Transaction Analysis: Encarnacion, Espinosa, Castillo, and More

Cleveland Indians signed Edwin Encarnacion

For fantasy purposes, I see no positive impact on Encarnacion’s value from this signing. The almost 34-year-old goes from a home ballpark with a 107 Home Run Park Factor for right-handed hitters to one with a 95 Park Factor. Instead of a 40 home run projection, his projection moves closer to 35 home runs.

As for changes in Runs and RBI, I think they will drop a bit. The Blue Jays averaged 4.7 runs per game (R/G) in 2016 which was down from their 2015 5.5 R/G. The Indians averaged 4.8 R/G in 2016 and are projected for 4.8 in 2017. They both should have a similar number of team runs, but Encarnacion will have five less home runs and the automatic Runs and RBI which go with them.

I don’t see much movement in his normally consistent .260-.270 AVG and two to three stolen bases. Encarncion’s value took a hit, but not a ton. I eyeballed some numbers and his draft value is down about six spots.

As for the rest of Indians value, I wouldn’t move them up them up because of the signing. As it can be seen above, their 2016 runs scored and 2017 projected values are about the same. They’re similar because Mike Napoli had close to a career season. For comparison, here is Napoli’s 2016 season and Encarnacion’s projected 2017 season.

Comparing Napoli and Encarnacion
Name Season PA HR Runs RBI SB AVG
Mike Napoli 2016 645 34 92 101 5 0.239
Edwin Encarnacion 2017 Steamer Projection 626 32 85 97 2 0.265

Encarnacion is a better player than Napoli, but it is tough for anyone to replace Napoli’s 2016 season. This signing helps to prop the rest of the Indians back up to their 2016 production.


Boston Red Sox traded Clay Buchholz to the Phillies for Josh Tobias

The 32-year-old Buchholz has been a talented pitcher when healthy, but he’s rarely healthy. He’s never been consistent and there is just no way to know which pitcher will show up. It could be the one with an 1.74 ERA from 2013 or the one who posted an almost 5.00 ERA last season. I see him as an early season bench option in deeper leagues. If he gets hot, ride him until he breaks. If he starts broken, just sell him off for glue as soon as possible.

Josh Tobias is a non-prospect and has zero fantasy value.


Washington Nationals traded Danny Espinosa to Los Angles Angels for Kyle Mcgowin and Austin Adams

This trade saved what little fantasy value Espinosa had left. He had nowhere to play in Washington with Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner in the middle infield. With the Angels, the 29-year-old Espinosa will have his .220 AVG on display for the entire season. He will probably be good for 20 home runs and a handful of stolen bases which may or may not be playable depending on the league size.

McGowin and Adams are fantasy non-factors.


Pittsburg Pirates signed Daniel Hudson

I see some people talking as if Hudson is in play for the closer’s role in Pittsburgh, but I disagree. After struggling to get back on the mound after Tommy John surgery, he has not been a productive reliever with a post-surgery ERA near 4.00 with his ERA estimators point to similar values. In 2016, his K/9 was under nine which is substandard for a closer.

His numbers may compare to Tony Watson who seems like the closer in waiting. The problem is that Hudson isn’t the next best bullpen options with Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio and their >10 K/9 ready to close. To eventually get the closer’s role, Hudson will need to strikeout more and walk less hitters.


Baltimore Orioles signed Welington Castillo

This move will keep Castillo’s value the same or drop it depending on where he bats in Baltimore’s lineup. Arizona and Baltimore have similar park factors, so Castillo personally isn’t going to hit better. Last season, the Diamondbacks averaged 4.6 R/G while the Orioles are projected to score 4.7 so his Run and RBI chances will be similar. He hit 3rd through 5th in the Diamondbacks lineup for 437 of his 457 plate appearances giving him good Run and RBI chances. With the Orioles, he will be hitting in the bottom third of the lineup so those chances will drop. He has value in about about every league even with the potential drop in production because the catcher position stinks.


Miami Marlins signed Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa

These two signings help to solidify a Marlins bullpen with a half dozen decent relief options. While Ziegler may be in play for Saves, these moves really put wrinkle on their starter’s value. The starter’s Win chances will drop with the long bullpen. On the other hand, the starters will only have to face an opponent’s lineup once or twice keeping their rate stats down. For example, in Edison Volquez’s career, his ERA is 3.80 the first time through the lineup and 4.15 the second time. It jumps to 5.55 the third time and 6.43 the fourth time. It will be interesting to see if the starter’s overall fantasy value goes up or down.


San Diego Padres signed Jhoulys Chacin

The Padres finally got their ace in Chacin to anchor their rotation. The biggest change for Chacin from the past couple of season is the complete lack of competition. If he stays healthy, he should be able to showcase he subpar talent 30 or more times in 2017.


Los Angles Angels (and some stuff) signed Ben Revere

While the 28-year-old light-hitting Revere could be a decent source of stolen bases, he is positioned to be the Angels backup outfielder. His only value is in AL-only or deep bench leagues where he could be a regular if Calhoun, Trout, or Maybin go on the DL.


San Francisco Giants signed Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano

I am not sold on Morse’s or Ruggiano’s talent, but I don’t think Jarrett Parker is any good either. I could see the Giants go with the current hot hand approach with these three in left field.


The White Sox signed Derek Holland

I see no reason to roster Holland in any league. Any semi-elite bullpen arm would be a better option than Holland. I think Holland is only on the team to suck up some innings while the White Sox transition to a younger team.

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.

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“The Padres finally got their ace in Chacin to anchor their rotation.”

I really had to hold back my laughter while reading this statement.