Fantasy Baseball Impact of All the 2013 Winter Meetings Moves
Oddly enough, during the winter meetings, which came to an end Thursday, the hot stove went from boiling over to slightly simmering.
While there wasn't quite as much activity during the week as there had been in the one leading up to the meetings, enough signings and trades occurred that it's worth evaluating the fallout from a fantasy perspective.
Here's a look at a batch of fantasy-relevant players whose values were most impacted one way or the other—up or down—by the transaction action from Monday, Dec. 9, through Thursday, Dec. 12 (at noon).
Consider this a supplementary piece to last week's rundown of the fantasy impact of the moves leading up to the winter meetings.
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Value Up: Mark Trumbo, 1B/OF, Diamondbacks
While many have questioned Arizona's return—that'd be Mark Trumbo, primarily—in the three-team trade with the Angels and White Sox, it's very possible that the deal will turn out to be win-win-win in the fantasy universe.
Even though the Diamondbacks lineup might not be as strong as that of the Angels, Trumbo gets to hit in a better park. After increasing his homer output three straight seasons to a career-high 34 in 2013, Trumbo could make a run at 40.
Just remember, most of his value is tied up in that power, so think of him as a rich man's Adam Dunn and avoid the overdraft.
Value Up: Adam Eaton, OF, White Sox
For Adam Eaton, this is take two.
The 25-year-old was a preseason Rookie of the Year candidate in the NL a year ago, until a late-spring elbow injury cost him half the year.
Logic says the White Sox acquired Eaton to play every day, something that didn't happen in Arizona last year—in part due to the injury—and might not have happened again in the desert in 2014, given the outfield depth there.
Eaton's got the goods to post a .280 average, swipe 20-30 bases and maybe even knock 10 homers while playing half his games at U.S. Cellular Field. And if the Sox use him in the leadoff spot, like they should, then Eaton will also provide a boost in runs.
That's a borderline No. 3 outfielder in most fantasy leagues.
Value Down: Bartolo Colon, RHP, Mets
He was a surprising All-Star who finished sixth in AL Cy Young voting, but don't let Bartolo Colon fool you.
Sure, Colon stays in a pitcher's park and even moves to the NL, to boot. He also joins a team that will make it tough for him to approach last year's 18 wins (which is a key category in fantasy terms). As if the 40-year-old and his 2.65 ERA and 1.17 WHIP weren't already due for some across-the-board regression in 2014, anyway.
Given all the risks surrounding Colon (age, injury history, new team), it might be wise to let someone else draft him in 10- or 12-team mixed leagues.
Value Down: Corey Hart, 1B/OF, Mariners
On the whole, Corey Hart's value is up, merely because he finally should be healthy enough to play.
It's down for fantasy purposes, though, because the 31-year-old signed on to play in a park that has been death to right-handed hitters. Between that and getting back to full strength after major surgeries on each knee, Hart may struggle to hit 20 homers after averaging nearly 30 in his last three healthy years.
Hart is worth gambling on late in drafts (or at a reduced price in auctions), but it's unlikely he'll regain fantasy starter status in anything outside of deep mixed or AL-onlies.
Value Up: Rajai Davis, OF, Tigers
The fact that Rajai Davis won't be an everyday starter might seem like a bad thing for his fantasy value. It isn't.
The righty-swinging Davis, 33, has always struggled against same-sided arms (career .297 OBP) but holds his own against lefties (career .354 OBP). The Tigers should use that to their—and his—advantage by putting Davis a in position where his strengths are highlighted, like a platoon with lefty-hitting Andy Dirks.
Even if Davis getting up there in age, his legs are fresher than most because he's never played everyday. Grabbing him is a lock for 30 steals and upward of 40, even if he only gets 300-400 at-bats.
Just keep in mind: Davis is always frustrating to own in fantasy, because his PT is often sporadic. But if you pay attention to pitching matchups and how Detroit deploys him, he'll almost assuredly be worth it in the end.
Value Up: Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Angels
Welcome back, Tyler Skaggs.
The 22-year-old heads back to the organization that drafted him 40th overall in 2009. Not only that, he jumps from a hitter-friendly park to a much more expansive Angel Stadium, and he's got a rotation spot waiting for him—something that was less likely in Arizona.
