Transaction Analysis: Dickey, Hamilton, Anibal, Bauer, Dempster and More
It turns out that baseball doesn’t stop just because I go on vacation. Shocking, I know. So in the week since my last post, three of the top remaining free agents signed, a Cy Young award winner was traded, and two top prospects changed teams. And that’s not even including the monster Rays/Royals trade, which I wrote up before I left. The winter meetings had nothing on this random week in December.
For those of you who missed any of the excitement, here is a listing of the fantasy relevant moves from the last week:
* Angels sign Josh Hamilton (5 years, $125m)
* Tigers sign Anibal Sanchez (5 years, $80m)
* Red Sox sign Ryan Dempster (2 years, $26m) and Stephen Drew (1 year, $9.5m)
* Mets trade R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Blue Jays for Travis d’Arnaud, Noah Syndergaard, John Buck and Wuilmer Becerra
* In a three-team trade, the Indians receive Trevor Bauer, Drew Stubbs, Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers; the Diamondbacks receive Didi Gregorius, Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson; the Reds receive Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald
There’s clearly a lot to talk about here, so we’ll save any further pleasantries for another day. Here’s how this shakes out from a long-term league perspective:
Simply enough, Choo will benefit from being in a more hitter-friendly park in the easier league. Hitting lead-off in front of the Phillips/Votto/Ludwick/Bruce outfit likely to occupy the 2-5 spots in the lineup will also potentially make him an elite run scoring option (think 110+) along with a 20-20 threat. Tough to view this long-term since he only has one year left on his contract, but for 2013, he was at #27 among OF before the deal – and is a top-20 guy for me now.
That breeze you feel is the collective exhale of Arencibia owners in deeper dynasty leagues. Throughout most of the off-season, it was assumed he’d either lose his full-time job or lose his advantageous home park; however, with Travis d’Arnaud ending up in Queens, Arencibia is a full go as the Blue Jays catcher for the foreseeable future. Though expect him to play in only 120-125 games, as Josh Thole should be installed as R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher.
Not only is the uncertainty of Bauer’s standing in his organization now settled, but he’s moving away from Chase Field and its HR tendencies. This is a particularly good thing for Bauer as he has a reputation for pitching up in the zone a bit too much. Additionally, given Cleveland’s dearth of pitching, Bauer should have a rotation spot locked up from right now until 2018.
I don’t have a great feeling about Drew bouncing back to pre-2011 levels, but he’s certainly going to the right place for an uptick. Don’t expect crazy power numbers or anything (15-18 sounds about right), but the counting stats should certainly improve, even if Boston’s lineup is not quite up to par with the ones from the previous decade.
Easier league, easier park. Don’t underestimate how much work he’s got left to do to prove he can stay in the rotation though – his secondary stuff is still mostly projection at this point. It’s easy to envision Syndergaard developing into a high-K #2 starter, but he’s still more likely to either be Mike Pelfrey or a late-inning reliever.
Let’s be honest, Gregorius is not an offensive threat. He’s never hit more than 7 HR in a minor league season, never hit .300 and never stolen more than 16 bases. He is looking at a lot more playing time in Arizona, but that only matters for very deep leagues (or ones that incorporate defensive measures).
Tyler Skaggs/Pat Corbin
The long-term beneficiaries of the Diamondbacks shuffling Trevor Bauer out of town, Skaggs and Corbin both should find themselves in the Arizona rotation before long – although only one will likely start there out of the gate in 2013.
Rick Porcello/Peter Bourjos
These are purely speculative value ups, but both of these guys appear to be on the trade block after the Sanchez/Hamilton signings. Bourjos is likely to be more valuable outside of Anaheim because he just won’t play enough if he stays to accumulate any value, and Porcello is likely to be more valuable outside of Detroit because he would hopefully be playing in front of a non-terrible defense.
Really not much changes here either in 2013 or long-term. Yes, Rogers Centre is better for right-handed hitters than Citi Field, but NL pitching is weaker overall. Also, my expectations that he’ll play somewhere between 60 and 80 games this coming season doesn’t change much, as I expect the Mets to keep him down until around June for service time reasons.
This is kind of disappointing because Sanchez’s value could have taken a nice tick up if he had signed with either LA team (or even the Cubs to a lesser extent). However, he’s back in front of the solid offense and the opposite of solid defense that he left behind in October.
The facts are non-negotiable. 1) Josh Hamilton has historically hit better at home (.967 OPS) than on the road (.858 OPS). 2) The Angels play in a ballpark that hurts LH power just about as much as the Rangers play in one that helps LH power. 3) Josh Hamilton is now an Angel. The question is then, how much stock to we put into these numbers, and I’m inclined to say not as much as everyone else. Hamilton hit 43 HR last season and it looks to me as though only one would have been contained by Angel Stadium. It’s not so much that park factors don’t apply to Hamilton, it’s that because he makes such hard contact (both HR and otherwise), it makes sense that they would affect him less. So while he will take the non-ballpark issues with him to Anaheim (rising K rate, inability to lay off pitches low and outside), I’m not moving my HR projections down more than around 2-3 HR for him – which means I still think he’ll hit 35+ bombs.
Yes, Dickey is on this list, but I was very close to sticking him in the Value Unchanged group. The league switch hurts and he’ll have to go on the road at Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Oriole Park (three hitters havens) often. But, there is reason for optimism for Dickey at Rogers Centre – mostly because of the fact that it’s indoors. In 2012, Dickey made 5 starts indoors and went 4-0 with a 1.22 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 35 K in 37 IP. Yes, it’s a very small sample size, but it also fits in with a generally accepted principle that knuckleballers + domes = double awesome.
What do you get when you mix a deceptively consistent pitcher with a ballpark and division that can make good pitchers look very ordinary? Something I don’t want much of for the next two years. Amazingly, Ryan Dempster has registered an xFIP between 3.69 and 3.77 in each of the past five seasons. Unfortunately for him, last season the Red Sox as a staff had the second largest discrepancy between their ERA and xFIP (next to the Rockies) of +0.56 runs. That is not meant at all to be an exact science (or even an inexact science), but a 4.25 ERA sounds about where expectations should be at for Dempster if his underlying skills continue to stay at a similar level. And if they start to decline, watch out.
With Stubbs you’re looking for power and speed, and shielding your eyes from everything else in his stat line. Unfortunately for him, he’s going from a home park that has a factor of 113 for RH HR to one that has a factor of 74 (according to Stat Corner, 100 is league average). That’s not good. On top of that, Terry Francona, the new Indians manager, has a history of being below league-average in stolen base attempts. Only a 3am meal at Taco Bell stings more at both ends.
Back when Pennington was going to be the starting SS in Arizona, he made for a great sleeper in deep mixed leagues. Now he’s relegated to NL-only sleeper status, as he can still reach the 20 SB mark even in limited playing time.
Thole is moving north of the border to become the new Doug Mirabelli, except without the power. Also, his new fan base will have a great appreciation for the fact that his last name actually rhymes with goalie. Of course it will become less funny in Toronto if Dickey starts going five-hole on him regularly.