Trades and off season moves can make a big impact on the performance of fantasy baseball players. Here are 3 players on the move that have improved their stock after being traded.
Shaw couldn’t have landed in a better spot for his skill set. After winning the job from Pablo Sandoval during spring training last year for the Red Sox, he was traded for reliever Tyler Thornburg. He has showcased his skill set this spring by hitting .476 with 2 home runs, 5 RBI and posting a 1.123 OPS. Last year he underwhelmed only hitting .245 with 16 home runs, 63 runs and 71 RBI. However, he is now hitting in a park that favors lefty power and he no longer has to worry about looking over his shoulder for playing time. Don’t be surprised to see a breakout from the 27-year-old.
After a trade from the Rays, Logan will now be the leadoff hitter for the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are projected to be one of the marquee offenses in the National League and he will be hitting in front of Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez. He is a great table setter and has a very high floor with some pop (20 homeruns last year). Ranked 174 on Yahoo, he can end up being a steal in your upcoming fantasy draft.
The hype around Mitch this year is real. Thanks to a superb spring (.406/.472/.719) he went from being owned in 1% of leagues to now being owned in 15% of Yahoo leagues. He has a solid pedigree, dominated the minor leagues and has a very professional approach at the plate. He also made adjustments to his swing to add power. Studying and watching tape of Josh Donaldson and then teammate A.J. Pollock. He also has some underrated speed and according to reports from the team he has the green light on the base paths. He has the potential to contribute in all 5 categories on a nightly basis. At the price he is going now in drafts, you should capitalize now before the young man becomes a must own fantasy stud and the price goes sky high.
1. Aledmys Diaz will be a top 30 fantasy player
Aledmys ended up running away with the starting job last year in an impressive manner. Taking advantage of a thumb injury Johnny Peralta suffered last year, he ran away with the starting shortstop position. Last year he hit .300 with 17 home runs, 71 runs, 65 RBI’s with an OPS of .879 over 404 AB’s. His underlying metrics show this is no fluke. Striking out only 13% of the time, posting a hard hit rate of 31%, and an impressive ISO of .212.
2. Charlie Morton will be a top 20 fantasy starting pitcher
Morton has all the tools to be successful this coming season. This spring his fastball has looked electric topping out at 97mph. He has posted a 27% strikeout rate and a 12% swinging strike rate. The spin rate on his curve ball is ranked top 5 in all of baseball among those that have thrown at least 50 curve balls in the whole league. Morton has always been good at preventing the long ball thanks to his patented sinker. Morton’s sinker will also continue forcing ground balls, helping him get out of jams and get double plays behind the elite defensive skills of Bregman, Correa, and Altuve.
3. Kendrys Morales will be a top 15 Fantasy player
Kendrys just came off of hitting 30 home runs playing half of his games in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the major leagues (Kauffman stadium). With him heading to a stacked lineup and the hitter friendly confines of Rogers Centre, his stock is trending way up. His strikeout rate jumped from 16% to 19% last year. I believe that is because he traded contact in exchange for power. Last year he posted a 19% home run per fly ball rate & 41% hard contact rate. This spring in 43 AB’s he has hit .372 with 2 home runs and a .994 OPS. Obviously this is just spring training but it proves he is seeing the ball really well. If he can get off to a hot start he can wreak havoc on the AL East and the rest of the league while becoming a fantasy baseball star in the process.
As a big superhero and comic book fan I can immediately draw parallels from Matt Harvey to the most recent Batman films. Matt Harvey began pitching in the majors in 2012 and the league was in the palm of his hands. With heat sitting at 95-97mph and all of his off speed stuff being untouchable the future was looking bright. Unfortunately, The Dark Knight fell victim to Tommy John surgery in 2014. He then came back strong and led the Mets to a pennant in 2015. In 2016 he fell victim to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which once again ended his season prematurely. At this point I would compare Matt Harvey to Harvey Dent (Two-Face) rather than the hero we know as Batman. You don’t know what side you are going to get. The stellar front line starter and hero of your fantasy team or a shell of himself and a wasted high draft pick. Judging from the most recent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome research and his recent spring starts I have reason to believe vintage Harvey will come back strong this year. You should invest while his ADP is still as low as it is.
The beginning of this spring was looking shaky for Harvey as projected. Judging from his rough spring start the Mets organization was not sure he would be ready to start the season in the rotation. His control was not looking sharp. The negative effects of the surgery and vast amount of injuries he has suffered throughout his career seemed to have taken a toll on his velocity. Many experts believed his arm strength will never come back. Learning how to adapt and how to be a control pitcher with diminished velocity seemed like the next step for Harvey. While he could be a serviceable pitcher for a real life team with diminished velocity, that is not what fantasy owners that value K’s and dominance from their starting pitcher would like to hear.
In his latest spring training start against the Braves he gave fantasy owners like myself a reason to believe he can dominate again. He started to round into shape and began the game letting it go. Sitting at 95mph and topping out at 97mph. His breaking pitches were looking sharp and the most important part was he was getting hitters out. He went 6 innings allowing only 2 runs. This is an excellent sign even though it is just spring training. It is increasingly looking like he at least has the potential to come back and return to his vintage form, in what could be a make or break year for him.
There are many pitchers that have come back successfully from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Josh Beckett, Mike Foltynewicz, Phil Hughes, and many others picked up right where they left off about 10 months after the surgery. Being that Harvey is only 28 years old he should be a big bounce back candidate. The risk is intermediate but the reward can be huge. Showing he still has the ability to reach back for extra heat at times to get out of a jam or when he needs it definitely helps his case. I believe he should come back strong this year and as a wise fantasy owner I would advise you to try to get ahead of the curve.
The Dark Knight will rise again.