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July 26, 2010 1:00 pm

Fantasy Beat: Haren/Saunders Swap Places


Marc Normandin

Haren to the AL is nifty for everyone outside of NL-only, but Joe Saunders manages to lose value.

In what could be the first of many trades with fantasy implications this week, the Diamondbacks and the Angels swapped starting pitchers. Dan Haren heads to Anaheim in exchange for Joe Saunders and prospects. While the merits of the deal for both sides  have been covered by Christina Kahrl and Kevin Goldstein, we can take a look at how this changes the fantasy value of the two pitchers with the league and park switch.

Dan Haren was covered in this space nearly two months ago due to uncharacteristic first-half struggles. Much of the blame was on that of the defense behind him as well as his home park, Chase Field, as a bout with homeritis was not helped by an offensive-oriented environment. He is still giving up the long ball at an alarming rate of 1.5 per nine on the season, which is down 0.3 per nine since June 4, so things have started to even out at least. Moving to the AL does put him in the tougher league, but also keeps him out of Chase. Given his lofty strikeout totals and near-invisible walk rates, ditching the long ball issue makes Haren into the ace we expected him to be (though, this being Dan Haren, we can always worry about the second half being worse than the first).

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July 26, 2010 2:51 am

Transaction Action: Send Me Some Angels


Christina Kahrl and Kevin Goldstein

Sending Dan Haren back to the AL West has a big impact beyond 2010, while leaving the Snakes dirtbound and dead.

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Acquired UT-S Alberto Callaspo from the Royals for RHP Sean O'Sullivan and LHP Will Smith. [7/22]
Acquired RHP Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks for LHPs Joe Saunders and Patrick Corbin, RHP Rafael Rodriguez, and a PTBNL. [7/25]
Activated RHP Matt Palmer from the 15-day DL, and optioned him to Salt Lake (Triple-A); optioned RHP Trevor Bell to Salt Lake; purchased the contract of RHP Michael Kohn from Salt Lake. [7/26]

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Jim Leyland talks about choosing the best pitcher in the AL to start tonight's game.

SAN FRANCISCO - Jim Leyland certainly doesn't seem like a manager who would rely on statistical data to make decisions. With his gray moustache and cigarette that he is forever trying to hide from the camera's view, the 61-year-old Detroit Tigers skipper is as old school as they come.

However, Leyland has always been a proponent of using batter/pitcher matchups to determine his starting lineups, going back to his days as a rookie manager with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. And when it came time to decide who the starting pitching would be for the American League in Tuesday night's All-Star Game at AT&T Park, Leyland went to the numbers. "For the last three or four weeks, I've been having our PR guys with the Tigers run just about every number imaginable," Leyland said Tuesday.

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Before the Chuck Finley deal, the Cardinals had only one hitting prospect. Now they have none.

Before the Chuck Finley deal, the Cardinals had only one hitting prospect. Now they have none. They tried to trade their only pitching prospect, but he had the bad manners to hit the DL at the All-Star Break. They managed to complete the Scott Rolen deal by trading two major leaguers (Bud Smith's 132 2/3 major-league innings moving him off of any prospetct lists).

The trades may help them win the NL Central in 2002, but they left the organization with a lack of mature talent. This year's pennant race will mask the ugly truth that for the foreseeable future, this is as good as it's going to be for the Cardinals. Under Branch Rickey, the Cardinals created the minor-league system. This past spring, Baseball America rated the Cardinals' farm system the worst in all of baseball.

The current Cardinal roster is largely homegrown. In 2001, the NL Rookie of the Year Award went to Albert Pujols. In recent years the Cardinals have gotten solid rookie seasons from Rick Ankiel, Alan Benes and Matt Morris. J.D. Drew is a fragile, but excellent, player. The Cardinals have had a knack for developing players to play key roles on their good teams. So far, so good.

No Cardinals prospect appeared on the Baseball Prospectus preseason Top 40 Prospects list; only the Pirates, Devil Rays and Dodgers graded as poorly in this year's Minor League Scouting Notebook; and other than Jimmy Journell, who is on the disabled list and has a Tommy John surgery in his past, no Cardinal appeared on any of BA's four Top Prospects lists. If the Cardinals are going to win the World Series any time soon, the 2002 roster is going to have to make it happen.

The Cardinals had no pick in the first or second round of this year's draft, having lost their selections for signing Jason Isringhausen and Tino Martinez. In the third round, with their first pick, they selected Calvin Hayes, a high-school shortstop. Hayes remains unsigned, as does the Cards' third pick, high-school catcher Josh Bell.

The Cards took high-school hitters with three of their first four picks, then used the next 16 picks on college players. Of the 17 college players they took on the first day of the draft, 15 were from four-year college programs. Of their last 28 selections, 18 came from four-year colleges. When they took left-handed pitchers, they took them from colleges.

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