We’re at the point in the season where any trade offer you receive or make should be viewed through the prism of category needs rather than in the general vacuum of value. You have to be willing to give up a little more value than you get back in the event that it will help your team make up points in the standings.
So take a close look at where your team stands in the pitching categories and figure out where you need some help. As a general rule, I rarely make trade offers for players that are playing at or above expectations. And so I’ve listed some buy low candidates whose xFIPs are significantly better than their ERAs that can help with each of the four starting pitching categories.
Tim Lincecum, Max Scherzer, Bud Norris
Each guy has an ERA of 4.80 or higher, so it’s clear that they have not met expectations. But each one also has an xFIP under 4.00, so they’re clearly pitching better than their roto stats would indicate. Because of their issues with walks, these aren’t guys to target if you’re not all set in the WHIP category. But if you’re trailing in the K department, these guys should be able to right the ship and rack up the Ks.
Adam Wainwright, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay
If you need wins, you need pitchers who play on good teams. As of Monday, the Cardinals, Yankees, and Phillies were all top ten in WAR wins (h/t @Ben_Duronio). So going forward these teams should win a fair number of games.
Wainwright’s peripherals all look great, but all the “luck numbers” haven’t gone in his favor this year (.319 BABIP, 65% strand rate, 14.5% HR/FB%). CC has outperformed his peripherals as well but only to a slight degree. You might have to give up a lot more to get him, but he has 59 wins over the last 3 years, so you can bank on him to give you double-digit wins from here on out.
When it comes to buying low you have to look for guys whose peripherals are outperforming their more traditional numbers, or you have to look to acquire guys on the DL. You’d certainly be taking on a lot of risk acquiring Halladay, but you could get him on the cheap right now.
Dillon Gee, Josh Johnson, A.J. Burnett
Each of these guys will be better than average in strikeout rate and walk rate, but not so much better than average that they should be among the top three buy low targets for the K or WHIP categories. And none play on great teams, so they’re not the best targets if you need wins. But those above-average strikeout and walk rates combined with the fact that they each have one of the 25 lowest xFIPs (Burnett is 8th) make them good bets to keep their ERAs down.
Zack Greinke, Ian Kennedy, Joe Blanton
In sticking with the formula, these three were identified because of the gap between their xFIPS and ERA along with their exceptional walk rates. They are all in the top 30 on the BB/9 list (Blanton is 6th), and their strikeout abilities range from above-average (Blanton and Kennedy) to elite (Greinke). If you’re getting killed in WHIP, these are the guys to target. And Blanton is only owned in 5.2% of ESPN ten team leagues, so you might not even have to make a trade to get him.
Written by Brett Talley exclusively for thefantasyfix.com. Brett is a soon-to-be attorney in Dallas who is out of tag lines. You can follow him and/or ask him for fantasy advice on Twitter @therealTAL.