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July 26, 2012

Resident Fantasy Genius

Rating the Fantasy Impact of the Week's Trades

by Derek Carty

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It’s been a crazy few days for trades and rumors, so I’m here today to make sense of it all from a fantasy perspective.  There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in...

 Hanley Ramirez | Marlins to Dodgers | SS/3B
Interestingly, the biggest trade of the deadline has perhaps the smallest fantasy impact.  Hanley moves from one pitcher’s park to another (his power may play slightly better in Dodger Stadium) and from batting fifth in one lackluster offense to another.  Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier figure to be a bit easier to drive in than Carlos Lee and Logan Morrison/Justin Ruggiano, but the overall affects of this trade will be small.  Those in keeper leagues should watch to see if Hanley gets any starts at shortstop while Dee Gordon is out, which could prolong such eligibility one more season.

 Omar Infante | Marlins to Tigers | 2B
Very little value change here for Infante.  He moves to the tougher league and down to the ninth spot in the order (from seventh), although he will have better hitters directly behind him to drive him in.  If I’m labeling it, it’s a very small net negative.

 Anibal Sanchez | Marlins to Tigers | SP
Sanchez isn’t as lucky as his teammate Infante, seeing a legitimate decline in value.  Anibal moves to the tougher league and onto a poor defensive team.  The good news is that he brings Infante along to help him in that regard, and his offensive support will be leaps and bounds better.  He also gets to stay in a pitcher’s park, so while he may lose some value, he’s still going to be quite good and perhaps one of the most valuable NL-to-AL league-switchers we’ll see this deadline.

 Greg Dobbs, Austin Kearns, Bryan Peterson, Donovan Solano | Marlins | OF
Following the Infante trade, Emilio Bonifacio has moved to second base and each of Dobbs, Kearns, and Peterson have started a game in right.  It’s anyone’s guess how the playing time will shake out until Giancarlo Stanton returns, and none project to have much value outside of the very deepest of NL-only leagues.  If I’m picking up one guy, it’d probably be Dobbs since he’ll also pick up some time at third base with Hanley out of the picture.  Solano figures to grab some starts at third and possibly in the outfield as well.

 Wade LeBlanc | Marlins | SP
After Anibal Sanchez was dealt, it was announced that LeBlanc would replace him in the rotation. He’s more than proven himself at Triple-A and figured to be a solid, underrated option in NL-only leagues and possibly deeper mixers, but the acquisition of Nathan Eovaldi in the Hanley Ramirez deals clouds the issue.  Eovaldi figures to take Sanchez’s rotation spot, but if he struggles (which is a very real possibility) or if Josh Johnson (or Ricky Nolasco) is traded—rumors of which are starting to heat up—LeBlanc will get his shot.  If nothing else, a huge obstacle has been replaced by a small one, so the net result of all this is an increase in LeBlanc’s value.

 Nathan Eovaldi | Dodgers to Marlins | SP
It’s a small bump for Eovaldi, coming mostly due to increased offensive support and a slightly more spacious ballpark.

 Jacob Turner | Tigers to Marlins | SP
Turner will provide competition to LeBlanc and Eovaldi, but he’ll merely try to push them from Triple-A, at least to start out.  He has the highest upside of the trio, but his numbers have been very underwhelming, even in the minors.  He has youth working in his favor and gets a value bump for the reverse of all the reasons Anibal lost value in moving to Detroit.  He’ll need to prove himself to get a shot in 2012, however.

 Wandy Rodriguez | Astros to Pirates | SP
A move from Houston to Pittsburgh may seem unassuming at first glance, but this is actually a positive move for his owners.  For one thing, he gets to remain in the National League, which is huge given the rumors of interested AL clubs.  Sometimes the best move is the one that doesn’t happen.  Next, he finds himself in a better park—one of the better pitcher’s parks in baseball, actually—and for a team that is contending and can offer some additional offensive and bullpen support.

