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Carlos Quentin | San Diego Padres | OF | Acquired via Trade
Quentin was acquired earlier this week for minor-league talent and will slot into the middle of the order for San Diego. Unfortunately, while the Padres didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire him, he is a poor fit for the team, and his fantasy owners will not be made happy about the move. Going from one of the most favorable hitter’s parks in baseball to one of the least will destroy much of Quentin’s value. Because he hasn’t posted a batting average about .254 since 2008 (when he hit a healthy .288), power is all he has to offer, and now that may become scarce—think maybe 15 home runs this year, possibly 20 if he can manage to play an entire season healthily.

Perhaps more than anything else, though, this gives Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman an automatic “Go to bench, do not pass Go, do not collect $200” card. They’ll no longer be vying for playing time in left field in 2012, and right field is expected to be occupied by a Will Venable/Chris Denorfia platoon. That throws Blanks and Guzman back into the first-base mix. Yonder Alonso still has to be considered the favorite there, but this deal certainly doesn’t do him any favors either between Blanks, Guzman, and Anthony Rizzo nipping at his heels. The only guys actually gaining in all of this are the Padres number two and three hitters (Cameron Maybin? Chase Headley? Orlando Hudson?), who figure to score a few more runs with Quentin behind them.

In Chicago, this leaves Dayan Viciedo no doubt in the security of a starting role, and it probably does the same for Alejandro de Aza as they flank Alex Rios in center. Viciedo makes for a huge power sleeper this year, especially since he refined his approach and patience at Triple-A in 2011. De Aza, conversely, makes for a good speed sleeper, though it’s yet to be seen how aggressive new manager Robin Ventura will be on the basepaths. He’s unlikely to be Ozzie Guillen, but he won’t need to be to give de Aza some steal value.
Value Change: Big Loss for Quentin; Big Loss for Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman; Small Loss for Yonder Alonso; Big Gain for Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro de Aza

Coco Crisp | Oakland A’s | OF | Re-signed
We could look at the “re-signed” part and call it a wash, and we’d be close to correct; there’s no league change, no new ballpark, etc. However, the A’s have seen the entire middle of their order leave this winter—Josh Willingham, Hideki Matsui, and David DeJesus—which will leave Crisp with a cast of misfits trying to drive him in. As a top-of-the-order hitter who has trouble staying on the field, he needs as much help as he can get when he’s not in the trainer’s room. He’ll still help with batting average and steals, but even if he manages to play a full season, 80 runs is probably the best we could hope for. RBI duty will be left to question marks like Brandon Allen, Josh Reddick, Colin Cowgill, and Chris Carter.

The move sends Michael Taylor to Triple-A, but Billy Beane indicated that he wanted to see a dominating performance in Sacramento before he’d feel comfortable handing him a starting role anyway. So while Taylor topped the depth chart previously, it was unlikely he’d actually begin the year there.
Value Change: Small Loss for Crisp; Small Loss for Michael Taylor

Andrew Bailey | Boston Red Sox | CL | Acquired from A’s
It was no secret the Red Sox were not content with a mere Mark Melancon acquisition this winter, so they went out and got Andrew Bailey to close games for them. The move is a mostly lateral one for Bailey, getting a slight boost in save opportunities from a superior team and perhaps a slight bump in his potential health in joining a club with greater resources to put into their training and medical staff. Melancon’s value naturally drops in a set-up role, though it was likely he’d wind up there anyway. Still, with Bailey’s spotty health record, I wouldn’t have a problem projecting him for near double-digit saves.
Value Change: Small Gain for Andrew Bailey; Small Loss for Mark Melancon

Smaller Moves:

  • Jason Frasor rejoins the Blue Jays after being dealt in the Edwin Jackson/Colby Rasmus three-way deal this winter. He’ll help Casey Janssen and Darren Oliver set up for closer Sergio Santos and may very well be next in line for saves should Santos get injured or falter.
  • Fernando Rodney signed with the Rays, but don’t bother speculating on him as a closer in waiting. He closed as recently as last April for the Angels, but his days in the ninth inning should be over, barring extenuating circumstances. At the very least, Joel Peralta and J.P. Howell should be ahead of him in the pecking order.
  • Josh Reddick gets dealt to Oakland in the Bailey deal, where he’ll find a less forgiving park and a ragtag group of misfits as teammates. He will be all but assured of regular playing time, and could possibly slot into the middle of the order, but the rest of the move hurts him.
  • Ryan Sweeney gets dealt along with Bailey to Boston, where he looks likely to platoon in right field with a yet-to-be-acquired teammate. That’s about what he’d have gotten with Oakland, but the teammate and park boost should help. He’s trending downward, though, with a spike in K% this season and two straight seasons of just a single home run and steal, so his value will still be limited to AL-only leagues.
  • Lastings Milledge signed with a Japanese tea… oh, wait, he wasn’t going to be relevant anyway? Never mind.

