In the late hours of Saturday night, news spread that the New York Yankees were in serious talks to acquire reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Less than 12 hours later while the West Coast was still sleeping and the East Coast was rising, it became official: Stanton is now a Bronx Bomber.
Here’s the full trade:
Castro, Devers, Guzman for Stanton and $30M pending physical. #Yankees doing thorough work up so might not be finalized until tomorrow or Monday— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2017
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are going to be in the same lineup. That’s so much fun for baseball. The two combined for 111 home runs last year and were both in the top six of fastest average exit velocity.
For fantasy purposes, Stanton should see a slight uptick in production simply by existing in his new lineup. The Yanks were third in baseball with a .336 wOBA, first with 241 HR, second in runs scores and even third in BB%. Hitting in the meat of that lineup, with no pitchers within any spots of him, will reward Stanton with at least an extra 10 runs and RBI.
Steamer projected Stanton to 40 HR, 100 runs, 119 RBI and a .280/.374/.603 line before the trade. But now that we know he gets to feast on AL East pitching (looking at you, Baltimore) and go to some very hitter friendly parks, I’d expect closer to 47+ HR, 110 runs, and 125 RBI. It’s not crazy to say he could win AL MVP a year removed from his NL victory.
According to Fantrax 2018 ADP data, Stanton was averaging 12th overall. I’d expect him to creep closer to 10th overall, ahead of Mookie Betts and Clayton Kershaw, as we near closer to spring.
I recently wrote an article about prospects I like less than the consensus headlined by Gleyber Torres. In it, part of the reason I was down on him was because of the middle infield situation in New York. But now that Starlin Castro is out of the picture, I expect him to debut in May or June as a second baseman, a much better scenario than being a 3B.
Gleyber has long been ranked as a top-10 prospect in several publications thanks to his high floor, plus hit tool, potential above-average power and instinctual speed to go along with strong defense. Like I mentioned in my article, I see him as a 20-HR guy with single-digit stolen base ability and an above-average .280/.340/.430 line with upside for more in his best years. He doesn’t have one standout tool, which is one of my gripes with his high rankings, but he’s a no-doubt top-25 prospect.
Is it possible he breaks camp with the team? Yeah. But remember he only had 96 plate appearances in Triple-A before suffering a torn UCL in his non-throwing elbow. It’d be wise for the Yankees to make sure he can rack up some plate appearances at AAA before getting the call instead of throwing him in the fire fresh off a fairly major injury.
Tyler Wade/Ronald Torreyes?
If Torres doesn’t break camp, expect utility infielders Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes to be an early season MI flier for your team. Wade started 16 games last season, 13 of them at second base. The 23 year old is technically still a prospect, ranking somewhere between 15th-20th overall. He struggled mightily in his MLB debut last year (.446 OPS in 58 AB) but generally has a solid approach at the plate and plus speed. He stole at least 25 bases in Double-A and Triple-A to go along with OBPs of .352 and .382 at each respective stop.
Because of his OK glove, Torreyes was Girardi’s go-to utility guy last year, recording 336 PA and bouncing all over the infield with the exception of 1B and C. The 25 year old is much less exciting, having no power or speed and average to below-average slash line.
Who will new manager Aaron Boone lean on early? For our purposes, let’s hope it’s Wade for some cheap speed.
Well, someone’s got to go to the Marlins, right? Castro leaves the friendly confines and lineup of Yankees and heads to a team that’s tearing down. Castro is coming off a 66/16/63/2 .300/.338/.454 year in 112 games.
Castro, still just 27, has planted himself as a high-average, low-OBP second baseman with modest pop and low counting stats. The only thing I expect to change with the Marlins might be his stolen base totals and run totals. With the Yankees, he’d hit in the bottom half of the lineup which limited his counting stats. But with the Fish needing some contact at the top of the lineup after trading Dee Gordon, Castro will now sit atop the lineup. It’s unclear if manager Don Mattingly will run him as often as Gordon, but I’d be surprised if Castro didn’t at least reach 10 SB, which would represent his highest season total since 25 in 2012.
His ADP is 218th overall, about the 18th round in a standard 12-team league. He might actually see an uptick because of his new place in the lineup, but the needle won’t move much one way or another.
Brett Gardner/Aaron Hicks/Jacoby Ellsbury
yanks planning to rotate giancarlo, judge and gardner between the 2 corner OF spots and DH (though gardner wouldn't ever rotate to RF)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 9, 2017
So here’s the probable scenario: Judge/Stanton flip flop in LF/RF/DH. Ellsbury and Hicks tag team CF. Gardner sneaks in LF when one of the Bash Bros is at DH.
Off the bat we can assume Ellsbury will be the hardest hit. Between injuries and the rise of Aaron Hicks last year, Ellsbury notched only 409 PA. He still stole 22 bases but that was the extent of his value. With a .637 OPS vs. LHP (.795 vs. RHP), expect him to fall into a platoon with Hicks and lose a significant chunk of playing time if he struggles.
Hicks has shown he can be the better offensive player (.363 wOBA in 2017) and is much better defensively than Gardner, but it seems the Yankees aren’t planning on having them directly compete at a position. Gardner, even at 34, is still putting up valuable seasons. He finished a 21 HR/23 SB campaign with a .778 OPS.
But there is one thing that should shed some clarity on who has the edge of this trio. Gardner was even worse than Ellsbury vs. LHP. Gardner recorded a .590 OPS against southpaws last season. Hicks on the other hand had a .903 mark against them.
Even in the worst-case scenario where there’s a strict platoon in CF, Hicks should expect at least 400 PA. I’d venture he creeps closer to 500 though simply because of his better defense and bat over Ellsbury. Barring injury or trade, it’ll be hard to see anyone here reaching 600 PA. Hicks and Gardner should both approach 500 PA while Ellsbury may not surpass 400.
No Significant Shift in Value
Jorge Guzman, SP and Jose Devers, SS
Guzman and Devers are the two prospects headed back to Miami. The casual fan won’t know either and even some in dynasty leagues might not be familiar. Guzman is the name to know here if you’re in a league that rosters more than 200 prospects. He has an 80-grade fastball that ranked as the fastest in the entire Yankees organization after it averaged 99 mph. He’s been slowly brought along and will turn 22 in January despite never having played above Low-A. He’s developing a slider and changeup but right now is more than content on blowing his fastball by hitters. In 66.2 IP in the Appy league, he had a 33.5 K% and just a 6.8 BB% to go with a 2.30 ERA (2.47 FIP).
It’s easy to comp him to Luis Severino, but those may not be too far off base. The Yankees are experts in unlocking velocity and honing it with pitchers, so you have to hope the Marlins can keep the tinkering to a minimum.
Devers, cousin of Red Sox 3B Rafael, is a glove-first, light-hitting shortstop who’s 18 and hasn’t played above rookie ball. He’s not relevant unless you roster more than 500 prospects.