 Rudy Owens | Pirates to Astros | SP
Owens may stand a better chance of getting a call-up in Houston, and I’ll simply direct you to Kevin Goldstein’s analysis if you want an idea of the kind of pitcher Owens is.

 Kevin Correia | Pirates | SP
Correia figures to get bumped from Pittsburgh’s rotation to make way for Wandy.  Those holding on can let him go in all but deep NL-only leagues.

 Ryan Roberts | Diamondbacks to Rays | 3B
Roberts’ time in Arizona was done as soon as they recalled Ryan Wheeler to play third base, so any change of scenery could only increase his value.  This isn’t a big increase, though.  Surprising news that Evan Longoria could return in the first week of August means Roberts will be bench-bound sooner rather than later.

 Ichiro Suzuki | Mariners to Yankees | OF
The park change doesn’t matter much for a non-power hitter like Ichiro; the biggest change is his spot in the batting order.  Ichiro goes from batting in the top third of the order for a poor Seattle offense to batting eighth for one of the league’s best offense.  Those affects may seem to cancel out, but check this out: hitters batting second for Seattle (as Ichiro has recently) have received 403 at-bats this year.  Hitters batting eight for the Yankees have received just 342 at-bats.  That should lessen Ichiro’s value a bit despite the better support around him.

 Carlos Peguero | Mariners | OF
With Ichiro now in pinstripes, Peguero figures to pick up the bulk of the right field playing time for the time being.  Peguero likely isn’t a starter long-term, but you could do worse in an AL-only league.  He strikes out a ton and will kill your batting average, but he’ll offer you some cheap power and at-bats.

 Brett Myers | Astros to White Sox | RP
We’ve known since the off-season that a Myers trade was a possibility, and that fear was realized this past week.  Myers will set up Addison Reed and should only find saves if Reed struggles.  Reed has a lot of potential, but he’s far from a shut-down closer at present, so there is still some hope for Myers.

 Francisco Cordero | Blue Jays to Astros | CL
Shortly after being shipped to Houston, Cordero became the team’s closer after Brett Myers left town.  He’s blown both save opportunities since assuming the role, however, so his leash may already be short.  Still, he’s worth an add while he’s got the job.  Wilton Lopez is the handcuff here and is worth stashing in leagues where you have the bench space.

 Jedd Gyorko | Padres | 2B/3B
With Chase Headleyall but sure to be dealt,” now is the time to grab Gyorko in NL-only and deep mixed leagues, if you haven’t already.  When Headley vacates third, Gyorko should find himself promoted and playing every day.  His biggest fantasy contribution will be at-bats and batting average—there’s little question the guy can hit—but he won’t offer any speed and he doesn’t project for a whole lot of power at the major league level, despite hitting 22 homers between Double- and Triple-A this year.  It’ll be interesting to see where he bats in that lineup; Logan Forsythe is hardly the ideal no. 2 hitter.

 Wade Davis | Rays | SP
Once a highly regarded prospect, Wade Davis never proved capable of being even a quality mid-rotation starter in his two years in the Rays rotation.  In Tampa’s rotation crunch this year, Davis found himself starting 2012 in the bullpen, where he has posted terrific numbers: 10 K/9, 3.7 BB/9.  There appears to be a “big market” for him with the deadline looming, and it stands to reason that the acquiring team would once again try him as a starter.  He has good stuff and the potential to succeed, so if his relief role has left him unowned in your AL-only league, he’s definitely worth a precautionary stash to see where he might land.

****

As I’m sure those of you in AL- and NL-only leagues are wondering how all of these guys stack up, I’ll be keeping a running list of the top league-crossers to help you prepare your waiver claims and FAAB bids.

Top NL-to-AL League-Crossers
Anibal Sanchez
Omar Infante
Brett Myers
Ryan Roberts
Brandon Lyon

Top AL-to-NL League-Crossers
Francisco Cordero
Jacob Turner

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