Today the Knights are going to turn lemons into lemonade. Yeah, now we know why it's called a DEADline, but just because there was limited activity when the clock struck 4 p.m. EDT on July 31, that doesn't mean there aren't a few fantasy baseball implications.
Let's rank the pitchers in their new homes -- Ian Kennedy, Bud Norris, Matt Garza and Jake Peavy
Perry Van Hook
Garza, Peavy, Kennedy, Norris
Cubs to stick with Lake in 2nd half?
I think all things considered, it all works out pretty even. Though I like Garza best, due to a combo of age, experience, and team (and, Texas has become very good at managing their arms). Then Peavy, whom I like playing on a veteran team who will likely be better behind him than the other colored Sox, then Kennedy who moves from Chase Field to PETCO Park but will have little support, and then Norris. Though, I also think on a good club that has focused on pitching so long, Norris easily has the most upside.
1. Peavy -- The move from the Cell to Fenway, which suppresses home run output for LHBs, is a huge plus for this fly-ball hurler, who's displaying the most exciting K/BB of the three.
2a. Garza -- It's pretty much the opposite, for this righty, but he'll be productive because he's pretty good anywhere.
2b. Kennedy -- Not just because of the ballpark, given his struggles with the home run, but quite a bit because of the San Diego Padres' outstanding record in the category of "pitcher reclamations." Could be a pretty good September for this righty, if Darren Balsley has a say. Tough to pick between him and Garza, but Garza is already pitching pretty well, so he's a safer choice.
4. Norris -- Even if he'd moved to PETCO, he wouldn't have climbed ahead of any of these guys, for me. The downgrade in home yard cements it. Rick Adair could help him make some marginal improvements, at least, though.
I'd go with Peavy, Garza, Norris, Kennedy. Peavy out of the launching pad that is Chicago is a nice thing. Garza has good command, misses bats, and keeps it on the ground, so the park conditions shouldn't factor as much as they might other pitchers. The deal, in theory, should help Kennedy given the dramatic change in park conditions, but I am rather leery of him given his all-season-long command issues and wonder if there is a hidden injury lurking here. However, given a low LOB% and elevated HR/FB, there is some room for gains. Norris, on the other hand, is already pitching over his head and is more likely to decline as the season progresses than improve.
1. Peavy -- Small but significant uptick possible in ratios plus better offensive support.
2. Garza -- Slight concern over park but bigger concern that the general mood in Texas will be a concern. I won't compare it directly to what happened to Boston in 2011, but the winning atmosphere is deteriorating.
3. Kennedy -- Agree with Rob that the park effect alone is not enough to fix things, but if a confidence boost comes along with it, Kennedy could be helpful down the stretch.
4. Norris -- Perceived as a big K guy but is sporting a K/9 well below league average. He's still facing a DH in a slightly favorable hitter's park so I see similar ratios with a couple more wins.
What player(s) not directly involved in a deal was (were) helped the most?
PVH: Likely Will Middlebrooks, who could be back manning the hot corner in Boston soon, and Andre Rienzo, who takes Peavy's spot in the White Sox rotation and could give you some cheap strikeouts.
LM: Jeff Samardjza, whose name was bantered, then dismissed by the Cubs front office. Theo Epstein is a smart guy, and he knows how to build a team, and keeping his ace tells everyone I have some quality and am willing to hold and build around it. Meaning guys like Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo can feel confident a team will be created around them.
NM: Man, hard to say, many possibilities. Most intriguing is probably George Springer, if the Houston Astros promote him soon. I'd say Avisail Garcia, but I wouldn't trust the Chicago White Sox to develop my photos. Actually, Junior Lake probably has the best combo of opportunity and intrigue. Plenty of opportunities in Houston and in Chicago these days. Andre Rienzo is interesting, too. Oh, and Jim Henderson, because he's a closer again.
RL: Perhaps Junior Lake. He gets a full-time gig and has double-digit power/speed potential though he's also a high-risk, aggressive hitting type who could easily fail. I prefer Andre Rienzo as a winner, taking over Peavy's spot for the remainder of this year and perhaps claiming it for 2014 as well. It's also only a short matter of time before George Springer gets promoted. There is nothing standing in his way in the Astros' outfield.
TZ: I guess I'm not as convinced as my colleagues that Springer will get a call-up before September. I think the Astros want to see what they have in Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes and especially Brandon Barnes (whom I like) before turning to Springer. I like the Lake and Rienzo calls. A move that flew well under the radar was Cleveland acquiring Marc Rzepczynski from St. Louis and the subsequent demotion of Vinnie Pestano. I know Pestano has been dealing with injuries but he's pitched better lately. To me the message is clear: Cody Allen is the closer of the future and is a guy I want in keeper formats.
However, the biggest winners were the Tigers' pitchers, especially worm-burners Rick Porcello and Doug Fister. Everyone likes to go to the ball yard early to catch batting practice. Jose Iglesias makes you want to watch fielding practice, he's that good (and fun to watch).
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.