(Mostly) Under the Radar Trade Deadline Targets and Pickups at Every Position

by Mickey Bell


Francisco Alvarez, C, NYM (65% rostered on Yahoo)

Alvarez is the number one ranked catcher in fantasy baseball over the last 30 days with 8 HR, 16 RBI, and a 0.271 BA during that time. On the year his Max EV (exit velocity) is among the top 8% in the league and his Barrel rate is top 18%. The 21 year old, who peaked at #1 overall on some prospect lists, always had double-digit walk rates in the minors so you can expect his 6.7% BB rate to increase the more big league pitching he sees. Alvarez has a 0.232 BA on the year and his xBA is even lower at 0.213. But if you need power, think about adding him.

Yainer Diaz, C, HOU (18%)

Although he has lost some DH playing time after Yordan Alvarez returned, Diaz has 11 HR in 41 games since the beginning of June. He has been the fourth best catcher in fantasy baseball over the past 30 days. With Maldonado carrying a 550 OPS, Diaz should see more and more starts at catcher. Diaz’s xwOBA (353) is actually 30 pts better than his wOBA so he’s been “unlucky”. 

His xSLG (547) is in the top 4% in league and his Avg EV, HardHit%, xwOBA, xBA, Barrel%, and K% are all top 30% or better. He’s 9th in the league in IPA% (Barrels + Solid contact + flares&burners/PA) and 17th in league in HC% (Hard Hit balls divided by plate appearances). Like Michael Scott before him, Diaz’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness; he swings at everything. His chase rate and BB% are both bottom 1% in the league! His BB rate stands at 2.7% but he was more of a 6-8% guy in the minors.

Although he just hit the IL, I just wanted to shout out Jonah Heim, C, TEX for being the number one ranked catcher in fantasy baseball on the season.

First Base

Triston Casas, 1B, BOS (62%)

Casas ranks 38th overall in 5×5 fantasy baseball over the last 30 days. He ranks top 17% or better in: Avg EV, Max EV, HH%, xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel%, and BB%. If you take away April (60 wRC+), he has a 152 wRC+, 11th in MLB during that time behind names like Ohtani, Seager, Freeman, Soto, Betts, Acuna, and Robert. His rostership is shocking considering his production. He can contribute to those needing power and run production in their fantasy lineups. Run to check if he’s on the waivers. If he’s not, consider trading for him.

Spencer Torkelson, 1B, DET (37%)

The former number one overall draft pick is in the top 30% in Avg EV, Max EV, HH%, xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel%, and chase rate. He has a 115 wRC+ since May 1 and his xwOBA 29 pts higher than his actual wOBA, so he deserves his results and then some.

  • Honorable Mention

    • Matt Mervis, 1B, CHC (3%)
      • Still in minors (chances of getting called up reduced if Bellinger stays)
      • 46 wRC+ in 99 MLB PA earlier in season 
      • xwOBA (318) 79 pts higher than actual wOBA suggesting he was unlucky
      • wRC+ since 2022
        • A+: 181
        • AA:147
        • AAA (2022): 152
        • AAA (2023): 137
        • Hasn’t had BA below 293 in that time
      • 32.3% K rate in majors but under 20% in AAA this year and last with double digit BB rate
      • 36 HR in 2022, just 13 between MLB/AAA this year

Second Base

Trevor Story, 2B, BOS (53%)

Story is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and is finally set to make his 2023 Red Sox debut this week. He’s had great results in the eight games he’s played across AA and AAA on this rehab stint, blasting two homers. He’s not prime Story but had 16 HR and 13 SB in 93 games last year, his first with the Sox. For shits and giggles, that’s a 28 HR, 23 SB pace over 162 games.

Edouard Julien, 2B, MIN (49%)

Julien has been shredding lately, ya get it? The Quebec native is 51st overall in the last 30 days, with 6 HR in July. His 43.7% Sweet Spot percentage ranks fifth among batters with at least 100 batted balls and his 9.5% barrel rate ranks 24th. While the 30.8% K rate is a concern, this homme can hit; sporting a 156 wRC+ currently, he hasn’t finished with a wRC+ below 137 at any level in his pro career.

