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Ray Guilfoyle gives his thoughts on some of the recent free agent signings and trades including the Royals-Rays trade, and whether fantasy owners should target Zack Greinke and Josh Hamilton now that both have moved to Los Angeles.
The Fake Teams Consensus Rankings project has kept me pretty busy this offseason, so my apologies for not offering my thoughts on some of the offseason signings and trades. I will address some of the bigger offseason moves over several posts, so let's jump right in:
Well, on the surface, the Rays stole top prospect Wil Myers from the Royals. In addition to the top hitting prospect in baseball, the Rays received pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery, and third base prospect Patrick Leonard in return for James Shields and Wade Davis.
Myers should be in the Rays starting outfield come Opening Day 2013 and should hit for power right away, but fantasy owners should be wary to not buy the hype that will certainly come as draft day approaches. More than likely he will struggle, mixing in some hot streaks as well.
Shields moves to Kansas City and will be slotted at the top of their rotation, in the Royals attempt to make the playoffs for the first time in like forever. I like the move to the AL Central for Shields, as he is moving out of the AL East and will be facing the Indians, Twins and White Sox lineups instead of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays lineups. Plus, being that he is a ground ball pitcher, he wlll have a very good infield playing behind him in KC, with Mike Moustakas at third, Alcides Escobar at SS and Eric Hosmer at 1B.
The Royals plan to make Wade Davis a starter again, and that may or may not work out. Coming into the 2012 season, Davis had made 64 starts for the Rays, going 25-22 with an ERA in the 4.00 range and a WHIP in the 1.35 range. His problem is giving up the free pass and giving up the long ball. In 388 innings as a starter, he has given up 49 home runs, and walked 138. When working as a reliever, as he did in 2012, his strikeout rate doubled, from 5.13 K/9 in 2011 to 11.13 K/9 last season. In addition, his ERA went from having a 4 handle to having a 2 handle. But, when you take a look at the Royals 2012 rotation, Davis as a starter, would easily be in their starting five.
The Dodgers signed Zack Greinke to a 6 year, $147 million contract, making him the richest right handed starter in MLB. The move continues the Dodgers efforts to improve their lineup/rotation to compete for World Series titles beginning in 2013, but we all know having the highest payroll does not guarantee anything. The move to Los Angeles is a positive one for Greinke, as he will move to a ball park that suppresses run scoring by 13%, but improves home runs hit by 13%. The 2012 home run factor may be an outlier though. Looking at the ball park factors at Dodger Stadium over the last 5 years yields the following:
2008: .842/ .857
2009: .857/ .876
2010: .939/ 1.016
2011: .936/ .919
2012: .867/ 1.125
I can see Greinke's ERA moving closer toward his FIP in 2013, and his strikeout rate could see a bump as well.
Hamilton is a great hitter. He hit .285 with 43 HRs, 103 runs and 128 RBI last year, but is now moving from one of the better hitting parks in the game to one of the toughest. Rangers Ball Park at Arlington improved run production by 18% and home runs by 17% last season, while Angels Stadium at Anaheim suppressed run scoring by 19% and home runs by 24% in 2012. Those are huge, huge differences, and is the main reason why I will stay away from Hamilton on draft day. The fantasy impact on Hamilton moving to the Angels will be huge, and not in a good way.