 31 years of age and with established health problems, so I’d rather have the younger, established major leaguers who could potentially be above-average at their respective positions. If Miller is closing by the end of the season—in New York or elsewhere—Team B easily wins this trade. I think they do, anyway, though.

The Verdict: Team B wins.

TRADE NUMBER THREE

Team A gets Hunter Pence, Masahiro Tanaka, and Kole Calhoun.

Team B gets Salvador Perez, Devon Travis, and Justin Upton.

(Submitted by @JGrant_Russell.)

This trade should be considered before Pence’s hamstring injury on Wednesday night. I had multiple offers out on Hunter Pence in dynasty leagues prior to his latest trip to the 15-day DL, so I won’t pretend as if I don’t love the 33-year-old as a midseason trade target. He’s hitting .298/.375/.486 with seven homers and 36 RBI. It’d be nice if he still stole double-digit bases; however, he’s still comfortably a top-30 outfielder with a few years left in the tank.

The problem is that the other side of this trade includes several things I really appreciate: (1) Salvy Perez is currently a top-five fantasy catcher in a position that absolutely sucks; (2) I’m a Devon Travis Supporter; and (3) Justin Upton is a good “buy-low” option with a .590 OPS in 49 games.

If we break down the trade into elements, I think Upton and Pence are both top-30 outfielders through the last four months. Very little separates them in my mind, at least in terms of overall value. That leaves the question: Do you want Tanaka/Calhoun or Perez/Travis?

I’ll side with Perez/Travis because I recognize the position scarcity at catcher and because I believe Travis is a quality fantasy second baseman—but I’m also skittish on the rest-of-season value for Tanaka and Calhoun. I can’t shake the fact that Masahiro Tanaka has a known tear in his UCL and his velocity has declined. Thus, the 2.78 ERA and decent strikeout totals are desirable on the trade market, I’d have a tough time moving legitimate assets for him. If this is a dynasty league, it gets even more dubious.

Calhoun is hitting .294/.374/.423, but isn’t hitting for much power, isn’t running, and has a BABIP that is 30-plus basis points over his career norm. He’s probably still a .260-.270 hitter. Without the power, there isn’t much on which to hang your fantasy hat, and most projection systems don’t see him hitting more than 15 homers this year.

I can see preferring the Tanaka side of the deal. It’s just too risky for me to acquire a guy with a known elbow injury and verifiable velocity loss—especially when I can get a top-five performer at the catcher position and a guy I really like in Devon Travis. It’s closer, but due to my personal skittishness on Tanaka and my favorable opinion on Travis, I think Team B has the edge here.

The Verdict: Team B wins.

Thank you for reading

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