2024 Fantasy Baseball Trade Targets Before It’s Too Late

Framber Valdez and Bo Bichette headline this group of players fantasy managers should target in trades sooner rather than later.

Victor Caratini and Framber Valdez of the Houston Astros look on against the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park.
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02: Victor Caratini #17 and Framber Valdez #59 of the Houston Astros look on against the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park on April 02, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

Baseball is a hard game. We all expect those early-round picks to be team staples. Sometimes, that’s just not the case. 

Hopefully, those underperforming players are currently on other teams in your league. Not just because they are performing poorly for your opponents, but because they can be your central focus in the trade department. 

Sooner or later, all of these guys will be back to their former selves. Track records are strong and history tends to repeat itself. 

One question remains: Where should we direct our attention?

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Framber Valdez – Houston Astros

One of the most consistent pitchers in the game has found himself in a bit of a rut to start the year.

More than anything, it’s been a weird start to the 2024 season for Valdez. He allowed six walks on Opening Day, which he followed up with seven scoreless innings against Toronto. Then, he was taken out of the rotation for a month due to elbow inflammation. Now he’s back, and his latest outing led to five earned runs with only three strikeouts against a mediocre Mariners offense. 

Mark my words, this will be the highest ERA (3.97) and WHIP (1.41) you’ll see from Valdez. A 1.41 WHIP is almost laughable by his standards. He’s a rhythm pitcher, and once he gets into a groove starting consistently every five days, I feel bad for the hitters facing him. He is also one of the few hurlers who eclipsed 200 innings in 2022 while following it up with 198 innings in 2023. 

His strikeout totals will always be fine, but it’s mainly about the soft contact for No. 59. And to go along with that theme, the most encouraging aspect of his season so far is the groundball rate. He ranks second among AL pitchers (min. 20 IP) with a 58.7% groundball rate and first with a 14.3% fly ball rate. This is a great recipe for success, and it’s what initially made him an ace in the first place. 

Valdez’s run support has been minute so far, but as we learn year after year, it’s very hard to count the Astros out. Their offense still features a good amount of big league staples, including most of the same players who helped Valdez get 17 wins back in 2022. That offense will come alive sooner rather than later, and he could very well stroll his way into 12 to 15 wins by season’s end. 

Take advantage of his unusual start and at least strike up a conversation about the dependable lefty. It never hurts to ask. You never know what other fantasy managers are thinking. 

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Carlos Rodón – New York Yankees

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that Carlos Rodón was awful in 2023. And it’s fair to say his 2024 hasn’t been all that impressive. A 1.28 WHIP and 8.8 strikeouts per nine is…eh. It leaves me wanting more. But, that is because Rodón is more than capable of achieving ace status once again. 

In 2022, he held the league’s lowest FIP while striking out 237 batters. The year before that, his WHIP was even better. Drafters were hoping for a big comeback, and that still might happen. 

During his best seasons, Rodón’s four-seam fastball was his number one weapon. The pitch amassed a 99th-percentile run value in 2021 and a 98th-percentile run value in ’22. So far in 2024, that number is back up to the 90th percentile.

Injuries are always tough to overcome and a big hill to climb for starting pitchers. However, I believe Rodón can do just that, and once he starts to hit his stride, the rearview mirror won’t matter much.

Also, who doesn’t love this new-look Yankees offense? They are a fun team to watch and a squad that will almost certainly produce strong run support.

So far, Rodón has put up a 3.56 ERA to go along with a 4.60 FIP. These numbers are mediocre, which is good for your chances of landing him in a trade package. He is a special target, especially because his total breakdown last season is still fresh on the minds of fantasy managers. If you don’t invest soon, the price will only go up. 

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And if nothing else gives you confidence, I trust rising velocity more than any pitching metric out there. I believe this will hold, making Rodón one of the most dangerous hurlers in the game.

Aaron Civale – Tampa Bay Rays

After four fantastic outings to begin the 2024 season, Civale delivered three consecutive clunkers. The good news is that the sun will soon begin to shine once more.  He already looked a little better in his latest start; he lasted only 4.2 innings but lowered his ERA from 6.14 to 5.88.

A 5.88 ERA is still ugly, but a 3.99 xERA is much nicer. When Civale is on, there will be few walks and a good amount of swing-and-miss. He has only allowed more than two walks once in a start so far this year, which speaks to the talented control he’s displayed for much of his career.

I wrote about Civale as a pre-season sleeper mainly because he comes with the boring factor. It’s that same factor that allows so many people to look past his career 3.92 ERA and 1.17 WHIP entering the season. Those numbers will play in every league format. 

For those who have watched the Rays this year, it’s apparent they are one of the sloppiest teams in baseball. Their defense has cost Civale valuable runs and also chances at gathering wins. Yet, this franchise always finds a way to do the little things in a big way. Let’s hope their defense sharpens up a bit while their offense returns multiple key starters, which will only boost Civale’s run support.  

