Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer for Week 12

Corey Seager #5 of the Texas Rangers
It's a good time to take a swing at a fantasy baseball trade for Corey Seager. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Although the basic tenet of the trade market is the buy low and sell high, there are times when it makes more sense to go the extra mile for a quality return. After all, the best players are often effective from start to finish, which makes them worth the high returns they demand on the trade market.

This week’s group of potential trade chips has a few players in the “buy high” group, as the belief here is that these men will continue their successful seasons without requiring massive expenditures. And since the buy-low/sell-high concept will never completely disappear, there are also some men listed below who fit in those buckets.

Seager was terrible (.594 OPS in April), then awesome (1.047 OPS in May) and then briefly absent (zero games from June 6-11). Amidst all the inconsistency, Seager has been good overall (14 HR, .259 BA), but not so good that he will require a bank-breaking trade offer. The belief here is that the brief injury absence in early June interrupted what could have been a major hot streak, and that Seager will be one of baseball’s best hitters from this point forward. After all, the 30-year-old logged a lofty 1.013 OPS last year and sits 13th in baseball in xSLG (.544) this year.

In this offense-deprived MLB landscape, Schwarber is well-positioned to be a valuable run producer this summer. The slugger remains one of baseball’s most powerful players and sits in 10th place in the home run category. And as the leadoff hitter in one of baseball’s best lineups, Schwarber is on pace to produce more than 190 R+RBI for the third straight year. Of course, lofty counting stats totals are more valuable in 2024 than in the previous year, and thus far, Schwarber has not experienced the batting average failures of some previous campaigns. Before dismissing his .257 average as early season noise, managers would be wise to remember that he hit .245 across a three-year stretch from 2019-21 before struggling to collect base knocks the following two years.

Westburg has been successful but not amazing, which puts him in a nice bucket of players who will require a significant but not exorbitant trade return. The 25-year-old has not benefited from extreme luck en route to hitting .277, and although he isn’t special in any category, he meets the definition of a five-category contributor.

And although he usually hits lower in the Orioles' talented lineup when the team is facing a right-hander, Westburg has been getting chances to be a table-setter against southpaws.

Note: Westburg left last night’s game after colliding with Juan Soto, which means that managers will want to wait a day or two to see him return to the lineup before making an offer.

Varsho appears in this space for the second time this season, as a solid stretch of June performances opens a new sell-high window. The outfielder was dreadful in May (.633 OPS), but he put up plenty of counting stats, which meant that most managers looked past his lowly batting mark. The slugger owns one of the lowest xBA marks (.170) of any qualified hitter and isn’t likely to be well-supported in the future by a below-average lineup. And as part of a Toronto organization that is promoting young players while desperately looking for offense, Varsho will not be a lock for playing time if he experiences a summer power outage.

In some ways, Estrada has met expectations this season. After all, he is on pace for roughly 20 homers and could produce career-best marks in both RBI and runs scored. Managers can use the stats from the previous sentence when sending a trade offer, but truthfully, I have a fear that we have already seen the best of Estrada for this season. He isn’t producing a high average exit velocity or many barrels, which could soon lead to a power drought.

The main cause for concern is that after back-to-back 20-steal seasons, the speedster has swiped just one base this year. My trade offer will say that Estrada will soon start accumulating steals in bunches, but I don’t believe it, as the Giants (last overall in steals) clearly have an aversion to taking chances on the basepaths.

Thomas is in the exact opposite situation to Estrada — his team loves to run. The Nats sit third in baseball with 101 steals, which is especially impressive when noting that none of their players rank among the top eight. This is a club that clearly wants to use base stealing to increase their offensive output, and Thomas has been a big part of the plan by swiping 16 bags in 43 games. Add in the fact that Statcast has assigned him an xBA and xSLG that are both significantly higher than his actual marks, and it’s easy to see how Thomas could be a five-category contributor in the summer months.