Fantasy Hitter Valuation Changes From Recent Moves

The focus of this article isn’t to list all the moves. Instead, I’m going to focus on the moves where I think fantasy values changed the most. Also, I dived into a few muddled situations.

Rangers signed Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Kole Calhoun

There has been quite a bit of discussion on how bad the Rangers lineup was last season. They ranked 24th in hitter WAR (only team WAR projections are available), but are projected for the 12th highest total as of now.

I’m not shying away from this offense that rates to be better than the Red Sox and Braves. Since the offense will be respectable, there is no worry for Seager or Semien seeing a major drop-off (possibly some with home run regression but EVERY OTHER ANALYST has covered this angle).

I’m a little interested in seeing how this outfield shakes out. There is the potential for several platoons to form. Here is look at the outfield projections and career splits.

Rangers Outfield
Name Proj OPS vLHP vRHP
Willie Calhoun .794 .700 .720
Kole Calhoun .729 .701 .768
Nick Solak .720 .788 .667
Zach Reks .707 UNK UNK
Adolis García .707 .661 .755
DJ Peters .691 .495 .760
Leody Taveras .662 .635 .539
Eli White .616 .387 .649

I’m not 100% sure I buy the Willie Calhoun projection (or that he can play outfield), but it’s close to being right, he should be left alone. That move then leaves Kole Calhoun and Solak in a platoon and the Taveras and Garcia in one in center field. The vagueness keeps me from investing too much in this outfield without some clarification.

Mets signed Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte, Mark Canha

Starting in the infield, it’s not clear how the second base and third base playing time situations will shake out. Escobar can play second and third. Jeff McNeil can sort of play both. J.D. Davis should be earmarked for the DH but has been forced to play third. Finally, Robinson Cano may be coming back to play second base. Just assuming Davis is in the DH spot, the team has three average-ish hitters fighting over the two spots. I’m sure one of the guys will end up being a draft-day value based on full-time at-bats, but it’s tough to know which one right now.

The outfield seems set with Brandon Nimmo joining Marte and Canha. If either falters or gets hurts, McNeil or Dominic Smith, who are defensive downgrades, could jump into the mix.

Simply, the playing time situations are just not clear. It would be tough for any of the preceding players, besides Marte and his stolen bases, to be fantasy relevant in most leagues with just 400 PA.

Cubs signed Clint Frazier, Michael Hermosillo, and Harold Ramirez

These moves are a little … perplexing. It seems they are adding a bunch of outfielders and hope something sticks. None of them are projected to have an OPS over .800 or hit left-handed pitching, besides Hermosillo on a small sample. Here are the current outfielders ranked by projected (Steamer) OPS with their career OPS splits.

Cubs Outfield
Name Proj PA Proj OPS vLHP vRHP
Ian Happ 133 .800 .694 .842
Harold Ramirez 49 .782 .715 .713
Brennen Davis 42 .755 UNK UNK
Clint Frazier 84 .755 .732 .773
Nelson Velazquez 70 .739 UNK UNK
Michael Hermosillo 28 .727 .764 .538
Jason Heyward 420 .717 .645 .791
Rafael Ortega 497 .711 .448 .721
Alfonso Rivas 21 .705 .650 .851

In all fairness, Happ, who seems like one of the safest options for playing time, should be platooned. Also, two of the worst hitters are projected for the most plate appearances. I have a feeling Heyward might get released, but who knows. It’s just a mess.

Avisaíl García signed with the Marlins

The signing was huge for Garcia’s fantasy value. He’s going to play every day and hit high in the lineup. The home stadium will put a dent in his power, but any regular cleanup hitter should be good for at least 160 Runs+RBI (see Bryan Reynolds). A nice cheap accumulator.

Tyler Wade was traded to the Angels

The Angels middle infield feels like the Cubs outfield. Just a ton of crappy players (all projected for a sub-.703 OPS) vying for two spots. Any surplus fantasy value comes from one of David Fletcher or Wade getting enough full-time at-bats to steal some bases (both with at least 15 SB last season). While I’d prefer not to count on either one, they could be a nice bench bat in a draft-and-hold league as a late-round speed option.

Cesar Hernandez signed with the Nationals

Hernandez could have easily ended up in a platoon or bench situation, but no one should challenge him for a full-time job. Hopefully. There is a scenario where his BABIP continues to trend downward.

Roster for some late power, but be ready to move on if he’s not producing.

Brewers traded for Hunter Renfroe and Mike Brosseau, traded away Jackie Bradley Jr.

In Renfroe and Brosseau, the Brewers added to left killers who could cause some platoon situations at first base or  DH, if there is one.

The move I’m more interested in is Bradley leaving thereby making Tyrone Taylor the backup/part-time centerfielder with Lorenzo Cain. With Cain’s injury history, Taylor will see full-time at-bats at some point and he was on pace to hit 24 HR with 12 SB last year. Again, Taylor is not someone to count on for 600 PA, but he’s a nice backup in 50-round leagues or worth an immediate add if he is getting full-time at-bats during the season.

Yoshi Tsutsugo re-signed with the Pirates

I covered the resigning move in my lastest Mining the News.

Adam Frazier was traded to the Mariners

I covered the Mariners side in Mining the News.

With the Padres, the trade clears up some playing time battles with Ha-Seong Kim 김하성 being the only hitter without a full-time role. For now, Jurickson Profar has the left-field job and is a steal at his current NFBC ADP of 507.

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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8 months ago

DJ Peters is going abroad.