Note: I am not covering the possible Davis for Soler trade between the Royals and Cubs because it is still in the possible stage. Once the medicals get cleared up, someone at RotoGraphs will cover it.
This move is a little confusing in a vacuum. The only position Desmond slots in defensively for the Rockies is first base. The problem is that his offense output doesn’t match up with other first basemen (Desmond’s projected wOBA before the move (.312) would put him around 45th overall at first). I don’t think the Rockies are done making moves, though, so I expect Desmond to probably be on the outfield depth chart soon.
No matter his position, Desmond’s value just skyrocketed. With half his games in Colorado, his batting average will jump along with his RBI and Runs chances. It will be interesting to see where he slots into the lineup which could affect his Run-RBI mix.
Owners need to spend a little time making sure they have a good handle on his value. Don’t wing his valuation. Have a decent idea where his value slots in with your league settings. He could get overvalued if his batting average doesn’t soar like people expect, but I think he will likely be undervalued as his power and speed production could make him similar to Charlie Blackmon.
Gomez’s fantasy value is probably maximized with this move. He’s the only true center fielder for Texas, which guarantees him a full season of plate appearances. It helps that he will play half his games in the offensive confines of Globe Life Park. Gomez’s actual production will be the biggest question for him going into the season.
He’s been around a 20 homer and 30 stolen base guy with a .260 average for years. His production began to decline in 2015, but nothing unexpected for a 29-year-old. The 2016 decline was unexpected though. With the Astros, his batting average dropped to .210 caused by a 10% jump in his strikeout rate. Digging deeper, the K% jump was from a huge drop in his contact rate (77% to 70%).
While struggling, he was traded to the Rangers and then all was good again. His contact rate jumped back up to 77%. With the increase in contact, he hit .284 with 8 HR and 5 SB in just 130 plate appearances. The reason for the improvement is not known, but he was back to his old self and now he is back with the same team. His 2017 projections seem a little too pessimistic and I could see him beat them by a bit.
The move’s big fantasy losers are Delino DeShields and Ryan Rua. Both will be relegated to pinch running and the occasional outfield start. In deeper leagues like NFBC and AL-only, I may take a chance on both as bench options. With injury-prone Shin-Soo Choo in the outfield, one or the other will likely occur some significant time in the outfield.
Ramos is one of the players an owner really needs to spend some time evaluating for each of their leagues. As of right now, we know he could miss over two months with a torn ACL.
Ramos, 29, was a first-time All-Star for the Nationals in 2016 before the season-ending injury. He underwent surgery on Oct. 14, after which the Nationals set a tentative six-to-eight month recovery timetable. That would place Ramos’ potential return somewhere from mid-April to mid-June next season.
Ramos would likely be used as the designated hitter initially before moving behind the plate.
The key to determining his fantasy value will be finding his replacement level value. The procedure will take a few minutes, but knowing his value will help owners from overpaying or knowing if he has dropped enough to be a value pick.
I am a little worried about him being a little rusty coming back from the injury, so if he starts off slow, just track his peripheral stats (e.g. reach rate, contact percentage, batted ball exit velocity, etc) to see if he is making improvements.
Once healthy, I think he may get quite a few plate appearances. I would be a little leery of picking him up in AL-only leagues. I could see the Rays move a healthy Ramos at the trade deadline to an NL contender.
The Pearce signing is a great move for the Jays, as it gives them flexibility at several positions. For Pearce’s fantasy value, it just about destroys it in shallow to medium-sized leagues. Pearce is not slated to start at any position. He isn’t even a decent platoon option. In AL-only or leagues with deep benches (e.g. NFBC), I think his potential value will come from those times when someone on the Jays is hurt or completely unproductive and Pearce has the ability to fill in for them. I would not be surprised to see Pearce end up with 300+ PA by the end of the season.
Why exactly? This move looks to be a $5.5M insurance plan if the Red Sox miss out on other 1B/DH options. Moreland and Hanley Ramirez will likely split time at first and DH with the current roster.
If Moreland is able to maintain a starting role, his fantasy value could be sneaky good. While he is probably good for a .250 AVG and 20 HR, his Runs and RBI could each go over 80. Don’t expect the Red Sox to go into the season with Mitch Moreland in the everyday lineup, but if for some reason they do, don’t be afraid to roster him.
As of now, Rodney seems to be the default closer for the Diamondbacks. It is not guaranteed he will keep it long. While he was able to post a +10 strikeout per nine rate last season, his +5 walks per nine are completely unacceptable for a closer and it lead to his 3.44 ERA last season. He could keep the job in a Ryan Madson sort of way by spreading out the blowups and ending the season with 30+ Saves. On the other hand, I could see him struggle so much that Jake Barrett or Andrew Chafin get the job for a bit before also failing and getting replaced.
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.