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Fantasy baseball trade value rankings: Buy low on Bobby Witt, sell high on Eloy Jimenez

It’s buy or sell time as we run down our weekly batch of the top 200 players for fantasy baseball.

Bobby Witt Jr. of the Kansas City Royals celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium on July 01, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

Every week in this space, in addition to updating our rest-of-the-way rankings for the top 200 players in fantasy baseball, I always try to highlight two players to buy low and two players to sell high. And loath as I am to toot my own horn, it was another banner week: Buy-low recommendation Pablo Lopez showed out with a 12-K complete game (partial assist to the Kansas City Royals offense) while sells Nolan Jones (.161/.278/.161 with 11 strikeouts in his last 10 games) and Yusei Kikuchi (roughed up for five runs in 4.1 innings by the Boston Red Sox this past weekend) struggled.

This is a crucial time on the fantasy calendar, when draft capital and sentiment need to be put to the side and it’s time to figure out who can get your team to the promised land, so let’s get to this week’s rankings. As usual, not only will we rank the top 200 players for fantasy baseball (5x5 roto), but we also break down who’s rising, who’s falling and who we recommend targeting on the trade market. Whose hot start is fool’s gold? Who’s about to turn the corner? Read on for this week’s list, and for an explanation of why Eloy Jimenez should be on your trading block.

Buy

  • If you’re one of the many fantasy owners who took a leap and spent first-round capital on Witt in drafts this spring, chances are you’ve been pretty disappointed at the return on investment. Yes, the 25 steals are nice, but they’ve come with a .251/.293/.425 slash line, plus mediocre counting stats thanks to the superfund site that is the Royals lineup sans Vinnie Pasquantino. Add it all up, and it’s a player who ranks around 75th in most standard fantasy leagues — not nearly the sort of second-year leap that people expected.

But a look under the hood reveals that Witt actually has taken a substantial step forward; it’s not just showing up in the box score quite yet. His strikeout and walk rates have marginally improved, which is encouraging. But the real reason for optimism is that Witt is attacking pitches to hit far more aggressively — and hitting the ball harder as a result. The former first-round pick’s zone swing and meatball swing rates are up 2.2% and 6.5%, respectively, meaning that he’s identifying and trying to do damage on the right sorts of pitches more often than he was as a rookie. And this shows up in his batted-ball data: Witt’s hard-hit rate, barrel rate, line drive rate, sweet-spot rate, expected average and expected slugging percentage are all way up among the league’s elite.

The problem? Bad luck, mostly. The gap between Witt’s expected wOBA (.360) and his actual wOBA (.312) is the sixth-largest in baseball, suggesting that better things are around the corner once more of those hard-hit balls start finding grass (or clearing the fence). With his obvious athleticism and willingness to run, there’s rare power/speed potential here, and Witt has a chance to put up a big second half and make good on those first-round picks yet.

  • Another victim of bad luck: Swanson, who also boasts a very large gap between wOBA (.332) and xwOBA (.363). The Cubs shortstop’s strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up and he’s barreling the ball more often than he ever has before. He’s not running as often as you’d expect, but that’s likely due to injury prevention more than anything else — Swanson’s sprint speed is as good as ever, but he’s battled through nagging ailments all year, including a heel contusion that’s caused him to miss the last couple of games. He’s an iron man, and if there’s anyone who stands to benefit from the All-Star break, it’s him; given how gung-ho Chicago is about letting its speedsters run, Swanson could be in for big things the rest of the summer.

Sell

  • To put my cards on the table: I’ve long been an Eloy Jimenez skeptic. My issue lies not with his prodigious bat, but with his inability to stay healthy over a full season. The injury history is well-worn territory by now, so I won’t rehash it here, save for reemphasizing that the Chicago White Sox slugger has only cracked the 100-game mark once — way back in 2019.

