Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer: Time to sell high on Elly De La Cruz for a king's ransom?

Elly De La Cruz has been a fantasy baseball MVP so far this season, but should you consider dealing the young star for a monster haul? (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Elly De La Cruz has been a fantasy baseball MVP so far this season, but should you consider dealing the young star for a monster haul? (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

You have to ask.

My wife is more attractive than I am. Truthfully, it’s not close. And this isn’t me being modest about my appearance. If you showed 100 strangers a picture of me with my wife, all 100 of them would say that she should put herself back into the dating scene. I’m not selling myself short, as I bring some things to the table, such as a good sense of humor and a strong work ethic. But none of those traits were evident when I initially asked my future wife to spend some time with me.

So, how did I manage to get that pivotal first date with my wife? Well, I asked. Which brings me to my point today about the fantasy trade market. You’re never going to get anywhere if you don’t ask. You need to make offers. And don’t beat around the bush when you’re making them. I didn’t ask my wife to kinda-sorta-maybe-possibly-eventually consider going on a date with me. I asked her out to dinner on Friday. Simple as that.

Get out there this week and make some offers. Some of them will be rejected. But you won’t get anywhere without trying. Ignore the part of your brain that says, “don’t bother sending the offer, they’ll just say no” and put yourself out there. And when it comes time to make a deal happen, here are a few players who should be front-and-center in trade talks.

Players with a sub-.200 average often draw the ire of their managers, which is the case with Lindor right now. But a look under the hood reveals many reasons for optimism, as the veteran has one of the largest gaps of any player between their batting average (.198) and xBA (.263). Lindor’s xSLG shows the same reasons for enthusiasm, as it’s 99 points higher than his actual mark. With seven homers and six steals, Lindor isn’t too far off the 30-30 player we saw last season, and there is a good chance that he will soon collect counting stats at a much higher rate.

Buying low on a struggling starter is easy right now. There are many starters who are exceeding expectations, which provides plenty of trade options for those who want to improve their pitching staff. Starters like López, who have not met expectations, have become unappealing trade candidates. The right-hander has a bloated 4.72 ERA, but the rest of his statistics are encouraging, especially his 63:9 K:BB ratio. Acquiring López for less than the usual return for a fantasy ace is a smart move.

There is good reason to worry about Mullins’ ability to remain in the lineup. The speedy outfielder is hitting just .190, and his .200 xBA shows that he hasn’t deserved a significantly higher mark. His strikeout and walk rates are both noticeably worse than his career marks, and his batted-ball profile is concerning because of Mullins hitting plenty of fly balls without a high average exit velocity. But the biggest reason to worry about Mullins is the loaded Orioles farm system. Failure by the 29-year-old to turn his season around could lead to him being replaced by a younger player by the middle of the season.

I don’t see Elly as a massive regression candidate. However, I can see a couple reasons to try to get a king’s ransom for him right now. First, the sophomore has been much worse in May (.645 OPS) than he was in April (.982 OPS), which is mostly going unnoticed due to his massive contributions in steals. And speaking of those 30 steals, managers of De La Cruz in roto leagues may already be ahead of the pack in that category thanks to his incredible impact. For those managers, trading De La Cruz for a superstar with a more balanced profile may make sense.

In short, everything that is happening with Hernández makes perfect sense. The 31-year-old is regularly hitting directly after the superstars in the highest-scoring lineup in baseball, which puts him in perfect position to use his significant power skills against beleaguered pitchers. All his expected stats via Statcast resemble his real-life marks, and he should continue to be a R+RBI machine thanks to all the opportunities that are afforded to him. Add in the fact that he should quietly contribute 10+ steals, and Herandez becomes a five-category contributor who won’t be treated like a superstar on the trade market.