February 5, 2013
The Carter-for-Lowrie deal
Yesterday’s trade, which sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the Athletics for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock, and Max Stassi, may seem relatively unimportant from a fantasy standpoint, but there are ripple effects that could impact numerous players on both the A’s and the Astros. Below, I examine the fallout for all of the players affected by the deal.
Chris Carter | A’s to Astros | 1B/DH
My colleague Paul Sporer examined specifically how Carter’s 2012 batted balls would have fared in his new environs, using a park-overlay tool from Katron.org to show that three more homers would have likely been added to last year’s total had he played in Houston. Carter gets the up arrow for the park swap and for playing-time gains, since he figures to find his way into the Astros lineup on most days, be it at first base, designated hitter, or left field. I remain reserved, however, regarding his fantasy prospects for the upcoming season, mainly due to his persistent contact woes, which only became more apparent as the season wore on. Overall, Carter struck out in 32 percent of the time in 2012, but over the final month, he punched out a staggering 31 times in 72 trips to the plate! Sure, there will be weeks when Carter is a one-man fireworks show, but he’ll counter those outbursts with cold spells during which he scarcely makes contact, and his upside might press you to live with them.
Jed Lowrie | Astros to A’s | SS
In his first year with the Astros, Lowrie was predictably productive when healthy, and then predictably got hurt in a collision while covering second base. As Jon Morosi notes in this tweet, Lowrie has never endured 100 games in a season in his seven-year professional career. It’s safe to say his number-one goal in 2013 should be to simply stay on the field.
Lowrie did make the most of his time on the field in 2012, batting .244 with an impressive 16 home runs in 97 games. Per ESPN’s Hit Tracker, 10 of Lowrie’s 16 homers were of the “Just Enough” variety, roughly defined as being within 10 feet of clearing the fence. That’s about 62 percent of his home runs, double the league average, and this makes him a prime candidate for regression even without the park change. With the move to O.co Coliseum, we can be doubly pessimistic about Lowrie’s power output in 2013.