Fantasy baseball: Seven moves to make ahead of the trade deadline

Luis Castillo could help fantasy managers tremendously if he is traded to a more pitcher-friendly ballpark at the the deadline. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Always be a day ahead of your competition.

Fantasy baseball's trade deadline, now less than three weeks away, is a time where player values dramatically and often unexpectedly shift. Even the most seasoned managers are always ready to react and spin the transactions once they occur. However, the most successful managers bracing for the impact of midsummer trades before they happen.

Just last season, those who figured the Chicago Cubs would trade Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo might have taken a chance stashing Triple-A standout Frank Schwindel. Schwindel was claimed off waivers last July, moved into a starting role following the veterans' departures and went on to score 200 fantasy points, the sixth-most among hitters in the final two months of the season. Two years earlier, in 2019, managers who traded for impending free agent Nick Castellanos, reaped the rewards of his .321 batting average, 16 home runs, 36 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 179 fantasy points after Aug. 1 that year.

While those are two of the most successful examples from among the dozens over the past three seasons, the fact that Castellanos and Schwindel were able to have success after trade-deadline moves illustrates the massive impact that being first and right in projecting these transactions can have. That possibility makes taking some chances on even a singular stash with an open bench spot well worth the risk.

Here are seven moves you should make today to best set up your fantasy team for the upcoming trade deadline:

1. Trade for Luis Castillo

With the possible exception of the closers rumored on the trade market or those affected by such moves, a few of which were written about last week, Castillo is probably the rumored trade chip whose fantasy value stands to change most. He's a near-lock to be moved, which means he will be leaving Great American Ball Park, a top-five (at minimum) hitters' ballpark in run scoring and home run factors over the past two seasons, for a more pitching-friendly environment. He has also received 3.42 runs of support per start, 11th-fewest among the 98 pitchers with at least 70 innings' work, and is backed by the majors' worst bullpen in terms of ERA (5.32). Castillo has been excellent for the rebuilding Reds, placing top-30 among starters in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and fantasy points since his season debut on May 9. It's easy to see him having top-15 starter potential once he's inevitably dealt.