keyboard_arrow_uptop

IN THIS ISSUE

American League

National League

ANAHEIM ANGELS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Andrew Heaney

Industry opinion has begun wavering on the 6-foot-2 southpaw. Jeff Passan recently tweeted that the Marlins soured on Heaney and that some scouts believe he’s no more than a back-end starter. That flies in the face of conventional wisdom and past scouting reports, not to mention his work in Triple-A last year. Our most recent prospect list had Heaney as the Marlins’ top prospect and a future 2/3 starter. I’m not ready to bail on that projection because of a poor big-league debut in 2014. The Angels should slot the lefty into their April rotation and he’ll benefit from a better team that could see him log double-digit wins if everything breaks right. I thought Heaney might be a post-hype sleeper on draft day. Now that he’s joining a big-market team that has World Series aspirations, though, I can’t see him being too cheap. Doesn’t mean he’s not worth the price if everything comes together. —J.P. Breen

Josh Rutledge

It is weird to see an up arrow for any player traded from hitters’ haven Colorado, but this is all about opportunity. Rutledge had worn out his chances with the Rockies, and seemed pegged for a utility role. His defense is questionable, which might be putting it mildly, but unless the Angels go out and make another move, it seems likely that Rutledge is going to get the nod at second base to start the season. His power/speed numbers were abysmal for the Rockies, but perhaps a change of scenery will go a long way toward giving Rutledge a bit of a bounce in his new home. He is still merely a $6-$8 guy in AL-only and someone who should be left in the free agent pool in standard mixed, but if he is going to play, he will have some marginal value on the back end of a deep roster. —Mike Gianella

Grant Green

Green might play a little bit more with Howie Kendrick gone, but he still profiles as a utility guy. He is an AL-only endgame play unless things shake out differently in spring training. —Mike Gianella

Most of the Angels’ staff is populated by fly ball or neutral pitchers, but Richards is right-handed and groundball dependent. Switching from Kendrick to Rutledge will hurt all of the Angels pitchers a little bit, but it will hurt Richards the most once he returns from injury. That .264 BABIP from 2014 should be expected to rise somewhat next year. —Mike Gianella

Hector Santiago/Nick Tropeano

Tropeano might make it to the majors eventually, but if you are drafting early, save his name for the reserve round. The Angels are likely to give Heaney every chance to win a job out of camp. If Tropeano does make the rotation, it is more likely to be at Santiago’s expense. —Mike Gianella

BOSTON RED SOX
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo

There's still a chance that one of Betts or Castillo (probably the latter) starts the year in the minors and the Sox decide to go with a Daniel Nava/Allen Craig platoon in right field. But with Cespedes gone, it's more likely that Betts and Castillo play every day in right and center, respectively, and they are going to score all of the runs in this lineup. —Ben Carlsey

Rick Porcello

Even with Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, the Red Sox figure to have a much better defensive infield than the Tigers did last season. That's good news for Porcello and the rest of the gaggle of groundballers the Sox have acquired, but the move from Comerica to Fenway is still a negative one for Porcello. Expect him to give up more homers and doubles, but if he keeps his walks under control like he did last year, he'll still be a valuable fantasy contributor. —Ben Carlsey

Wade Miley

The move from the NL to the AL is a bummer, yes, but his value doesn’t take as much of a hit as you might think. Chase is hardly a pitcher-friendly park, so it's not like the move to Fenway is dramatic. And the Red Sox figure to win more games than the Diamondbacks next year, leading to more impact potential in that category. Am I anticipating a return to his 2012 numbers? No. But he'll have a better defense behind him than he did last year, and a sub-4.00 ERA with 170-plus strikeouts is in the cards. —Ben Carlsey

Justin Masterson

Of all the places Masterson could've signed to re-establish some value, Boston wasn't near the top of the list for fantasy owners. He's in position to amass wins on what should be a decent team, and, as discussed above, the infield defense should be fine. But Fenway is unforgiving and Masterson is coming off a year in which he was hit hard. He's a good rebound candidate because of his health, but he's not doing himself or us any favors with this decision. —Ben Carlsey

