Fantasy Baseball Week That Was: Week 17
Several players were moved at the deadline and Glenn Colton is here to detail all of the key moves in MLB.
Players moving at the trade deadline highlight this week’s Week That Was.
Eduardo Nunez: Well, Minnesota is not a great park in which to hit and neither is SF so no great change there. While no one saw Nunez coming this year, there is no question that he arrived. He will now play every day for a Giants team trying to win the World Series for the fourth time in the last seven years. Thus far, Nuney has been money to the tune of a .295 average, 12 dingers and 28 SB. We know the speed is real. The advanced metrics say the average is real (neither contact rate nor BABIP is out of line) and those of us who saw him take Justin Verlander yard in the ALCS a few years ago when Justin was Cy Verlander know the power is real. Those in NL-only leagues should open their FAAB wallets!
Ivan Nova: Could this be the latest Ray Searage reclamation project? Remember what Ray did for former Nova teammate A.J. Burnett? I think he can do the same for Nova. Why? First, Nova’s velocity is back to pre-Tommy John surgery form. Second, Pittsburgh is not in the AL East. The park is friendlier and so are the opponents (it is not fun pitching in Baltimore, Boston or Toronto). Third, Nova already throws those grounders that Searage loves as his 54-plus percent GB rate this year attests. Finally, when the 21 percent HR/FB goes down as it should now that Nova has escaped the AL East, you could have a bargain on your hands. Invest now while you can.
Jay Bruce: Hmmm, I have a lot of friends who are Mets fans so I hope this works out, but I am not so sure. First, his .265 average is way above what he has done the last two years. If he starts to press with his new team, that average could plummet back to the .220s. Second, Bruce has hit only .230 or so over the last 30 days. That does not bode well. Finally, Cincy is a much better hitters’ park than Citi Field so some of those dingers may not leave the yard. In all, I think Bruce will help the Mets more than he helps your fantasy team if you have to blow your whole FAAB budget to get him. Proceed with caution.
Andrew Miller: The only lefty nastier than Miller is his former teammate Aroldis Chapman. Miller’s stats are sick: 77K in 45 innings with a miniscule 0.77 WHIP. When you get down the advanced stats, the numbers are equally scary: 16-plus percent swinging strike rate and a GB rate approaching 53 percent. Move over Cody Allen – you are good but not this good. Invest with complete confidence.
Jonathan Lucroy: Texas scored big with one of the best catchers in baseball. After a down year last year, Lucroy has returned to prominence with a .299 average, 13 HR and 50 RBI. My only concern is that it is tough for a catcher to learn new pitchers, new opposing hitters and concentrate on his offense all at the same time. I like Lucroy much better for 2017 than I do for the last two months of 2016. That said, if you are in an AL-only league, there is no doubt Lucroy will be an upgrade for your team.
Josh Reddick: Reddick is a player I have liked for a long time. He has now overcome injury and evolved as a hitter as his .290+ average and 10-plus percent walk rate indicate. Indeed, despite all the distraction of trade talks, Reddick has stayed focused and hit .333 over the last week. Oh, and when you add in that any park is better for a hitter than Oakland, you have a potential nice add for those in NL-only leagues. I like Nunez better this year but Reddick makes a nice prize too.
Matt Kemp: Wow, out of the frying pan and into the fire. San Diego is a Dumpster fire and so is Atlanta. Given that Kemp has not changed leagues, his fantasy FAAB value is not nearly that of some of the others above. Yes, he has hit for power but a sub .300 OBP and a nearly 7-1 K/BB ratio says the cliff is near and he could easily fall off in the wasteland that will be Atlanta August baseball. Be careful.
And now the moment you well, may or may not be waiting for, the Baron of Bottom of the Page pontificates -- aka Schultz says: “As the MLB trading deadline approaches, it is always fun to watch major league ball clubs act like their roto-fantasy counterparts. Contenders look to scavenge useful parts from floundering teams while those in free fall look towards the future to invest. From a fantasy baseball perspective, Schultz has long said that the roto owner that remembers the key pieces to trade deadline deals will prosper in future years. Unlike many of our roto-counterparts, MLB GMs predominantly know what they are doing, only the dividends to be reaped from deadline deals don't always come to fruition in the next season.
Just look at the Central Division leading Cleveland Indians. Carlos Carrasco was a key piece to the Cliff Lee trade in 2009. Michael Brantley came to the Indians in the 2008 CC Sabathia deal. In that same year, the Tribe dealt Casey Blake to the Dodgers for Carlos Santana. Corey Kluber was acquired in a deal in which the Indians gave up Jake Westbrook. At the time, no one thought much about the minor league names being shipped to Ohio. Smart roto-owners kept them in mind.
For the immediate future, Clint Frazier, Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Josh Naylor and Felipe Rivero aren't going to help any roto team. However, those players were key pieces in trades involving Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Mark Melancon and Andrew Cashner. Wise roto owners that recalled Michael Fulmer being the centerpiece of the Tigers' trade of Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets, Adam Duvall going to the Reds as part of a deal for Mike Leake or Sean Manaea going to the As for Ben Zobrist knew to pay attention when the youngsters received the call to The Big Show.
Don't tax 2016 free agent budgets or waste waiver picks on the lesser-known players going to struggling teams. However, keep those names in mind so that they ring a bell when they have value in the future.”
Response: Yeah, what he said. Solid advice!