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Fantasy Fallout: Garza Trade Fantasy Impact

Brian Creagh analyzes the fantasy impact of the Matt Garza trade.


Fantasy Fallout: Garza Trade Fantasy Impact

It was on. It was off. It was a maybe. It was a done deal. After days of speculation, the Rangers and Cubs finally completed the rumored deal for Matt Garza. How much of the back and forth was posturing we'll probably never know for sure, but the trade has been completed and we're here to give you the fantasy impact for 2013 and beyond.

Let's start with Garza:

The short answer is Garza's fantasy value is going up. I know the quick analysis is to say he's going to a more hitter-friendly park while moving from the NL to the AL thus his value decreases, but a closer look actually gives the opposite impression.

Here is a breakdown of the Rangers final 63 games











































The league average wOBA is currently .313. This means 68% of the Rangers' final games are against average or worse offenses - 10 of them being against the lowly Houston Astros.

The argument of moving to a more offensive-friendly environment isn't strong since he's moving from Wrigley (a park factor of 104) to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (a park factor of 107). You also have to take into consideration that he's ditching the offensive-heavy environments of Milwaukee and Cincinnati to a division where all other opponents have a below-average offensive environment to this point in 2013.

A vastly improved defense behind him should also help Garza further outperform his peripherals. He's moving from a left-side defense of Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro, and Luis Valbuena to Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and David Murphy.

A slightly better offense in Texas should also sneak Garza an extra win or so this season. I was surprised to see the Rangers offense only marginally better than the Cubs, but still better in all categories.

Garza's value receives a slight bump for the remainder of 2013. He's a free agent at the end of the year so keeper leaguers receive no clarity on how his value might change for 2014 and beyond.

Now let's take a look at the prospects involved:

As FakeTeams prospect prognosticator, Craig Goldstein, mentioned there are, "no impact prospects" involved in the deal. I'll briefly highlight each player coming to the North Side.

Mike Olt is probably the only player with 2013 value on the Cubs side of this trade. I doubt he's up right away, but with Luis Valbuena and Cody Ransom manning the hot corner for the Cubs, there isn't much holding management from getting a look at their newest asset. Olt has already logged an uninspiring 40 plate appearances in the majors to the tune of a .152/.250/.182 slash line. He turns 25 years old next month and should be given a chance this year. He's only immediately relevant in the deepest of NL-only leagues, but he's worth keeping an eye on because he has some pop and his minor league numbers suggest he's a bit of a streaky player. He could very well come up and mash his first month of the season and create a buzz, but it won't last long term as he has a ton of swing-and-miss in his game and will cause him to go through some droughts.

Justin Grimm's value takes a hit in his move from Texas to Chicago. He falls out of a starting rotation and will see time out of the ‘pen or in AAA. If he finds himself with a few spot starts, he's still not worth a start in almost any format. He walks too many (3.1 BB/9), gives up too many bombs (1.5 HR/9), and hitters have very little trouble making contact against him (84% Contact% - League average about 81%).

C.J. Edwards is the most intriguing player here from a long-term fantasy perspective. He was the prized return for the Cubs and the move brings light to how well he's pitched so far this season. After making the jump to A-ball, Edwards has pitched 93.1 innings with 11.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 and a 1.83 ERA. He's still only 21 years old and was drafted in the 48th Round of the 2011 draft. He has broken out in a huge way and put himself on the map, but there are still a few limitations to his ceiling. Listed at 6'2" and 155 lbs. Edwards doesn't have the frame you look for in a top of the rotation profile. He has an excellent fastball/curveball combo but needs work on a changeup or third pitch to avoid fitting in at the back of a bullpen (which is still extremely useful for the Cubs sake, but hurts his value from a fantasy standpoint). Edwards has a wide variety of outcomes since he's always been age-appropriate for his competition and only logged 160 professional innings, he hasn't had much of an opportunity to fail. That said the stuff is intriguing and he has yet to give up a home run in pro ball. Leagues with deeper minors rosters would do well to stash this guy and hope everything clicks. He fits well with the current timeline of the Cubs organization so if he maxes out and hits his #3 ceiling, he is an excellent fantasy starter with the offense the Cubbies will hopefully provide.