Trading season is just waiting to explode, and the Rangers made the first strike yesterday by acquiring Bengie Molina. The deal doesn’t have much impact in the grand scheme of things, but in the world of fantasy baseball it does give the elder Molina brother a little bit more value.
Obviously, he’s going from one extreme to the other in terms of run environment. The Giants as a team have a .320 wOBA and play in a park that’s been pretty neutral over the last three seasons offensively (using ESPN’s park factors), while the Rangers boast a .343 wOBA while playing a park that’s inflated offense about 12.4% over that same three year time period. That alone is going to help his fantasy offensive output, which currently stands at .257-3-17.
After three straight seasons of 80+ RBI, fantasy gold for a catcher, (R) ZiPS sees just 36 more steaks with a .265 AVG coming Molina’s way. Believe it or not, that’s the sixth highest predicted RBI total for a catcher by the system, behind the usual cast of characters (Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, Geovany Soto, Kurt Suzuki), and ahead of guys like Jorge Posada and Matt Wieters and Yadier Molina. If nothing else, at least the spreadsheets are on Bengie’s side.
I wouldn’t recommend relying on Molina as your top backstop (unless you’re in an exceptionally deep league, or something) just because the guy’s less that three weeks away from his 36th birthday and has one foot in the batter’s box and one in the glue factory. If you’re dealing with an injury (say, to Martinez), then Bengie will help you keep your head above water for the time being. He’s not a top fantasy backstop, but there are worse emergency options.