Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer: Buy into a pair of Astros sluggers

Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros high fives Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros
The fantasy fortunes of this Astros duo should start to get better soon. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

We are more than 20% of the way through the MLB season, but player stats are still far from normal. Starters such as Reynaldo López, Javier Assad and Ranger Suárez have enough innings to qualify and still own a sub-2.00 ERA. Jack Flaherty and Garrett Crochet are near the top in whiffs and afterthoughts among the March reliever pool such as Kyle Finnegan and Jason Foley now sit among the saves leaders. And of course, similar outliers exist on the hitting side.

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We are at a critical point in the season where fantasy managers are running out of patience and there are debates over which stats are sustainable and which ones are not. This makes May a tricky but exciting time on the Yahoo! Trade Market, as deals that seem logical now could wind up being huge wins for one of the participants.

The advice here is to dive in. Don’t be afraid, have fun with the volatility, make some trades and don’t look back.

Finally, here are some names to consider in your trade talks.

Simply put, Olson is fine. Sure, on the surface he’s hitting .198 with just three homers in 121 at-bats. And of course, these are disappointing numbers from someone who hit .283 with 54 homers last season. But there is nothing significant in the underlying numbers to cause concern. Olson’s year-over-year strikeout and walk rates are similar. His average has been pulled down by a .256 BABIP, and his .258 xBA via Statcast resembles his mark a year ago. Olson’s average exit velocity is slightly higher this year than it was in 2023, and his 8.6% HR/FB rate is by far the lowest of his career. Olson led the Majors in homers and R+RBI a year ago, and he should return to a dominant level once his luck turns around.

Most of the things that were said about Olson apply to Álvarez. The Astros slugger hasn’t been as bad as Olson, but his .248/.333/.436 slash line is significantly below expectations across the board. Álvarez is striking out less than last year, and his .290 xBA and .595 xSLG are similar to his marks from last season and his career in general. A depressed BABIP (.250) and HR/FB rate (12.7%) have held his surface stats in check, but his luck should turn around in the coming weeks. And it’s worth noting that although the Astros are languishing in the standings, their offense remains above average, ranking ninth in baseball in OPS.

Tucker is off to a solid start to the season, hitting .279 with 10 homers and five steals. He sits 15th in the Yahoo! Player Rater, but there are reasons to believe he can improve on that lofty standing. The 27-year-old sits fifth in baseball in xwOBA, and unlike past seasons, all of his plate appearances have come from the top four spots in the lineup. As was mentioned with Álvarez, the Astros lineup has been effective thus far, but they could be even better once a few stragglers get on track.

Tucker is worth a massive 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 offer.

Trading away players with a BABIP-inflated batting average is one of the tried-and-true early season strategies. Bohm perfectly fits the bill this year, as he sits fourth in the majors with an eye-popping .349 average, which has been heavily influenced by a .394 BABIP. The extra-base knocks have enabled Bohm to accumulate more counting stats, and he currently ranks second in baseball with 32 RBI. The infielder deserves credit for boosting his walk rate, but he continues to profile as a 20-homer player with no steals contributions, which makes him a marginal asset once his average returns to a sub-.300 level.

After encouraging managers to dump Bo Bichette last week, I will turn my attention to Toronto’s other struggling superstar. Guerrero has been a mess at the plate this season, logging a .234 average despite having a BABIP that is similar to his mark in past years. He continues to struggle to hit the ball in the air, which limits his home run opportunities. And he is striking out more often, as a result of having a lower contact rate when swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. Overall, there is much more name value than actual production when it comes to Guerrero, who had hit just .269 with 58 homers across the 2022-23 seasons. The guess here is that the 25-year-old will have an uptick in the coming months but will continue to fall short of expectations.

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