There may be no better day than July 31 for owners to be reminded about the need to improve their roster through trades. While Major League executives are spending their time today churning out one game-changing deal after another, wise fantasy owners will be looking to pick up one of the following five players, each of whom has delivered disappointing results in July.
Gary Sanchez, catcher, Yankees
Able to hit for average and power, Sanchez has done neither to a great degree this month while posting a .239 batting mark and a .693 OPS. The slump could provide a rare opportunity to buy low on arguably the top catcher asset, who hit .307 with nine homers and 27 RBIs across 88 at-bats during June. As part of a Yankees lineup that ranks fourth in baseball with 550 runs scored, Sanchez should return to driving in runs at a great rate once he regains his top form.
Josh Donaldson, third baseman, Blue Jays
Donaldson may be the most disappointing fantasy asset to this point in 2017, as he is hitting .239 with 10 homers and 30 RBIs across 222 at-bats. And the veteran has hit rock-bottom of late, posting a .202/.350/.310 slash line during July. While much of Donaldson's struggles have been fueled by a plate-skills decline, he presents an intriguing buy-low option for owners looking to grab an elite hitter (.946 OPS across '15-16) at a heavily reduced cost.
Xander Bogaerts, shortstop, Red Sox
Bogaerts was in the process of living up to his early-round billing when the calendar flipped to July, which he entered hitting .314 with 49 runs scored and nine steals across 326 plate appearances. But the 24-year-old has slumped badly this month (.158/.226/.224 slash line) while dealing with nagging injuries. With the a dearth of quality shortstop options this season, some owners may choose to take a chance on a proven talent who hits out of a premium spot in a strong lineup.
Matt Holliday, outfielder/designated hitter, Yankees
Holliday entered July as one of the biggest fantasy bargains, having compiled 15 homers and 47 RBIs across 276 at-bats after being an afterthought in many 2017 drafts. But the veteran's season took a wrong turn this month, as he has hit .136 while also dealing with a viral infection. Like Sanchez, Holliday has the stellar supporting cast to produce plenty of counting stats once he returns to form.
Yu Darvish, starter, Dodgers
Owners looking to add a discounted ace may wish to pounce on Darvish before he makes his next start. The right-hander struggled mightily last time out (10 runs across 3 2/3 innings), pushing his ERA to an unimpressive 4.01 and dropping his record to 6-9. Wise owners will notice the potential reward of grabbing an arm who owns elite swing-and-miss skills (career 11.0 K/9 rate), entered his 22nd start of the season with a solid 3.44 ERA and now plies his trade for a team with a pitcher-friendly home park and the best record in the National League.
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.