Bloomberg Sports Anchors Julie Alexandria and Rob Shaw break down the moves made at the trade deadline and the implications for your fantasy team.
Reds Trade for Jonathan Broxton
For the Reds, Jonathan Broxton simply provides depth and some closer experience. However, he is destined for a middle relief role with the club in front of Aroldis Chapman. The Royals get two quality arms in return and Greg Holland becomes the closer in Kansas City.
Rangers Acquire Ryan Dempster
With the Angels breathing down their necks, the Rangers had to do something before the trade deadline, especially with Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz lost for the season. Ryan Dempster had already been traded to the Braves but he rejected the move last week. He did, however, welcome a trade to the Rangers mere hours before the trade deadline. This is a move that will help Dempster quite a bit when you consider that he has won just five of his 16 starts despite a 2.25 ERA. His ERA is likely to rise in Texas, but I’m sure fantasy managers will welcome it with the additional wins due to the Rangers run support.
Shane Victorino Traded to the Dodgers
One of the better offensive outfielders in baseball, Shane Victorino ends his career with the Phillies now that he has been traded to the Dodgers. He gets plenty of steals, has some pop and reaches base often. However, in Los Angeles, he will likely lose some of that pop, which could keep his average down a tad. Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 1999, Victorino owns a .357 average at Dodgers Stadium and will benefit from having Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the lineup.
Hunter Pence Traded to the Giants
This is the big surprise, as Hunter Pence is 29 years old and clearly in his prime. Though Pence has lost some of his speed this season, he does have some pop and is a line drive hitter. A move to the Giants could cost him some home runs, but at least he will play some meaningful baseball this fall. Regardless, overall the move hurts Pence’s fantasy value.
Yankees Acquire Casey McGehee
For a second straight season, Casey McGehee has struggled at the plate but he is a fine Ty Wigginton type player who can contribute in big moments. What this acquisition does is hurt the fantasy value of Eric Chavez, as three is now a crowd with Jayson Nix also taking some at-bats away while filling in for the injured Alex Rodriguez.
Pirates Acquire Gaby Sanchez
The Pirates had nothing to lose and now hope that a change of scenery will do some good for Gaby Sanchez. After two straight seasons with 572 at-bats and 19 home runs, Sanchez struggled mightily this season with just three home runs and a .202 average before being relegated to the minor leagues. The 28-year-old moves to a more hitter-friendly ballpark and a surprisingly better lineup to resurrect his career.
Cardinals Acquire Edward Mujica
Last year the Cardinals brought in relief help including Octavio Dotel and it worked out well for them. This year, the Cardinals have a bit more work to do but they will not let the bullpen be the team’s unraveling. On Tuesday, the Cards acquired Edward Mujica, a hard-thrower with solid control. He does surrender some home runs but is another quality arm to help bridge the gap to Jason Motte.
Pirates Acquire Travis Snider
Another cheap pickup for the Pirates, Travis Snider has some serious potential, but it just did not work out in Toronto. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is a fine place for him to establish himself and at 24 years old, he has some time to reach his potential. I see Snider as a potential 30-homer guy with more than 10 steals and a respectable average. He is the big bat that the Pirates would love to team up with Pedro Alvarez and Andrew McCutchen.
Blue Jays Trade Steve Delabar for Eric Thames
A feel good story in Seattle, Steve Delabar went from a coach to a player in a little over a year and has averaged well over a strikeout per inning this season. He provides the Blue Jays with the power arm that they expected to have in the injured Sergio Santos. His value takes a minor decline since he moves from the pitcher’s haven Safeco Field to the hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.
Eric Thames makes the reverse move from Toronto to Seattle. There won’t be many complaints from Thames since he will likely get a crack at playing everyday with the Mariners. He has some power but really struggles when it comes to the strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Braves Acquire Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm
A .300 hitter for a second straight year, Reed Johnson is very much a utility player with no fantasy value. On the other hand, Paul Maholm has enjoyed his time in Chicago with a 9-6 record and a solid 3.74 ERA. He has surrendered a run or fewer in each of his last six starts. Maholm also boasts a 1.69 ERA in five career starts at Turner Field. Though the Braves only made this deal since Ryan Dempster rejected the trade to Atlanta, I do think this is a nice fit with Maholm as hot as any pitcher in baseball right now.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw discusses four players worth picking up off the waiver wire this week.
