Target Players for Rebuilding Teams
Some players to target on this fine Monday!
There are multiple ways to address the rebuilding of a dynasty squad depending on how patient you want to be and how close you are to contending. It might be a personal flaw, but I have a hard time waiting to contend, so I like to be an aggressive rebuilder and typically look for players who can have an immediate impact on my team the following season. One way I like to do that is to trade for injured players on contending teams who are looking for an immediate boost. This strategy must be deployed with care, but it can pay off. Players such as Luis Severino and Justin Verlander have paid off this year, while Jack Flaherty and Kyle Lewis have not.
Two pitching targets I see for the upcoming deadline are Tyler Glasnow and Dustin May. I am much less worried about pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery than other injuries such as shoulders (insert Jack Flaherty again). Both Glasnow and May have a slight chance of getting in some innings before the end of the season which means they should have a normal off-season and be full systems go in 2023. These are proven top-end pitchers who can be strong contributors to a dynasty squad moving forward. Other names to recently join this list are top pitching prospects Max Meyer who has been confirmed to need Tommy John surgery and Shane Baz and MacKenzie Gore who both were recently shut down with elbow discomfort that could ultimately end up as TJS. These names will cost more in trade and any that undergo surgery will be out longer in 2023, but they are good targets to try and take off a contender who was hoping to have them for the stretch run.
A similar strategy can be used for targeting injured hitters, but some precautions should be taken. I would stay away from anyone with chronic injuries or your chance of getting positive value is endangered. I would love to target Mike Trout right now, but a rare and chronic back issue has me completely scared off. If you want to swing big, maybe try for Luis Robert or Ozzie Albies. Both have the potential for “Trout-lite” seasons in the future and are not helping their present dynasty managers. Both will take a big trade package, but it may be very worthwhile to acquire one of the top players in the game. Bryce Harper falls into this category as well and might be slightly easy to pry away from your league mates.
Ryan Felix Fernandes
So from my vast experience of being in last place this season in one of my leagues (by a pretty good margin) along with being a Cubs fan, I like to think I’m a connoisseur of rebuilding a losing team this season. So if you are reading this, don’t worry, you are not alone. We will get through this together. The first step is to admit that your team isn’t that good and you need to rip the bandaid off and start a rebuild. As the great Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Keep in mind not every player will be a top prospect in your rebuild. You will need to look at players that are under the radar or other teams may have given up on so you can make a trade to get a player to help the other team win now, but help you build a league winner in the future:
- Orelvis Martinez – A talented player in the Blue Jays system that has gotten overshadowed by his major league counterparts. Martinez reminds me a lot at the plate of Jorge Soler. Equipped with an aggressive and violent swing with light tower power. I understand he is a top prospect in many rankings so he isn’t under the radar. But, with nowhere for him to play on the Blue Jays in the foreseeable future with their plethora of infielders. Couple that with a .213 batting average at a 32% strikeout clip in AA this season. He won’t be in the majors for at least another year and might be a trade candidate for the Blue Jays in their playoff run. In all likelihood, he will be rostered in your league, but you can possibly get him for an aging veteran that is on the decline and won’t be of any value to you when your team contends again.
- Nate Pearson – I usually stay away from pitchers who have a history of injuries, but Nate is so far under the radar that he might be available on waivers in your league because he hasn’t played in almost two years. His latest injury being a lat strain has shut him down in the minors for a month. It isn’t technically his arm or shoulder so I think he will be good to go later on this year and will be part of the Blue Jays bullpen after a quick stint in the minors which should add to his value so you want to add him to your roster before his call-up. Nate possesses an elite pitching arsenal that made him a top ten prospect and on everyone’s watch list just two years ago. It is worth a flier to scoop him up if he is on the waiver wire or if he is on someone’s roster. I’d offer a role-type player having a decent year to help a win-now team before he comes back up to the majors and reminds people in your league how good he is.
- Juan Yepez – My favorite under-the-radar player who was able to find his way on the Cardinals roster this year. As a Cubs fan, I was terrified when Eduardo Perez said on air that Albert Pujols told him that Yepez is his heir apparent and will beat all of his Cardinal records when his career is done. Right now Yepez is on the injury list for a forearm injury so he might be available on waivers, but if someone was savvy like yours truly he has been stashed on their injured list. Before his injury, Yepez was not exactly making a Pujols-type impact in his rookie season by batting .254 and .298 OBP with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs while striking out a little over 25% of the time. But, for a rebuilding team, Yepez is the perfect target because you can be patient this year while he goes through his growing pains and part-time role. Next year he will have a full-time role with the Cardinals and can be used in your 1B, OF, or Utility spots after Pujols retires. You should be able to obtain him for an older player who won’t be part of your rebuild or at most a mid-level type player if someone in your league already knows about his potential.
- Andrés Muñoz – I have no clue what the Padres were thinking when they included Munoz in a trade last year even with him recovering from Tommy John because he has the making of an elite closer (like Mariano Rivera-type closer.) The Padres traded him, Ty France, and Taylor Trammell for Austin Nola in 2021. A perfect example of the type of trade I am talking about is when you look to rebuild your team and take advantage of a team that is in win-now mode. Muñoz is still the closer in waiting in Seattle and even though Paul Sewald is a very good closer with really good stuff. Muñoz is the long-term solution to a closer for an ascending Mariners team as proven when they signed Munoz to a four-year extension last year. He could be on waivers if your league doesn’t score many points for holds. If rostered you can offer a closer who is on the older side, i.e. Craig Kimbrel or Kenley Jansen who might help a win-now team for their playoff run, but set you up for the next five to eight years at closer.