Tier 3- Zack Wheeler & Matt Boyd
The next rung up the ladder has a little more talent, but possibly more uncertainty depending on the target. I have put Zack Wheeler of the Mets and former Blue Jay Matt Boyd of the Detroit Tigers in “Tier 3”, and both could be viewed as a valuable addition this month.
Wheeler has mostly been seen as an arm with high-end talent throughout his career, but he’s struggled to stay healthy enough to harness his potential. He posted an ERA of 3.31 in 28 starts last season, but so far this year he’s 6-6 with a 4.69 ERA, a 1.277 WHIP, and 1.6 bWAR in 19 starts and 119 innings pitched.
The bigger problem for Wheeler at the Mets is that he’s currently on the sidelines dealing with some shoulder fatigue. He threw recently and reported that he felt good afterwards, but the Mets may not be able to get the return they’re looking for with his health up in the air.
As for Boyd, he’s quietly put together a great season in Detroit, and has some real sleeper value on this trade market. He’s 6-8 with a 4.13 ERA, a 1.133 WHIP, and 2.8 bWAR earned in 20 starts and 120 innings pitched. The most impressive number may be the 160 strikeouts he’s already accumulated, especially against just 24 walks.
The southpaw’s value is also increased by the fact that he’s making just 2.6 million this year, and has three seasons of arbitration eligibility left before he’ll be a free agent. That type of contract control will definitely add to his trade value.
On the other hand, Boyd is less of a sure thing than most of the other pitchers on this list. He was quite good last year with a 1.157 WHIP in 31 starts last season, but it wasn’t until then that he really cemented himself as a big league starter. Any acquiring team will be paying for a guy who is producing the way he has for the last season and a half, and will hope that’s the guy they’re getting long term.