Fantasy Baseball: 7 Players That Will Be Better Options on New Teams

Dan Kukla@@kooks13Correspondent IIIAugust 1, 2012

Fantasy Baseball: 7 Players That Will Be Better Options on New Teams

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    Fallout from the MLB trade deadline isn't limited to real life. Fantasy baseball general managers need to pay attention to the rapidly shifting landscape as well.

    Some players lost value fantasy value by swapping real-life teams.

    Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielders Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino probably won't like their new digs on the west coast with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Hitting in Dodger Stadium and AT&T Park in a division that also features San Diego's PETCO Park will be much tougher than life in Citizens Bank Park.

    Marco Scutaro not only moves into the same situation, but also loses his Coors Field bump with the Colorado Rockies. Scutaro owns a .307/.369/.431 home split, compared to .238/.278/.292 line on the road. That should start to even out with his new gig by the bay.

    Brett Myers was traded out of a closer role when the Houston Astros sent him to set up for Addison Reed of the Chicago White Sox. Jonathan Broxton lost his closing job with the Kansas City Royals and landed in the major's deepest bullpen with the Cincinnati Reds.

    Anibal Sanchez makes the perilous leap from the soft-serve National League with the Miami Marlins to the hard-hitting American League with the Detroit Tigers. Omar Infante also lost in that same trade as he moves into the spacious Comerica Park.

    And let's be honest, Francisco Liriano is an unpredictable mess no matter where he plays. Trading the spacious Target Field with the Minnesota Twins for the hitter's paradise of U.S. Cellular field certainly won't help the matter.

    But some players see a substantial increase in fantasy baseball value as they swap MLB teams.

    Let's take a closer look.

Ichiro Suzuki

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    Traded from Seattle Mariners to New York Yankees

    There is no question that Ichiro Suzuki now plays for a better MLB lineup. The New York Yankess lead all teams by a wide margin with 164 home runs while the Seattle Mariners rank 25th with 88.

    Donning pinstripes means Suzuki will see an increase in both runs and RBI just because of the players hitting around him. He isn't known for power himself, but playing in Yankee Stadium can only help those numbers. His first homer as a Yankee launched Monday night against Baltimore.

    Suzuki bats much lower in the lineup with New York than he did in Seattle. In theory, this should hurt his steals production. That hasn't been the case so far, however, as he stole three bases in seven games with the Yankees.

Chris Johnson

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    Traded from the Houston Astros to the Arizona Diamondbacks

    Chris Johnson projects as the everyday third baseman for Arizona. Hitting a grad slam in his first game with his new team helps cement that role.

    Like Suzuki, he sees a significant lineup upgrade. The Diamondbacks rank fourth among National League teams in runs scored, while the Astros check in at 13th.

    Minute Maid Park is hitter friendly, but Chase Field is renowned for the boost it gives to fantasy production. Johnson's new home sits at No. 2 in ESPN's Park Factor rankings for runs and No. 3 for home runs.

    Johnson is only owned in 21 percent of Yahoo leagues, so keep an eye on him. He may turn into a rare helpful late-season pickup.

Hanley Ramirez

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    Traded from the Miami Marlins to the Los Angeles Dodgers

    As noted with Shane Victorino, moving to spacious Dodger Stadium doesn't help any hitter's prospects in Los Angeles. Unlike Victorino, however, Hanley Ramirez isn't coming from an established hitter's park.

    Marlins Park has jumped all over ESPN's MLB Park Factor rankings during its first year. Early reports pegged it significantly favorable to pitchers. It later worked its way up to the No. 1 spot in Park Factor, peaking at the end of May. Now it sits back at 12th in the rankings for runs and 25th for home runs.

    All fluctuating stats and small sample sizes aside, one constant feature of Marlins Park is its spacious outfield. Ramirez may not benefit from the change in home stadiums, but he won't have much adjusting to do, either.

    What gives him a boost in value is a not a change in park dimensions, but rather a change in scenery.

    Miami manager Ozzie Guillen grew tired of him as his act grew tired. Shedding the basement-dwelling Marlins for a contending Dodgers team that went all in at the trade deadline already looks to have re-energized the star.

    Talent has never been in question with Ramirez, but his alleged lack of hustle and focus have drawn heavy criticism. He can return to being a fantasy stud if his effort again matches his ability.

    Remember when Ramirez was the consensus No. 2 draft pick in fantasy baseball behind Albert Pujols? He may never regain that status, but it does speak of his tremendous upside if his act wakes up for a pennant race on the west coast.

Ryan Dempster

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    Traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Texas Rangers

    Ryan Dempster makes that perilous jump from the soft-serve National League to the hard-hitting American League, but he landed in the right division with the right team.

    Pitching inside the not-so-friendly confines of Rangers Ballpark will be tough for a player with extreme fly-ball tendencies, but it's not like Wrigley field treats pitchers much better. The Park Factor more than evens out when considering all three of his new division opponents.

    The Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners all play in spacious stadiums ranking near the bottom for runs and home runs. Oakland and Seattle rank as the two lowest scoring teams in the league.

    Dempster also picks up one of the most powerful MLB lineups. A huge spike in run support and win totals is coming as he pitches for a team 16 games above .500 with the major's second highest run production. Compare that to his former lovable losers, who sit 16 games below .500 with the second lowest run production.

    The most significant concern facing Dempster right now is the immediate schedule. The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees all loom after a start against the Angels. The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles come next and aren't much more appealing. That could offer a rude welcoming to the AL, but Dempster will be in the clear for a strong stretch run once he works through the initial gauntlet.

    If you have the ability to stash him on your bench while he adjusts to the league switch against some of the AL's toughest offenses, Dempster will pay you back when it matters most.

Paul Maholm

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    Traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Atlanta Braves

    Not to gang up on the Cubbies, but they did finish a trade deadline fire sale and were quickly no-hit by Pittsburgh's AJ Burnett through eight innings just hours later.

    That is a situation that will suck the life out of any pitcher's run support and ability to win games.

    In Atlanta, Maholm joins a winning team that plays against two division opponents who also completed fire sales on Tuesday. The Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins completely stripped their offenses, which weren't producing many runs before the flurry of trades. The New York Mets and Washington Nationals don't overwhelm anyone with offense, either.

    It's a positive move for Maholm's value all the way around.

Wandy Rodriguez

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    Traded from Houston Astros to Pittsburgh Pirates

    Wandy Rodriguez moves from the NL Central basement with the Houston Astros into a pennant race with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Playing for a better team with a much stronger bullpen will generate more wins for the lefty.

    The change in Park Factor is also in his favor, as PNC Park regularly ranks as one of the most pitcher-friendly MLB venues.

    Playing for a winning team may even ignite some competitive juices for Rodriguez, who was squeezed dry of all opportunity to play in October with his former team.

Zack Greinke

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    Traded from the Milwaukee Brewers to the Los Angeles Angels

    Like Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke won't find the league switch too comfortable. But also like Dempster, Greinke landed in a good situation that will more than cancel out the drawbacks.

    The Angels are one of the best defensive MLB teams while the Brewers are one of the worst. ESPN's Tristan Cockcroft calculates a boost in runs saved of 46 from the difference in infielders alone. Greinke,'s 54.2 percent ground ball rate in 2012 is 12th-highest among qualified pitchers. Gaining a strong infield defense behind him will pay huge dividends.

    The remaining schedule is a mixed bag. Greinke's next scheduled start is dangerous as he faces the Chicago White Sox in U.S. Cellular field. After that, the Angels alternate between favorable match ups and scary ones. Seven combined series against the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners is a nice feature that will help balance out two more turns against the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox.