keyboard_arrow_uptop
The Annual is coming! Click here to pre-order the 2020 Baseball Prospectus Book
IN THIS ISSUE

National League

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

Claimed OF-L Jordan Danks off waivers from the White Sox. [1/16]

A move about depth. Danks is tall and athletic and highly flawed. While he's a competent defender across the outfield, he's not so good as to profile as a glove-first reserve. Likewise, he commands the strike zone, yet his swing-and-miss tendencies are too prevalent for a slugger, let alone someone with well-below-average power production. Because Danks has an option remaining, and because the Phillies' roster is bursting with left-handed outfielders (their entire starting outfield and Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera), expect Danks to open the season in the minors. He belongs there anyway.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed OF-L Norichika Aoki to a one-year deal worth $4 million with a club option worth an additional $5.5 million. [1/16]

You knew Brian Sabean was having an atypical offseason, but how's this: Aoki is the first player Sabean has signed to a big-league deal this winter who didn't end last season with San Francisco. Sabean chose a good time to break his external abstinence, as the Giants net a quality starter at reserve costs. Don't believe it? Here is a complete list of outfielders who signed big-league deals worth less than Aoki's:

Or a super-utility type, a fourth outfielder, a lottery ticket with bad knees, a fourth outfielder with a few good weeks, and a platoon DH. Aoki is by far the best player of the bunch, so why will he receive a similar paycheck? Collusion and executive incompetence are good guesses, but neither is correct. It seems Aoki wanted to play for the world champion Giants so much as to turn down more lucrative offers from other teams. As they say, the ring finger wants what it wants.

Aoki's lacking power makes him a departure from left fielders of Giants past, like Barry Bonds and even Mike Morse, but he's a solid fit nonetheless. His offensive game revolves around walking, singling the other way, and leveraging his speed; vanilla stuff, except he's performed better without the platoon advantage during his career. Aoki's defensive package is a little unusual, too, as he likes to play deep rather than shallow, like most players with good speed do.

Overall, Aoki profiles as a capable top-of-the-order hitter who'll allow Gregor Blanco to reprise his role as fourth outfielder-slash-Angel Pagan insurance. Given the cost, it's hard to complain. —R.J. Anderson

Fantasy Impact

Nori Aoki

The direction of the arrow in this case is less a reflection on where Aoki was coming from (as he had no chance of returning to Kansas City) but instead the quality of the place he landed. A high-OBP, singles hitter, Aoki’s movement from a power suppressant Kaufmann to a triples-alley haven in San Francisco actually bodes well. While he’ll continue to have little pop, if he can work the gaps in AT&T Park, he might be able to see that slugging percentage tick up a bit thanks to his above-average speed. Don’t confuse that to mean he’s a good baserunner though, his 17 swipes came at the price of eight caught stealings, and this isn’t a one-year anomaly. Aoki is what he is at this point. He’s not going to help you in power, but he’s a nice source of runs, stolen bases, and batting average. That he landed a full-time role in San Francisco as opposed to some of the part-time jobs available was a boon to his prospective fantasy value. He should fit in well with a Giants lineup that has built itself around on-base abilities, rather than power.

Gregor Blanco

He’s going to play less, at least until Angel Pagan gets hurt, and it turns out that that is a detriment to an already fringe-fantasy value. —Craig Goldstein

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
russell
1/19
When should we expect the Scherzer writeup?
cchatham
1/19
I keep looking for a write-up on the Pirates signing of Korean infielder Kong but haven't seen it. Did I just miss it?