Yesterday, the Royals Wilson Betemit was traded to the Tigers for 2 low level/talent minor league prospects. Here is a quick look at the fantasy implications of the trade.
Wilson Betemit (8% owned ESPN) – Betemit looks to be the Tigers new everyday 3B taking over for Brandon Inge and Don Kelly. Wilson is an improvement for the Tigers at 3B and has the chance to be a decent fantasy 3B.
Looking at the past 2 seasons for 3B with over 500 PA, Wilson’s OPS (0.830) ranks 7th in the majors. The following players were right above and below him in the rankings, Evan Longoria, David Wright, Michael Young and Aramis Ramirez. OPS is not a perfect stat to state a fantasy player’s value, but it does show how well he has hit recently. Betemit’s fantasy value comes from his ability to hit for average and generate some HR power. He is not a stolen base threat at all.
Betemit has been hitting like an elite 3B, but not getting many plate appearances in KC. I could see him be a 2nd half surprise for the owner that takes a chance on him. He should be owned in all leagues right now. With the lack of 3B talent available, he will be valuable to some team.
Brandon Inge (4% owned ESPN) – Inge is effectively worthless right now. He was optioned to AAA by the Tigers. Short of an injury or another team taking a chance on him, I don’t see a reason to hold him in any league.
Royals IF situation – What a mess for fantasy owners. Betemit was the backup 2B and 3B before the trade. Right now the Royals should/could make some changes at 3B and 2B.
The 3B for the Royals, rookie Mike Moustakas, is 0 for his last 22. He has a triple slash line of 0.190/0.252/0.241 for the season (the type of line that Inge lost his 3B job for having). With Betemit gone, Mike Aviles, who was recently recalled from AAA, will be his replacement. Aviles is a streaky hitter. He walks little and relies heavily on the BABIP fairy for his results. He does have some power and may see some playing time if Moustakas continues to struggle.
Aviles will also be the backup for the 2B, Chris Getz. Getz is actually an OK SB fantasy contributor with 17. The rest of his game is declining (not 1 XBH in his last 35 hits) and the Royals may be looking at bringing up the PCL’s June Player of the Month, Johnny Giavotella. Giavotella currently has a triple slash line of 0.337/0.392/0.483 with 9 SB and 9 HRs in 432 PA in AAA. The word from some sources in KC was that Betemit was moved so Giavotella could be added to the 40 man roster.
Right now it is going to a little tough to figure out what the Royals are going to do with the lack of offensive production from their 2B and 3B. I would bet that they stay with the status quo and keep Moustakas and Getz in the lineup no matter how bad they struggle.
Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.