Third Base

Gunnar Henderson, 3B/SS, BAL (90%)

Henderson is widely rostered and clearly considered a good option at 3B. But some might be surprised to find just how good the rookie has been. Fangraphs’ #1 prospect entering season is among the top 10% in Avg EV, Max EV, HH% and the top 17% in BB rate, chase rate, and sprint speed. Since May 1, he has a 127 wRC+ and, since June 1, a 139 wRC+ with a 273 BA. In 126 career MLB games, he has a 120 wRC+, 20 HR, 6 SB, and a 0.244 BA. I was among the people contemplating dropping him after his mediocre April and I’m sure glad I didn’t.

Jeimer Candelario, 3B, CHC (46%)

Just traded to the Cubs, Candelario is joins a better lineup in the playoff hunt. He had 16 HR, 5 SB, and 119 wRC+ on the year for the Nats. To go along with those homers, he’s 5th in the league with 30 doubles. He had a terrible 2022, but he’s a good hitter; he had a 140 and 120 wRC+ in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

  • Shoutout 

    • Manny Machado, 3B, SDP: 11 HR in July and 3rd overall last 30 days


Ezequiel Duran, 2B/3B/SS/OF, TEX (64%)

I just picked him up today on a team with Jarren Duran and promptly switched my team name to Duran Duran. Yes, maybe a little trite but it had to be done. Ezequiel has struggled in July (0.186 BA) but is still top 26% or better in Avg EV, Max EV (top 3%), HH%, xwOBA, xBA, xSLG, Barrel%, and Sprint Speed. He stole two bases last week and has 13 HR and six steals on the year. Maybe these two steals will encourage him to go on a stealing spree considering his top 9% sprint speed. His positional flexibility is a big bonus for most fantasy teams.

Maikel Garcia, 3B/SS, KCR (28%)

The Royals rookie has 14 SB to go along with a top 10% HH%, top 6% chase rate, and top 15% whiff rate. Switching over to proprietary Pitcher List (https://www.pitcherlist.com/player/maikel-garcia/) stats, he’s 12th in the league in HC%, 20th in IPA%. However, his GB rate is too high (55%) so he’s not tapping into how hard he hits the ball (4 HR). In that sense, Garcia might be more of a buy in dynasty with the hope that he lifts up that launch angle. In the meantime, the stolen bases are solid.

  • Shoutout

    • Bobby Witt Jr., 3B/SS, KCR (99%)
      • 12th overall last 30 days; 6 HR, 6 SB, 333 BA
      • StatCast says his BA should be 29 pts higher, SLG 67 pts higher, wOBA 48 pts higher
      • 17 HR, 29 SB already almost matched last year (20/30) in two-thirds the games


Jarren Duran, OF, BOS (67%)

The second member of the Duran Duran duo in this article has been hungry like the wolf this year. He’s the 28th ranked player in 5×5 fantasy over the past 30 days. On the year, he has 6 HR, 21 SB, a 0.314 BA, and a 0.868 OPS. Duran is among the Top 22% or better in xBA, Max EV, and HH%. His spray chart is very balanced as he’s just as likely to slap it into the opposite field gap as he is to pull the ball. With this approach, he’s sacrificing some of his power for batting average but with great success. He’s fourth in the league in doubles (31) and with his top 4% sprint speed, he will continue turning routine singles into extra base hits as well as stealing bases.

Will Benson, OF, CIN (23%)

The 6’5”, 230 lbs. lefty has 7 HR, 10 SB, and an 0.887(!) OPS with the 14th best BB% (14.2%) in the league. The Reds have a great offensive team in a great home park, but the downside is Benson usually hits 8th or 9th despite his great results. Benson strikes out a lot and his 6% Barrel rate and 107 Max EV are pretty meh, but he makes productive contact. He’s 10th in league with a 43% sweet spot % (optimizing launch angle) and has only a 37% GB rate. Once he’s on base from a knock or a walk, his top 10% sprint speed makes him a threat to run. With his production, 23% rostership is far too low.

