Faces In New Places
Fantasy baseball players hearts are aflutter after all the wheeling/dealing that has been going on in MLB. Gotta love it. This piece will discuss the players that have changed teams. There's gonna be no talk about contracts or whether the moves were smart (what are you doing Rockies?). This piece is only geared to talking about the players and their new homes. Down and dirty style.
Jacoby Ellsbury to Yankees The last four years he's averaged 96 games played putting him up there with guys like Tulowitzki and CarGo – superb talents that you cannot trust to be on the field. He'll steal bases, score runs and produce a strong average while on the field, but even the move to homer friendly Yankee Stadium may not help much. Did you know he has one season of 10 home runs? He'll be over-drafted in most leagues.
Phil Hughes to Twins The last three years Hughes went 25-32 with a 4.85 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. For that he got a 3-year deal. The last three years Ryan Vogelsong went 31-22 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He got a one year deal. The Yankee effect. No matter what you hear Hughes isn't very good.
Scott Kazmir to Athletics From 2010-12 Kazmir threw a total of 151.2 innings including zero innings in 2012. Even with his success in 2013, the following should be noted: he only threw 158 innings. His 4.04 ERA and 1.32 WHIP were completely league average numbers. His 2.68 BB/9 mark was 1.3 batters below his career mark (the last time he had a mark under 3.65 was 2006). He had a career worst line drive rate (23.1 percent). He somehow threw his fastball harder than he had in any year since 2006. Figure that one out.
Brian McCann to Yankees He's hit at least 20 homers the last six years, including 2013 when he had only 356 at-bats. Over the last eight years here is an average McCann season: .277-21-80. Moves to Yankee Stadium which is a great place for left swingers and he could also DH a bit to add to his at-bat total which will help.
Justin Morneau to Rockies Has been solid the last two years batting .267-19-77 in 2012 and .259-17-77 in 2013. Moving to Colorado one has to think those numbers improve in 2014, but the last time he had 20 homers or 80 RBIs was 2009 so don't go nuts.
Joe Nathan to Tigers The last eight times he has thrown 50-innings he's saved at least 36 games in each season. Has been elite the last two years with an average effort of five wins, 40 saves, a 2.09 ERA, 0.98 WHIP an a 10.53 K/9 mark.
Dioner Navarro to Blue Jays He's been around for a decade an is the owner of a .251/.313/.371 slash line with 54 homers. The last time he had 250 at-bats in a season was 2009. The Blue Jays are making him their starting catcher. You shouldn't. Don't by the .300 average or 13 homers from 2013. From 2009-12 Navarro hit a total of 16 homers.
Ricky Nolasco to Twins I've always been a fan of the skills, but the results just are never there (for his career he's the owner of a 4.37 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 7.38 K/9 mark). Last season was the first time in five years that his ERA was under 4.45, and the reclaiming of his K/9 rate, he'd barely struck out six batters per nine in 2011-12, offers some hope. Note I wrote “some.”
A.J. Pierzynski to Red Sox Just keeps on getting it done. One has to wonder if his body will finally give out. After all, he's played at least 128 games in each of the past 12 years. He's hit at least .270 the last six years. Hard to think he's match his two year average of 22 homers though – right-centerfield is pretty deep in Boston. OK, he won't come anywhere close to the homer mark. There, I said it.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Marlins For 3-straight years Salty has driven in at least 55 runners and scored 50 runs. He's also averaged 18 homers a season. The .273 average he posted last season was a career best, but with his strikeout rate it's hard to think he will be able to replicate that (his career mark is .246).
Astros acquired OF Dexter Fowler and a PTBNL from the Rockies in exchange for OF Brandon Barnes and RHP Jordan Lyles. Fowler is a 20/20 talent who has yet to get there. He's also yet to bat 500 times because of split concerns but the Astros likely will run him out there every day meaning that his overall numbers could improve, even if his per at-bat production dips leaving Colorado. Barnes and Lyles are league specific options at best. Lyles? Really? Just don't get this trade.
Athletics: Acquired OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom from Texas Rangers for OF Michael Choice and INF Chris Bostick. Acquired RHP Jim Johnson from Baltimore for INF Jemile Weeks and a player to be named. Athletics acquired RHP Luke Gregerson from the Padres for OF Seth Smith. Gentry is a speedy defender who will likely platoon in '14 with an eye toward '15 taking over for Crisp if the A's can't work out a long-term deal. He's AL-only fodder. Johnson will save games, he has back-to-back seasons of 50 saves, and his ERA has been in the 2's the last three years. Coming off a league worst effort of nine blown saves, a WHIP of 1.28 that was a 3-year high, and the second best K/9 rate of his career netted just a 7.17 mark. Love the grounders but this is not the profile of a true 9th inning arm. Gregerson is a tremendous add for the A's and he could easily step in to work the 9th if need be. Should be a strong AL-only arm. Smith, in the NL West, in that ballpark equals pretty boring.
Rays acquired C Ryan Hanigan from Cincinnati and RHP Heath Bell from Arizona. Tampa Bay sent RHP Justin Choate and a player to be named to Arizona. Arizona sent LHP David Holmberg to Cincinnati. Hanigan should see his average improve thanks to his plate discipline, but he has no power and offers nothing in a mixed league. Bell was much better than his 4.11 ERA suggested, a fact that can be seen in his 9.87 K/9 mark and 2.19 BB/9 mark. Blame his struggles on the 18.5 percent HR/F ratio that was more than double his career rate (8.9 percent).
Tigers acquired LHP Ian Krol, INF Steve Lombardozzi and LHP Robby Ray from the Nationals for Doug Fister. Don't get this one at all Tigers. Only player of note here is Fister, and moving from the AL to the NL is a boost to his value. Given his level of success the last three seasons Fister is a target on draft day in 2014: 3.30 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 3.75 K/BB ratio.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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