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Jeremy Hellickson Trade Analysis

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The Dave Stewart era is officially underway with the acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson. I hope he knows what he's doing.

Jared Wickerham

As far as first impressions go, Dave Stewart and I need a do-over. Friday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks new General Manager made his first major move by trading two prospects to Tampa Bay for right-handed pitcher, Jeremy Hellickson. After taking the weekend to let the trade sink in, I still have no discernible clue as to what Stewart was going for in this trade. Let's take a look at the realities the Arizona Diamondbacks are facing and compare it to what this trade signifies:

Reality

Trade Implications

ARI finished with MLB-worst 64-98 record and are ready for a re-build.

ARI is in win-now mode

The minor league system has little in the way of offensive talent.

Just traded away two of the team's top 5 offensive prospects

The MLB rotation has 9 viable options for starters - none of which are very exciting (Miley, Collmenter, Anderson, Cahill, Hudson, Delgado, Arroyo, Corbin, Bradley, in case you were wondering)

Added one more mediocre option to the mix.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .

The most perplexing part to me is the last point. The Diamondbacks rotation was ravaged by injuries last year, and while they aren't all 100% back to health, they certainly aren't lacking for more arms. Miley, Collmenter, Anderson and Cahill present a solid front four, and some combination of Delgado and Hudson could fill the 5th rotation spot until Patrick Corbin is ready to return. That says nothing of what to do with top prospects Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley who are knocking on the door. The Opening Day rotation may be clear-cut, but mid-June there could be a lot of unhappy arms in Arizona.

God bless Chip Hale's heart.

From Tampa's side the trade makes a lot of sense. Hellickson figured to be the odd man out once Matt Moore returns from injury and joins Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly, Chris Archer, and Jake Odorizzi. He's also in the middle of his arbitration years and while he doesn't project to make a significant amount of money due to his recent performance, to flip him for two cost-controlled prospects makes sense for Tampa. The Rays have a depleted farm system and after a few iffy first round selections, they've done well to add talent through trades (I love the Willy Adames and Nick Franklin acquisitions).

So we've established how I feel about the trade, but what are the fantasy implications? Oh.....they're equally unattractive.

Jeremy Hellickson

Hellickson has been a toxic hazard for fantasy owners since his rookie debut. Statheads were well aware his 2011 and 2012 successes were driven largely by a favorable BABIP and that his FIP and xFIP (4.44 and 4.72, respectively) hinted at some serious regression. And boy was everyone right. Hellickson is coming off consecutive terrible seasons of 5.17 and 4.52 ERA's, and has also has a serious injury on his resume as well adding additional risk to the profile. It is interesting to note that his K% has jumped in the last two years and his FIP/xFIP have dropped to decent levels (4.15/4.13 FIP/xFIP), but it is nothing to get overly excited for.

The move to Arizona isn't a great fit for Hellickson given his strengths/weaknesses. He's a fly-ball pitcher and moving to a far more HR-friendly park (ARI has 104 HR park factor compared to TB's 95 HR park factor). The upside is he's moving to the NL where he will get to face a pitcher every 9 PA's and he is insured a rotation spot to start the season. I think Arizona will be a better team in 2015 so I the move doesn't do much for his opportunity to accumulate wins. The move looks to be a wash from a fantasy value for Hellickson, leaving him still as an undraftable commodity in all but the deepest of formats.

Justin Williams and Andrew Velazquez

I don't get too worked up about a prospect's big league club when it comes to future fantasy value, so not much has changed for Williams and Velazquez. I believe our coverage of these two in our Top 10 Prospect series is still very much accurate. You could argue Velazquez gets a slight bump since he now has fewer players ahead of him on the organizational depth chart. Owings, Gregorius, Sergio Alcantara, Pennington, and Nick Ahmed were all ahead of Velazquez. The path isn't clear for him in Tampa since top prospect Willy Adames is a year younger and at the same level, but there are no doubt fewer hurdles in his way.

You hate to see power prospects move to less favorable stadiums, but Williams has enough raw to play anywhere. He is now the organization's top outfield prospect, as I have him slightly ahead of Mikie Mahtook. He is a few years away still and the risk/reward proposition is unchanged by the trade.

For fantasy purposes, this trade doesn't do much for any existing Diamondbacks/Rays players. It buys Archie Bradley more time in the minors and could mean a later debut then some were expecting. The trade officially relegates Randall Delgado to the bullpen, but given his success there last year that may have been unavoidable. It opens up the door for Alex Colome in Tampa to slot into that 5th rotation spot. Reading the tea leaves a little deeper: Tampa could be in serious cost-cutting mode. With Andrew Friedman now in LA, the new management could shake things up and may have a few more off-season moves up it's sleeve.