Thank you for reading

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Thanks for this.

What surprised me about Alejandro de Aza as I was looking at him for my draft is that Ron Shandler's numbers have him with a PX (power rating) of 115 for 2011 and a projection of 131 for 2012, despite hitting only about 30% fly balls and with an only slightly elevated 11% hr/fly ball.

Is there any power upside on de Aza, or just speed?
I'm not a big fan of PX, and even less so for speedy players where a lot of the doubles and triples that get counted have been attained by liners in the gap or grounders down the line -- things that have nothing to do with a player's power potential. That projection seems wholly out of line with what he's done thus far, and he's 28 years old, so the aging affects should be muted. Not sure where it comes from, but I would temper expectations about his power. He's in a great park for power, but he doesn't hit the ball particularly far and has never shown the kind of power that projection suggest. Over a full season in US Cellular, maybe 10 or 15 home runs, but 20 is unlikely.
Thanks so much for the reply. Really appreciate your take on PX. Also was thinking he was younger, so thanks again.

Based on this, I'm thinking Lucas Duda, Eric Thames, Jerry Sands, Josh Reddick, Trayvon Robinson, and even Nate Schierholtz would be better bets for power upside in 2012 from a corner outfielder who will be available mid-rounds or later in my Strat draft (though maybe 2012 is too early on Robinson, Reddick has moved to a bad park, and Sands doesn't hit righties).

And Gerardo Parra and Bryan Petersen, based on playing time, may be as good as de Aja, and similarly powerless.

Does this sound right?

And is there any hope for Michael Saunders, Fernando Martinez, or Travis Snider?
Yes, I would agree on those guys. The park move isn't great for Reddick, but he has better raw power than de Aza, and while Trayvon's a bit of a wildcard, his power upside is definitely higher. Duda, Thames, and Sands are easy "yes"s.

Parra and Petersen will get less time (Parra will get more than Petersen), but in regard to power, Parra might be a decent enough comp.

Definitely hope for Snider. He was looking great before this year. I haven't had a chance to look into where his power went this year yet, but there were some injuries at play this year, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the power again. The Jays did have him alter his approach at Triple-A, and it resulted in a much-improved K rate; we just have to hope it hasn't come at the expense of his power. Saunders and F-Mart still have skill and potential, but Saunders' approach has never improved to the point where he's anything better than a batting average liability. F-Mart is still just 22, remember, and is constantly plagued by injuries. If he can ever stay healthy, there is definitely still a lot of upside here. I'd rank them Snider, F-Mart, Saunders.
Thanks again for the customized reply :-).

I got Snider in a trade last year with a guy who was giving up on him, even before his dismal 2011 (he has Ryan Braun and Brett Gardner). Seemed prescient, but I see no reason to cut him. It was only a sixth round pick or something.

Same kind of deal netted me Ian Stewart, from a similarly disenfranchised owner. More like a #4 for him, though, as he had some value in 2010 cards.

Saunders and Martinez I drafted a few years back when they first had Strat cards, based on seeing them on prospect lists, and while I've been patient...

So I will probably cut Saunders, along with Jeff Clement, Lastings Milledge, Dan Johnson, Jack Cust, Steve Pearce, Brandon Inge, Justin Duchscherer, Brian Tallet, David Purcey, Brian Duensing, Evan Meek, and one of Taylor Teagarden or Reid Brignac (while keeping such notables as Chris Davis, Adam Lind, Matt LaPorta, Mat Gamel, James McDonald, and Charlie Morton).

Any thoughts on this thought process? Any glaring oversights?
Oh, and the very forgettable Mike Pelfrey...
That seems reasonable to me. Depending upon the league type, you could consider keeping Inge, since he's at the top of the DET depth chart at 3B at the moment (though that could easily change before Opening Day). Brignac also offers little value offensively, even if he ends up with a starting job, so Saunders's upside could be preferable, though Seattle does have quite a few OF options.

Since I have Pablo Sandoval (and Ian Stewart), and since Inge offers little Strat-O-Matic value other than his 3b-2 (which, amazingly, the Panda seems to have gotten as well) I'm still likely to cut him (or trade him to a team needing a 3b defensive replacement).

But your point about Reid Brignac vis-a-vis Michael Saunders is a good one.

Last two cuts - Brignac and Mike Pelfrey (or Taylor Teagarden or Saunders)? I mean, at this point, there are no great shakes...
Not sure what's up with that projected PX score. HQ also has an expected PX based on hard hit ball data that puts De Aza's 2011 season at 81 (19% under league avg). Trust the speed, not the power. -Ed D.