Joe Kelly

As of right now, Kelly is Boston's fifth starter. But if they add a top-of-the-rotation guy, it makes sense to put Kelly in the bullpen to start the year, at least until someone gets hurt or Clay Buchholz sucks. Job security is an issue. —Ben Carlsey

Anthony Ranaudo , Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes

Nope. Expect Ranaudo to start the year as starting depth in Triple-A and expect Workman to be re-converted to a reliever. There are better odds of Barnes moving to the pen now, too, and he could be dominant in that role. —Ben Carlsey

DETROIT TIGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Yoenis Cespedes

Yes, the ballpark got worse, but I'm having a hard time getting really worked up about this for Cespedes. He's been likely to be trade from the moment the Sox signed Hanley Ramirez, and considering we heard rumors linking him to the Padres and Mariners, the Tigers seem just fine to me. Cespedes is going to be batting in a loaded lineup with a ton of RBI opportunity, and while Comerica may take a few homers away compared to Fenway, it still adds plenty of offense compared to O.co Coliseum. You have to think that 25 homers and 90-100 RBI are very much in play here.—Ben Carlsey

Alfredo Simon

The Reds let Simon—up to a year ago a swingman by trade—make 32 starts last year and he was exceptional in the first half, posting a 2.70 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 117 innings. Those sparkling numbers also came with an 85 percent strand rate and .232 BABIP, which unsurprisingly regressed along with his ERA (4.52) and WHIP (1.44) in the second half. It wasn’t a tale of two seasons according to FIP, though, as his second-half mark of 4.34 was nearly identical to his 4.33 in the first half. Simon is big at 6-foot-6 and throws hard, which should give him the inside track to the Tigers fifth starter job next spring, but it’s still hard not to see a reliever here. The arrow points up because he’s a pitcher leaving Cincinnati and going to cavernous Comerica Park. —Nick Shlain

KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Kendrys Morales

Coming off a .290 TAv and career-high 156 games played a season ago, Morales’ contract demands left him without a team through May. Things only got worse for Morales once he took the field sans spring training, of course, as he produced a paltry .218/.274/.338 line between Minnesota and Seattle. A career worst .120 ISO is troubling as this is his second season consecutive season with a decline in power and Morales will turn 32 during next season, but another career low in BABIP (.244) suggests he can get his average back over .270 relatively easily (career .297 BABIP). Though Morales will never produce another season like his 2009 before he broke his leg, there’s nothing in his batted ball data to suggest he’s finished as a productive player. The arrow points up because he can’t be as bad as he was this year again and if you can hit 20 home runs in Seattle you can do it anywhere. —Nick Shlain

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Rubby De La Rosa

Is De La Rosa a starter or a reliever? We still don't know, but he should get a longer leash to start with the Diamondbacks. He gets a bump for going back to the NL, but he's going from one bad park to another and from a (potentially) good team to a (probably) bad one. That being said, there's still plenty of fantasy upside here. —Ben Carlsey

Allen Webster

Webster isn't a very good starter and is probably headed for the bullpen at some point in his career, but he should get one last chance to stick in the rotation in Arizona. He wasn't going to get that chance in Boston, so even though he's going to a tough park and a not great team, at least he has opportunity. —Ben Carlsey

CINCINNATI REDS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Eugenio Suarez

Suarez saw regular playing time with the Tigers over the last four months of the season, but was really only productive offensively in June, when he hit three home runs in his first eight games and slashed .279/.364/.485 in 80 plate appearances. He hit an empty .227 in 197 plate appearances the rest of the way. At 23, he is still very young despite his advanced approach at the plate, and the Tigers mostly played him out of necessity after only 12 games with Triple-A. He’s still developing. Assuming the Reds stick with Zack Cozart as their starting shortstop, Suarez will likely head back to Triple-A, where he’ll look to expand his offensive profile and hit his way back to the majors. —Nick Shlain

Zack Cozart

Cozart wasn’t a good offensive player prior to this season by any means, but he hit a new level of low with a .213 TAv this year. His second half line from 2013 (.282/.315/.400) left some reason for cautious optimism, but his performance since has wiped out all of that. Even at a weak offensive position like shortstop, Cozart wasn’t a fantasy target. Now, with Suarez in the fold, Cozart can feel his grip on the starting shortstop position loosening slightly.—Nick Shlain

