Friday marked the beginning of winter. Seven Major League Baseball teams decided to mark the event with three big trades. I will focus on the Major League players who will have a different address in 2019.
The day began with a three-way deal between the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays. In terms of Major League players:
Easily the best 2019 fantasy baseball asset moved in this trade, Profar currently appears to be the Athletics’ everyday second baseman. RosterResource has Profar slotted into the two-hole of Oakland’s batting order, which makes sense given he’s a switch hitter with a strong approach at the dish. With mashers Matt Chapman, Khris Davis and Matt Olson set to hit behind him, Profar stands a good chance at approaching 100 runs scored.
After struggling to stay healthy, Profar remained on the field for 594 plate appearances in 2018 and improved as the season continued.
Profar displayed enough skill last season to make another run at a 20 home run, 10 stolen base season. It remains to be seen how much he’ll run with the Athletics, who ranked dead last in stolen bases in 2018. Assuming the A’s allow him to use his above average speed, an upside season of 25 home runs and 20 stolen bases is certainly possible. In standard 20-game eligibility leagues, Profar carries first base, third base and shortstop eligibility. Profar has an early NFBC ADP of 114th overall, a price that will more than likely rise following this trade.
There is not a ton to say about Pagan, at least at the moment. The Tampa bullpen has more capable and skilled arms to lock down the ninth inning at this point. For those in leagues which count Holds, Pagan could be useful however. Pagan’s numbers in 2018 were worse than his 2017 campaign, however, his swing and miss stuff remained mostly intact. The biggest issue for Pagan going forward and in the American League East is his fly ball rate. With powerful lineups and small ballparks, an already high HR/9 could continue to get out of hand in 2019. Watch from a distance to begin the season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds then made a large trade, which includes a handful of fantasy relevant players.
It will remain to be seen if the 34-year-old Matt Kemp takes the field for the Cincinnati Reds in 2019, or if he’s flipped to another team in a separate trade. As of now, Kemp is projected to slot into left field for the Reds. Kemp has been an average fantasy outfielder the previous two seasons, with 20 +/- home runs, decent run production, and at times, a batting average that either helped or at least didn’t hurt your fantasy team. With a NFBC ADP of 319th overall (21st round in a 15-team mixed league), Kemp is essentially free and could provide a fantasy team needing to add power and/or run production later in the draft with a boost before the reserve rounds.
The Dodgers had a number of 150 +/- inning pitchers on their 25-man roster, which allowed them to move Wood to the Reds. In Cincinnati, Wood will slot towards the top of the Reds pitching staff and could see a bump in his innings pitched, health permitting. Wood’s skills are highly desirable, with a strong first pitch strike rate (69.1%) and a slightly above average swinging strike rate (10.6%). Wood has been selected on average at pick 237 in early NFBC Drafts, however, a large part of that is due to his current Steamer Projection of 52 innings pitched. Some early drafters have selected Wood much earlier (min. pick 104) as they were betting on the skills over his current projected role. Expect Wood’s ADP to continue to rise with a full-time starting rotation spot.
I’m most excited for Puig in Cincinnati in terms of the players the Reds received. Puig has provided back-to-back above average fantasy baseball seasons in 2017 and 2018, with 28 & 23 home runs, respectively, and 15 stolen bases in each season. Even before the trade to Cincinnati, Puig carried further upside into the 2019 season. His approach at the plate is better than many give him credit for, and his underlying power metrics have been on the rise the previous two seasons. Puig, while not a burner, also has respectable speed, which could all come together in a 30 home run, 20 stolen base season, especially with his new home ballpark. Puig’s current NFBC ADP of 138th overall (min. 96 | max 161) is sure to rise following this trade.
Also involved in the trade were Kyle Farmer and Homer Bailey. It has been reported that Bailey will be released by the Dodgers. Farmer has received 97 plate appearances at the big league level over two seasons and is not considered fantasy relevant at this point.
To finish out the day, Jerry Dipoto decided that he would not be outdone on the trade market, with the Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers agreeing to a trade that sent the following Major League players:
A fan favorite in Seattle, mostly due to his hair, Gamel is a fine fourth outfielder for a Major League ball club, but holds very little fantasy baseball value outside of the deepest of leagues. A contact oriented hitter, Gamel has enough on base ability and speed to produce a non-zero amount of stolen bases if playing time allows. The Brewers’ current outfield alignment may not allow many opportunities for Gamel going forward, however. Fantasy owners in National League only leagues should pay attention to Gamel if speed is needed late, otherwise, he’s a player to ignore in standard mixed leagues.
Santana was blocked in Milwaukee after the team acquired both Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich last season. Even then, it was hard to see Santana repeating his breakout 2017 season (30 home runs, 88 runs, 85 RBI, 15 stolen bases, .278 BA) due to BABIP regression and a lack of fly balls. It’s hard to judge Santana’s 2018 season as half of it was spent in the minor leagues. Santana is a much needed right handed bat for the Mariners lineup and should see plenty of at-bats in 2019. A safe projection is somewhere between his 2017 and 2018 (extrapolated) seasons. Santana’s current NFBC ADP of 425th overall will surely move up now that he has been unblocked and will receive a regular amount of at-bats. He is definitely a player I’d take a flier on later in standard mixed leagues.