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Winners and losers of the Justin Verlander trade

Who gets the boot in the Houston rotation? Is this a good fantasy landing spot for Verlander? What about the prospects?

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Just past midnight on Sept.1, news broke that the Detroit Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros for three prospects. In itself, it was a big announcement. But that it came only 40 minutes after Verlander apparently refused to waive his no-trade clause to Houston, killing the deal, had everyone’s head spinning.

Regardless, Verlander is now an Astro and a trade this late into the season sends shockwaves in the fantasy realm.

Arrows Up

Justin Verlander - The first thing you look for when a notable SP is traded is his new environment. Is he moving to a better or worse hitting environment? Is his new team going to give him a chance at more wins? Let me be succinct: if you’re a Verlander owner, you absolutely love this trade. Let’s take a look at the ESPN Park Factors of Minute Maid Park and Comerica Park.

ESPN Park Factors

Categories Minute Maid Park Comerica Park
Categories Minute Maid Park Comerica Park
Runs 0.815 (30th) 1.094 (7th)
Home Runs 1.043 (12th) 1.089 (8th)
Hits 0.889 (29th) 1.06 (6th)

You’re not reading that wrong. In 2017, MMP has played as the friendliest pitcher’s park in baseball. That 0.815 number means it’s 19.5 percent below the average (1.00) in runs. That’s remarkable. And while park factors fluctuate year to year, we can confidently say that Verlander will now close out the season in a better park.

Verlander should also be in line for more run support, however the Tigers have actually outscored Houston 118 runs to 108 in the last 30 days. But with Carlos Correa back in the lineup, I expect the offense to kick it back into high gear and provide plenty of run support for Verlander.

Finally, his remaining schedule looks pretty forgiving. Barring injury or any rotation shuffling, he matches up with @SEA, @OAK, vSEA, vCHW, @TEX.

In short, JV gets a much better home park, good run support and an easy schedule. Pretty nice upgrade for his owners.

Franklin Perez, SP - Perez is a 19-year-old righty that burst onto the prospect scene last year thanks to a plus fastball that sits 91-93 with heavy action, an above average changeup and a slider that flashes plus. However his fastball and changeup can be plus-plus at maturity and his slider and curve could reach plus, giving him a legitimate four-pitch mix en route to becoming a mid-rotation starter. He ranked #54 in our midseason prospects list.

The Tigers have a lot of really exciting arms in Double-A and below, and Perez figures to be part of their rotation in 2019.

Daz Cameron, OF - Cameron’s star has faded since he was drafted 37th overall in the 2015 MLB draft. But after an injury plagued 2016, he’s back on track in 2017 hitting 14 HR, swiping 32 bags and slashing .271/.349/.466. It’s a big step forward that he’s added power while simultaneously cutting his strikeouts to 21% (down from 37% in his brief A-ball stint last season). Houston’s OF is very crowded and Detroit’s is...not good. He’s a long ways away, but if he continues to perform, he should have a spot in the lineup.

In dynasty leagues, he’s worth monitoring, but I wouldn’t make a move on him unless you roster more than 250 prospects.

Arrows Down

Brad Peacock/Mike Fiers - With Verlander in the rotation, one of these will get bumped to the bullpen. The Astros had shifted Peacock to the ‘pen before, but when McCullers went down he was right back in the rotation. So on one hand, HOU has shown they’re willing to make him the odd man out. On the other, Mike Fiers had a 7.44 ERA (6.96 FIP) in August and batters rocked a .951 OPS against him in the month. While Peacock hasn’t been as great (4.45 ERA in August), his case is stronger to remain in the rotation.

Outside of AL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues, it’s unlikely you were depending too heavily on either of them, but just prepare to lose one.