Thursday, August 18, 2022

Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline Tracker: Josh Hader traded to Padres; Dodgers take chance on Joey Gallo

Deadline day is here, and we could see a flurry of activity just before the clock strikes 6 p.m. ET. Here’s where we’ll break down all the most notable moves from a Fantasy Baseball perspective. To get our thoughts on the Juan Soto blockbuster deal, head here

Eric Hosmer traded to Red Sox

Hosmer wasn’t able to put much of anything together in four seasons with the Padres, and now the 32-year-old will be given a chance to resuscitate his career with the Red Sox. His swing has never been optimized for power and is unlikely to change now, but he’s a career .354 hitter with three home runs and an .889 OPS at Fenway Park. Its odd configuration has made for unlikely success stories in the past, and it’s possible Hosmer sees a big enough BABIP boost to become halfway useful again. He does still excel at putting the bat on the ball, after all. His acquisition leaves few at-bats for Bobby Dalbec, but a J.D. Martinez trade could change that. –Scott White

Joey Gallo traded to the Dodgers

Joey Gallo seemed to be in desperate need of a change of scenery after hitting .159/.291/.368 in 140 games since being traded to the Yankees, and the writing for a trade was on the wall as soon as the Yankees acquired Andrew Benintendi last week. That trade became official Tuesday as Gallo was sent to the Dodgers, who are buying low with an eye on fixing Gallo’s swing. You know you’re getting a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks with Gallo, but he has just 12 homers this season as he hasn’t been holding up the third part of the three-true-outcomes approach. The issue is that Gallo isn’t generating the same kind of power he used to, with career-worst marks in average exit velocity and max exit velocity, leading to a career-worst expected wOBA on contact. The Dodgers will try to unlock that power in acquiring Gallo, though he’s only worth adding right now in NL-only leagues with the park switch, especially since he may not play every day in L.A. either.

The Yankees seemingly did pretty well in getting Double-A pitcher Clayton Beeter for Gallo. Beeter has a 5.75 ERA this season, but has a big fastball and good stuff if he can tamp down the walks, of which he has 35 in 51.2 innings this season. –Chris Towers

Juan Soto, Josh Bell traded to Padres for C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, prospects

It’s one of the biggest trades in major-league history. We knew an organization would need to empty the vault to acquire a 23-year-old generational talent, and the Padres were willing to do so, sending maybe the biggest prospect package in baseball history. It’s a seismic trade in the real world, but the impact on the Fantasy game is fairly minimal. Soto is going to do what Soto does. He’s going to do it in a better lineup, albeit in a slightly worse venue, but generational talents like him generally aren’t confined by venue. Likewise, Bell has hit .315 with four homers and a .976 OPS in 14 career games at Petco Park, so it seems like his skills also translate to that venue well enough.

For more, including a full breakdown of the prospects going the other way, click here. –Scott White

Jorge Lopez traded to the Twins 

The Twins have been hesitant to fully insert Jhoan Duran into a conventional closer’s role, and this deal seems like it provides an answer to that problem. Lopez has been tremendous for the Orioles this season, sporting a 1.68 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 48 ⅓ innings, earning a selection as the Orioles sole All-Star. While it’s not guaranteed he’ll be the Twins closer, that seems like the likeliest outcome, with Duran remaining as a multi-inning fireman who will get the occasional save. Lopez goes to a better team, but probably sees a slight tick down in value with Duran around to vulture the occasional high-leverage save opportunity. 

The Orioles got four pitching prospects, with Cade Povich the headliner, though likely one who is a few years away from contributing. The more relevant news on Baltimore’s side is the likely ascension of Felix Bautista to the closer’s role. The Orioles have had a surprisingly strong bullpen this season, but Bautista profiles best as a closer with his big fastball. He’s worth adding in all category leagues, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had more saves than Lopez the rest of the season after this trade. –Chris Towers

Anthony Bass, Zach Pop traded to the Blue Jays for Jordan Groshans

Bass returns to the Blue Jays, where he had seven saves in 2020, after two up-and-down seasons with the Marlins. He’s been exceptional this season, sporting a 1.41 ERA and 9.1 K/9, and figures to give the Blue Jays another option to get leads to Jordan Romano in the ninth. Pop has a 3.60 ERA thanks to a ground-ball heavy approach, but doesn’t get many strikeouts, and is likely more like a middle relief option for the Blue Jays.

