Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Trade Advice: B.J. Upton for Nelson Cruz

posted by Jon Williams
Hello Jon,

I'm in a mixed 18 team head to head, keeper, points league. I have just been offered BJ Upton for Nelson Cruz. This looks to be a classic buy low, sell high trade but Upton's high stikeouts and .152 avg scare me. Is he healthy and do you think he will turn his season around? Thanks

James in San Diego
This is definitely a tough one, I'm going to assume that there are no salaries to be concerned with here. I do think that B.J. Upton will come around eventually. As Jason Grey of ESPN recently wrote - it takes a while for a batter coming off shoulder surgery to regain his swing. Some batters will take longer than others. And judging by the struggles that other players like Travis Hafner, Shawn Green and Carlos Quentin endured after their surgeries expecting Upton to recover quickly looks like a long shot. Upton was still recovering from the injury when the season started and I believe that he rushed to get back on the field, possibly to his own detriment. This does not mean I would give up on Upton if I owned him (and I do in a few leagues). Upton is striking out a lot right now and appears to be experiencing some bad luck with balls in play (.231 BABIP). I think at some point (possibly after a stint on the disabled list) Upton will not only get it together but explode in production.

But you don't own Upton, you own Nelson Cruz who is playing great right now. I do believe that Nelson Cruz will establish himself as a major league player this season. He is already on pace for 30-plus homers and around 20 steals with about a .280 batting average. I believe Cruz will only get better when Josh Hamilton returns to the lineup and starts to hit. Cruz does have a very high BABIP right now (so his batting average could come down a bit) but he has been maintaining a high BABIP for the last few years in the minors and I believe his normal level is still a pretty high .330 or so.

Everything being equal I believe Upton is capable of putting up better numbers than Cruz. However, I cannot endorse trading Cruz for Upton right now. You just aren't getting enough of a discount in my opinion. If Upton continues to struggle you may get him for even less of a value than Cruz (assuming the owner does not move him to someone else first). I would counter with a lesser but still fairly productive player and see if he bites. Otherwise my advice is to wait a little longer. You may end up without Upton but you also will not have to suffer through the rest of his recovery and adjustment period.

If you have a fantasy baseball question or need some advice please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail (jon@advancedfantasybaseball.com), by commenting on the blog (you're halfway there already), Twitter me (@bigjonwilliams), or by instant messenger (bigjonempire on both AIM and Yahoo).

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2 Comments:

Blogger Schruender said...

I just traded Chad Billingsley and Kevin Gregg for Upton. My situation was a little different because I was desparate for steals, but I really trust that Upton will turn it around. I would take the Cruz for Upton deal.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jon Williams said...

Wow, that seems like a lot to me. Billingsley is great and Gregg is the closer in title anyway. Ian (who commented on the facebook feed - http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503604287&v=feed&story_fbid=78531684287)probably would have agreed with you doing that deal. If you think he's completely healthy and just slumping I guess I could make a case for it. But since I believe he's still recovering from the shoulder surgery and hitting horribly I think he should come at a bit of a discount.

Do you not like Cruz or are you that crazy about Upton?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 3:12:00 PM EDT  

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