Juan Soto has been traded to the New York Yankees; the second time being traded of his career. The seven-player deal for the 25-year-old MLB superstar will see Juan Soto and Trent Grisham bolster the revamped outfield in the Bronx while a haul of near- and MLB-ready prospects go to San Diego. What does Soto’s trade do to his fantasy baseball value? Who are Michael King and Drew Thorpe and the prospects going to the Padres? Let’s break down Juan Soto traded to the Yankees.
What Does Juan Soto’s Trade Do For His Fantasy Baseball Value?
We’ve all heard the arguments for left-handed batters going to Yankee Stadium. The place is a hitter’s haven, especially on the left side. However, are we sure that’s true? Using Baseball Savant’s park factor data and a three-year rolling average, the numbers are rather interesting. The only thing Yankee Stadium is near the top in, aka great for LHB, are home runs. Every other category is a big question mark. That includes hits — which Yankee Stadium ranks dead last in. Shocking right? So what does that mean for Juan Soto? It’s hard to say. He’s a generationally talented hitter and should be in a better lineup but it’s hard to ignore the trend of numbers here for sure. For those in OBP leagues, there’s basically no change as he’ll still draw a tremendous amount of walks. We’ll have to watch the average though as what’s lost there might be made up for in home runs.
What Does Trent Grisham’s Trade Do To His Fantasy Baseball Value?
After the last two subpar seasons in San Diego, Trent Grisham is being sent to New York as part of the Juan Soto trade. This makes him a fourth outfielder for the Yankees rather than the nearly-full-time starting centerfielder for the Padres. The loss in at-bats will make him only valuable in very deep leagues or as an “in case of injury” stash. The numbers weren’t great in San Diego with a .198/.315/.352 line in 555 PA last year with 13 HR and 15 SB. That being said, he can get on base and might get a boost in power going to Yankee Stadium and the defense is good too.
Who Are Michael King and Drew Thorpe And The Players Going To The Padres?
The soon-to-be 29-year-old right-handed pitcher threw the most innings in a season in his career in 2023. A whopping…104.5. Yeah, not great. It’s something to build on though. He has the stuff to be a starter, as long as he can stay healthy. That’s one thing he’s not been able to do yet. King, when he’s been on the mound, ranked in the 88th percentile for K% and Avg. Exit Velocity (in a good way) and the 85th percentile in Hard-Hit%. That all means he’s missing bats and keeping the ball from being squared up. In a park like PetCo that should work in his favor as he’s likely to be in the rotation for the Padres.
King will have a potential battery-mate going with him as Kyle Higashioka. It’s really nothing more than a catcher depth piece for the Padres but it might make King’s transition across the country and to a different league easier.
Drew Thorpe, Randy Vazquez, and Jhony Brito are the players rounding on the return from the Yankees. Thorpe is the prized get in this group, ranking as the fifth-best prospect in the Yankees system. Thorpe, drafted in the second round of the 2022 MLB Draft, made it to Double-A in his first full pro season pitching to a 2.52 ERA over 139 frames. When we factor in the 5.5:1 K:BB ratio and sub-1.00 WHIP, he’s looking like an early candidate to be a number two starter in an MLB rotation either in late-2024 or early 2025.
Randy Vazquez got his first taste of the majors last year as a swingman for the Yankees in 11 appearances. Mixed into those 11 games were five starts bringing him up to 37.2 innings for the MLB season. In that span, his ratios were great but he didn’t exactly overpower opposing hitters with a 33:18 K:BB ratio. While Vazquez has a nice four-pitch mix at his disposal, with three above-average to plus, he struggles to consistently throw strikes which could limit his starter, and fantasy baseball, upside.
Lastly is Jhony Brito who, like Vazquez, got a split role for the Yankees in 2023 with 25 appearances, 13 being starts. Over those 90.1 innings, Brito posted a respectable 1.22 WHIP and a 4.28 ERA which was lower than his xERA of 4.55. Brito likely stays as a swingman/long reliever type until he proves he can control the zone enough to get batters out efficiently. Either way he’s really only valuable if he holds a backend rotation spot for the Padres and you’re in a deep league or an NL-only format at this point.