We are now one week to the MLB trade deadline, and as usual there has not been a shortage of rumors out there. When it comes to this time of year, most fantasy analysts are focused on two areas - how individual players' values will change going from Team X to Team Y and, for those playing in single-league formats, which players may be crossing over from the senior circuit and vice versa. It's not that there's not value in analyzing these scenarios, but there's an important third aspect which needs to be analyzed here - and that's what we're going to do today.
Speculating on how Ryan Dempster's fantasy value will trend if he's dealt to various different teams (Braves, Nats, Dodgers, Tigers, etc) is interesting to do, but it's also overly speculative. Sometimes the more important question to fantasy owners is not where Dempster will go (even Rosenthal and Heyman don't have a clue, and they're more plugged in than we'll ever be), but who will take Dempster's spot once he leaves. It's a much more straightforward prediction to say that Dempster will be traded than to guess where he'll end up. Unfortunately in this particular scenario, the Cubs are likely to replace him with Justin Germano or Casey Coleman - and unless you're in a Chicago-only fantasy league, they're unlikely to be helpful.
Today, we are going to dive into
five six players who stand to benefit the most from some of the trade rumors currently out there. And to clarify further, these are players who are likely to see their roles change if a trade happens; not a starting pitcher who goes from the AL to NL or a hitter's park to a pitcher's park. These players are available across most leagues at this point and make for great pre-deadline stashes if you have an extra roster spot or two. We'll start with a top-50 OF from last season who has fallen into the fantasy abyss, after the jump...
How does a gold-glove caliber CF who hit .271 with 12 HR and 22 SB in 2011 become a bench player in less than a month? In Bourjos' case it was a combination of a really rough April and Mike Trout. It's not a slap in the face to say Bourjos is no Mike Trout, but he does have the skills to be a starting center fielder somewhere. Even despite the slow start and the sporadic playing time, Bourjos still has the same underlying skills he showed last season. In fact, he's improved his walk rate and strikeout rates from last season - corroborated by a lower swinging strike rate and lower swing rate at pitches outside the strike zone. If he is dealt from Los Angeles, I would expect him to give pro-rated stats roughly equivalent to what we expected coming into the season. Over 200 AB, that could mean a .270 avg, 5 HR and 7 SB. Stash-worthy in 12-team mixed and deeper.
The populist choice for Royals closer coming into the season, Holland did not live up to billing in the first half the season. However, despite his somewhat lackluster overall stats (3.25 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 53-20 K/BB rate in 36 IP), he's been fantastic recently. Over 9 2/3 IP in July, Holland has a 0.93 ERA, 0.72 WHIP and a 14-2 K/BB rate; and in case you haven't noticed, there have been plenty of rumors surrounding currently Royals closer Jonathan Broxton (he who wears the pants of two men). Yes, I just linked to that again. By all accounts, Holland is still next in line and has top-10 closer potential the rest of the way, as his 13.3 K/9 might indicate. Stash-worthy in all leagues.
Wil Myers, OF, Royals (ESPN: 1%, Yahoo!: 5%)
Sticking in Kansas City, this one can't be a surprise to anyone. Myers has likely been the minor league player of the year so far, hitting .311/.391/.639 with 28 HR, 77 RBI and even 6 SB to boot, between AA and AAA. Depending on which rumors you believe, the Royals are either shopping Jeff Franceour or Alex Gordon - a trade of either one would open the door for a Myers promotion. And while he's clearly the most exciting prospect likely to be promoted the rest of the way, I think we need to take the excitement down a notch. We've been extremely spoiled with Trout and Harper, and although Myers is a great prospect, he's not in that class. Expecting him to hit enough to just plug into your 10-team mixed league lineup right away is probably a bit rich, but realistically he could provide a .270 avg with 8 HR given a full August and September of at bats. Stash-worthy in all leagues.
It's been a strange week for the Padres rumors, as they have signed Carlos Quentin to a 3-year extension and are apparently trying to ink Huston Street to something similar. The name which is missing from the Padres extension party guest list is current third baseman Chase Headley. If he is dealt, Gyorko should take that job and run with it. The best pure hitter in the Padres system, he's put up a .320/.385/.556 line between AA and AAA this season with 22 HR and 74 RBI. Obviously some of that is Tuscon-inflated (see Rizzo, Anthony 2011), but the underlying skills are there. His power will likely only be of the 15-20 per year variety in Petco, although his ability to hit for average is very real. He's also been on a tear the last two months, posting a 1029 OPS in June and a 1115 OPS in July. Stash-worthy in 12-team mixed and deeper.
Tony Campana, OF, Cubs (ESPN: 5%, Yahoo!: 4%)
It's true, Campana has not stolen a base since Anthony Rizzo was called up from the minors almost one month ago. But on the other hand, he's only had 10 plate appearances since that point as well. However, with Alfonso Soriano hitting enough to show up in trade rumors, the specter of future playing time is there for Campana. We all know he's not a good baseball player and he's a pretty lousy hitter on top of that, but speed is speed and Campana's got it in spades. He has 25 SB on the year even despite the non-existent playing time, and if an OF spot is cleared on the North Side, he could potentially steal another 25 before the year is out with a batting average that won't kill you - but unfortunately he won't do anything else. Stash-worthy in 12-team mixed and deeper.
As of Sunday, the Red Sox stand 3.5 games back of the wild card in the American League and are about to embark on a six game pre-deadline schedule which may determine whether they make a move or not. If they can at least break even between their trips to Texas and New York, it might be enough to convince management to make a legitimate move. Garza perhaps? If they do, don't be surprised to see Ryan Lavarnway change addresses as he is their most major league ready trade chip. If that happens, he could end up in the majors with an opportunity he would not have had with the Sox. He's hit well (.300/.386/.451 with 8 HR) this year despite significantly less power than he showed in 2011 (though it's also come with a significantly lower K%). So while catcher is deeper than we thought this year, a .260 average with some pop is nothing to shake your head at. Stash-worthy in two catcher leagues and 16-team mixed and deeper single catcher leagues.
Other potential stashees (in order of stash-worthiness):
Luke Gregerson, RP, Padres - in case the Pads bail on Huston Street
Wily Peralta, SP, Milwaukee - in case the Brewers deal Zack Greinke
Vinnie Pestano, RP, Cleveland - in case the Indians bail on Chris Perez
Martin Perez, SP, Texas - in case Texas makes a push for someone big
Chris Archer, SP, Tampa Bay - in case the Rays bail on James Shields
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