Anthony DeSclafani

There’s still plenty of time before spring training for the Reds to bring in another starting pitcher, but as of now I’ll toss out DeSclafani, acquired in the trade for Mat Latos, as the likely fifth starter in Cincinnati. A toss-in from the Jose Reyes trade last year, DeSclafani made five starts for the Marlins (7.40 ERA) this year and showed he’s perhaps best used out of the bullpen. DeSclafani has a big league fastball, but his secondary offerings leave much to be desire. The arrow points down because he’s a fly ball pitcher going to Cincinnati and his last name makes me think of Clefairy. —Nick Shlain

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

D.J. LeMahieu

It didn’t seem like Rutledge was going to be any kind of threat to LeMahieu in 2015, but this trade cements this idea. LeMahieu is borderline at best in standard mixed, but he earned a sneaky $13 in NL-only in 2014 due to his speed and all-around counting stats. Even if he is a relative disappointment for Colorado, his defense will keep him in the lineup and you should expect more of the same. —Mike Gianella

Charlie Culberson

Culberson stands in for any of the potential middle infield bench candidates that the Rockies have. The park puts these guys at the top of the short list in NL-only for a one dollar throw for your third middle infield spot if you are cashed out at the end of the auction. —Mike Gianella

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Dee Gordon

If Gordon appealed to you as a fantasy owner with the Dodgers, he should with the Marlins. His new ballpark is cavernous, but power isn’t a piece of his offensive profile anyway. At his best, Gordon provides high-volume steals, runs and batting average. Those should remain in Miami. The only question is whether the Marlins can provide as many run-scoring opportunities as the Dodgers did. Judging by last year’s team stats, Gordon is taking a step down in Miami; however, there are two reason I’m not overly concerned: (1) the Marlins are improving, as Yelich has another year to mature and they’re reportedly looking for an upgrade at first base, and (2) Gordon won’t have the threat of becoming a strict platoon guy in Miami. He’s struggled against lefties at times—even if he didn’t in 2014. With Alex Guerrero waiting in the wings, Gordon had a chance of getting platooned. Given the price to acquire him, though, it seems highly unlikely that Miami even thinks about platooning him with Donovan Solano. —J.P. Breen

Donovan Solano

The 26-year-old is no longer poised to be the starting second baseman for the Marlins. That’s good news for your fantasy team because you can now return to ignoring him. That’s also good news for America. Nobody wanted to see Donovan Solano get 600 plate appearances this year. —J.P. Breen

Dan Haren

The “down” trend is purely speculative. Media reports suggest Haren was already considering retirement prior to being traded to Miami, and one would think those retirement motivations have only increased. The Marlins have more pieces than in previous years; however, they’re nowhere near competing for a World Series ring. That would presumably be the only thing keeping Haren from hanging up his cleats. If he does return, though, the right-hander moves to another spacious ballpark. One shouldn’t get too excited. The velocity has declined dangerously in recent years, and he’s coming off his career-worst 7 percent swinging-strike rate. There’s not much left in the tank, even if he’s going to another pitcher-friendly ballpark. —J.P. Breen

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Enrique Hernandez

A 5-foot-11 utility man should see a smattering of playing time at multiple infield positions, but he remains an afterthought in mixed leagues. The Dodgers have made a flurry of moves this offseason and appear poised to field a stacked roster. Guys like Hernandez won’t get a starting role unless something goes terribly wrong. Even if he does get regular at-bats, though, he’s just an empty high-average guy. He doesn’t hit for power, doesn’t run, and won’t hit in the middle of the lineup. A guy contending teams like to have on the bench, but not anyone that should be on anyone’s fantasy radar—even in NL-only leagues unless something unexpected happens in Los Angeles. —J.P. Breen

