R.A. Dickey knuckles to Blue Jays, who send Mets two blue chips

      December 18, 2012 @ 16:40:02 PDT

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New York Mets C Travis d'Arnaud
Few d'ohs coming for d'Arnaud

The R.A. Dickey haul was quite a pull for the New York Mets. Travis d'Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard ranked as two of the Toronto Blue Jays' top three prospects per Baseball America. The headliners capped a justifiable return for which to deal the NL Cy Young winner. Fantasy players should know their names, too.

But what will come of the biggest surprise in the game last year? The widespread, knee-jerk notion of a sizeable Dickey drop-off gains more steam with a move to Rogers Centre. Any pitcher moving to the AL East, including his new teammates Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, warrants a bit more skepticism.

Despite his new hostile environment, however, Dickey shouldn't be penalized on top of the expected numerical downgrade via simple regression. Knuckleballers, especially those possessing his unique, speedier weapon, can survive in the Junior Circuit. Plus, facing designated hitters matters less when backed with his suddenly loaded offense.

Following in the steps of Tim Wakefield with a revolutionary form of the wind-dancer, Dickey, in a modest but clear-headed projection, should still post a K/9 of somewhere in the mid-7.00s and an ERA of around 3.50.

How does your room view the Kilimanjaro conqueror? If you can plant your flag on him as your second pitcher, that's a steal. Even backing him up with a just-below-ace type marks a successful value climb.

Playing your home games in the Pacific Coast League (especially his former home park of Las Vegas' Cashman Field) doesn't hurt, but it didn't falsely boost d'Arnaud's pop; he still mashed for a .577 SLG on the road compared to .613 at home in 2012.

Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly
As for Buck, Thole ... whatever

There's plenty of thump in a swing that has a potential notable hitch chiefly in a sometimes exaggerated leg kick, which experienced hurlers will try abusing with off-speed stuff. Batted rawhide appears to come off his stick without much effort, though, so that may prove to be a moot point in the future.

In fact, most things about him seem smooth, which could produce a similar-looking transition to big-league play. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder, who'll turn 24 in February, stands closer in stature and build to Buster Posey than he does to Matt Wieters or Joe Mauer, and d'Arnaud's compact hacks limit the potential slow-through-the-zone loopiness that could plague a bigger catcher out of his career gate. His defense is steady enough, if not better, to believe his adjustment won't be arduous.

The backstop's fence-clearing prowess should debut at Citi Field sometime in mid-2013, making him an NL-only stash and immediate deep mixed grab whenever he's summoned.

The young hurler New York netted in the deal boasts his own form of power. Syndergaard, 20, hasn't yet reached Double-A and probably won't debut until 2014.

At 6-foot-5, 200 pounds, he's an imposing figure on the rubber and has overwhelming downward movement on his heat, which touches the high 90s. Though his breaking stuff needs work, the big man's well-oiled delivery betrays his size in a positive way, which neutralizes much of the risk that comes with taller tossers and preserves his high-upside dynasty stock.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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