And let’s not forget what happened at the 2023 trade deadline. There’s a reason why the smartest organization in baseball traded top prospect Kyle Manzardo to Cleveland. It’s because the return was Aaron Civale. After the acquisition, Civale’s strikeouts per nine rose in a massive way from 6.8 to 11.5.

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You can never underestimate what the Rays will find hidden within a pitcher, and I’ve learned to trust them more rather than less. 


Bo Bichette – Toronto Blue Jays

It’s hard to imagine Bo remains in this horrible state. From 2019 to ’23, his batting averages were .311, .301, .298, .290, and .306. He led the American League in hits in both 2021 and ’22. His 162-game career average is 99 runs, 26 homers, 93 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. In other words, first-round fantasy talent. 

When looking at his swing, nothing seems to be mechanically wrong. No doubt about it, his Statcast page doesn’t look promising. However, his hard-hit percentage and average exit velocities thus far are right around league average with only room to grow. Bichette has cut down on the strikeouts, and if he can avoid so many ground ball outs, the numbers will start climbing. Give me some more of those classic line drives!

If your team is hurting for average, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to go after a guy hitting .191. That’s precisely why now is the time to buy. A player like Bichette will surely regress to the mean and find himself. I’m not saying he will repeat his 29 home runs in the juiced ball and minor league park era that was 2021, but everything else will come with time.

If we’re debating track record or underlying metrics, I’m always choosing history to win that fight. What a player has done in the past speaks volumes, especially if they’ve done it on multiple occasions. The back of a baseball card is often overlooked, and people will quickly forget the pedigree of a player after just one month of awful play.

Confidence as a hitter goes a very long way, and all it could take is stringing together a few hits in one series. Next thing you know, BOOM. Let’s go, Bo!

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Julio Rodríguez – Seattle Mariners

Life requires patience. To all loyal fantasy baseball players, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t have a little tolerance for early-round picks who are slumping, you may make a mistake by trading them away too early. I know it can be frustrating when a guy like Julio shows horrible plate skills. Fear not, better days are coming.

If you are reading this and own Julio Rodríguez, keep him at all costs. If not, buy however possible. Baseball players are indeed creatures of habit, and it may just be time to accept that Rodríguez is a slow starter. The poor plate discipline doesn’t help matters when he’s getting busted inside and then swinging out of the zone away. Before you know it, he’s down in the count and his confidence is already flattened.

Last year, J-Rod faced similar issues and eventually figured it out. He is still in the 88th percentile for hard-hit rate and the 90th for average exit velocity, which is the first hopeful sign. His xBA is also much better than what he has shown so far. Plus, his sprint speed is presently in the 97th percentile of all major leaguers, which has already led to 9 steals in 37 games.

The one home run is a bummer, sure. However, he finished with 28 and 32 home runs in 2022 and ’23, respectively, after terribly slow starts. He also finished with an OPS above .800 in both years while stealing at least 25 bags. The career stats are mostly why I’m confident you can invest in a player of his caliber. After all, numbers hardly lie when a player has done solid work two years in a row. 

Rodríguez is one of the streakiest players in the bigs. When he’s hot, he’s burning. When he’s cold, it’s almost like we never thought such a thing could happen! In my opinion, the fire outweighs the ice, and you’ll want to have that extra boost when he does find his rhythm. It’ll be hard convincing an owner to give up on their first-round pick this early in the season, but for the right package, it’s definitely doable.

Jazz Chisholm Jr. – Miami Marlins

Anytime a player gets vaulted to the leadoff spot, I’m interested. Anytime that same player has 20/20 potential, sign me up! 

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Jazz is a unique case on the diamond. He seems to come under a lot of criticism, not only in the public baseball eye but in the fantasy community, too. Many complain about the missed games, constant injuries, or just overall bad attitude. I’m here to cut right through all of that. 

It’s true, he hasn’t been on the field much since his debut, but so far he seems to be playing with a chip on his shoulder in 2024. Chisholm has only missed one game all season thus far, making it a mission to play in as many games as possible. In that time, he has scored 17 times and hit five balls over the fence while swiping eight bags. 

In even more encouraging news, Luis Arraez’s departure boosted Jazz right into the leadoff spot. Three of his eight steals have come in the two games he has led off. The entire fantasy community should treat this as a green flag. Remember, turning simple chance into solid production is an underrated practice within the fantasy realm. The higher a player is on the lineup card, the more chances he receives.

Chisholm’s career .244 average makes it an easier task to snag him for the right price. Even with low batting averages, the underlying figures are strong, while his barrel rate is still in the 86th percentile. Additionally, he’s walking more, which will only lead to more steals. 

When I discuss Jazz within fantasy baseball circles, it seems as if people are quick to dismiss him as overrated. I strongly disagree and will try to buy wherever I can.