The calendar indicates that spring is coming, and with that, smart owners are looking to find deals that will help them compete for a championship. There are plenty of players who are still under-performing and serve as ideal trade targets with June on its way.
First, let’s take a look at some interesting June numbers. Over the past 3 seasons, would you believe that the Pittsburgh Pirates are 20 games over 0.500 in the month of June (50-30)? The Pirates have also boasted a team ERA under 4 in June for the past 3 seasons, and an ERA under 3 in June of last season. Grabbing an arm or 2 from the Pirates could pay dividends, while another team to consider for June is the Miami Marlins. A rather Jekyll and Hyde team so far in 2014, the Marlins play 16 home games to 11 road games in the next month. At home, the Marlins hold a 17-5 record, compared to 6-17 on the road. They hit a robust 0.296 in Miami, but forget to pack their bats to the tune of a 0.232 road average. The pitching is even more divergent with Miami starters having a 2.61 ERA at home, compared to 4.86 on the road. Stock up on some Miami players and stream them when they are at the beach. Another team to load up on hitters from is Colorado. The Rockies have always been labeled a team to use when they are at home, and the altitude is assisting the bats this year. At Coors, the Rockies hit an MLB best 0.352, but when they head to lower altitudes their average crashes 100 points to 0.251.
Now let’s look at some specific trade targets for June.
C: Jonathan Lucroy: Lucroy was being touted as a top catching option for 2014 coming off a very solid 2013 (18 HR, 9 SB, 82 RBI, 0.280 average). So far in 2014 the power has not arrived for Lucroy. He is hitting the ball well, batting 0.311 with a 0.339 BABIP. Last June Lucroy hit 3 HR but followed it up in July with 7.
1B: Matt Adams: Adams is hitting 0.307, but only has 2 HR so far. There are rumors that Adams could be dealt out of St. Louis. Depending on where he lands, it could rejuvenate his power stroke. Perhaps a change in scenery is all he needs. Everywhere he has played he has hit, and hit for power. The Cardinals scored 151 runs last June, so the offense could be in line for an explosion.
2B: Matt Carpenter: Carpenter was a fantasy stud in 2013, scoring 126 runs while batting 0.318. Many experts figured he was in line for a correction this year, and so far they have been right. But St. Louis has also struggled to score, ranking 25 in runs scored, and Carpenter is batting 0.256 on the year. He is striking out a bit more this season, but also walking more. He actually appears to be more selective at the plate this year, so perhaps an uptick in aggressiveness will jumpstart his production.
SS: Ian Desmond: Desmond has been a 20-20 machine, and as a SS that is fantasy gold. 2014 has not started well for him however, and his average is hovering around 0.225. Over his career he has 14 HR in June, the most of any month, including 9 in June of 2013. With so many injuries in the Washington lineup, Desmond will be counted on to produce.
3B: David Wright: Wright is a career 0.335 hitter in June, with 40 HR. Owners hope that the change in the calendar will lead to a renewed production (2 HR and 2 SB so far in 2014 is not cutting it).
OF: Wil Myers: Small sample size for sure, but Myers is starting to show a bit more life at the plate with multiple hits in 5 of his last 15 games, including 2 HR. He still has 0 SB on the season, but recently has batted in the leadoff spot. Joe Maddon always tinkers with the Rays, so expect some tinkering to eventually get Myers back to the levels he showed after his call-up in 2013.
UT (Wildcard): Joey Votto: If Votto can avoid a prolonged DL stint, history indicates that he is underperforming and would be due for a correction to the mean. The Reds have been struggling to score runs so far in 2014, sitting 28th in the majors in runs scored. Votto is batting a meager 0.262. The power is still there, 6 HR, which puts him on pace for about 24 HR. If Cincy can start scoring, Votto should be much more productive at the plate. A career 0.300+ hitter every month, Votto should turn things around, but owners may have soured on him at this point and be looking for someone more productive in return.
SP: Gerrit Cole: I already mentioned how good Pittsburgh has played in the past 3 Junes. Cole has shown signs of dominance this year, and had a few less-than-stellar outings. In 9 starts, he has gone at least 6 innings 7 times, with 6 quality starts. His ERA sits under 4, and his K/9 is just north of 8. Grab him before 3 or 4 great June starts make him unattainable.
SP: Shelby Miller: Miller is 6-2, but has only 4 games where he has gone at least 6 innings. To me, that means there are more K’s to be had once he figures out a few things. Add in some increased offense from the Cardinals, and he could have a dominating June, carrying that momentum into the summer.
SP: Drew Smyly: The Tigers are the hottest team in baseball right now having just swept the defending World Series champs in Fenway. Drew Smyly has not been the arm that owners were expecting, but according to Dan Kelly over at FakeTeams, it is not his fault but rather the fault of the schedule makers. Detroit only has 2 scheduled off days in June, so expect Smyly to take his turn in the rotation frequently, there is less room to skip his starts as was being done in May. Smyly currently owns an 8 K/9 and an ERA under 3, so get him some innings and watch his roto numbers tick up.
RP: AJ Ramos and Dellin Betances: Fantasy owners could grab any number of closers out there, but I am recommending Ramos and Betances. Ramos has been terrific as the setup man in Miami. Betances has been downright dominating for the Yankees lately. Betances has a K/9 over 15, and could be in line for holds, wins and even saves. Ramos has 3 wins and a K/9 over 10 so far this season. He could see some save opportunities if Cishek needs a day off. Both of these pitchers have the skills to be used in late inning, high leverage situations, and these are the kinds of arms you should look to add, not fishing for saves or wins. Grab the skilled arms and the stats will find their way to you.