Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
So you've raced to first place five weeks into the fantasy baseball season. Now it's time to sit back and enjoy the spoils, right?
"No way!" was hopefully your answer.
Leagues aren't won in May, and the team you'll have in September may look very different than the one you have now.
Fantasy owners always should be looking to make improvements, and exploiting the trade market is the best way to do that.
Here are three pitchers you should trade for and three to trade away as soon as possible (like, before the next pitch is thrown).
David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays - Price has had trouble with the gopher ball this season, giving up eight home runs in 48 2/3 innings, but four were solo shots and the other four were two-run blasts. Homers are not the main reason why Price has a 4.44 ERA. Batters have hit .396 on balls in play with men on base against him. Otherwise, Price has been outstanding. He's struck out 55 batters and walked only five, and his xFIP is 2.58.
Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets - The wheels will soon be in motion for a Wheeler turnaround. The right-hander has a 5.13 ERA, but his FIP is 3.15 and his xFIP is 3.57. He's posted an 8.64 K/9 and a 3.51 BB/9 but his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .360 despite a terrific 18.4 percent line- drive rate. Batters have hit .448 on balls in play with runners in scoring position against the 23-year-old.
Drew Hutchison, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays - We should be talking about Hutchison as one of the breakout pitchers of 2014, but a .333 BABIP has his ERA up in the high threes. The right-hander has struck out 10.36 batters and walked 2.73 per nine innings. Those rates are even better with men on base (12.21 K/9, 1.93 BB/9), but he's allowed a .355 BABIP in those situations in spite of a 15.6 percent line-drive rate.
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals - On the surface, Miller looks fine -- he's 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA after going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA last year -- but he has some ugly warts hiding beneath it. Miller's K/9 is down to 7.09 and he has issued a nauseating 5.26 walks per nine. Miller has induced a chase rate of 20.7 percent, down from 29.5 percent in 2013, his swing-and-miss rate has declined from 9.0 to 7.5 percent and his first-pitch strike rate is down from 62.3 percent to 52.4 percent.
Alfredo Simon, RHP, Cincinnati Reds - Owners who plucked the 32-year-old Simon off the free-agent wire in April have watched him put up a 1.99 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP while going 4-1. Despite throwing above 93 mph with his fastball, the right-hander has struck out only 4.87 batters per nine innings. While a pitcher with a 16.4 percent line-drive rate deserves a BABIP better than the league average, .192 isn't sustainable, especially when batters are putting 34.5 percent of his strikes into play (16th-highest rate in baseball).
Tom Koehler, RHP, Miami Marlins - The Marlins are 10th in baseball in ERA due in large part to the continued brilliance of Jose Fernandez and the emergence of Nathan Eovaldi, but also because Koehler has put up a 2.41 ERA in 37 1/3 innings. Fernandez and Eovaldi have staying power, but Koehler will fade. The right-hander has walked 3.86 batters per nine innings and struck out less than six. He's allowed just 26 hits and stranded 85.8 percent of his baserunners due to a .215 BABIP.