Chris Hatcher

A nice grab for the Dodgers in real life. In fantasy though, Hatcher is a reliever with a spotty track record and he steps into a bullpen that is anchored by Kenley Jansen. He ain’t getting any save opportunities anytime soon, and the right-hander isn’t dominant enough as a middle reliever to be worth much. The Dodgers needed to upgrade the middle of their ‘pen. Fantasy owners just don’t care about that very much. —J.P. Breen

Austin Barnes

Barnes moves to an organization that only has A.J. Ellis standing in his way behind the dish — though to be fair, the Marlins didn’t have catching depth either. In fact, Barnes has a similar statistical profile to Ellis, which has more real-life value than anything in fantasy. Even in deep dynasty leagues, he’s not worth an add at the moment. —J.P. Breen

Brandon McCarthy

The excellent numbers in New York are probably a meaningless sample size blip, but it is extremely unlikely that the Dodgers are going to ask McCarthy to stop throwing his cutter the way that the Diamondbacks inexplicably did while he was in their employ. Dodger Stadium isn’t a pitchers’ park, but McCarthy’s stronger groundball trends combined with the Dodgers newly improved infield defense will go a long way toward mollifying the park factor concerns. McCarthy could put up numbers in NL-only that are good for $12-14 or so in earnings (think a 3.50 ERA with a 1.25 WHIP), and the potential win boost from a full season for a contender is a boon as well. In mixed, he is more of a back end guy, but as long as he is healthy he is worth starting. The investment should be mitigated by said health, of course, as McCarthy has averaged 148 2/3 innings the last three seasons. He did pitch 200 innings last year, so if this is the beginning of a new trend he is definitely worth owning in every format. —Mike Gianella

Howie Kendrick

Kendrick is often miscast as a boring, back-end keystone option, but his consistency combined with his strong batting average and ability to stay on the field (140 games or more played four of the past five seasons) make him a worthy add in any format, and a solid option in draft leagues after the sexier names at second base like Jose Altuve and Anthony Rendon come off of the board. Kendrick’s all-around numbers were worth $24 in AL-only last year. In NL-only, he would have been the third best second baseman in the league. He wasn’t a slouch in mixed either, finishing among the Top 50 hitters overall and seventh among second basemen. Kendrick gets a slight bump because Dodger Stadium plays positively for home runs while Anaheim plays negatively, but given that power isn’t a huge part of Kendrick’s game, a 3-to-5 home run bump seems realistic. —Mike Gianella

Juan Nicasio

Nicasio survives the Dodgers sweeping changes for now, but it would not surprise anyone if he isn’t in the rotation in a week’s time, let alone when Opening Day rolls around. He is still a name in keep in mind in NL-only given that he escaped from the pitchers’ hell that is Colorado, but there is a good chance that he is just a swingman/long relief/emergency starter type. That could be worth a buck in NL-only, but nothing more. —Mike Gianella

Jimmy Rollins

Before this deal the primary concerns with Rollins were age and poor surrounding lineup. Now they’re age and ballpark. Dodger Stadium actually played closer to straight-up last season, even checking in as a marginally above-average place to hit home runs. Still, it’s a clear downgrade from Citizen’s Bank, which is one of the better parks around for left-handed power in particular. Given that seven of Rollins’ 17 homers last year were classified as “just enough,” it’s probably fair to knock a couple off his projected total for 2015. And then there’s the part where he’ll be 36 next season. His bat appears to have slowed a tick, as he’s swung through more fastballs over the past two years than he ever has before. His speed has held up reasonably well, though he suffered through groin and hamstring issues down the stretch in September, and he’s certainly not going to get any faster.

Yet the lineup swap from Philadelphia (23rd in runs scored, 24th in TAv) to Los Angeles (sixth in runs scored, second in TAv) is significant, and if he ends up hitting at the top of the Dodger lineup he’ll have the opportunity to score runs aplenty. At the very least, the better lineup context more or less offsets the ballpark downgrade for now and leaves us more or less where we were in trying to evaluate Jimmy Rollins for 2015. Coming off the rebound season fantasy managers are likely going to have to pay retail on draft day, and that means expecting a 36-year-old with diminishing physical skill to put up a reasonable facsimile of last year’s numbers again next year. —Wilson Karaman

