Hot Stove Fallout: Angels Making Moves

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Looking at the fantasy outlook from LA’s bevy of moves plus their division rival signs a star 1B!

Renfroe traded to LAA

Hunter Renfroe traded to LAA for Janson Junk (#7 on LAA 2022 Prospect List), Adam Seminaris (#18), and Elvis Peguero (#33)

The trade of Brandon Marsh and continued struggles of Jo Adell (77 wRC+ in ’22; 68 career) left the Angels with a corner outfield opening. Renfroe is a 31-year-old power hitter who will join his 5th team in as many seasons (SD, TB, BOS, MIL) and has been an above average hitter in three of the last four seasons, averaging 35 HR per 600 PA with a 110 wRC+. The park move is slightly a bonus for Renfroe. Angel Stadium and American Family Field have the same HR factor for righties at 112 while Angel Stadium is three points clear of AFF in overall park factor at 103. He does lose a bit across the division mainly due to the Cincinnati-for-Oakland trade while the HOU-SEA-TEX and CHC-STL-PIT trios essentially offset one another, but the shift to a balanced schedule this year mitigates that difference a bit.

A drop in K% rate once he arrived in Boston shifted Renfroe from the standard all-or-nothing power hitter to a more refined one who gives you a solid AVG (.257 since ’21) with the 30 HR punch. A couple injuries (hamstring, calf) limited him to 125 games, and he still smacked 29 HRs. He’s never topped 144 games played in a season, though previously that was due to performance. If healthy, we could see his first 600+ PA season.

A trio of prospects will vie for the open role: Joey Wiemer, Sal Frelick, and Garrett Mitchell – the #2, #3, and #4 ranked prospects from Milwaukee’s 2022 prospect list. Wiemer hit my radar at the 2021 Arizona Fall League and went on to post a solid two-level season at Double- and Triple-A, hitting 21 HR with 31 SB in 548 PA. Wiemer has the power and speed to be an instant hit on the fantasy landscape, though his swing-and-miss issues could present some trouble upon arrival. Frelick excelled across three levels (A+, AA, AAA), posting a composite .331/.403/.480 line with 11 HR and 24 SB in 562 PA. He is more of the AVG/SB type and has a strong plate profile with 12% K and 10% BB rates. Mitchell debuted last year and leveraged an obscene .548 BABIP (!!!) to hit .311/.373/.459 despite a 41% K rate. Perhaps most intriguing for fantasy folks, he went 8-for-8 on the bases. Being on the 40-man roster and having already debuted does give Mitchell an inside edge here while Wiemer and Frelick notched a combined 391 PA at Triple-A so they will likely open the season back there for more seasoning.

Junk has gotten major league time in each of the last two seasons, totaling 24.7 IP with a 4.74 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. Given his name, you’d think he was equipped with a bevy of off-speed and breaking pitches, alas he has just a mediocre fastball and slider. The 26-year-old doesn’t have a ton of upside and likely plays best in a relief role. Peguero is a sinker-slider reliever who has also pitched a bit in the majors the last two seasons (19.7 IP). He leans heavily on his power slider (63% usage, 91 mph) and the Brewers could see him as part of their bridge to closer Devin Williams. Seminaris spent near-equal parts of his season at High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, unfortunately getting worse as the competition stiffened with his K-BB rate going from 25% at High-A to just 7% in Triple-A. None of the pitchers heading to Milwaukee have immediate fantasy value. It would take substantial development to change that outlook for any of them.

Urshela traded to LAA

Gio Urshela traded to LAA for Alejandro Hidalgo (#11 on LAA 2022 Prospect List)

The Angels have been one of the busiest teams in the early offseason, securing themselves a new shortstop in Urshela. Well, at least we have him penciled in as such at RosterResource with Anthony Rendon securing 3B as long as his body will allow. Urshela has just 288 innings at SS over his career and will almost certainly be worse than Andrew Velazquez was a year ago, but the offensive difference between the two is enormous. Urshela has a career 104 wRC+ compared to Velazquez at just 48.

The move from Minnesota to Anaheim is a big potential boost for Urshela. Target Field has a 96 Park Factor for righties over the last three years, good for 26th in the league thanks in part to the 87 HR factor. As I mentioned earlier with Renfroe, LAA is at 103 (6th in MLB) with a 112 HR factor (t-7th). Urshela delivers a strong AVG. His .290 since ’19 is tied with Aaron Judge and good for 17th among 136 hitters with at least 1500 PA. The early draft market is nervous about this move for Urshela, likely due to playing time concerns, with his ADP dropping from 360 to 568. If we do get confirmation that he’s their guy at shortstop, he will no doubt push back up, but I don’t see him emerging into the Top 300 at any point.

Tyler Anderson signs with LAA

Anderson stays in LA… sorta! Coming off the career year in 2022, many of us in the fantasy world were hoping he would take the qualifying offer from the Dodgers and stay with them another year. Instead, he declined it and instantly inked a 3-year team with the cross-town rival. Hit suppression (from 9.2 to 7.3 H/9) and a halving of his obscene HR rate (from 1.5 to 0.7 HR/9) thanks to a huge jump in changeup quality drove that breakout season. I doubt he will just forget everything he learned once leaving the Dodgers, but where the change could hurt is that if he starts to struggle a bit and lose aspects of what worked last year, will the Angels be able to get him back on track? No one was expecting a 2.57 ERA/1.00 WHIP repeat even if he had stayed with the Dodgers and his 260 ADP proves that. Plan for something around his career marks of 4.16 ERA/1.25 WHIP and take anything better as a win.

José Abreu signs with HOU

This one happened on Monday afternoon just before I was about to post the Angels moves so I figured I might as well include it! I had it about a 0.2% chance that Abreu would return to Chicago with Andrew Vaughn, Eloy Jimenez, Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger, and maybe even Yasmani Grandal (if he’s too compromised to catch) battling for 1B/DH playing time. Abreu was great a White Sock, but the 36-year-old was free to move on and he chose a 3-year deal with Houston. Despite suffering a major power outage this year with a career-low .141 ISO, he still posted a 137 wRC+ in 679 PA, 12 points north of his 2021 total. His AVG surge from .261 to .304 drove the gains and sustained his season. He is leaving the 4th-most friendly HR park for the 13th, though if he can learn to lean on the friendly pull field at Minute Maid, he could actually get a boost from the Crawford Boxes. Steamer has a slight power return, giving him 21 HR and a .173 ISO in 653 PA. I don’t imagine it will change too much either way once it is rerun for him in Houston.





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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hobbes020
2 months ago

Abreu is going to have a zillion RBIs in that lineup.