Bernie on the Scene: Outfielder Trade Targets

Bernie on the Scene: Outfielder Trade Targets

This article is part of our Bernie on the Scene series.

This is a continuation of my series about potential trades. Each of the players in this series is a quality major league performer, but not a star. Each should give fantasy managers sound support on a fantasy bench, or in some cases, as a regular contributor.

This week, I look at outfield options. I will split the outfield into two parts — half this week, half next week. 

Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles
Age: 26
BB
Lineup Position: IL with a sprained ankle

Santander has always been able to hit big-league pitching. He may be more readily available in trade now, as he has been out with a sprained ankle.

We can't forget that we still have five more months to the baseball season. That gives Santander plenty of time to recover and prove his worth in a lineup that isn't quite as bad as in the past.

At 6-foot-2, 235, Santander has a very solid build. He has some true power, and playing half his games in Camden Yards will really help his numbers. He also gets to play games hitting left-handed in Yankee Stadium, another plus.

Even though he has power and swings away, Santander makes contact. His lowish strikeout rate compared to some other players of his quality is very appealing.

Santander should be a .260/.320/.500 hitter, which is a nice addition for your bench or as a spot starter. And now, with his price impacted by his injury, he may be a good trade target. Being a switch-hitter also means he won't be platooned. He hits better against right-hand pitching, which is a bonus.

Garrett Cooper, OF/1B, Marlins
Age 30
BR
Lineup Position: 3rd

Garrett Cooper has always shown an ability to hit. He hasn't always had a full time big-league job. Now, however, the Marlins seem to want his bat in their lineup with more regularity.

If you look at his history, Cooper has flirted with a .300/360 batting average and on-base percentage in his past. But his struggles this season seem to echo those of other Marlins hitters.

I have faith in Cooper, and if Don Mattingly doesn't get impatient and pull him out of the lineup, you could be getting yourself a nice hitter to fit in your outfield.

My caution is that Cooper doesn't bring great power. He's more a line-drive, gaps hitter with no speed. So his doubles and triples are hard hit.

I wouldn't give up much to get Cooper, and you are betting that his future is much better than his present. But the reward for a minimal risk could be substantial.

Remember that the Marlins aren't scoring many runs. He won't have a ton of RBI chances, but he's solid.

Max Kepler, OF, Twins
Age 28
BL
Lineup Position: 7th

Max Kepler was one of several Twins players who were sidelined with COVID issues. He is back now with the 26-man roster. Kepler's price is depressed by his time away from the park and his poor start to the season. Both are reasons you should jump at the chance to get him in trade.

Kepler is a solid hitter on a very good hitting club. Grab those Twins while you can, because they can hit. And Kepler is among them. It is just a matter of time when the entire Twins roster, beyond just Byron Buxton and Nelson Cruz, breaks out. Beware that Kepler may sit against left-handed pitching.

A little known fact is that Kepler hit 36 home runs in 2019. He has none this year. I think he's capable of stroking 25 homers as the miserable weather warms in Minnesota.

Don't hesitate to target Kepler, but don't overpay, either. He's an above average hitter in a good lineup, but he's not an All-Star and he doesn't warrant an All-Star trade price.

Avisail Garcia, OF, Brewers
Age 29
BR
Lineup Position: 3rd

Few utility players have the job security and hitting opportunities like Garcia.

One Brewer outfielder or another may be on the injured list all season. Lo Cain has issues. Christian Yelich has a barking back. The roster just can't stay healthy. That makes Garcia very, very valuable.

And Garcia can hit.

There are times he gets lazy and doesn't play at 100 percent healthy. However, I'll take what I can get from him, and it can be pretty solid.

Like most on this list, Garcia isn't hitting now, and that makes him even more attractive as a low-cost, high-reward trade chip. And he does have enough power to hit the ball out of any park.

When Garcia gets too aggressive, he swings and misses. That said, I'll still take the results from his contact rate. But he's an "all or nothing at all" type of hitter. He has no speed.

Jordan Luplow, OF, Indians
Age 26
BR
Lineup Position: 2nd

Jordan Luplow is manager Terry Francona's flavor of the week. But it might last.

Known to clobber left-handed pitching, Luplow has now shown he can hit righties as well. He probably always could, but never got the chance to prove it. 

Luplow has home-run power with a state-of-the-game uppercut swing. He clearly won't hit for average, he'll strike out a bunch and he'll leave men on base. But he has the power to end a game with one swing of the bat.

He can bring that power to your fantasy lineup against the right pitchers. Look to play him against lefties and right-handers who are not overpowering.

He's a good risk at the right price. But beware, Francona may tire of him and discard him or relegate him back to the bench. Even though the Indians have an abysmal offense.

Andrew Stevenson, OF, Nationals
Age 26
BL
Lineup Position: utility

Stevenson is a true sleeper. He's the type of guy who can prosper in a league with more than 12 players. He's also valuable in any size NL-only league.

He'll get his at-bats because he can hit. I see him finishing at a .280 clip or above in batting average. In short, he won't hurt you. He's fairly safe.

Stevenson, like most players on this page is a gap hitter. Doubles will be his game. He will reward owners in leagues where extra base hits count and matter.

When one of their regular outfielders go down, pounce on Stevenson for your lineup and just leave him alone. He'll quietly reward you for no cost at all. In fact, he's probably waiting for you on your waiver wire.

Stevenson is a luxury to roster. He's a spare part. But a good spare part.

Adolis Garcia, OF, Rangers
Age 28
BR
Lineup Position: 4th (for now)

It isn't often that a cleanup hitter is fairly unknown. But that's where the under-the-radar Garcia hits in the Rangers lineup.

Garcia is now in his prime baseball years. 

This season, Garcia has uncovered some power that may help your fantasy team. I do believe he can sustain his current home run level, but beware of his strikeouts. He's a big swinger, and he may strike out more than you'd like.

He has been caught stealing more than you'd like, as well. So if your league penalizes for caught stealing, you will have to be aware of that.

From a pure physical standpoint, Garcia isn't a huge presence. He's 6-1, 205. 

Garcia still has rookie status at age 28. That means he hasn't had the chance to play with either his first club (Cardinals) or now with the Rangers. So he may be taking advantage of the only real opportunity he has received.

I think there is risk here — so beware. While the home runs may continue, he could be just a passing fancy. Don't over pay for him, but be aware of his presence and try to scoop him up if the price is right. And it could be the home runs are just a fluke. Pitchers may adjust to him quickly. Can he adjust back?

HEADING HOME

The White Sox are throwing up zeros at the opposition. Their starting pitching, including Carlos Rodon, Dylan Cease and Dallas Keuchel, have formed the perfect compliment to Lucas Giolito. And believe me, Michael Kopech is the real deal.

• Odd: Trevor Bauer threw a complete game, gave up two runs and lost. He got no run support. Zero. Now he knows how it must feel for Jacob deGrom and Shane Bieber.

• Can these teams keep it up?

Red Sox: No

Royals: No

Athletics: No

Braves/Phillies: Yes

Brewers: Yes

Giants: No

We have played one month. 28 games out of 162. I just don't see Boston, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Francisco winning their divisions. Sorry. Injuries, bad pitching, rejuvenated pitching and hitting by better teams and the law of averages will catch up with each of them

But I'll say this: it has been fun to watch those surprise teams play hard and win.

• Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff and read my work at Forbes.com.

Thanks, and have a great week.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bernie Pleskoff
Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners.
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