Yasmani Grandal

Grandal is a wonderful post-hype sleeper heading into 2015. He desperately needed to escape the unfriendly confines of Petco Park, and he hit .291/.408/.519 in September to close the season. Moreover, he posted a .198 ISO in the second half. These are all small samples — though this is the type of production fantasy for which owners have been waiting. Much how the move from Dodgers Stadium to Petco will hurt Kemp’s power projections, the opposite is true of Grandal.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. One figures his playing time will be closely monitored in 2015 due to his extensive injury history and that A.J. Ellis can also handle the everyday role. The Dodgers could keep Grandal around 350-400 plate appearances, unless he proves completely healthy. Any culling of playing time affects his playing time negatively. Otherwise, it’s good news: better park, better team, better production. —J.P. Breen

A.J. Ellis

Ellis amassed 347 plate appearances last year and was the 75th-ranked catcher in ESPN leagues. That’s not a typo. His partner in crime, Drew Butera, ranked higher than him—and that feels like I just said something wholly inappropriate for family gatherings. So, ya know, Ellis wasn’t on many fantasy radars in the first place. The addition of Grandal only lessens the potential value. —J.P. Breen

Joe Wieland

Wieland has a nice pitcher’s body at 6-foot-3, but lacks an impact arsenal. He’ll throw fastball, changeup, and curveball—throwing strikes and trying to induce weak contact. He has a back-end profile who is only rosterable in deeper mixed leagues or NL-onlies. His trade value needle remains neutral because the negative impact of his move out of Petco is mitigated by the fact that he now has a decent chance at stealing the no. 5 spot in the Dodgers rotation. Unless they make another transaction, and for all you know, you missed another three trades while you were reading this. —J.P. Breen

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Freddy Galvis

This is certainly a tenuous “up,” as Galvis does not offer much more in the way of fantasy appeal than Rojas or Arruebarrena. But as of now Galvis is probably the in-house guy that we should pencil in to break camp as the Phillies’ starting shortstop. He’s shown a bit of pop, with 13 homeruns in exactly 550 career plate appearances, but he hasn’t shown much of anything else. Still, playing time is playing time, and the ballpark is a good one to maximize whatever power Galvis brings to the table. NL-only managers should take note. —Wilson Karaman

SAN DIEGO PADRES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Matt Kemp

Much of the consternation surrounding Kemp is overblown. He’s been an above-average producer at the dish for years. Even in his injury-plagued 2012 and 2013 campaigns, Kemp still posted an OPS+ over 100. Last year, the 30-year-old slugger was one of 10 outfielders who clubbed at least 25 homers, and he did so without dragging down the batting average category. In fact, he was a top-20 outfielder in mixed leagues.

However, the move to San Diego won’t help his fantasy production for several reasons. First, Kemp moves from a ballpark that was league-average for righties in terms of home runs. Petco Park, on the other hand, is the fourth-toughest park for right-handed power hitters. The power numbers could drop going forward. Furthermore, his RBI and run totals should take a step backward because he’s moving to a poor offensive club. The Padres hit .226/.292/.342 as a team in 2014. Guys in front have to get on base to rack up the RBI, and I’m not sure where that’s happening.

Of course, one also has to be worried that Kemp has crested the age curve and is embarking on what is traditionally known as the downward portion of his career. That’s even more worrisome because the All-Star outfielder has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. Such strikeout tendencies don’t age well, especially with guys who show specific issues with right-handed pitching, which he strikeout against 27% of the time last year.

The down arrow isn’t a death sentence. It just ain’t a favorable outlook.

Carlos Quentin

In between stints on the disabled list, Quentin has tried to serve as the Padres’ left fielder. Fantasy owners perhaps forgot that he exists because he hasn’t reached the 400 PA mark since 2011 with the White Sox. The Kemp trade should ensure that Quentin becomes an afterthought in San Diego. I mean, even more than his .177/.284/.315 slash line already made him. I don’t see where the playing time comes from. —J.P. Breen

Rymer Liriano

Liriano is an under-the-radar fantasy prospect. He offers potential 20/20 production and could eventually hit in the middle of the Padres order. Many fantasy owners overlook Liriano because he missed the 2013 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but also because he plays in San Diego and most owners forget they actually have hitters on their lineup, too.

