January 29, 2013
Resident Fantasy Genius
Checking in on Fantasy Deals
Justin Upton | Diamondbacks to Braves | OF
Many will dock Upton’s value for the park change, but that’s a relatively small part of my down arrow. Sure, the new home will hurt a little bit, but not as much as many expect. For one, Arizona’s Chase Field isn’t the home run haven many believe to be, and for another, Upton’s great raw power will help offset the park effects.
Just as important, if not more important, is the value dip that comes from leaving Kirk Gibson for Fredi Gonzalez. Gibson is a bit below average in terms of letting his runners take off on the bases, but Gonzalez is the third-most passive in baseball. These two things aside, Upton does figure to derive some benefit, even if we can’t quantify it, from playing next to his brother. It may not be large, or it may be huge. More likely it’ll be the former, but you never really know with these kinds of things. Additionally (and probably more importantly), he’ll benefit from an improved lineup. Gonzalez has said Upton the younger will likely bat third for him, and although Andrelton Simmons batting leadoff isn’t ideal, he’ll have Jason Heyward directly in front of him and Freddie Freeman, B.J. Upton, and Dan Uggla behind him. RBI and run totals eclipsing 100 wouldn’t be too surprising.
Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton, Cody Ross, Gerardo Parra | Diamondbacks | OF
Arizona’s outfield just got a lot less crowded. The team said their four outfielders will each get 400-500 at-bats this year. Parra and Eaton gain the most from this deal and subsequent statement. Eaton might become overhyped and overpriced, but Parra may be a nice under-the-radar NL-only pick who does a little of everything.
Jose Constanza and Reed Johnson | Braves | OF
The chances of Constanza actually starting for Atlanta were low, but some had him penciled in as the team’s left fielder before the trade. Others saw Johnson platooning with him, if Prado moved back to third. Now they’re both bench outfielders fighting each other for even less time. Constanza might be a solid $1 NL-only pick for his steals upside.
Martin Prado | Braves to Diamondbacks | 3B
Prado loses a bit leaving the now very potent Atlanta lineup, but he still figures to hit in the top-third for Arizona and gets a better home park to work with (though the road parks in the division, save Coors Field, are unfavorable). It’s a small value gain, but for those in keeper leagues, he’s sure to keep third-base eligibility past this season, which wasn’t assured in Atlanta.
Eric Chavez | Diamondbacks | 3B
I don’t know how many actually believed Chavez could still play the field 70 percent of the time, but he was slated to platoon with Chris Johnson at third before the trade. I guess maybe the Diamondbacks weren’t convinced themselves, but in any case, he’ll move to the bench now.
Chris Johnson | Diamondbacks to Braves | CI
This is a very small value bump for Johnson that I nearly declared a loss. While I think he had a shot to be starting over Chavez before long in Arizona, and while I think Juan Francisco poses much more of a threat in Atlanta, he goes from the weak half of a platoon to a chance to battle for more playing time than that. Of course, the park shift is a bit unfavorable, but this could still bump Johnson’s value if he takes advantage of the opportunity.
Juan Francisco | Braves | 3B
I love Francisco’s raw power and was expecting him to be a cheap, undervalued source in NL-only leagues this year. Following this deal, however, that’s much less certain. I still like him more than Johnson, but the two figure to be in competition all spring and all season long for playing time.
Randall Delgado | Braves to Diamondbacks | SP
Delgado moves from a situation where he’s battling another prospect for the sixth-starter spot to another. He gets a less favorable park, though, and is battling with a guy who had some brief success at the major league level and is a more refined product, so it’s a down arrow for him. Delgado may get some starts this year, and if he can develop his breaking ball, his ceiling is still relatively high.
Patrick Corbin | Diamondbacks | SP
Speaking of Delgado’s competition, Corbin loses some value with the extra arm in the mix. He doesn’t have the ceiling of Delgado, but he’s ready to be a solid NL-only-caliber starter right now.
Julio Teheran | Braves | SP
Back in Atlanta, Teheran has to be happy to see Delgado vacate. He figures to be first in line for a rotation spot should someone get injured this year. The ceiling is still there, but he’s not worth speculating on in most mixed leagues.
Lars Anderson | Released by Diamondbacks | 1B
Anderson was released by Arizona, but I wasn’t expecting much from him anyway. Who knows; maybe he’ll find someplace he can battle for playing time by midseason.