Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove: Sergio Santos, Logan Morrison, Matt Capps, Aaron Harang, Kevin Slowey

by Nicholas Minnix on December 6, 2011 @ 12:13:50 PDT


Your fantasy baseball draft isn't far off.'s Fantasy Baseball Hot Stove surveys free agency, trades, salary arbitration and injuries that will affect your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league. You're cleared for your MLB offseason program: The Arizona Fall League, Baseball Winter Meetings, Rule 5 draft and more will shape your fantasy baseball rankings.

Chicago White Sox ship RP Sergio Santos to Toronto Blue Jays for P Nestor Molina

Santos, 28, broke through in 2011 with a 3.55 ERA, a 13.07 K/9 and 30 saves in 36 chances. The struggles of Matt Thornton and Chris Sale opened the door for the right-hander to seize the closer's role, which he handled on a nearly full-time basis after he took over.

Santos, who's been a pitcher for only a few years, has some heavy, super nasty stuff. But he's yielded walks at a rate of 4.30 per nine innings in his two big-league seasons. He began to improve his control rate in the second half of 2011, although there's no evidence that he'll make a significant advancement.

Florida Marlins OF Logan Morrison
Even post-knife, LoMo has Mo

The former infielder moves to a division full of heavy hitters who tend to make opponents pay for issuing free passes. He'll go unchallenged for save opportunities, however, and he lines up as an intriguing midlevel closer.

Molina, who'll be 23 at the beginning of next year, was like Santos a position player until three years ago. He spent two years in the minors as a reliever before becoming a starter this past season. He was something of an organization sensation and became one of the club's top pitching prospects.

Molina made 18 starts in 21 games for high Class A Dunedin and five starts for Double-A New Hampshire, combining at those stops for a 12-3 record, a 2.21 ERA, a 10.22 K/9 and a stellar 1.10 BB/9. He could be a contributor as early as next season, although that's asking a lot. Roto owners should know his name and monitor his progress as he faces advanced competition.

Miami Marlins OF Logan Morrison undergoes surgery on right knee

In September, Morrison crashed into the wall in foul territory, near the left-field fence, in the Pittsburgh Pirates' PNC Park. He sustained a knee injury that forced him to miss time that month. He's expected to begin rehab later this month and will be on track to be ready for spring training.

Maladies have sidelined the 24-year-old somewhat frequently in his young career, but fortunately, none of them have been especially serious. The budding slugger with excellent plate discipline could be in a prime fantasy position in 2012. With Jose Reyes aboard, if the Fish retain Hanley Ramirez and add Albert Pujols, LoMo will have plenty of run-producing opportunities.

Check in on him to be certain that the arthroscopic procedure has cleared up any concerns with his knee. Since he has yet to break out, the price should be right to acquire Morrison.

Minnesota Twins re-sign RP Matt Capps for one year

The Twinkies have an option for a second year. The right-hander was 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA, a 4.66 K/9 and a 1.78 BB/9 this past season, one in which he served as the closer until Joe Nathan regained his bearings in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Nathan did so just in time, because Capps was good for only 15 saves in a disappointing campaign.

The Twins expect the right-hander to serve as closer for an organization seemingly in transition. How many save opportunities will they generate? Typically, they're in the 60s, or close, but the Twins weren't a strong club this past year, and the outlook for 2012 isn't good.

Capps obviously wasn't much good, either. He delivered more of his pristine control rate, but his K/9 dipped notably. His average fastball velocity declined a bit, and the pitch wasn't nearly as effective, conjuring images of his 2009 season.

He bounced back after that season, so perhaps a pattern is emerging. Fantasy baseball players will need more than that hope to invest confidently, however. Capps should come relatively cheaply and can deliver a handsome payoff, but at this point it's uncertain how likely he is to deliver.

SP Aaron Harang agrees to two-year contract with Los Angeles Dodgers

Roto managers shouldn't be all that keen to follow Harang to Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers signed a pitcher whose ship began to sail a few seasons ago (thanks, at least in part, to Dusty Baker). Fortunately for Harang, he changed environs in 2011, and his numbers looked prettier. Fangraphs' Jack Moore details the staleness in the righty's game.

Dodger Stadium shades to the pitcher-friendly side, but it's obviously no PETCO Park, where Harang notched a 3.05 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Expect him to be closer to the hurler that made appearances on the road (4.70 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) for the San Diego Padres in 2011. Doesn't seem like a wise buy.

Colorado Rockies acquire P Kevin Slowey from Minnesota Twins for PTBNL

Some fantasy baseball players hang on to the hope that Slowey will salvage his career with a fresh start and a rotation spot. That development would've been a lot likelier had he remained in the Twin Cities.

Slowey has been a prime example of the pitcher who sports a fantastic control rate, thanks much to his excellent record in BB/9, but rarely comes up with the roto results. The right-hander is just around the plate too often, making him prone to give up hits in bunches. Batted balls against him also end up in the air nearly half the time, and often, they result in dingers.

Target Field swallows many of those meaty flies. Coors Field won't be at all forgiving to Slowey's game. Perhaps the change of scenery will help and the Rockies will overhaul the hurler's approach to reflect their ground-ball emphasis. But that seems like a tall task - certainly one that won't happen overnight, if at all, and not enough reason to consider investing.

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About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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