<
>

Which players stand to benefit most from trade-deadline moves?

Mike Moustakas is a hot name on the trade market and his fantasy value could rise on a contender. AP Photo/Jim Mone

The MLB trade deadline looms, and lots of players will swap uniforms. That will open up new opportunities and playing time for players all over the league, either on new teams or replacing departing players on current squads. Our experts each name a player or two who are performing well and could stand to benefit from increased playing time -- time that could open up with a transaction in the coming days before the Tuesday deadline.

Eric Karabell -- It really is all about the saves here. Which closers on bad teams are going to get dealt to contenders, opening up opportunity for the likes of Mychal Givens, Joe Jimenez and Drew Steckenrider? I blogged about this on Tuesday, and naturally, Orioles manager Buck Showalter went with Brad Brach for the first post-Zach Britton game anyway, despite the right-hander's struggles. I just do not see situations with hitters and starting pitchers that are going to aid fantasy managers much. The Royals are not hiding some Vlad Guerrero Jr. type in the minors for when Mike Moustakas is traded. They have nothing! Brian Dozier is still really valuable if he is a Twin or a Red Sox, and the Twins are unlikely to promote Nick Gordon to replace Dozier. And the Reds might just go with bullpen starts if they somehow find a taker for Matt Harvey.

The big winner at the trade deadline in fantasy could actually be someone like Chicago White Sox afterthoughts Juan Minaya or Jeanmar Gomez, rostered in a combined 0.1 percent of ESPN standard leagues, because they would suddenly fall into saves. How crazy is that?

AJ Mass -- A lot of attention is already being devoted to the closer carousel and all of the machinations that will accompany the movement of those top relievers on losing teams. Additionally, we've all heard names like Chris Archer, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and J.A. Happ as starting pitchers potentially on the move. If anything, should those trades develop, they'd likely either impact players currently at the back ends of rotations losing work, or perhaps prospects moved in exchange for these starters getting elevated into the big leagues -- say, as potentially in the case of Jalen Beeks to the Rays from Boston in the Nathan Eovaldi trade.

Instead, I'd look more to potential trades involving the offensive side of things. First off, Dozier has been rumored to be headed out of Minnesota, and if so, then that opens up a spot in the order for Ehire Adrianza. The shortstop was doing the job for the Twins prior to the return of Jorge Polanco, and since June 10, he's batting .292 with a .777 OPS in his limited 72 at-bats. Of course, there's a chance that Miguel Sano also could return to the fold from the minors if Dozier leaves. While Sano doesn't qualify as someone who you can say is performing "well" right now in the majors, he still has an .898 OPS in the 27 games in the minors since being demoted.

Moustakas could be on the move, which could open up time for struggling youngster Hunter Dozier in Kansas City. Who knows which veterans the Marlins are going to send packing, but in any event, there's not going to be a lot left behind in Miami to immediately step up. Houston is likely to make some sort of deal, and either Kyle Tucker or Tony Kemp would seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of a playing time increase should either outfielder be part of a return package. Kemp has done well in July (.913 OPS) and Tucker has struggled since his July 7 debut (.468 OPS), but neither would have to sweat the lineup card reveal on a daily basis if they get sent to a rebuilding team.

Kyle Soppe -- I'd love to see Moustakas in a different jersey sooner than later. You want the entire list of players (of the 119 players with at least 350 plate appearances) who have both a higher hard hit percentage and a higher fly ball rate than Moose this season? Since you asked ... Mookie Betts, Joey Gallo, Khris Davis and Matt Carpenter. That's it. The average ISO of those four players is nearly 74 points higher than Moustakas' mark this season, and I place much of the blame on circumstance. Kauffman Stadium ranks 22nd in our home run factor this season, and with just under 24 percent of Moose's at-bats this season coming with men in scoring position, we are looking at a player whose metrics suggest greater fantasy production than the 63rd-ranked hitter on our player rater (12th third baseman) this season.

All three of our experts have Moustakas inside their top 90 the rest of the way as it is, and I don't think it's crazy to think he could flirt with top 50 overall status with a new team for the rest of 2018.

Damian Dabrowski -- There was a time a few weeks ago when it seemed like St. Louis outfielder Harrison Bader was on the verge of seeing regular at-bats, but that has changed under new manager Mike Shildt, as Dexter Fowler has started nine consecutive games. Bader offers an intriguing power/speed combo, having reached double digits in both categories in each of his past three minor league seasons. He sits at six homers and nine steals through 192 at-bats this year, so we are looking at a potential 15/25 player over a full season. Bader was also a career .282 hitter in the minors, so while his strikeout rate could use some improvement, he has not shown himself to be a liability in the average department.

The path to increased playing time is not especially clear at the moment, but if the Cardinals move Jose Martinez and Fowler or Tommy Pham start slumping again, Bader's fantasy value could increase considerably.