MLB Breaking News: Pablo Lopez Traded For Luis Arraez
Published: Jan 23, 2023
Updated: Jan 24, 2023
As the calendar turns to one month from full-squad workouts in spring training, the Miami Marlins and Minnesota Twins made a trade to boost each of their rosters. The reigning AL Batting title winner in Luis Arraez are is on the move to Miami for a starting pitcher that’s been rumored in trades for months in Pablo López. What is the full trade? What is the impact of the deal on both the Marlins and Twins and how does this effect fantasy baseball values in 2023 for players like Jazz Chisholm and Alex Kiriloff? Let’s dive in and see why this trade was made.
What is Pablo López’s 2023 Fantasy Baseball Value?
There’s been a seemingly never-ending trade rumor circulating around Lopez since the trade deadline last year. Miami finally pulled the trigger on the deal. What does this mean for Lopez though? This might be a complicated question to answer but let’s try. He’s been in the majors since 2018 yet he’s only topped 111.1 innings once — last year. He’s only topped 21 starts in a year once — last year. That being said though, he’s also had three straight years of xERAs, FIPs, and xFIPs 3.75 and under as well as three straight years of SIERAs under 4.00. That puts him squarely in the number two starter category. Minnesota desperately needed depth, and quality depth, in their rotation heading into 2023. They will get that, as long as Lopez stays healthy. His pitch mix is pretty well established at this point with the last three years having basically the same rough mix of pitches. As far as park factors are concerned, a three-year rolling average on baseball savant has the AL Central division roughly in a similar spot as the NL east as a whole, with a slight downgrade going to the AL Central. Lopez’s main advantage will be the fact that most of the hitters he sees this year haven’t seen him a lot previously in his career given he’s spent his whole time in the NL. So the final answer is that, health aside, he’s roughly in the same spot for 2023 as if he’d have stayed in Miami.
What is Luis Arraez’s 2023 Fantasy Baseball Value?
Luis Arraez is coming off a master class of a season having won the AL Batting Title for the Twins. Just when is the last time a reigning batting champion was traded that offseason? Rod Carew back in 1978. Everyone knew that Miami needed another bat in their lineup and they had a depth of pitching to trade from to get that bat. This appears to be what they’ve done to get a top of the order type bat who can play a few different positions and has three years of team control. Coming off a career year and now switching leagues what can we expect from him in 2023? To start with, he’ll be the locked in leadoff hitter every time he’s in the lineup. That won’t change from his anticipated role in Minnesota but what will change is the position. He’s expected to play second base every day in Miami after playing mainly first base for Minnesota last year (65 games at 1B to 41 at 2B). That likely won’t change his eligibility in any leagues heading into the year but if your league allows for positions to be lost midseason, he may lose 1B.
The spray chart above is his 2022 BBEs overlayed onto the confines of the Marlins home park. Nothing much changes with the exception of perhaps another homer or two in his favor which fits with park factors. In general, Miami is a better home environment over the last three years than Minnesota in terms of park factors and that includes for doubles too. The NL East has been just as good for lefty hitters over the last three years as the AL Central as well. Which plays into the chart below.
Arraez tends to take advantage of hits to the opposite field and that shouldn’t really change this year either despite the banning of the shift. According to baseball savant, he was shifted on only 9.7% of pitches last year. That’s pretty low for a left-handed hitter but his approach at the plate leads to the defense not being able to shift. All told these charts suggest that his counting stats might improve slightly but it’s tough to count on that after a career year.
How does the Pablo López - Luis Arraez Trade impact the Minnesota Twins?
It’s not often when a team trades a reigning batting champ and may have improved as an organization. Pitching has long been an issue for the Twins and has been holding them back from making a run for several years. Getting a bona fide number two starter like Pablo López lengthens their rotation to make Joe Ryan the number three, Tyler Mahle the fourth starter, and Kenta Maeda the likely fifth starter. Is it an elite rotation? No, but it’s solid from top to bottom. As for first base, they are positioned to play Alex Kirilloff at first base as well as Jose Miranda if Kirilloff struggles. The Twins also were able to get SS Jose Salas and OF Byron Churio from the Marlins as young prospects. Salas is a very interesting prospect who’s currently ranked 169th in my latest top-400 prospects list. The speed is there as is the fielding and the bat is coming. He profiles as a .260 hitter with 10-15 homer power and 25-steal upside. So while the lose the contact of Arraez’s bat, they have enough bats to cover the spot and get a lot deeper in the rotation.
How does the Luis Arraez - Pablo López Trade Impact the Miami Marlins?
Miami seemed to have a full infield and outfield prior to the deal but still needed a bat. So how do they slide Arraez into the mix in the field? He’ll be playing second base full time. But wasn’t Jazz Chisholm the starting second baseman? Yes, yes he was. So where are they playing him now? Well their GM Kim Ng announced that Chisholm will move to CF full time and Garrett Cooper will stick at first base. This has huge value upside for Chisholm in fantasy baseball in 2023. Even if your league requires 20 games played at a position to qualify, he’ll add OF to his eligibility by late-April and give him 2B/OF use. That’s huge. Adding a position to a 25/25 bat only increases his value because of the chances to avoid injury issues in your lineups. As for how this made changes the pitching rotation, the Marlins have a ton of depth they can call on. Without Lopez on the staff, Johnny Cueto moves up to number two, Jesús Luzardo is number three, Edward Cabrera is likely number four, and Trevor Rogers slots in to round things out. If we’re looking for a sleeper offensively for Miami now it’d be Jabob Amaya who can play a few spots in the infield and has an intriguing mix of on-base ability and decent pop.