Last year I made the unfortunate mistake of not pulling the trigger on a trade at this time of year. I had preached about my love for Carlos Gonzalez and got him in every league except one keeper league of mine. I had asked the owner about trading for Gonzalez but didn’t push it as hard as I could have and walked away from the deal. It didn’t ruin my team by not making the deal but it could have made my team better as the owner was receptive to the offer especially after CarGo opened the season with an injury. My problem was that I just wasn’t sure how much I should give up to get him.
So, that brings us to Ryan Raburn for this year. I don’t think he’ll put up CarGo’s numbers from last year but I do like him as a sleeper and would like to trade for him but need to think about what would be a reasonable offer. Raburn’s owner must obviously like him too and view him as a sleeper but he has started the season by splitting time in the OF which may make his owners sour on him a bit more. This is a time to jump on it and “overpay” (in their eyes) for Raburn. Let’s see what his market value may be and what would be a nice offer.
Disclaimer: There are two versions of Ryan Raburn out there in 2011. Version #1 has eligibility at 2B in your league, thus greatly increasing his value. Version #2 only has OF eligibility and isn’t quite as valuable but still will produce nice numbers for you. We’re going to specifically talk about the first version of Raburn that can be plugged into your 2B spot as it is much more valuable.
Between 2009 and 2010, Raburn homered in 1 out of every 22.6 plate appearances and batted .286 while stealing 1 base every 100 plate appearances. Let’s assume that he stays somewhere near those ratios but under-performs slightly and let’s (possibly foolishly) assume he gets about 600 plate appearances this year while pegging him for a conservative 85 R’s and RBI’s. That would give a nice estimate of 85/25/85/.280/5 for his 2011 season.
With those numbers, Raburn would produce roughly 3.0 roto points of value in your standings (which would make him one of the best 2B in the league). Being that his average draft position was around the 200th pick, he was being picked at a range that has players giving you -2.0 points of value or worse (based on this expected draft values chart). Since it’s early in the year, you can still base trades somewhat off of draft position. Assuming that his owners expect him to slightly outperform that draft position and produce about -1.0 roto points, it would mean that you should give up your 13th to 15th round pick (from a 12-team league).
If you’re doing a straight-up trade with a 2B for him, I’d be willing to give up anybody below the Ian Kinsler tier of players which would mean that possible guys to offer up include Aaron Hill, Ben Zobrist or Gordon Beckham. Beyond that, I’d take a look at your draft and glance at the guys you took in that Round 13-15 range and see if any of those would fit on the Raburn owner’s team and try to throw those in his direction. It might seem like a lot to give up at this point but it’s a price worth paying if you are like me and think Raburn is going to have a productive year. Otherwise, you will likely still do fine but may find yourself in the position I was in last year where I didn’t push hard enough for Carlos Gonzalez.