Lord Zola's Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: MLB trade deadline effects
We're going to try something a little different this week as there are obviously a plethora of moves to ask about, so why not just handle them all, quick hit style? We will go through the major leagues, team by team, highlighting the most pertinent fantasy ramifications of the recent moves. For what it is worth, my focus is on fantasy, I do not care why each team what it did or did not do or what the meneral manager was thinking, etc. I only care about the fantasy baseball impact of the moves. So, without further ado, we are off.
The long awaited promotion of Paul Goldschmidt is finally a reality. Though he was a bit old for the levels, last season while 22, Goldschmidt destroyed High-A Visalia, continuing his domination this year at Double-A Mobile. He has a lot of power and can take a walk. His crutch is strikeouts, which will ultimately determine his fate at the major league level. He's a risk, but the potential power reward is plentiful.
Jason Marquis is a better in real life than fantasy and the move to a hitter's park decreases his already middling fantasy value as he is the type that is best deployed in two start weeks and he loses the advantage of a favorable home park.
And the Jordan Schafer era draws to a close. In fantasy terms, the move to Atlanta can only help Michael Bourn as he will score more runs and get more at bats as the Braves order will turn over more times than the anemic Houston lineup.
Derrek Lee's moving to Pittsburgh clears the path for regular playing time for the newly acquired Chris Davis. Davis' story is pretty well known. He destroys Triple-A pitching but develops an allergy to making contact when given a shot in the bigs. Since he has third base eligibility, Davis is definitely fantasy relevant, but he is going to have to hit right away as Baltimore may opt to give Josh Bell a look, since Mark Reynolds can cross the diamond and pick it at first if necessary.
Pitching extremely well is what Erik Bedard does between injury stints. The Boston brass must have felt Bedard had a better chance of staying healthy than Rich Harden, perhaps since Bedard's recent disabled list visit was not arm related. He will slot in at the back end of the Red Sox rotation, replacing either Tim Wakefield or Andrew Miller. If Bedard can give his new team six solid innings, the offense and bullpen should be able to tack on a few wins to his ledger. Mike Aviles makes for an intriguing pickup in deep leagues, at least until Jed Lowrie returns. He will see at bats all over the infield and in deep leagues, at bats are effectively currency.
Dealing away Kosuke Fukudome opens an outfield spot. Tony Campana has the best shot at making a significant impact as he is left-handed and can steal a base. Tyler Colvin also bats lefty and has shown flashes of mediocrity in the past. If the Cubs deploy a platoon, Reed Johnson is the right-handed beneficiary.
There is really not much to say in terms of fantasy analysis other than dealing away Edwin Jackson returns the White Sox to a more conventional five-man rotation, which will add a start or two to the remaining quintet. Perhaps this is a sign Chicago feels Jake Peavy will avoid injury the rest of the season.
It is hard to believe, but the Reds ended up doing nothing of any relevance, though dealing away Jonny Gomes should give Chris Heisey the opportunity he needs to finally show he can be a useful player.
I have seen a bunch of analysis that highlights the loss in Ubaldo Jimenez's velocity, warning against injury and suggesting to temper expectations. I have also seen many a pundit point towards the stellar first half Jimenez had last season and the decline since, contending that he is overrated and not the ace many perceive. The thing is, if you look at the skills and ignore the surface stats like ERA and wins, Jimenez has been the exact same pitcher this season as he was last year and in 2009, the drop in velocity notwithstanding. His walk and strikeout rates are nearly identical. He is the very epitome of the randomness associated with how skills do not always translate into results. In 2009, his skills and results were in sync. Last year, his results exceeded his skills, this year the results do not reflect how well Jimenez has really pitched. His walk rate is still too high to be considered an ace, real or fantasy, but if healthy, Jimenez is a mid 3.00s ERA guy who will rack up the whiffs. Perhaps I am too trusting, but for the Tribe to part with the talent they did, they must have been completely convinced Jimenez is healthy. The difference in park should balance the ever-shrinking NL to AL effect.
Esmil Rogers will take the spot of Ubaldo Jimenez, pushing Juan Nicasio up a rung. The only real fantasy implication is Nicasio will not be skipped due to off days. When Carlos Gonzalez returns, it may signal the end for Ian Stewart if the brass decides to move Ty Wigginton back to the infield.
You know the deal, wins are a crapshoot. Alfredo Aceves has as many wins as a bunch of solid starters. But at minimum, Doug Fister's opportunity for wins is now improved, without a huge difference in park effects even though he is leaving the spacious confines of Safeco Field.
Nothing to see here.
