MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

5 players to target for fantasy trades

Handful of hitters who offer potential at discount could pay off at right time

5 players to target for fantasy trades

Now is the time for fantasy owners with stagnant squads to make bold moves. The five-star hitters listed below have each given their owners cause for concern. Trading for these players at a discount could reap huge benefits if they rebuild their value this summer.

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Carlos Gomez, outfielder (Brewers)
Gomez was a consensus first-round pick this season after compiling 47 homers and 74 steals across the 2013-14 campaigns. The outfielder has struggled to stay healthy in '15, which is likely one of the reasons why he has disappointing totals of five homers and six steals across 192 plate appearances. Because a healthy Gomez can be a five-category difference maker, he is a terrific trade target for those who need to take a chance in order to jumpstart a stagnant offense.

Jose Altuve, second baseman (Astros)
Altuve owners have two reasons for concern. First, the second baseman has hit .217 with zero homers and four steals since May 16. Second, he is currently dealing with a hamstring injury, which is an especially troubling ailment for a speedster. But Altuve finished as the most valuable hitter at any position a year ago, and he could be a top 10 fantasy asset for the final three months of this season if he can move past his current injury by the end of June. Those who need a high-average basestealer should attempt to add Altuve at a reduced cost.

Altuve exits due to hamstring

Edwin Encarnacion, first baseman (Blue Jays)
Encarnacion is hitting just .240, but he is still on pace for roughly 30 homers, 95 RBIs and 90 runs. One of the streakiest players in baseball, the first baseman could be a top 10 fantasy asset during the second half if he reaches base more often. As the cleanup hitter in the highest-scoring lineup in baseball, the 32-year-old is a terrific trade target for those who are looking for a slugger with immense upside.

Michael Brantley, outfielder (Indians)
Since May 15, Brantley has produced a stat line that includes zero homers, nine runs and three steals. He is also dealing with a minor back injury. The outfielder -- who hit .327 with 20 homers and 23 steals last season -- is among the best pure hitters in baseball, and he could be a top 20 hitter the rest of the way if his back woes are not a serious issue. Smart fantasy owners will focus on his recent production and health concerns during trade talks, and pick him up at a discount.

Brantley's RBI double

Jacoby Ellsbury, outfielder (Yankees)
Ellsbury -- who is known as a slow healer -- has been out since May 20 with a knee injury, and manager Joe Girardi recently commented that he does not expect to see his star outfielder in pinstripes until July. Ellsbury could be a terrific trade target for those who have a deep roster and are hoping to cement a championship run. Owners with enough depth to cover his absence for the next two or three weeks could soon have another star on an already talented fantasy squad.

All statistics are accurate through the completion of Saturday's games.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.