Scott Kingery hit his second home run of the season on Tuesday night, and Aaron Sanchez pitched a gem against the Baltimore Orioles. Both players had a decent amount of preseason hype, and both have delivered strong early returns.
Hypothetically speaking: If you drafted these players, are you looking to trade them now while their value is high? And if you did not draft them, are you trying to acquire them via trade now?
Eric Karabell: While it might be the proper course of action to take in many cases, I really don't look to trade hitters this early in the season unless I have an obvious need and I'm mostly certain the player thriving will regress soon.
And if I do look to trade, it wouldn't be someone young like Kingery, who is so laden with upside. He really could be a 20-homer, 20-steal option and earn eligibility at three infield spots and perhaps outfield in his rookie season. So valuable! Nah, I'm keeping that guy like ... forever.
Kyle Soppe: I'm not dealing for Kingery or sending him packing, as I think this is about what we can expect: a versatile player with nice upside. That said, I'm closer to buying his productive start than I am to selling it.
I think this Philadelphia offense can continue to impress with Kingery often getting in on the action. As a team, I expect the Phillies to experience some serious streaks in production based on their youth, but Eric has sold me on the talent up and down this roster, and I am cautiously hopping on the Kingery bandwagon. He is projected to be a fringe 20/20 guy with a .260 batting average and I think those numbers are about right. The power/speed tools seem legit to me, and if he can develop his batting eye a bit, surpassing that .260 expectation is a possibility.
Tristan H. Cockcroft: "Selling high" on the trade market tends to be a wildly overrated strategy -- everyone knows the scoop about player values these days -- and my best advice is to never whittle a trade discussion to a singular player but to always be open to any trade possibility.
From that respect, yes, I'd consider trading Sanchez right now, but part of the reason is that I didn't land a single share of him this preseason, largely because I wasn't willing to pay what was an increasingly optimistic price tag to roster him in the first place. In other words, there are probably people out there who believe in him more than I do, perhaps to the extent that they think he's the equal of his 2016 self, when he finished as the 16th-best starting pitcher on the Player Rater and 17th-best among starters in fantasy points.
I think Sanchez, who so far seems to have put his blister issues behind him, has the ability to be a top-30 starter, and it's that upside that has me hesitant to deal him unless I find the trade partner who is glowingly optimistic about him, but it's also irresponsible of me to assume he's safe for another 28-plus starts.
Here's the one thing that keeps my expectations from him in check: He has a 19 percent career big league strikeout rate, and it was only a hair above 20 percent in 2016, which is a rate that at best is league-average these days. I lean toward the optimist's side, but I don't have any strong leaning either way about him as far as the "Go get him" or "Sell! Sell!" polar extremes.
AJ Mass: First off, I'm going to have to quibble about calling what Sanchez did against the Orioles a gem. Sure, he took a no-hitter into the eighth -- and we'll ignore the hometown official scoring that ruled Tim Beckham's "double" as a hit despite the ball going five-hole on Josh Donaldson since more "clean" hits followed. Still, Sanchez's start was only good enough to finish as the sixth best in points leagues for Tuesday. That's what happens when your no-hitter includes five walks and an HBP and only four strikeouts.
Sanchez spent the spring working on his changeup, and it was the effectiveness of this new tool in his pitching arsenal that allowed him to keep Baltimore off balance for most of the night. But it's unclear to me if, over time, teams will learn how to handle Sanchez far better than the O's did. Incidentally, the Orioles are hitting just .208 as a team and lead the majors in strikeouts, so I'm not all that convinced last night's start tells us all that much about Sanchez.
If I have Sanchez, I'm definitely going to test the waters and see what I might be able to get in return while the buzz over the near no-no is still ringing in my fellow fantasy managers' ears. However, I'm not ready to trade for the 2018 version of this Toronto pitcher while images of his 15-2 2016 season are going to raise the price well above what it should be.