Lost in the shuffle of all the deals and non deals was the Astros demoting young corner men Brett Wallace and Chris D. Johnson. Do not expect much from the new third baseman Jimmy Paredes. Paredes has speed but lacks on base skills. Of greater significance is Carlos Lee will likely be asked to dust off his first baseman's mitt, clearing the way for a couple of intriguing outfield prospects. Of significant note is Jason Bourgeois is now a full timer and can supplement your steals total. J.D. Martinez and Jason Michaels inherit more playing time. In deep leagues, they are a tad more valuable than previously, but in that vacuous lineup, not much in the way of counting stats can be expected.
All quiet in Disneyland.
Dee Gordon will be handed the reins to shortstop for the rest of the season. He has displayed an ability to steal bases at the big league level; he just needs to get on base more.
Finding a replacement for Rickie Weeks was the primary goal and Milwaukee ended up acquiring Felipe Lopez and Jerry Hairston Jr. Lopez should get the majority of the time with Hairston filling in but also picking up at bats all over the diamond.
Lucas Duda taking Carlos Beltran's spot is already yesterday's news. At this point, the most pertinent question is how long Jason Isringhausen will continue to close with Bobby Parnell waiting in the wings. There is still a chance Izzy clears waivers and sets up for a contender, but so long as he is getting the job done, I do not see a change in Flushing.
This is not a misprint; the Bronx Bombers abstained from any deadline activity.
It remains to be seen if Brandon Allen will be given a chance with the big club which is a shame since he was showing signs of life in the desert. That said, the A's are a prime candidate for some waiver deals as any of Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp and David Dejesus could clear and be dealt, shifting Conor Jackson back to the outfield.
If you need me to tell you that Hunter Pence is a perfect fit in the City of Brotherly Love, well, just in case, he is.
It is not clear how the playing time will flesh out, but chances are, the Pirates did not acquire Derrek Lee and Ryan Ludwick to sit, especially Lee considering how unproductive Lyle Overbay has been. There is more competition in the outfield, especially since Garrett Jones is not likely to play much more first base. Xavier Paul is the likely loser. If either or both of Jose Tabata and Alex Presley return, more decisions will have to be made.
The deal of Heath Bell to Texas leaves Mike Adams as the Padres closer. What? Really? No way. Well, the trade of Ryan Ludwick thrusts Aaron Cunningham and Chris Denorfia into the “who is playing next to Cameron Maybin tonight” picture. Will Venable and Kyle Blanks should play more, but the Friars have been known to ride the hot hand which means Cunningham and Denorfia are fantasy relevant in deep leagues. If you are in need of a starting pitcher and live by the credo in PETCO we trust, Wade LeBlanc takes over for the disabled Dustin Moseley.
After dealing away a pair of starters, there is a hole in the Mariners rotation. Blake Beavan will keep his spot. The newly acquired Charlie Furbush could be given a chance or perhaps Luke French may be promoted. French has not really shown much in Triple-A if he does get the call. Long term, Furbush has some nice potential, especially in Safeco Field. If you are looking for a sleeper play or two, both Casper Wells in the short term and Trayvon Robinson down the line are intriguing.
Some feel dealing Colby Rasmus is addition by subtraction, but regardless, the Cardinals' offense takes a hit with Jon Jay playing center. He won't hurt your average, but the counting stats will be scant. Of greater significance is if you believe in the magic that is Dave Duncan, Edwin Jackson has a chance to finally realize the potential many have drooled over the past few years.
Tampa is another team at the center of a lot of talk that ended up in much ado about nothing.
If I own Neftali Feliz, I am nervous. Feliz is likely still the closer, but an argument can be made he is now the third best arm in the revamped Rangers bullpen. Both Koji Uehara and Mike Adams do something that endears them to their managers, and that is pounding the strike zone. It will be telling to see which of Adams or Uehara is deployed in the eighth inning the next time Texas is involved in a close ballgame.
Colby Rasmus has the change of scenery many felt was necessary. The potential is certainly there, especially if Rasmus can hone his eye just a little, as he should fit right in with the Blue Jays free swinging philosophy.
I almost feel sorry for Washington, as they undoubtedly receive relatively little attention from those of us that do team by team reports alphabetically. I say almost because they did cost Roger Bernadina owners half a week's worth of at bats after they sent him down while they played chicken with the Twins and their insistence on acquiring Drew Storen for Span, though it turns out Steve Lombardozzi may have been the sticking point. Though, to be honest, save for some swipes, Bernadina has continued to disappoint.
When Todd is not reviewing his ABCs, you can find him hanging out at the forum at Mastersball.
About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com
Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.
Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.
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