A good trade can position your team in the success path, helping you fill a need or strengthen a specific area. Thankfully, if you are looking for trading tips, you are in the right place! We’ve got you covered.
Exchanging players is exciting, and I know you love to do it as much as I do. Here are the best trading tips I can offer you.
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Trading Tips for 2020 Fantasy Baseball
- Talent vs. opportunity: learn the difference and act accordingly
Imagine that you are in a redraft league and are going for it. You need a quality pitcher, preferably on a good team, because you are a little behind in wins. If you don’t have many assets to offer for a stud, you can target a low-key option that can help you get some of those Ws, like the Dodgers’ Tony Gonsolin, who held a rotation spot for a five-start span between August and September.
Now, picture this entirely different scenario: a friend asks you to take a vacant spot in a dynasty league in September. The team you have inherited is out of contention and full of aging veterans, and you are looking for a good, impactful young starter. Dustin May, one of the Dodgers’ top prospects, becomes an enticing target even though he didn’t make a start that month.
One of the best trading tips I can give you is to understand the difference between talent and opportunity. In this specific case, Gonsolin had the opportunity, or the role, to use a more appropriate term. Still, May remains the more skilled hurler and the better bet for the future, given that he will likely enter Spring Training with a clearer chance to earn a rotation spot for 2020. Remember, in the second case; you would be thinking about 2020 and beyond, not 2019.
- Be aware of your league settings
It is very important to check and understand your league settings. If you have several leagues, check each one of them again every now and then! You may need a starter or some power, and the trade deadline may go by without you even noticing.
Your league settings, categories, and roster spots will tell you everything you need to know about your team and the needs you should address.
Things like weekly or seasonal acquisition limits, trade deadline, roster constitution, categories, and league type, among others, will help you determine your trading strategy. For example, if your league is pitching-heavy (lots of pitching categories and SP/P spots) and you are short on starters, you may need to target an ace or two via the trade market.
- Don’t start with your absolute best offer
Saving the best for last and setting your limits in a negotiation are phenomenal trading tips. However, you need to respect the competition and avoid ridiculous offers that may be considered offensive (more on that later.)
You can start with a decent offer that may slightly favor you. First, the other owner will see that you are serious and not one of those guys that offers Kole Calhoun and asks for Christian Yelich. And second, if it gets rejected, you have a little margin for improving your proposal.
If you can trade some pitching and are targeting some steals without sacrificing counting stats, start with something like Max Fried and Matt Boyd for Whit Merrifield. If the other owner needs to add quality starts, Ks, and a couple of good WHIP sources, he may accept, but chances are he will reject the proposal. Then, you can improve your offer: say, Yu Darvish for Merrifield. You can keep doing this until the other person accepts, or until you reach the limit on what you can offer.
- Consider the other team’s needs, not just yours!
Yes, the first thing you need to evaluate before proposing a trade is your roster. But please, oh please, check the other team’s too. You may feel that your three starting-caliber shortstops allow you to trade one in your quest for an ace, but don’t offer Carlos Correa to the guy that already has Trea Turner, Francisco Lindor, and Fernando Tatis.
A better strategy would be sorting through the league and spotting the team that has Elvis Andrus as its only SS and several aces and SP2-SP3 types. As far as trading tips go, this is a good one.
- Buy low and sell high!
When it comes to trading tips, I know I’m not discovering anything with the whole “buy-low, sell-high” approach. But I can tell you one thing: trades of that type have won me several leagues in the past, and you should apply them whenever you can.
I sincerely hope you grabbed Tim Beckham from the wire in April and flipped him to a naive owner for a struggling star. That’s the point. It’s all about value and sustainability: those who sold high on Beckham (six homers, 134 wRC+, 19 R, 19 RBI in the season’s first month) took advantage of unsustainable plate discipline and batted ball profile and got value back.
Meanwhile, those who bought low on Jack Flaherty after his mediocre (4.64 ERA, .313 wOBA) first half most likely finished very high in the final standings thanks to his otherworldly second half (0.91 ERA, .189 wOBA.)
- Don’t be afraid to punt a category, but make it worth it!
Personally, I am a fan punting saves. I have been doing it for three years in my favorite league, and the results have been very positive. I understand those that prioritize them as a category, and I respect them, but I just find them too volatile in today’s game to invest important resources.
If you take this approach, you may not draft a proven closer, but what about if the reliever you grabbed from the wire for ratios and Ks earns the closer gig? You may flip him to another team hunting for saves and cover an area of need.
You can decide to ignore other categories, too: wins, batting average, or holds, for example. Make sure you maximize value and cover a need, though, or at least bolster an already strong category to gain a competitive advantage.
- Include a message in your proposal
If you receive some random trade proposal from one of your league mates and you don’t like it, you will most likely reject it. However, if it comes with a message, at least you will consider replying to the person and saying why you didn’t take it.
A trade offer should be the start of the communication process. While it would be ideal that the response you get is positive in your first try, you can view a proposal as the beginning of a negotiation.”Hey, I notice your best outfielder is Adam Eaton, so I can send you Eddie Rosario for one of your three best pitchers,” for example. You will, most likely, receive an answer.
Sending a trade proposal without a message seems impersonal and disinterested.
- Avoid disrespectful offers
I am no expert, but one of the best trading tips I can give you is to respect your league mates. And with “respect them” I mean “don’t offer silly, potentially insulting trade offers.”
What kind of response are you expecting to get if you try to send Eric Hosmer and Homer Bailey for Ronald Acuña? The other owner will likely send back an insult and won’t even see future trade proposals coming from you. He can even hit the message board and let everybody in the league know about what you tried to do, which can further complicate things.
- Trade from surplus
This is simple math, so it shouldn’t be too complicated: if you have Jacob deGrom, Mike Clevinger, Lucas Giolito, Clayton Kershaw, Luis Severino, James Paxton, Luis Castillo, Chris Paddack, and Zac Gallen in a standard league, but your top three outfielders are Joc Pederson, Bryan Reynolds, and Franmil Reyes, you know what to do.
Unless your intention is to have such a good and deep starting pitching unit and such an underwhelming group of outfielders (which I would understand if your infield is elite or at least very good,) I would prefer to trade from my strength and have a more balanced approach.
- Target pitchers in good teams
Pitchers in good teams are usually good themselves because quality squads can’t afford to have a drag in their rotations. These hurlers will, most likely, contribute usable ratios, some strikeouts, and even quality starts.
But the primary reason behind looking for hurlers in good teams is because they have a higher chance of getting you the most volatile of pitching categories: wins.
Excellent squads, like the Astros, Yankees, or Dodgers, have fantastic offenses and high-powered bullpens that guarantee higher odds of getting their starters the shiny W.
- Keep up with the modern game
Do you need to increase your wins? Try trading for Ryan Yarbrough, who has won 27 times in the last two years while starting just 20 games. He is the quintessential “follower,” the guy who takes over the “opener” and can qualify for the W. Yonny Chirinos is also a quality pitcher that does quite a bit of “following.” He is a prime target in leagues that don’t count quality starts.
The way baseball is being played can alter a drafting and trading strategy. There are more home runs, more strikeouts, starters that can guarantee six or seven innings are scarce, and the save situations are usually fluid.
Also, analytics have taken over the fantasy world, as well. Savvy owners can look at trends, underlying stats, batted ball data, and expected outcomes to try to predict future performance. Make sure to keep up and target the right players in fake baseball.
I sincerely hope these trading tips can help you win your league next year. Unless you are playing in the same league as I am!
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