Do you have to trade Aaron Judge?!?!
First of all, I have to state OF COURSE I’m talking strictly about FANTASY baseball. Yankees need to hold on to Judge for the rest of time. If you own Aaron Judge in a redraft fantasy baseball league, however, you need to seriously consider trading him when his value could not possibly be higher. It’s not only the mind blowing first half numbers he’s put up, but every baseball fan in the world watched in disbelief with their jaws on the floor as he slugged his way to a home run derby title. This certifiable freak of nature has been on full display and has been praised by some as the new face of baseball. Does this mean there are people in your fantasy league who would part ways with Mike Trout to get him? Should you even want any other player in return for Judge? The answer is probably yes in most cases. This article will go through a few possible Judge trade scenarios and what the best move for your fantasy team would be.
Kershaw, Scherzer, or Sale for Judge
If someone offers up one of the big 3 starters in baseball right now, you take them. I normally never advise trading a star position player for an ace, but this is a special case. These pitchers all currently sit atop the ESPN player rater above any position players. This season has showcased some especially poor pitching performances this first half while power hitters feast. These 3 pitchers have set themselves apart from the rest by leading the league in strikeouts, posting sub 1 WHIPs, sub 3 ERAs, and pitching for great teams to get them lots of wins (I know, uggghh.. wins). To get one of today’s truly elite pitchers, it will cost a star position player.
Any other pitcher for Judge
Like I said, I usually never advise giving up a star position player for pitching. Generally speaking, pitchers are more likely to land on the DL and don’t impact the game on a day to day basis. There has been so much inconsistent pitching aside from the big 3, so I would not put my faith in any other pitcher in exchange for Judge; not even Kluber, Ray, Archer, or even Bumgarner.
Trout for Judge
If some crazed yankee fan is so turned on by Judge that he is willing to part ways with Trout, then absolutely take advantage! Don’t be scared of the writing next to his name that says DL10 because he will be back extremely soon. One thing I will note about Trout’s numbers when he returns is that i expect stolen base numbers to decline. He did, after all, get injured swiping a bag, so I expect him to back of the throttle on the bases. He’s still the best hitter of our generation and it would be stupid to doubt his abilities.
Harper or Altuve for Judge
These MVP candidates are solid one for one players to swap with Judge, but it might be closer than you think. Altuve and Harper have earned fantasy baseball prestige in their own unique ways, but they do share one similarity the rest of this season. They both will be playing a lot of “meaningless” games down the stretch for their respective teams. The Astros and Nationals are so far ahead in their divisions that the playoff preparation will start earlier for them than most others. This could mean less aggressive base stealing and slightly more rest days. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind.
Arenado, Freeman, or Machado for Judge
This one at first glance seems like a good return for Judge and I will acknowledge league format would influence the decision, but there are a few drawbacks to each of these players. All of them were clearly worth less than Judge this first half season, but they have a strong track record to think about, right? Well, last season in standard leagues none of these players finished in the top 15 of the player rater, partially because they contribute more steals. Machado is in this group because most people expect him to return more to what he did last year. This more than anything is a testament to how strong of a second half I think Judge will have. I think he has a much better chance to be a top 10 fantasy player than any of these guys. Points leagues are value these player quite differently, but even Judge has been leading many points leagues because of his absurd 1.139 OPS.
Goldschmidt or Betts for Judge
These fantasy monsters have great track records as well and I maintain the belief that their true talents are still better than Judge for fantasy purposes. Both are much better contributors in steals and better pure hitters than Judge in every aspect other than power. While Goldy has been keeping pace with Judge, Betts was off to a surprising slow start. However, the player rater champion from last season has shown he has fully returned to form and I maintain that Betts could lead position players on the rater the rest of the season. Additionally, unlike Harper and Altuve, both of these players are playing in tight division races for the playoffs, so they will be going full steam right to the end of the season.
Of course, I can’t list every possible player and scenario. I’ll include a list of some additional players I would NOT trade 1-1 for Judge, but would consider trading for in a case where I receive more than one of them. (Not in any particular order btw)
Blackmon, Correa, Votto, Springer, Stanton, Murphy, Kluber, Ray, Bumgarner, Archer, Carrasco.
In case the main point of the article wasn’t clear, I’ll spell it out very simply. Aaron Judge is a lot better than many people think! I’m not ready to crown him the new best player in the game, but a lot of his fantasy value seems right around where his true talent is. Who knows, maybe I’ll be proved wrong and he will definitively be the best player in fantasy for a long time. It’s hard to jump off the hype train while it’s travelling max speed, but it might be the smart move because it could lead anywhere.