Skaggs will have to prove he's worth being more than a spot starter for fantasy, but this time last year he was arguably the best left-handed pitching prospect around and in the top 25 overall. That's the kind of arm owners should take a flier on late in drafts or for a few bucks in auctions, then just let his performance dictate how and when to start him.
Value Down: Brett Anderson, LHP, Rockies
At this point in his still-young career, Brett Anderson is all teasing and no pleasing in fantasy terms.
The 25-year-old lefty has been hurt so often, he's managed to throw only 163 frames over the past three seasons. The potential? Still there. The problem? Well, aside from the injuries, when he actually is on the mound next year, it'll be at Coors Field half the time.
It's probably not worth bothering with Anderson in shallow mixed leagues, and NL-only owners may want to see how he holds up in the thin air of Colorado before trusting him. Assuming he comes cheap on draft day, though, there's room for some return. And if that happens early on, he'll be an immediate sell-high.
Value Up: A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks
Nothing about A.J. Pollock's 2013 stands out, but he was a rookie who did just enough in multiple fantasy categories that he shouldn't be overlooked as an intriguing NL-only target in his second full season.
Now that Eaton is out of the picture, the 26-year-old Pollock should have the starting center field gig all to himself. That'll give him a good shot to improve upon the respectable eight home runs, 12 steals and 64 runs scored, which he achieved in fewer than 500 at-bats in 2013.
If Pollock pulls off a 15-homer, 15-steal, 75-run campaign, don't say we didn't warn you, NL-only folks.
Value Down: Dayan Viciedo, OF, White SOx
Whereas Eaton's departure from the desert helps Pollock, his arrival on the South Side hurts Dayan Viciedo.
After a promising 2012 in which he mashed 25 homers and drove in 75 runs in just over 505 at-bats, the 24-year-old Viciedo struggled through injuries and ineffectiveness in 2013. His totals in those two categories dropped to 14 and 56.
Not to pile on, but at this point, the White Sox have a surplus of outfielders, first basemen and designated hitters, leaving Viciedo's role in question. Until something changes on that front, Viciedo is for AL-only owners only, please.
Value Up: Mike Morse, 1B/OF, Giants
True, Mike Morse could have landed in a better park for his powerful righty bat, but the good news is he'll get a shot to play on a regular basis, since the Giants had been searching high and low for a left fielder.
Even if he only platoons with lefty-hitting Gregor Blanco, Morse could reach 20 home runs—just don't expect another 31-homer campaign like he pulled off in 2011.
Because of his streaky pop, Morse is always a threat to become mixed-league relevant—remember when he hit six four-baggers in the first nine games just last year?—but in the end, he's better served as an NL-only option.
Value Up: Logan Morrison, 1B, Mariners
Post-hype sleeper, anyone?
Logan Morrison's value gets a minor bump, mainly because not only will the one-time top prospect be leaving the hardest park to hit 'em out of, he'll also be healthy—not to mention, joining an actual major league lineup—for the first time in a few years.
There's a potential logjam at first base, though, which could be a playing-time issue for the 26-year-old Morrison, unless Seattle makes another move to unload Justin Smoak (whose value, by the way, goes down because the overload).
If you're throwing darts in your AL draft, though, it might not be terrible for one of them to land on Morrison.
Value Up: Hector Santiago, LHP, Angels
Hector Santiago was surprisingly effective as a starter for the White Sox last year, posting a 3.51 ERA and 8.4 K/9.
The 25-year-old has good enough stuff to maintain a rotation spot for now, especially in a five-man that needed as much helps as the Angels' did. And stop us if you've heard this before: He shifts from the hitter-friendly Cell to pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium.
He'll be best deployed as a spot starter in AL-only formats.
Value Up: Erik Johnson, RHP, White Sox
And taking Santiago's spot in Chicago's rotation? That would be Erik Johnson, a 23-year-old prospect who had a breakout 2013 that ended with him making five effective starts in the majors.
Before arriving in Chicago, Johnson sported a dazzling 1.96 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 8.3 K/9 between Double- and Triple-A.
He projects as a quality mid-rotation starter in real life. In fantasy? Consider him an AL-only sleeper arm with upside.
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