The next IL stint is always around the corner, so if Jimenez happens to get hot for a couple of weeks, you should capitalize by selling high — and he’s been very, very hot of late. Jimenez started July with three straight multi-hit games, and overall has posted a robust .979 OPS with three homers over his last 14 starts. I understand that it can be tantalizing to look at those recent numbers — and his considerable physical gifts — and dream on a league-winning stretch run, but all you have to do is look at the games played column of his Baseball Reference page to see why that’s a mistake. Get out while the getting’s good.

Fantasy baseball trade value rankings: Week 15

As of 7/7

Rank Player Eligible Value
Rank Player Eligible Value
1 Ronald Acuna OF 44
2 Fernando Tatis OF/SS 43
3 Shohei Ohtani DH/SP 42
4 Jose Ramirez 3B 41
5 Corbin Carroll OF 35
6 Bo Bichette SS 35
7 Mookie Betts 2B/SS/OF 35
8 Freddie Freeman 1B 35
9 Juan Soto OF 33
10 Julio Rodriguez OF 33
11 Bobby Witt SS/3B 32
12 Rafael Devers 3B 32
13 Paul Goldschmidt 1B 31
14 Bryce Harper DH 30
15 Trea Turner SS 29
16 Kyle Tucker OF 29
17 Austin Riley 3B 27
18 Vladimir Guerrero 1B 27
19 Matt Olson 1B 27
20 Yordan Alvarez OF 27
21 Gerrit Cole SP 27
22 Marcus Semien 2B 26
23 Aaron Judge OF 26
24 Spencer Strider SP/RP 25
25 Pete Alonso 1B 24
26 Randy Arozarena OF 24
27 Corey Seager SS 24
28 Nolan Arenado 3B 24
29 Jose Altuve 2B 24
30 Corbin Burnes SP 23
31 Max Scherzer SP 23
32 Wander Franco SS 22
33 Kevin Gausman SP 22
34 Luis Robert OF 21
35 Luis Castillo SP 21
36 Framber Valdez SP 21
37 Elly De La Cruz SS/3B 21
38 Shane McClanahan SP 21
39 Manny Machado 3B 21
40 Kyle Schwarber OF 20
41 Adolis Garcia OF 20
42 Josh Hader RP 20
43 Zac Gallen SP 20
44 Ozzie Albies 2B 19
45 Cedric Mullins OF 19
46 Sandy Alcantara SP 19
47 Justin Verlander SP 18
48 Aaron Nola SP 17
49 Zack Wheeler SP 17
50 Joe Musgrove SP 17
51 Felix Bautista RP 16
52 Devin Williams RP 16
53 Will Smith C 16
54 J.T. Realmuto C 16
55 Mitch Keller SP 16
56 Michael Harris OF 16
57 Yu Darvish SP 16
58 Jordan Romano RP 15
59 Salvador Perez C 15
60 Nate Lowe 1B 15
61 Alex Bregman 3B 15
62 Francisco Lindor SS 15
63 Christian Walker 1B 15
64 Emmanuel Clase RP 15
65 Christian Yelich OF 15
66 Mike Trout OF 15
67 Clayton Kershaw SP 15
68 Eloy Jimenez OF 15
69 Camilo Doval RP 15
70 Joe Ryan SP 15
71 George Springer OF 15
72 Max Muncy 2B/3B 15
73 Logan Webb SP 15
74 Nathan Eovaldi SP 15
75 Dylan Cease SP 15
76 Adley Rutschman C 15
77 Jazz Chisholm 2B/OF 15
78 Starling Marte OF 15
79 Daulton Varsho C/OF 15
80 Jonathan India 2B 15
81 Ryan Pressly RP 15
82 Pablo Lopez SP 15
83 Shane Bieber SP 15
84 Logan Gilbert SP 15
85 George Kirby SP 15
86 Gunnar Henderson SS/3B 15
87 Teoscar Hernandez OF 14
88 Julio Urias SP 14
89 Byron Buxton OF 14
90 Nick Castellanos OF 14
91 Xander Bogaerts SS 14
92 Yandy Diaz 1B/3B 14
93 Matt McLain 2B/SS 14
94 Masataka Yoshida OF 14
95 Bryan Reynolds OF 14
96 Sean Murphy C 14
97 Willy Adames SS 14
98 Dansby Swanson SS 14
99 Tim Anderson SS 14
100 Nico Hoerner 2B/SS 14
101 Anthony Santander 1B/OF 14
102 David Bednar RP 14
103 Ty France 1B 14
104 Kris Bryant OF 13
105 Jeremy Pena SS 13
106 Kenley Jansen RP 13
107 Matt Chapman 3B 13
108 Anthony Rizzo 1B 13
109 Brandon Nimmo OF 13
110 Tyler Glasnow SP 13
111 Cristian Javier SP 12
112 Alex Verdugo OF 12
113 Ketel Marte 2B 12
114 Alexis Diaz RP 12
115 J.D. Martinez DH 12
116 Ian Happ OF 12
117 Giancarlo Stanton OF 12
118 Seiya Suzuki OF 12
119 Tommy Edman 2B/SS 12
120 Raisel Iglesias RP 11
121 Carlos Correa SS 11
122 Paul Sewald RP 11
123 Christopher Morel 2B/OF 11
124 Blake Snell SP 11
125 Charlie Morton SP 11
126 Josh Naylor 1B 11
127 Chris Bassitt SP 10
128 Brandon Woodruff SP 10
129 Spencer Steer 1B/3B 10
130 Josh Jung 3B 10
131 Steven Kwan OF 10
132 Lourdes Gurriel OF 10
133 Ryan McMahon 2B/3B 10
134 Jose Abreu 1B 9
135 Josh Bell 1B 9
136 Esteury Ruiz OF 9
137 Jesus Luzardo SP 9
138 Sonny Gray SP 9
139 Hunter Renfroe OF 9
140 Lucas Giolito SP 9
141 Amed Rosario SS 9
142 David Robertson RP 9
143 Nestor Cortes SP 9
144 Jhoan Duran RP 9
145 Tony Gonsolin SP 9
146 Zach Eflin SP 9
147 Bailey Ober SP 9
148 Hunter Brown SP/RP 9
149 Justin Turner 1B/3B 8
150 Bryce Miller SP 8
151 Carlos Rodon SP 8
152 Ryan Mountcastle 1B 8
153 Lance Lynn SP 8
154 Freddy Peralta SP 7
155 Carlos Estevez RP 7
156 Jorge Soler OF 7
157 Ezequiel Duran SS/3B/OF 7
158 Jordan Walker 3B/OF 7
159 Luis Arraez 1B/2B 7
160 Bobby Miller SP 7
161 Ke'Bryan Hayes 3B 7
162 James Paxton SP 7
163 Cody Bellinger 1B 7
164 Rowdy Tellez 1B 7
165 Gleyber Torres 2B 7
166 Jordan Montgomery SP 7
167 Jose Berrios SP 7
168 C.J. Cron 1B 6
169 Jon Gray SP 6
170 Merrill Kelly SP 6
171 Thairo Estrada 2B/SS/OF 6
172 Jeff McNeil 2B/OF 6
173 Willson Contreras C 6
174 Will Smith RP 6
175 William Contreras C 6
176 Henry Davis C/OF 6
177 Andrew Vaughn 1B/OF 6
178 Jordan Westburg SS 6
179 Marcus Stroman SP 6
180 Jarred Kelenic OF 6
181 Riley Greene OF 6
182 Jake Cronenworth 1B/2B 6
183 Royce Lewis SS/3B 6
184 Javier Baez SS 6
185 Eduardo Rodriguez SP 6
186 Andres Gimenez 2B 6
187 Brandon Drury 1B/2B/3B 6
188 Ezequiel Tovar SS 6
189 Tarik Skubal SP 6
190 Scott Barlow RP 5
191 Nolan Jones 1B/OF 5
192 Josh Lowe OF 5
193 Andrew Heaney SP 5
194 Austin Hays OF 5
195 Max Fried SP 5
196 Whit Merrifield 2B/OF 5
197 Bryson Stott 2B/SS 5
198 Nolan Gorman 2B/3B 5
199 Michael Conforto OF 5
200 Bryan Woo SP 5