Jeff Keppinger was traded to San Francisco for 2 pitchers yesterday. The trade opened up a position for Jose Alture at 2B in Houston. The following is a look at how the move will effect each player’s fantasy value.
Jeff Keppinger (5% owned in ESPN) – Keppinger was having an OK season with the Astros so far this season. The 31 year old’s main fantasy value was coming from a 0.307 AVG. He has hit for little power 4 HRs and had 0 SB so far this season.
With the Astros, Keppinger generally hit in the 2nd, 3rd or 5th position in the lineup which have better chances of creating RBIs and Runs. He has not started for SF yet (he is not in Wednesday’s lineup, so he may not actually be a regular starter for the team), but he is not likely to get placed in such nice counting stat generating position in their lineup.
Another item to take into account is that the SF offense as a whole has performed worse (3.7 R/G) than Houston’s offense (3.9 R/G) this season.
Even though Keppinger’s ownership rate has almost doubled since the trade, it is likely that his production will be less than it was with Houston. I would not pick him up in any league that he wasn’t already owned in. With possible questions surrounding his playing time, I may look at replacing him with his replacement in Houston.
Jose Altuve (0% owned – ESPN) – Altuve gets the chance to take over as the everyday 2B for the Astros. The 21 year old has some promising minor league numbers with a triple slash line of 0.327/0.386/0.481. He has shown a little power with 15 HRs last season and 10 so far this season.
His main contribution for fantasy owners is ability to attempt SBs with 60 attempts in 2010. He was successful 42 times (70% success rate). So far this season in the minors, he is 24 for 38 or a 63% success rate. Both of those rates are below the break even point of 75% at the major league level. He will probably not get the green light in the majors with only a 63% success rate. With the Astros out of the race this year, I could see them give him the green light for the rest of the season to see how he can perform against MLB talent to get a success rate determined.
Another item going for him is that the Astros have him batting in the number 2 spot in their lineup. He could be a decent source of runs if he is able to stay near the top of the lineup.
Jose should be owned in all NL only leagues because he is a player that should be getting regular playtiming for a while. He may also be an option in deeper leagues if an owner is in need of 2B help.
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.