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August 1, 2011

Resident Fantasy Genius

Deadline Movers and Shakers

by Derek Carty

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This weekend saw an absolute flurry of trades made around baseball as the Major League Baseball trading deadline came and went. While BP was around all weekend covering the trades from the team standpoint, I thought I’d run down some of the players dealt and how their new environments should affect their fantasy value.

 Colby Rasmus | Cardinals to Blue Jays
Rasmus gets a sizeable value bump moving from St. Louis to Toronto. He’ll have a new set of pitchers to face, and the American League is tougher than the National League, but the ballpark change outweighs those concerns. Toronto’s Rogers Centre is one of the AL’s best home-run parks for lefties, while St. Louis is one of the NL’s worst. Rasmus’ surrounding lineup is a slight improvement for a few more homers and runs, and the Jays seems to be more aggressive on the basepaths than the Cards are for a few more steals.

 Ryan Ludwick | Padres to Pirates
You say Ludwick’s leaving Petco and should get a green arrow? I say, “Nonsense.” You see, while Petco is one of baseball’s worst parks for lefty home runs, it actually only suppresses righty homers by about five percent. PNC, on the other hand, is the worst park in the majors for righty homers, suppressing them by over 20 percent. There’s no league change, and the supporting cast really isn’t much better in Pittsburgh than it was in San Diego. Ludwick remains a middle-of-the-order hitter on a terrible team, but now he’s a middle-of-the-order hitter on a terrible team in a terrible park.

 Derrek Lee | Orioles to Pirates
Same deal as Ludwick. While Lee at least gets the benefit of moving to the easier league, the park drop-off is even more severe than for Ludwick. Lee goes from the AL’s second-best homer park for righties to the NL’s worst. He also loses a little in terms of supporting cast. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

 Lyle Overbay | Pirates
The writing was on the wall for a while, and it was just a matter of time before Overbay’s playing time plummeted. The addition of Lee accomplishes just that.

 Kyle Blanks | Padres
With Ludwick gone, Blanks stands to be the primary beneficiary in San Diego. He’ll likely slot into left field most days and receive plenty more at-bats.

 Ryan Theriot | Cardinals
With Rafael Furcal now on board, it’s going to be difficult for Theriot to find at-bats, especially with second baseman Skip Schumaker hitting well of late. Furcal could get injured at some point and Theriot owners (myself among them in both LABR and Tout Wars) would again get value out of him, but unless that happens, we’re looking at a very part-time player.

 Brett Jackson | Cubs
With Kosuke Fukudome going to the Indians, the Cubs’ outfield has a vacancy. It’ll likely be filled initially by the likes of Tony Campana, Tyler Colvin, and Reed Johnson, but Chicago could consider promoting Jackson—o ne of their top prospects—soon.

 Chris Davis | Rangers to Orioles
Davis has finally been liberated. While he’s posted tremendous minor-league numbers and had some reasonably successful big-league stints, the Rangers never really took a liking to Davis and never gave him a chance to really establish himself. In Baltimore, he will finally have the chance to do so. The playing time boost makes this a clear value booster for Davis, even if he’ll be in a slightly worse park and surrounded by a less impressive cast of characters. He could bat near the middle of the order, though, and playing every day at first base makes him an easy mixed-league pickup.

 Brandon Allen | Diamondbacks to A’s
Allen, the other never-given-a-legitimate-chance power prospect that was moved this deadline, goes the opposite direction of Davis. He had finally starting receiving close-to-regular playing time in Arizona, but now he’ll be moving to the tougher league and to a park that’s tough on lefty homers. He’ll receive a bit more playing time and probably get a better spot in the lineup, but I see this as a slight net negative.

 Conor Jackson | A’s
With Allen seemingly becoming the new first baseman in Oakland, Jackson’s playing time will be severely reduced.

 Ubaldo Jimenez | Rockies to Indians
Jimenez’s value won’t change too drastically, but he will drop by a tick. He’ll move to the AL, which normally has a significantly negative effect on ratios and strikeouts, but Jimenez will be moving to a better park both in terms of home runs and strikeouts. His run support will drop off a bit, though, which will hurt his wins total.

 Edwin Jackson | White Sox to Cardinals
Jackson’s value goes way, way up, getting a boost in every conceivable way. Not only is he moving to the easier league, but he’s moving out of a major home-run park to one of the best at suppressing homers in the majors. He’ll also now be supported by one of the NL’s best offenses, a welcome change from a White Sox offense that has struggled mightily this season. Oh, and he’ll be pitching under the tutelage of one of the best pitching coaches in baseball, Dave Duncan.

 Erik Bedard | Mariners to Red Sox
The move is a net positive for Bedard, but not as large as Jackson’s. Safeco is one of the league’s best parks for strikeouts, and Fenway suppresses them a little bit. He will receive a bit better defensive support, though, and loads more offensive support, so fantasy owners should welcome the trade.

 Jason Marquis | Nationals to Diamondbacks
Marquis moves to a slightly worse park—though one that isn’t as bad as many think—but will receive loads more offensive and defensive support. Net positive.

 Mike Adams | Padres to Rangers
Much of Adam’s value before this weekend was speculative, with it seeming all but assured that Heath Bell would be traded and Adams would close for the Padres. The exact opposite happened, though, and now Adams finds himself in a less favorable league and park in the same role he had before—one of his team’s two excellent set-up men. I was counting on Adams closing in LABR to give myself another valuable piece as I make my run at the championship, but between Adams and Theriot losing value, that’s going to be more difficult.

 Charlie Furbush | Tigers to Mariners
Furbush is a guy whose value goes up not because the change of environment will be particularly beneficial, but because he didn’t really seem to have a place with the Tigers. He was given a brief shot at a rotation spot but had two rough outings, and the team went to Duane Below the next time a spot starter was needed. Furbush has a deceptive delivery and good minor-league numbers, but scouts question how well his stuff will play at the major-league level. The M’s figure to give him a chance to find out, though, after they stretch him out for a couple starts at Triple-A. While the offensive support will be worse, he’s at least entering a better park for strikeouts and home run prevention.  

Related Content:  Conor Jackson

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