Transaction Analysis: Fowler, Uehara, Heston, & More

St. Louis Cardinals sign Dexter Fowler

This move made too much sense for both parties. The Cardinals needed a centerfielder and Fowler needed a job. As for the fantasy value changes, several are positive and other negative but overall the move is neutral. In St. Louis, the home park is less pitcher friendly and his new offensive teammates are not as good as the Cubs. The big positive change will be more playing time as he slots into the full-time Cardinals center field job.

Fowler’s talent level has been consistent for the past five seasons. Ten to 20 home runs and stolen bases with a .270 AVG as the norm. There is not a reason for this trend to change. I am though a little worried about the stolen bases will drop off as he enters his thirties.

Fowler’s production may not be playable in shallow formats, but the stolen base and home run combination make him an outfield option in most leagues. He’s valuable, just not elite.

 

Chicago Cubs sign Koji Uehara

Uehara, along with Wade Davis, Hector Rondon, Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, and Justin Grimm, seem to be the 2014-2015 Royals bullpen on steroids. Uehara’s bullpen role is currently unknown, but the 41-year-old righty will likely be a setup man. I would not be surprised if he ends up with a dozen or so Saves if Davis has to spend time on the DL.

Everyone else around Uehara loses some value. He is probably the second best arm behind Wade Davis, so all the other bullpen pitchers will get fewer late-inning chances. Also, the starters may see their Wins drop as this new bullpen can be used before the 6th inning. It may cost each starter a Win or two.

 

Atlanta Braves trade Tyrell Jenkins and Brady Feigl to the Texas Rangers for Luke Jackson

This trade is a fantasy irrelevant. Even in my 20-team, 40-man roster dynasty league, I wouldn’t consider rostering any of them.

Luke Jackson has some pedigree but is unplayable right now. MLB.com has him as the Braves #23 prospect (45 grade), Baseball America had him at #23 for the Rangers to start the season (45 grade), and Dan Farnsworth had him at #15 for the Rangers (45 grade). All he has right now is an uncontrollable 94-mph fastball (down 2 mph from 2015) which generated a below league average 3.3% SwStr%. Maybe the Braves can fix him but I doubt it.

 

San Francisco Giants trade Chris Heston to the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later

Heston had a decent first half of 2015 (3.75 ERA, 3.24 FIP) and his production has been downhill since then (4.55 Era, 4.88 FIP). His borderline major league’s fastball velocity was at 89.4 mph in 2015’s first half , dropped to 87.4 mph in the second half, and stayed there in 2016.

Since he was considered a fringy prospect, any talent drop will push him out of a major league job.

Heston eventually went on the DL with a strained oblique and never pitched in the majors again last season. This move is a nice gamble for Seattle with the hope he can get his velocity back up to about 90 mph.

 

Miami Marlins sign A.J. Ellis

A.J. Ellis is a backup catcher to J.T. Realmuto and has zero fantasy value unless Realmuto gets hurt.

 

Eighteen players selected in the Rule 5 draft

These players are the dredges of the dredges. Each team protects 40 players, so the top 1200 players are off the market. The players with less than four or five minor league seasons are also off the market which will include many top prospects. After removing a couple thousand players from the player pool, then the rest are subject to this draft. They just are not good options.

The only player I found remotely interesting was Kevin Gadea who the Rays selected from the Mariners. My prospect rankings agree with the KATOH projections in that he is the best prospect selected. The hard-throwing righty will head to the Rays bullpen where he could be a decent bullpen arm or 4th to 5th starter in a few years.





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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clete6
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clete6

Uehara is righthanded.