Due to Major League Baseball eliminating the August waiver-wire trade deadline, teams that are looking to improve their ballclub will only be able to consummate a trade prior to July 31. This could cause teams to decide if they are buyers or sellers earlier than years past.
I bring this up because we may be starting to see this occur, as the New York Yankees traded for slugger Edwin Encarnacion over the weekend from the Seattle Mariners. It was only a couple of weeks ago when the Mariners traded outfielder Jay Bruce. It should once again be a busy trade season which will have a fantasy impact.
Encarnacion is once again having a monster season in the home run department, as he leads the American League with 21. It's hard to see his fantasy value improving, but hitting in the Yankees' lineup and playing in home run friendly ballparks in the American League East, I think we can see even more power from the veteran.
The biggest impact involves outfielder Clint Frazier, who was demoted to the minors to make room for Encarnacion. Frazier is on pace to hit 25 home runs yet will now be wearing a minor league uniform. This is a blow for Frazier owners but a reminder to be aware that the trades throughout the next month can help or hurt our fantasy teams.
1. Colorado Rockies Outfielder Charlie Blackmon -- There are great weeks then there are weeks that Blackmon just had. The veteran outfielder collected 21 hits, which came out to a .568 batting average during the span. Blackmon hit six home runs with 15 RBIs and 12 runs scored. Just an absolute monster stretch for fantasy owners and it's not a coincidence the Rockies were playing at home. We invest in the Rockies' offense because of their home ballpark being a hitters' paradise, and Blackmon showed why once again.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Pitcher Hyun Jin-Ryu -- Production has never been an issue for the left-hander, but health has. Ryu hasn't pitched more than 152 innings since 2014. Knock on wood, but it looks like Ryu is healthy and is absolutely dominating, as he has pitched to a 1.26 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with nine wins. I personally would sell high on Ryu as it will not only be hard for him to continue with this production, but his inability to stay healthy will always worry me.
3. Cleveland Indians Starting Pitcher Trevor Bauer -- After a rough stretch during which the right-hander allowed seven earned runs in two of three starts, Bauer has returned to his dominant self. During his last two starts, Bauer has allowed only one earned run while striking out 14. It was only a matter of time before Bauer found himself again, and that's great news for fantasy owners.
1. Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitcher Chris Archer -- Archer finds himself on this list once again, as he allowed 11 earned runs during his last two starts to give him a 5.85 ERA for the season. Frequent readers know Archer hasn't lived up to expectations for a few seasons now, and I'm not sure he is even a pitcher you can roster. Archer has had some dominant starts and seems to always strike out hitters, but the inconsistencies are too much.
2. Tampa Bay Rays Outfielder Austin Meadows -- It was a rough week for Meadows. He had a .348 batting average June 8, but now sits at .314. The outfielder collected just two hits during the last seven days, which is why the average has dipped so much. The 24-year-old is still having a strong season, but like most young hitters, we don't have enough history to see how long these slumps could last. The hope is Meadows snaps out of it this quickly and gets back to being the hitter that he has been for much of the season.
3. Chicago Cubs Shortstop Javier Baez -- The slick-fielding shortstop collected just five hits while striking out eight times. After batting .305 in the month of May, Baez is hitting .226 in June with 17 punch outs. Baez will be fine, but this is a rough spot for the infielder.