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Fantasy Baseball: Post-MLB Trade Deadline Buys

The MLB trade deadline is officially in the books.  It was one of the wildest trade deadlines in recent memory and one that shook up the baseball landscape.  In the two weeks since the deadline passed, there are players who have thrived with their newfound opportunities.  I’ll take a look at four players whose post-trade deadline performances you should consider buying.  All of these players can help you down the stretch, and all are readily available in fantasy baseball leagues.

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Post-MLB Trade Deadline Buys

Myles Straw (OF — CLE)

Myles Straw has been a fantastic addition for Cleveland and he now finds himself with a nice opportunity to produce down the stretch.  The run production in Cleveland won’t be as plentiful as it was in Houston, but the move is still a good one for Straw (and fantasy managers).

Since the trade, Straw has a .313 batting average with nine runs scored, three doubles, and two stolen bases in 12 games.  He’s also batted leadoff in 10 of those games.  Straw won’t give you much power, but he has solid plate discipline (19 K% and 9.7 BB%).  Additionally, his 13.9% whiff rate and 19% chase rate rank in the top-10% of the league.

Straw has wheels, and his 19 stolen bases are tied for sixth-best in the league.  If you need steals down the stretch, take advantage of his skills and his new position atop Cleveland’s lineup.  Straw could push for 30 stolen bases, has runs-scored upside, and won’t kill you in the batting average department (career .260).  Buy Straw’s new role in Cleveland.

Abraham Toro (2B,3B — SEA)

Abraham Toro has had a solid season, with a 9/27/27/4/.263 stat line in 181 PA.  But since July 27, Toro has been on a tear, and has been a different player in Seattle than he was in Houston:

  • Seattle:    .373/.458/.647  3HR,  .275 ISO in 59 PA
  • Houston:  .211/.287/.385  6HR,  .174 ISO in 122 PA

The Mariners should continue to give Toro everyday playing time.  He’s been primarily batting fifth in the order, hitting safely in 11 out of 14 games with three home runs, 10 runs scored, seven RBI, and one stolen base. He also has a 1.105 OPS during that span.  Additionally, the Mariners have been playing Toro at second base.  The move gives Toro the added bonus of dual eligibility in fantasy leagues.

Toro has improved his plate discipline this season.  In 2020, he had a 23.7 K% and he cut that down to 14.9% this season.  He also improved his launch angle to a career-best 14.7 degrees (up from 7.5 in 2019 and 2020).  Toro could be a solid source of power for the rest of the season.  Buy the change of scenery for this new Mariner.

Rafael Ortega (OF — CHC)

The Cubs cleaned house at the trade deadline, giving players more opportunities to produce.  One such player is Rafael Ortega.  Ortega has been playing with the team since mid-May, but it was after the trade deadline that he became their leadoff hitter.

On the season, Ortega has a .331/.382/.517 slash line with six home runs and seven steals in 158 PA.  But since he moved to the leadoff spot, he’s been on fire.  Since July 27, Ortega is slashing .418/.467/.691 with four home runs, 11 runs scored, 9 RBI, and four stolen bases in 15 games.  He also has a 209 wRC+ and .273 ISO during that span.

Ortega crushes fastballs to the tune of a .438 BA/.712 SLG against the pitch.  His .424 BABIP is unsustainable and it’s close to 120 points higher than his career .305 mark.  Yikes.  But his expected stats are solid (.300 xBA, .444 xSLG, .349 xwOBA).  Buy the play of this 30-year-old career minor-leaguer.  He took his opportunity and ran with it this season.  You should too!

Cesar Hernandez (2B — CWS)

Cesar Hernandez finds himself with a great opportunity to have a productive final stretch of the season.  I wrote about Hernandez last week, but he’s worth flagging again because he’s continued to produce since his move to the South Side.

Since July 30, Hernandez has a .279/.392/.419 slash line with two home runs, eight runs scored, and three RBI in 12 games.  He’s also hit primarily out of the two-hole, in between Tim Anderson and Jose Abreu, providing fantasy managers with strong run production numbers.  It’s worth watching where he hits in the lineup — he recently had three games batting near the bottom of the order and he’s also batted leadoff.  If he can stay near the top of the lineup, that will be a boon for his fantasy production.

Hernandez should be a nice source of power for the rest of the season.  He already hit a career-best 20 home runs this season, and the counting stats should follow no matter where he ends up in the White Sox’s loaded lineup.  Hernandez should also see his batting average improve.  He’s hitting .236 on the year but he’s a career .272 hitter who has been unlucky this season — his .262 BABIP is 68 points lower than his career .330 mark.  Buy his move to the South Side.

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