MLB Offseason Report: Padres/Rays Trade
Greg Jewett breaks down the trade between the Padres and Rays and what it means for fantasy.
In a trade which encapsulates each team’s philosophies of late, Tampa Bay traded Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth to San Diego for Hunter Renfroe along with prospect Xavier Edwards. The Padres will take on Pham’s salary for the upgrade in on-base abilities to their lineup. Renfroe brings his prodigious power to the Rays with four years of team control. With the two prospects being the wild cards in this deal, Cronenworth and Edwards career trajectories could eventually decide who wins the trade. For now, here’s the fantasy impact for each team.
Pham to the Padres
Just when it seemed like San Diego returning to their glorious brown and yellow jerseys would bring some excitement to their offseason, they deal for Tommy Pham . Last year, Pham appeared in 145 games with 567 at-bats, 77 runs, 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 25 stolen bases and a .273/.369/.450 slash line. Within these numbers, Pham registered a career low in swinging strike percentage (7.3 percent), his highest contact rate (80.9 percent) and a Z-Contact (amount of contact in the strike zone) of 88.6 percent.
Over the last three years, Pham’s accrued 1,505 at-bats with 274 runs, 65 home runs, 204 RBI, 65 stolen bases and a .294/.381/.475 slash line. Which puts him in some select company:
Although power does not make Pham a commodity in the fantasy community, it’s still reassuring to see what his batted ball data looks like in his new ballpark. With this in mind, here’s all of Pham’s line drives and fly balls from the last three seasons with Petco Park as the backdrop:
In 2019, Pham recorded 445 batted ball events with 35 barrels. His average exit velocity of 90.8 MPH ranked 47th in the majors and his power will be capped by a 5.1 degree launch angle. Pham’s batting average on balls in play will also need to be monitored going forward due to his propensity to produce ground balls. As for 2020, Pham should remain a worthy target in drafts given his blend of speed and power.
Steamer projects him for 545 at-bats with 90 runs, 24 home runs, 79 RBI, 18 stolen bases and a .270/.365/.461 line. Last season, the Padres second batters combined for 82 runs and 83 RBI in 665 at-bats. Either Steamer knows something about the San Diego lineup going forward fantasy owners do not, or it’s a bit high on Pham’s counting statistics. Paying for around 18 home runs and 25 stolen bases with the .270 average seems fair. Paying for more could be a risk.
As for Jake Cronenworth, he could be a perfect player for a National League team with the new rule changes for 2020:
Jake Croneworth is the minor leaguer #Padres will receive.— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) December 6, 2019
The LHB hit .334/.429/.520 in Triple-A last year while also striking out nine and allowing two unearned runs in 7.1 innings as a RHP. Plays SS and 2B.
Sounds like a good way to have a 14th pitcher on a 26-man roster. https://t.co/g3wtLkLXXB
San Diego’s second base battle will be one to monitor all spring training. Stay tuned.
Renfroe to the Rays
It’s very convenient this trade provides alliteration for both of the headlining players. Hunter Renfroe experienced a very volatile 2019 but still launched 33 home runs in 140 games spanning 440 at-bats. Renfroe only hit .216/.289/.489 with 64 runs, 64 RBI and five stolen bases. He’s the antithesis to Pham in the on-base department. But, Renfroe did improve his Z-Contact percentage by three points, finish with a 71.4 contact rate and a robust 46.9 hard hit percent.
Representing a fly ball machine, Renfroe produced a fly ball in almost 48 percent of his batted balls last season with a healthy 23.6 home run per fly ball percentage. Here’s a look at Renfroe’s last three years of line drives and fly balls in Tropicana Stadium:
According to Statcast, Renfroe generated 292 batted ball events with 35 barrels and an 89.9 MPH average exit velocity. However, his .218 expected batting average and .451 expected slugging may not improve much in his new home in Tampa. Steamer projects Renfroe for 65 runs, 29 home runs, 78 RBI, four stolen bases and a .233/.294/.467 slash line over 486 at-bats.
Hope lies in his last three season .231/.291/.486 slash line with 85 home runs in 1,288 at-bats (one every 15.15 at-bats). Renfroe’s batting average and home run total will decide his fantasy value.
Staying with the Rays organizational theme, they also acquired prospect Xavier Edwards. Here’s an interesting tweet about him:
#Rays fans: here’s #Padres senior director of player development Sam Geaney’s high praises on Xavier Edwards. Edwards led San Diego’s farm system with 162 total hits while posting a 9.6% K rate in 123 games. Was the organization’s @MiLB Org-All star at 2B this year. pic.twitter.com/mSLQgxaDPa— Katie Woo (@katiejwoo) December 6, 2019
Time will tell if Edwars can ascend to the Rays infield, but his ability to get on-base along with playing strong defense should benefit his new organization.
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