Daniel Murphy, 2B, Mets
Murphy has nine hits in last 11 at-bats but has been resting against lefties. Though he is hitting .274 against southpaws, he has just a .295 OBP with a .359 SLG against them.
Travis Snider, LF, Blue Jays
Snider hit his first homerun of the season on Sunday and is now hitting .364 through three games in the majors. He had 13 home runs with 56 RBI in 56 games at Triple-A.
Josh Rutledge, SS, Rockies
The injury to Troy Tulowitzki allowed the Rockies to give their 2010 third-round pick Josh Rutledge a chance to play every day. He now boasts a six-game hitting streak with a .353 season average and three steals. The 23-year-old looked like a five-tool talent at Double-A this season.
Justin Maxwell, OF, Astros
After missing a few weeks due to injury, Maxwell has returned in a big way for the Astros, as he blasted his ninth home run of the season on Sunday. Maxwell has a ton of power, and though he does swing and miss a lot, he has also drawn some walks. With the Astros slowly improving, he could become a legitimate slugger in the big leagues.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
by Eno Sarris //
We’ve talked a little in this space about approaching early stats with some skepticism. Eriq Gardner had a great piece reminding us about the Emilio Bonifacios of the world – not all fast-starters turn out great. Tommy Rancel also pointed out some slow starters who would make great waiver wire or trade targets. So, we know not to take too much stock in the first 50 plate appearances of a season.
But there must be something we can figure out from smaller sample sizes. Thankfully, Steve Slowinski from DRaysBay provides an answer. Here are the following levels at which these stats become significant:
- 50 PA: Swing%
- 100 PA: Contact Rate
- 150 PA: Strikeout Rate, Line Drive Rate, Pitches/PA
- 200 PA: Walk Rate, Ground Ball Rate, GB/FB
- 250 PA: Fly Ball Rate
- 300 PA: Home Run Rate, HR/FB
- 500 PA: OBP, SLG, OPS, 1B Rate, Popup Rate
- 550 PA: ISO
It follows that statistics based on pitches would become significant earlier: a batter sees anywhere from three to four pitches per plate appearance, so you’re really looking at a sample of 200+ pitches early in the year. Swing percentages and, to a lesser extent, contact rates, don’t leave us with too many tools in the early going. Let’s take a look at Travis Snider with these statistics in mind.
Snider is striking out in almost a third of his at-bats (32.4%), and sports a terrible .118/.286/.265 batting line (through Sunday) that is being held down by his strikeouts as well as his microscopic .136 BABIP. If a few more balls fell into play, his numbers would look a lot better. But these stats are misleading two weeks into the season. Let’s focus on the other tools in our bag right now.
The swing rates favor improvement for Snider. One of Snider’s major weaknesses is his tendency to strike out. And the only statistic that is currently significant, swing percentage, suggests that he may be making progress in that part of his game. Snider’s swing percentage this year is 42.3%, which is down from 48.2% last year. The even better news is that he’s swinging less at pitches outside the zone (21.7% this year, 27.1% last year). So Snider is making progress at discerning bad pitches, which might bode well for his strikeouts.
He’s swinging less, and making about the same contact (69.7% this year, 71.3% last year), but he has another 50 or so plate appearances before that trend starts to become significant. If he can boost the contact rate while keeping the newfound swing rate, his sense of the strike zone will benefit greatly – and so should his batting average.
Another piece of news that we can take away is that his reduced power this year (.147 ISO this year, .178 ISO last year, .229 ISO in minors) is not significant. It won’t be for another 400 plate appearances. In fact, Snider’s career ISO (.172) was amassed in just 398 plate appearances. That could improve.
Though it, too, comes in a few plate appearances, perhaps Snider’s spring training slugging percentage can provide a pattern for his future growth. Taken from the Bloomberg Fantasy Tools, the grab on the right shows Snider’s slugging percentage in spring training.
Of course the best indicator of Snider’s upside is his terrific minor league performance. He hit a lofty .304/.382/.533 in four minor league seasons, with much of that performance coming in pitcher-friendly leagues and ballparks. He’s also just 22, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.
Snider’s plate discipline is getting better. We’ll have to rely on hope and those minor league statistics when it comes to his power. There’s still a chance he meets his Bloomberg Sports projections (.267, 18 home runs) for the year, or even betters them. Most of the season remains.
For more on struggling young players like Travis Snider, check out Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Tools.