After several of years of rumor and speculation, Adrian Gonzalez has finally been traded from the San Diego Padres to the Boston Red Sox. It almost goes without saying, but leaving the cavernous Petco Park and anemic Padres lineup will do wonders for Gonzo’s fantasy production. The real impact of the trade is how it affects those left behind in (or sent to) San Diego.
First up, and most importantly, is Mat Latos. With 14 wins, more than a strikeout per inning, a 2.92 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, Latos was a fantasy stud last year in his first full season in the big leagues. By any measure, Latos was a top-15 starting pitcher last season. But will he be a top-15 guy in 2011, and should he be drafted that way?
Even before you take into account how pathetic his run support will be with Gonzalez gone, his peripheral numbers indicate that a slight-to-moderate regression may be in order. Latos benefited from a high LOB% of 77.4% (14th highest in the league) and low line drive rate of 14.6% (4th lowest in the league) in ‘10.
LOB% stands for left on base percentage and shows how “lucky” pitchers were with base runners they allowed being stranded on base. Given, starting pitchers do have a fair amount of control concerning stranded base runners, but it is possible that Latos comes back towards the mean next year.
As far as line drive rate goes, it is a wildly unpredictable statistic largely out of a pitcher’s control that can change drastically from one year to the next. Because line drives end up as hits more often than any other type of batted ball, an unlucky swing in this number would have a negative effect on Latos’ ERA and WHIP.
Without Gonzalez, the Padres and Latos figure to accumulate fewer wins than they did last season. With a lower win total and a probable uptick in ERA and WHIP, Latos is still a monster strikeout guy that is probably more of a top-20 to top-25 starter who should be drafted somewhere in the 10th or 11th round in 10 team leagues.
The other guy who becomes very interesting as a result of this trade is one of the top Boston prospects sent to San Diego, right-hander Casey Kelly. Kelly is a 21-year-old who was a first round pick out of high school for the Red Sox in 2008. Those in dynasty leagues or deep keeper leagues should at least keep an eye on the potential Padres ace that could make 15-20 starts in Petco each year.
Written by Brett Talley exclusively for thefantasyfix.com. Brett is a law student in Dallas who is semi-embarrassed by his performance in thetantasyfix.com’s fantasy football league. You can follow him on Twitter @therealTAL.
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