Fantasy Implications: Colon, Dickey, Kendrick, & Morales

Braves sign R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon

Well, the Braves used to be a young, rebuilding team. Now they are a slightly older rebuilding team. Signing the pair helps solidify the Braves rotation and suck up a ton of innings.

As for the changes in fantasy implications, I see none for Bartolo Colon. He is staying in the same division and still on a decent offense to get Wins. As long as he continues to command his 88 mph fastball, he will be playable in deep leagues and as a spot starter. I am pretty sure people know what they are getting from him at this point in his career.

The R.A. Dickey signing is a little more interesting. Dickey has been pretty much irrelevant in the past couple of seasons except for generating a ton of subpar rate stats for the teams brave or desperate enough to roster him.

Right now he looks to be the Braves 5th starter competing with some other young starters (Aaron Blair, Williams Perez, Tyrell Jenkins). Dickey will likely start the season in the rotation and could possibly be relegated to long relief if a couple of the young guys catch fire.

Dickey will have the advantage in the National League of facing the pitcher. Additionally, he won’t have to pitch in the offensive heavy AL East and his 1.5 HR/9 will likely regress quite a bit. Finally, most of the hitters he’ll face will not be familiar with his knuckleball. With these three factors, I could see him significantly improve from last season but how much I am not really sure.

Dickey is basically a worse version of Colon, so he will be relegated to bench spots in deep leagues or just picked up in favorable matchups.

Toronto signs Kendrys Morales

Going to Toronto was the perfect situation for Morales’s value. The Blue Jays have a huge void at both first base and DH and big Ken is going to fill one of those voids.

As the team stands right now (I think the Jays have just started making moves), Morales is likely going to DH with Justin Smoak, Chris Colabello or Rowdy Tellez playing first. If the Jays go out and get another DH-type hitter, Morales is not completely defensively useless at first. How the rest of the offseason play out, I am pretty sure but the Jays didn’t pay Morales $33M to pinch hit. He is going to play for now.

For Morales, he will go from playing half is games in home run suppressing Kaufman Stadium to the offensive haven of Rogers Centre. Over the past two seasons with Kansas City, Morales hit 22 home runs at home and 30 on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see Morales build off the 30 home runs he hit last season.

Besides the home runs, he is not a batting average sink and may help a team’s batting average depending on league depth. Toronto’s aging lineup has been great the past two seasons, but with Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista gone, I am not sure if there will be as my opportunities for Runs and RBI. No matter how the lineup shakes out, Morales’s value just took a nice step upward.

The Dodgers traded Howie Kendrick to the Phillies for Darnell Sweeney and Darin Ruf.

This move is a plus for Kendrick’s value has he moves to the Phillies where he’s likely the best offensive player in a desolate outfield. The Phillies aren’t great at middle infield with Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis projected to get the most playing time, so he could see some time in the infield.

Obviously, his Run and RBI opportunities will come down with the worse team around him compared to when he was with the Dodgers. But the additional playing time could definitely help to offset those losses. Even though Kendrick asked to be moved to get more playing time, he still was able to get 543 plate appearances last season in 146 games.

The one X-factor I could see being in play is an uptick in stolen bases. The Phillies have nothing to lose if they give him a green light. He was 10 for 12 in attempts last season, so his success rate is still decent. In our stolen base deprived game, I would not be surprised if he puts up a career-high 20 stolen bases at age 33.

Darnell Sweeney returns to the Dodgers after being traded to the Phillies as part of the Chase Utley trade. Sweeney was making good progress through the minors with a high BABIP, walk, and strikeout profile. This progress started to end in 2015 when his BABIP tanked in the majors (.218) and last year it was just at .293 at Triple-A after hovering around .350 previously in the minors. With Sweeney posting strikeout numbers near 25%, he needs a high BABIP to keep his average up.

The Dodgers aren’t exactly set at second base and if Sweeney can find his pre-2016 stroke, he could be a sneaky fantasy asset. He has the potential to hit up to 15 home runs and swipe 30 bags. He is a nice dual-threat play in rotisserie leagues.

I don’t see where Darin Ruf is going to get a chance for major league playing time with the Dodgers set at first base and having quite a few outfield options. He might be used on the short side of a platoon (i.e. fantasy value killer) as his career wRC+ versus lefties is 151 and only 77 versus righties.

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.

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Spa City
Spa City

For whatever it’s worth, Kendrys Morales (somehow) is an Outfielder as far as Ottoneu is concerned. Since we play 5 outfielders a day, Morales should be a valuable commodity in Ottoneu.