Last week, I started a review of the players I am targeting to acquire and trade away, going position by position through the infield.
Today we look 12 more players – outfielders and starting pitchers who will factor heavily in my trade talks.
Targets – Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins; Oswaldo Arcia, Minnesota Twins; Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics
Ozuna is probably the most obvious of these three. In Zach Sanders’s end of season OF rankings, Ozuna ranked 27th. The thing is, most owners I talk to about trading for him don’t seem to realize what an asset he was. His high BABIP suggests a fall coming, but even without the same AVG/OBP value, he is still 24-year-old, 20-25 HR power hitter in an improving lineup, all for a price of about $5.
Arcia is even younger (23) than Ozuna and only costs about $1 more. He also ranked far lower – 64th – in the end of season rankings. His stats look less than impressive – just 20 HR for a guy whose main value is pop, with 57 RBI and 46 R. But Arcia played just about 2/3rds of a season (103 games and 410 PA). It is not hard to imagine him posting a 30 HR, 100 RBI season if healthy. And while he was an AVG and OBP drain in 2014, his BABIP was .292 which was much lower than the numbers he showed in his minor league career. Crank the power up to a full season and move him from total drain on rates to closer to average, and you have a steal on your hands.
Reddick seems like he has been around much longer than the other two (and he has) but he will only be 28 as of Opening Day. He was the 59th OF in the rankings, but played about as much as than Arcia, with 109 games and 392 PA. His 12 HR is probably more representative of close to 20, and he has a 30 HR season behind him, as well. But the real excitement is his second half. After missing a chunk of time in the middle of the year, Reddick rejoined the A’s on July 22. From there on out, finally healthy, he posted a .299/.337/.533 line. His .296 BABIP is not cause for concern, either – he was just flat out elite for the rest of the season. Over 200 PA, he added 8 HR, 32 R and 30 RBI. That puts him on pace for a 24/96/90 season. I’ll take that from a $7 player.
Bait – Michael Morse, Miami Marlins; Yoenis Cespedes, Detroit Tigers; Shin-Soo Choo, Texas Rangers
Morse is the only one of these three who comes cheap (around $6). He finished ranked 51st last year, but his .279/.336/.475 line makes him look a lot better. He’ll be 33 when the season starts, so expect some age-related regression. And while he is getting out of one pitchers paradise, in San Francisco, Miami has almost the exact same park factors for righties like Morse – it should allow for more 2B and 3B, but those are not his forte. That should lead to more fly balls falling in, but not compared to his batted ball luck in 2014. His entire line in 2014 was buoyed by a .348 BABIP. Steamer thinks he can hit 20 HR with a .316 OBP, which is not that bad, but I am betting on more regression and less playing time. Find someone willing to pay for those 20 HR and get out.
Cespedes is getting out of a brutal home park, but Cespedes is what he is at this point – a low average, low OBP source of power with a handful of steals (and some highlight reel throws). That is not a bad asset, but it is not a $23+ OF, either. His name is worth more than his production.
While you can sell Cespedes’s name and new park for a tidy profit, Choo you may just want to get away from. I actually think he can bounce back from his terrible 2013, but I don’t want to pay full price (more than $26) to find out. An OF who always struggled against lefties and relief on high BABIPs to put up solid seasons, Choo stopped seeing balls fall in last year, stopped stealing bases, and didn’t add the pop you would hope for in his new home park. Assuming he is healthy, I think he has another 15-HR, 10-steal season with a high OBP left in him, but not for that money.
Targets – Jake Odorizzi, Tampa Bay Rays; Drew Hutchison, Toronto Blue Jays; Carlos Carrasco, Cleveland Indians
Odorizzi brought one elite skill to the table last year, striking out 174 batters in just 168 innings. His ERA was 4.13 and his WHIP 1.28, neither of which are pretty. But his FIP was better than his ERA (3.75) and since Tampa has very good OF defense, you would expect his ERA to be better than his FIP, based on his fly ball tendencies. His K%-BB% (proven to be one of the best predictors of ERA) of 16% ranked 21st in 2014. There is a ton of room for improvement from a guy who turns 25 just before Opening Day. And if he can match his FIP and K% again, the numbers will be good already, all for $5.
Hutchison looks a lot like Odorizzi. He’s 24, costs under $5, and his 2014 was good in some ways (nearly a K per IP), but not great overall (4.48 ERA, 1.26 WHIP). He also underperformed his FIP (3.85). And his K%-BB% is just a tick lower, at 15.8%. He posts a higher GB%, too, which should help keep the ball in the yard. Consider me intrigued.
Carrasco is not like the other two. He is older (28 by his first start) and more expensive (though still under $6), but he also posted by far the best 2014 of the three – 2.55 ERA, .99 WHIP, 9.40 K/9. They do have one thing in common – Carrasco’s FIP was also better than his ERA, at 2.44. The key is that while I am banking on a breakout from Odorizzi and Hutchison, I am just banking on Carrasco doing what he has already done. Many of my colleagues have already talked about this (check out his player page for article links), but suffice it to say, I am bought in.
Bait – Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals; Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers; Mat Latos, Miami Marlins
The first two can be covered together. Waino and Scherzer were both excellent last year, but are both over 30 (Wainwright is 33, Scherzer 30) and both are expensive ($32 and $31 respectively). And, to make things simple, pitchers with salaries over $30 and ages over $30 are not usually a good bet for the long-term. I have no doubt both will pitch well in 2015, but if I can turn them into much cheaper players, I will. I just traded a $35 Scherzer for a $3 Hutchison and a $7 Ozuna. And now I get to spend $25 I otherwise wouldn’t have. If Scherzer plays well, I’ll have gotten fair value for him. And when he falls apart (whether now or in the future), I will have sold high.
Latos is a different story. He was not good last year, but there is a lot of talk about his new home park and what he can do with a full, healthy year. Like Choo, I am actually on-board with a solid season from Latos, but I am not happy about paying $24 to bet on it. $24 in value is probably about his upside, and there is a good chance he won’t meet it. For $10? Sure. But at $24, I am selling.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.