Fantasy Implications: Reddick and McCann

The Astros have so far been the major mover this offseason. After signing Charlie Morton earlier this week, they picked up Brian McCann and Josh Reddick yesterday. The team has already remade themselves and the offseason has just started.

With the offseason just getting started, it is tough to get a good feeling on what the Astros will end up looking like going into spring training. When the offseason is nearly over, fantasy owners will need to sit down and figure how the playing time will get divided up among the players in Houston to help determine final values.

Astros sign Josh Reddick

Josh Reddick is one of those players in I hate drafting. If Reddick is an option on my draft sheet, I usually go another direction as Reddick offers little to no upside and downside. He is the safe play and for some people, the right move for them. The 30-year-old has had some up-and-down performances like the 32 home runs in 2012 or the single stolen base in 2014 but otherwise he is good for a dozen home runs and 10 steals with a .270 AVG.

Over the past four seasons, Reddick has traded off some power for a better contact rate. His strikeouts are down (20% to 13%) with his batting average being up (.226 to .281). While he has changed some, it is not enough to move his fantasy value.

When looking for possible changes in talent because of the new home, I don’t see much to mention. He is going to a better home park than his one in Oakland, but it won’t make much of a difference. He will still be in the AL West, so the opponents will be the same.

The final big question mark for him is his playing time. I don’t believe Houston would have given him a four-year $52M contract to sit on the bench or platoon. He looks to be a full-time player.

This move hurts the value of some Astros on the fringes of playing time like Teoscar Hernandez, Nori Aoki, and Tony Kemp. Additionally, the move pushes Yulieski Gurriel to the infield, probably first base. Like I mentioned earlier, come back to this team once the offseason is nearing an end and take a informed guess then how the playing time may be distributed.

Astros trade Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to the Yankees for Brian McCann

I will start with the two prospects going to the Yankees in which our own Eric Longenhagen wrote up. Both of these pitchers are a ways from the majors and lack control with career minor league walk rates over 6.0 BB/9. Abreu is considered the better prospect with MLB.com giving him an overall future value grade of 50 and Baseball America had a 55 grade on him at the start of last season. Abreu may be in play in the deepest of dynasty leagues but with the distance from the majors and complete lack of control from each, neither is likely to be fantasy relevant for years.

As for McCann, he moves into to a catcher/DH platoon role with Evan Gattis if the Astros make no more moves. I think the move is great for McCann’s value right now with likely more guaranteed plate appearances than if he stayed in New York. If he can stay healthy, he has the chance to get to 600 PA for the first time in his career with the potential time at DH. The only possible issue I see with his playing time is if A.J. Reed gets hot and forces himself into the DH slot.

I think trade doesn’t move the needle on McCann’s production level much. Maybe a small drop in home runs since he no longer has Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch to get some cheap home runs. Otherwise, he will just keep hitting 20 home runs with a .235 AVG.

Houston Astros: Runs and RBIs

One of the biggest changes from these two moves (and some regression from other Astros) could be a team-wide increase in Runs and RBI. Last season the team averaged 4.47 Runs scored per game. This season, they are projected to be at 4.89. This increase works out to an extra 68 Runs (and almost as many RBI) to get spread around to the regulars. These two moves may help every starter on the team move up the fantasy value ladder.

We hoped you liked reading Fantasy Implications: Reddick and McCann by Jeff Zimmerman!

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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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snowybeard
Member
snowybeard

I play in a 10 team AL-only league with variable keepers (5-10) so it’s kind of hard to predict which OFs will be available. The easiest way is to look at price (e.g., Bautista and J. Upton cost a lot last year) or the trading block, but it’s still a crap shoot.
So, if there’s a small pool of OFs available and I’m looking for a decent OF (I was hoping he’d end up in Baltimore where his power numbers would spike)and I don’t overpay for Reddick, how do you feel about him in a league where OBP is one of the two additional cats (along with SLG%)?
Having taken over a bad team, I currently have Kepler, JB Jr., and R. Davis—all fairly cheap.

Jonathan Sher
Member

I play in a similar but deeper league with more keepers: AL-only with 12 teams, 40-man rosters (including a 17-man reserve) and as many as 15 keeper, with most teams keeping between 10 and 15. On Reddick, with his changed approach at the plate he is slightly more valuable in an OBP league than in an AVG league, the the difference isn’t as great as when he was more of a power hitter. In OBP leagues, the good values are often power hitters with low or middling batting averages who walk a lot.

You will have a plenty of outfielders in your auction. If your league ends up with 75 keepers, and 22% of keepers are outfielders (5 outfield slots represent 22% of a 23 man roster), that would mean only about 16 outfielders would be kept, leaving about 29 outfielders in the auction among the 45 starting outfield slots (excluding platoons, which adds to the available players but diminished production for those in the platoon).

It’s premature to focus on one player. Once all keepers have been named, you need to project production for each available player, than convert that production to a dollar value that will depend on the depth of your league and your scoring categories. Fangraphs has an auction calculator that you can adjust to match your league settings, and it also allows for you to input dollar values on keeper — since keepers are usually priced below their expected value, that inflates the cost of those in the auction; while inflation factors are league dependent, a range of 10 to 20% would be typical, and with just 5 to 10 keepers each, I would expect your league’s inflation value to be closer to 10%.

Among you outfield keepers Bradley Jr. would be an excellent value at a low price, producing in all categories. Davis is a free agent; if he signs in the NL you lose him. Kepler is a wild card. He had a great stretch mid-year but otherwise struggled.

snowybeard
Member
snowybeard

Thanks for the detailed response. And I’ve used the FG auction calculator to try and figure out how much certain players cost.
In the case of my league, the inflation factor was closer to and sometimes exceeded 20% (as in the case of Justin Upton). And we have only 25 man rosters. Another difference is that we only have three slots for OFs (10 batters in all for the starting lineup) and we must have at least 4 RPs and 4 SPs at all times.
And at $4 I’m going to hold on to Rajai Davis, since we don’t have to make a decision until late February.
Finally, the one wild card is this: some years more than half the owners drop all but the minimum, while on other years most keep all 10. And of course, it’s then in the interest of the guys who kept ten to bid up the prices for the ones who didn’t, to make it difficult for any player to be acquired on the cheap.