Deadline Coverage: The Braves Trade for Outfield Help

The Braves continue to add outfield help with the recent loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. by trading for Eddie Rosario and Adam Duvall.

These two moves could have quite a few fantasy implications, especially in leagues where nearly every player is rostered.

The addition of Adam Duvall (.229/.277/.478 with 22 HR and 5 SB) creates a decent outfielder when he’s paired with Joc Pederson. Pederson has always performed better against right-handed pitching (career .834 OPS vs RHP, .609 OPS vs LHP) even though the numbers this year are similar. On the other hand, Duvall has been balanced (.775 OPS vs .755 OPS) and would be a nice platoon partner. It might not be Duvall who gets paired with Pederson, but Pederson continues to prove he can’t hit left-handed pitching (While the pair don’t completely make up for the loss of Acuna, it’s better than running out 30-year-old Guillermo Heredia and his .709 OPS every night.

As for Rosario (.254/.296/.389 with 7 HR and 9 SB), he’s still a few weeks away from returning but he’s likely to slot in as the team’s best outfielder. Besides Heredia heading to the bench, Abraham Almonte will likely see less playing time. He’s not hitting that bad this season (.235/.344/.434 with 5 HR and 0 SB) mainly because of a 14% BB%, but he’s still a step below Rosario.

One issue that will need to be resolved is who the Braves trust playing centerfield. Heredia might get more playing time than I expect depending on how the management values his defense.

As for the implications in Cleveland, Sandoval will be a non-factor. He’ll either be a pinch hitter (like in Atlanta) or more likely, just released.

Rosario leaving won’t change much in Cleveland since they’ve already made the adjustments for him being on IL. It seems like Harold Ramírez (.263/.304/.411 with 6 HR and 3 SB) and Óscar Mercado (.232/.317/.375 with 1 HR and 3 SB) will get a longer look in the outfield. For now, both are just 7-game streaming options.

Miami’s outfield situation is in complete turmoil. First Starling Marte was traded away and now Duvall. In the first game without Marte, Lewis Brinson played left-field with Magneuris Sierra shifting over to center. The Marlins have yet to add an outfielder to fill in the voids to the 26-man roster but recently acquired Bryan De La Cruz might be an option.

In the trade for Duvall, the Marlins acquire catcher Alex Jackson who has struggled in the majors this year (.043/.214/.043 in 28 PA) but is hitting much better in AAA (.287/.366/.694). Jackson has struggled with strikeouts during his career (career MLB 44% K%) but he is “only” striking out at a 28% clip in AAA. A non-factor for 2021 without some major improvements.

Saturday addition by Paul

They weren’t done!

Braves get: Jorge Soler | Royals get: Kasey Kalich

Soler is peaking of late with a .267/.389/.900 line and 6 HR in his last 9 games (36 PA). This move hurts his playing time in multiple ways. First off, he is no longer a full-time starter because he has to play the outfield and they acquired two better outfielders in the guys you just read about. Rosario is on the IL right now he doesn’t hurt Soler immediately, but will upon his return. Additionally, when he does play he will likely be pulled for a defensive replacement and lose his 4th PA with some regularity. For now, he will likely be Pederson’s platoon partner and draw occasional starts against righties. I wonder if the Braves might consider a configuration of Soler LF-Duvall CF-Pederson RF to open games against righties and then bring Heredia in at CF and shift Duvall to LF for Soler.

Kalich was tabbed as a sleeper relief prospect on Atlanta’s list this year. His control has been an issue throughout his pro career with a 12% mark in 52 IP. At High-A this year, he has a 3.26 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, and 13% K-BB rate in 30 IP.

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 four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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