Fantasy Fallout — July 23 Trades
A pair of American League playoff hopefuls bolstered their rosters on July 23. For those who missed the trade details, the Yankees sent right-handers D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar to the Mariners in exchange for right fielder Ichiro Suzuki. Meanwhile, the Tigers completed a deal of their own, when they added second baseman Omar Infante and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins for prospects Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn. Fantasy owners need to be aware of the significant fallout from the two trades. Let’s take a look at the changing values of fantasy assets on all four clubs:
Ichiro Suzuki – The 38-year-old should be revitalized on his new team. The Yankees score nearly a run per game more than the Mariners, so Suzuki will be better supported by his teammates. Even though he is expected to hit lower in the order, Suzuki should be able to score a similar number of runs and swipe bases at a similar pace. Don’t forget, Brett Gardner usually hit ninth during the past two seasons, and he was among the AL leaders in runs scored and stolen bases. Suzuki will likely drive in more runs, and don’t be surprised if he knocks a few more balls over the fence as well. Yankee Stadium is much more favorable to left-handed hitters, in comparison to Safeco Field.
Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones – With Suzuki, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher patrolling the outfield in New York, there will be little playing time left for Ibanez and Jones. For Ibanez, his time as a deep mixed-league option is over. He’s strictly an AL-only play at this point. Jones can hit lefties effectively, so he will likely draw one or two starts per week but he will only receive enough playing time to help in deep AL-only leagues.
Carlos Peguero, Michael Saunders and Casper Wells – With Suzuki out of the picture in Seattle, additional playing time is available for their three young outfielders. While Franklin Gutierrez continues to work his was back from a concussion, all three of these players should be in the lineup most nights. Once Gutierrez takes over in center field, there will still be two spots available. Wells has been swinging the bat well lately and has hit second in the order in recent games. He should be owned in deeper mixed leagues. Saunders has nine homers and 14 steals this season, making him an enticing power-speed combination if he can play every day. Peguero has the shortest Major League resume of the three, but he may offer the highest upside. In 188 Triple-A at-bats this season, he swatted 18 homers. Peguero should definitely be owned in AL-only leagues, and mixed-league owners should keep an eye on him.
Omar Infante – Like Suzuki, Infante traded way up in terms of offensive support. Unlike Suzuki, Infante will keep a similar spot in the batting order. The 30-year-old was usually hitting sixth or lower in Miami and will likely fall into a similar spot with the Tigers. Since 2006, he has hit over .270 every season, so he will help fantasy owners with batting average. His power and speed are fairly minimal. After knocking five balls over the fence in April, Infante has hit three homers in almost three months. And, outside of his surprising seven steals in May, he has three swipes all season. He can be used in deep mixed leagues and can adequately fill a hole for AL-only owners.
Anibal Sanchez – If Sanchez’s value goes up from his trade, it will do so by the slimmest of margins. With improved offensive support, Sanchez should be able to improve his 5-7 record right away. In Miami, he failed to get a win after throwing a quality start nine times in 19 starts this season. However, Sanchez will have to work hard to maintain his 3.94 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in the American League. Two of his first three scheduled starts with the Tigers come against the Blue Jays and Yankees, who both rank in the top five in baseball in terms of runs scored. However, Sanchez should also find life rough within the AL Central. Heading into free agency this winter, Sanchez will be highly motivated to take advantage of his new offensive support and post strong numbers in the second half.
Ryan Raburn and Ramon Santiago – With the arrival of Infante, Raburn and Santiago will lose almost all their starts at second base. They have done a terrible job manning the position this season, at least from an offensive standpoint. Raburn is hitting .172 and Santiago is hitting .216. Neither player should be active in any fantasy league going forward.
Jacob Turner – It’s safe to say that with a 8.03 ERA, Turner didn’t have much success in Detroit this season. He will start his tenure with the Marlins in Triple-A but should find a spot at the back end of their rotation at some point down the stretch. Still considered one of baseball’s best pitching prospects, the 21-year-old could help NL-only owners in September. Turner will likely arrive in Miami amid little fanfare, and the reduction in pressure could allow him to relax and show his skills in the Majors.
Donovan Solano – The second-base job in Miami could go to Emilio Bonifacio. But, Bonifacio is also capable of playing center field and Solano is hitting .333 in 57 at-bats this season. He started at third base and hit second in the first game after the trade of Infante and went 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Owners in deep leagues should keep an eye on Solano, being ready to scoop him up if he earns regular playing time.
Justin Ruggiano – Solano’s main competition for playing time is likely Ruggiano, even though they line up far apart on the field. Ruggiano has homered seven times in 112 at-bats. If Ruggiano can maintain anything close to his .366 batting average, Bonifacio will likely stay on the infield so that Ruggiano can remain in the lineup. Ruggiano should already be owned in deep mixed leagues and could start climbing onto 12-team mixed rosters if he continues to rake in the coming days.
Wade LeBlanc – LeBlanc takes over Sanchez’s rotation spot. He may just keep it warm for Turner for a few weeks, but the way the Marlins are going this season, there will likely be starts available for LeBlanc throughout the second half if he can pitch well. With a 4.39 career ERA and a 1.41 WHIP, the 27-year-old won’t be a hot commodity in any leagues. But keep in mind that LeBlanc hasn’t been scored on in eight relief appearances this month. He should be added as a spot starter in NL-only leagues at the very least.