Fantasy Reactions: Souza, Peterson, Perceived Value

I’m not sure I’ve seen this before. As of this writing, the Padres have either completed or began finalizing five trades in the last 48 hours. I feel like we’re living inside a copy of MVP ’05. The Padres are positioned to make still more trades to alleviate a roster crunch. Seth Smith, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Yonder Alonso are currently looking at just three or four spots. Somebody has to go. Then there’s Tim Federowicz, whose role with the club may have been co-opted by the David Ross signing. The Friars have also shown a willingness to re-package players, so we could see an unexpected swap involving Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Justin Upton, Will Middlebrooks, or even Matt Kemp.

This article isn’t really about the Padres, but it is about related moves. As part of the Myers trade, the Nationals sent outfielder Steven Souza to the Rays. Souza should have an opportunity to earn an every day opportunity in an outfield that also includes Desmond Jennings, Kevin Kiermaier, and David DeJesus. I wrote about Souza from a fantasy perspective earlier this offseason, and Carson had more to say on FanGraphs. The analysis is already out there – Steamer thinks he’s a 20/20 hitter, which is always hugely valuable in fantasy. Just remember he has only 26 major league plate appearances to his name.

Souza is free. So is Padres infielder Jace Peterson, whose virtues Cistulli has enumerated. He appears to sit atop the Braves second base depth chart, where Phil Gosselin and Jose Peraza are his primary competition. Incidentally, in the ottoneu league FanGraphs Staff Two, I traded Souza, Peterson, and Corey Seager to David Wiers for pricey win now talent ($55 Mike Trout and $14 Jonathan Lucroy). I wrote about the deal and another blockbuster back in November. In trading Souza and Peterson, I assumed there was a high chance both players would be blocked for most of the season. Now I’m kicking myself. Lightly.

Much like Souza’s Steamer projection, hindsight is also 20/20. And honestly, knowing what I knew on November 16, I would make the trade every time. There was always a good chance Souza would be traded – that’s what made him an attractive asset. And in an ottoneu points format, Souza’s 5×5 production is largely irrelevant. He’s probably unlikely to outperform Charlie Blackmon, who I have rostered for $3 as my seventh outfielder.

Still, the Padres’ orgasm of transactions highlights how quickly perceived value can change. Souza has gone from an afterthought to perhaps the second most interesting prospect in standard fantasy leagues (take a bow Kris Bryant). As a fantasy owner, it’s your job to wrap your head around as much information as possible. If you own a good player in a lousy situation, ask yourself how the player’s value could change if he were suddenly freed.

For example, Danny Salazar, T.J. House, and Josh Tomlin are expected to compete for one job (Zach McAllister is also in the mix). I think all three are pretty solid fantasy pitchers. Some of you may disagree about Tomlin, but that’s an argument for another day. There is no question that their value is affected by the Indians’ depth. If Salazar is a $9 pitcher with a one-in-three chance of earning the job, then he’s currently worth $3 (plus some fudge factor). If somebody makes you a trade offer that values Salazar as a $6 player, do you take the deal or hope he wins the job? As always, the answer depends on your specific circumstances.

When I traded Souza and Peterson, I decided (unconsciously) that I would accept a fraction of their full value because I was being offered more than their current value. Today, I probably approach that trade from a slightly different angle since both prospects come with far less uncertainty. Shucks.

PS: Is anyone laying odds on the Padres acquiring Troy Tulowitzki? They could use another right-handed power bat (/sarcasm).

You can follow me on twitter @BaseballATeam

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Trey Baughn
7 years ago

The only difference between selling Souza, Peterson, and Seager for Trout/Lucroy now vs. November is that maybe you wait 1.5 seconds instead of one full second to hit accept. If you are second guessing that trade you are overvaluing that trio by a factor of at least 10.