The problem is playing time. Liriano cannot handle center field defensively, and it’s unlikely that he unseats Kemp or Seth Smith at the corner spots. That could mean Liriano serves as Smith’s right-handed platoon partner, or he could return to Triple-A for more seasoning. After all, the young man only played 16 games at Triple-A last year. Skipping that developmental step is difficult. Until his playing time situation becomes more clarified, though, his fantasy value has taken a short-term hit. —J.P. Breen

Tim Federowicz

Working under the assumption that the Padres plan to give Austin Hedges the everyday gig behind the plate, Federowicz is once again a backup catcher. The only bright side is that Hedges isn’t guaranteed 500 plate appearances. T-Fed could see more than 173 PA, which was his previous career high. There’s some pop in the bat—he hit 15 homers last year—but nothing has translated in brief big-league appearances. He remains a non-factor in all formats. —J.P. Breen

You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
Muboshgu
12/11
That is a lot of arrows, and then there's still Matt Kemp, Yasmani Grandal, Yoenis Cespedes, Rick Porcello, Alfredo Simon, maybe Mat Latos. This is gonna take time to parse. Have there ever been Winter Meetings this crazy?
fawcettb
12/11
You forgot about Rene Rivera in SD, who's supposed to be an elite framer, and can hit a little bit. I think Fedrowicz is minor league depth.
MikeGianella
12/15
I didn't write that one, but I think the assumption is that Rivera was going to start and Grandal was either going to first or getting shipped out.
boatman44
12/11
Mat Latos to the Marlins is a big ^ in his fantasy value I would think.
Hellgrammite
12/11
Ben, regarding Castillo, why do you think his run total will be high? Do you project him to bat first or second in this lineup over Mookie Betts and Pedroia? I have a feeling Pedroia will have a better year next year (but no 2012), and would really need another year of struggling to lose his spot.
BenC22
12/12
Nope, I think he'll bat 8th, and while Christian Vazquez isn't very potent behind him, Betts, Pedroia and Ortiz loom.
yadenr
12/11
Just dropping by to say this is a great feature! Thank you.
kringent
12/12
I wonder if this doesn't understate Grandal's PT risk. Given the Padres got him 37 games at 1B, which presumably isn't an option in LA, I'm concerned the overall effect on production could be a wash, or even negative.
Muboshgu
12/12
The thing is, A.J. Ellis was downright terrible last year. Grandal has all the upside, and Ellis is a highly played backup. I see no reason why Grandal shouldn't at least match his 2014 playing time, just with most of them behind the plate and only a few games at most at first.
kringent
12/12
You're probably right that he can match his 2014 PT (128 games, time missed to knee injury) but my point is that the Padres were playing him once at 1B for every 2 games at catcher, which suggests over a full (healthy) season a chance for 150-155 games or more. It's that increment of 20-30 games lost that makes me think this is closer to a wash. LA won't be nearly as desperate to get his bat in the lineup as SD, and 120-125 games is a logical max for most catchers.
ChrisHopcroft
12/12
God, I love BP!
Muboshgu
12/12
"The excellent numbers in New York are probably a meaningless sample size blip". Au contraire, Mike Gianella. McCarthy wasn't allowed to use his cutter in Arizona, but the Yankees had him throw it. There's real reason to believe that at least some of the number improvement is legit.
MikeGianella
12/15
I think the cutter helped (and I alluded to it in the piece), but my point was that I think a 2.89 ERA in Yankee Stadium would have been difficult to replicate had he stayed there.
Muboshgu
12/15
That I will certainly agree with, even though his Yankee FIP was a solid 3.22.
MaineSkin
12/14
Thoughts on... "@TepidP: I'm told LAA's starting 2B is likely to be Grant Green. Opposing AL West fans will like it when he brings a knife to a gun fight." I'm just about done owning Rutledge in a dynasty where 750 players are owned. That statement after hearing Dipoto praise Green equals death for Rutledge.