  • Honorable Mentions

    • Jake Fraley, OF, CIN (68%)
      • 15 HR, 17 SB
      • Strange combo of one of the worst avg EV and Top 22% Max EV
    • Mickey Moniak, OF, LAA (57%)
      • 157 wRC+, 11 HR, 4 SB in 204 PA
      • 30th in IPA%
      • 31.8% K rate and 0.433 BABIP
      • Will definitely regress but enjoy the ride
    • Jack Suwinski, OF, PIT (40%)
      • 21 HR, 7 SB, 0.849 OPS
      • Low BA
      • 14th in BB%
      • Top 11% in Avg EV, Max EV, HH%, xwOBA, xSLG, Barrel%, BB%
      • Top 1% chase rate but 32.7% K rate; passive
    • Nolan Jones, 1B/OF, COL (22%)
      • Top 8% Max EV
      • Top 22% sprint speed (6 SB)
    • James Outman, OF, LAD (41%)
      • 157 wRC+ in July (3 HR, 4 SB)
      • wRC+ by month: APR: 165, May: 54, June: 54, July: 157
      • 26% K rate in July but still 33% on the year
    • Joc Pederson, OF, SFG (23%): Good at baseball; 0.837 OPS, top 6% in xwOBA, HH%, BB%
    • Tommy Pham, OF, NYM (14%): 10 HR, 11 SB; top 4% in xwOBA
    • Luis Matos, OF, SFG (6%): 1 HR, 3 SB; xwOBA 43 pts higher than actual; 44% SweetSpot%

Starting Pitchers

Zack Wheeler, SP, PHI (99%)

Wheels is obviously universally rostered, but when it comes to aces I’d target in a trade at the deadline, he’s up at the top. Part of my logic is the team who rosters him might not realize just how good he’s been. He has a 3.74 ERA, but ERA estimators like him way better (2.79 PLA, 3.38 SIERA). Everything is in line with 2021 and 2022 when he had 2.78 and 2.82 ERAs, respectively. In fact, he has career bests in a 4.6% BB rate and a 10.4 K/9.

Chris Sale, BOS (68%)

The Red Sox aren’t just getting Story back soon. Out since June 1 and now eligible to return (60 day IL), Sale is about to make a rehab start on Tuesday. Sale’s myriad injuries since recovery from 2020 Tommy John surgery include the following injuries in 2022: a stress fracture in his ribs, a broken left pinky on a line drive comebacker, and a broken wrist in a bicycle accident. Then, he was diagnosed with a scapula stress reaction in June this year and has been shelved ever since. Most of these injuries have the silver lining of not being directly related to scarier injuries such as those related to the elbow, rotator cuff, etc.

While his surface stats (4.58 ERA with 1.19 WHIP in 59 IP) this year don’t blow you away, the underlying numbers were much better. He had a 3.56 PLA, 3.47 SIERA, 28.5% K rate, and 6% BB rate. And what must have been extra frustrating for Sale after all of those unrelated injuries was that he was just starting to feel like himself again. After allowing 15 ER in his first 3 starts of the year, he allowed 15 in the next 8 starts combined for a 2.87 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in that time.

  • Honorable Mentions

    • Braxton Garrett, SP, MIA (53%)
      • 4.08 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
      • Bit of a rough stretch but 6 scoreless in last outing
      • 3.39 PLA
      • Source: Joe Orrico
        • “4th in xFIP (3.08)
        • 4th in SIERA (3.27)
        • 3rd in BB% (3.9%)
        • 7th in K-BB% (22.7%)
        • 10th worst BABIP (.327)”
    • Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL (51%)
      • 6.21 ERA, 4.19 SIERA, 4.13 PLA
      • 1.88 HR/9
      • In last 2 starts, 11 IP, 10 K, 2 ER
      • Fastball up a mile to 98 MPH and starting to locate his changeup and breakers low
    • Taj Bradley, SP, TBR (33%)
      • Maybe more of a dynasty buy low?
      • 5.67 ERA but 3.54 PLA, 3.53 SIERA
      • 0.342 BABIP, 64.8% LOB, 17.3% HR/FB 
      • K% 6th in league for P with >70 IP; K-BB% 4th best!
      • 1.41 WHIP, 1.69 HR/9
      • 4S: 142 wRC+, Cutter: 176 wRC+; fastballs too hittable?
      • Avoid in QS league; has gone 6 IP just once
    • Garrett Whitlock, SP, BOS (15%): career 3.27 SIERA, 20.8% K-BB in 203 IP

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