Fantasy Implications: Davis, Soler, Chapman, Eaton, Giolito

The Rule 5 Draft Thursday morning essentially marks the end of the Winter Meetings and this year’s iteration did not disappoint. We’ve got three more huge moves to look at today.

Remember, you can follow the Hot Stove Implications tag for all of the pieces throughout the winter as Jeff Zimmerman and I will keep you up to date on the market.

Royals trade Wade Davis to Cubs for Jorge Soler

This return for Davis might feel light after what we saw elite relievers net during the deadline, but I definitely think the offseason/in-season dynamic plays a role and we also saw Davis suffer two DL stints with forearm and flexor strains. He saw his strikeout rate and velocity drop while his walk rate, ERA, and WHIP all went up, though I will note his swinging strike rate jumped up a tick and a half to 13%.

The Cubs were no doubt methodical regarding his medical records. In fact, their thorough check of the records held the deal up some after it was initially reported. They deemed him worthy of his $10 million dollar price tag and the return of Soler. It doesn’t make him risk-free, but their risk/reward analysis ended up in the deal getting done. I’ve moved Davis down out of that first tier, but he’s still a second tier closer for me.

In Soler, the Royals get four years of an affordable outfielder. He can opt into arbitration after this season instead of his $4.7 million per year from ’18-20, but even if he has a big season, his price won’t surge too high. Affordable control is particularly attractive to the Royals because the bulk of their core is coming due for a contract after 2017. Obviously Davis, but also Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and Alcides Escobar. Oh, and Jason Vargas

Soler hasn’t fully delivered on expectations (top-50 prospect for three years, .898 OPS in 686 MiLB PA) and likely never will at this point, but he can be an above average power hitting corner outfielder for the next several years. Eno had a great comparison on the podcast – basically Andruw Jones’ hitting profile (he said Jones without the fielding). He then made a tremendous point about plate control vs. command similar to how we talk about them with pitchers. In the end, it looks like a .265/25 HR bat for four years which isn’t a bad return for a year of a risky Davis.

Aroldis Chapman signs a 5-year/$86 million dollar deal with the New York Yankees

In essence, the Yankees bought Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, and Adam Warren in the summer now that they’ve re-signed Chapman. Dellin Betances moves back into the fireman role with Chapman assuming the ninth, giving them a ridiculous righty-lefty combo in the late innings. There is some long-term risk in giving a reliever five years, but this isn’t a normal reliever. Plus, on the fantasy side, we’re really only focused on the current year. Chapman is a lockdown top-3 reliever and likely the #1 for a lot of folks.

White Sox trade Adam Eaton to Nationals for Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning

Eaton didn’t come cheaply and while I think it’s dangerous to tab him as a 6-WAR player – he reached that mark in ’16 basically heavily on his defense playing 71% of his innings in RF while he’ll move back to CF in ’17 – I do think he’s getting short shrift from a lot of folks. Meanwhile, the prospects going back are being overrated by those same people.

Eaton has a .362 OBP over the last three seasons, 10th-best among qualified OF and 25th-best among all hitters. He scored 98 and 91 runs in a below average White Sox lineup and now moves to the top of an offense that has been top-10 in runs per game each of the last two seasons. His .290 AVG over the same three-year period ties him with Nolan Arenado, Freddie Freeman, and Melky Cabrera.

The AVG and R categories are largely underrated in fantasy which explains why Eaton isn’t getting his due. He’s going to push 100+ runs with a double-double (10+ HR/SB) and a .285+ AVG. That’s a really solid $20-something fantasy player and you shouldn’t have to pay $20 for him at the auction table.

The only players with back-to-back seasons of at least .280 AVG, 90 R, 14 HR, and 14 SB are Eaton, Mookie Betts, Paul Goldschmidt, and Charlie Blackmon. Mike Trout came up 3 SB short in 2015. And yes, these are specific thresholds that highlight Eaton, but even dropping the HR/SB to 10+ only adds Trout and Ian Kinsler as guys to do it in both 2015 and 2016.

Make no mistake, the White Sox got a nice return. I’m not here to shade the pitching prospects going back, but they aren’t certainties and I think they’re being treated as such. With a trio of pitching prospects, you can probably expect one to pan out to fruition, another to reliever, and another to fizzle entirely. If Giolito is the pan out, that’s awesome because his ceiling is very high, but he didn’t have a great 2016.

The 70-grade fastball with 80-grade potential was exposed as too straight and not as fast as advertised.  The curveball was sexy when he snapped it off, but the changeup didn’t really move forward. I’m not even looking to judge him heavily off of the 21.3 awful IP in the majors, but his minor league scouting reports from 2016 took a step back, too. He’s still just 22 years old so let’s temper the negativity for sure. He could have another two up-and-down growth years and still only be 24. I refuse to quit him entirely, but I think those who are sure he’s a frontliner need to chill.

Lopez is a bit divisive in terms of future projections. You can find those dead set on him reaching a mid-rotation ceiling and just as many who see a future reliever. If it’s the latter, he could be a 100 MPH flamethrower in the late innings. He sat 96 MPH in his 44 IP MLB debut, but didn’t command it particularly well.

He has a starter’s repertoire with a curve and change supplementing the heat, the former being way ahead right now. I lean closer to the starter end of his projection range. I only saw a handful of his 11 MLB appearances, but I think he can make it work with some refinement of his command and development on the change.

I don’t know anything about Dunning, a 2016 first-rounder. So for thoughts on him and more expansive thoughts on the other two, check out Eric’s piece.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Baller McCheesemember
6 years ago

In essence, the Yankees bought Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, and Adam Warren in the summer now that they’ve re-signed Chapman.

How did the what the Yankees sent to the Reds to obtain Chapman compare to what they got for him from the Cubs?

Robertmember
6 years ago

They gave the Reds 20-40 cents for $2.00.