The Marlins got a recent top-100 prospect in Groshans in return, however the 22-year-old has likely played himself off prospect lists with his showing at Triple-A this season. Groshans’ power has evaporated at the highest level of the minors, as he has just one home run and eight doubles in 67 games, sporting a .250/.348/.296 line. He’s still making a lot of contact and walking a bunch, but he’ll have to find a way to hit for more power to matter, even in NL-only leagues, since he doesn’t run. He’s a nice buy-low target for the Marlins, but he looks a long way from contributing for Fantasy and will likely report to Triple-A for Miami. –Chris Towers

Jake Odorizzi traded to Braves for Will Smith

This deal wasn’t quite finalized as of late Monday, but it has the potential to shake up the Braves rotation in less-than-desirable ways. Odorizzi himself is … whatever. His fastball gets whiffs at a decent enough rate, and he’ll deliver a quality start from time to time. But if his acquisition signals a return of rookie sensation Spencer Strider to the bullpen as a way of curtailing his innings, then the baseball world will weep. Mark Bowman of MLB.com suggests the Braves could go six-man for a couple turns and then reevaluate. Maybe Ian Anderson goes back to struggling. Maybe Odorizzi himself gets bumped to the bullpen. In any case, it’s cause for some consternation. –Scott White

Jose Quintana traded to Cardinals

Quintana has put together a respectable ERA this year but has only a 3-5 record to show for it. Wins remain the most valuable pitching statistic in most scoring formats, and the Cardinals certainly offer him a better chance at them than the Pirates did. Of course, he doesn’t help his case when he fails to go six innings, as he has 15 of his 20 starts this season. Maybe the Cardinals will ride him a little harder than the Pirates did — it’s not like his pitch counts have been particularly high, after all — but even then, we’re talking about little more than a matchups type given his lackluster WHIP and strikeout rate. –Scott White

Christian Vazquez traded to Astros

The Astros have gone the defensive route at catcher the past couple years with Martin Maldonado and won’t lose much in that regard with Vazquez. They will get a boost in offense, though. Vazquez has rebounded from a down year to become the eighth-best catcher in both major scoring formats. Perhaps more interesting than his involvement in this deal is prospect Enmanuel Valdez going back the other way. The 5-foot-9 utility player has been surprisingly productive between Double- and Triple-A this year, slashing .327/.410/.606 with 21 homers in 327 at-bats. His small stature and lack of defensive home keep him low on traditional rank lists, but he could surprise in Fantasy if he gets a chance to fill in for an injured Trevor Story at second base. –Scott White

Tommy Pham traded to Red Sox

Though he certainly hasn’t lived up to his 91st percentile average exit velocity or 84th percentile hard-hit rate, Pham has made strong enough contributions across the board to rank 40th among outfielders in Head-to-Head points leagues and 35th in Rotisserie. You might presume his home venue has something to do with it, but Pham has only slightly better numbers at Great American Ball Park than on the road. He might make out better at Fenway Park, its odd configuration known for boosting hitters’ BABIPs, but most likely, his value stays right about the same. Meanwhile, his departure gives players like Nick Senzel and Jake Fraley an easier path to at-bats, but there isn’t some potential standout waiting in the wings. –Scott White

Trey Mancini traded to Astros

This seemingly low-key deal could actually have an impact in Fantasy given how consequential the park change is for Mancini’s swing in particular. He pulls the ball in the air more than the average hitter (about 25 percent of time, according to FanGraphs), which would normally be a good indicator for power, but the Orioles of course moved their left field fences way back this year. Minute Maid Park, meanwhile, is most known for its short porch in left field. The venues couldn’t be farther apart for that stretch of outfield fence — we’re talking dozens of feet — and fittingly, Statcast suggests Mancini would have more than twice as many home runs, 22 overall, if he had played all his games in Houston this year. 

He won’t play all his games in Houston even now, it’s worth noting, but he’ll play enough that he could be a top-40 outfielder moving forward. –Scott White

Frankie Montas traded to Yankees

Stock up for Montas, of course, who goes from the team with the worst record in the AL to the one with the best. As good as the rest of his stat line looks, it’s his 4-9 record that’s made him only the 52nd-best starting pitcher in points leagues and the 46th-best in 5×5. It might be 9-4 if he had been with the Yankees from the get-go, and I’d expect him to be a top-25 starting pitcher moving forward. Of course, there’s also the matter of him going from one of the best pitcher’s parks to one of the worst, but that’s not going to impact him as much as his 5.01 road ERA would have you believe. For a full explanation why as well as a breakdown of the prospects (namely Ken Waldichuk) going the other way, click here–Scott White

Josh Hader traded to Padres for Taylor Rogers, prospects

Hader will continue to do his thing, just for a new team. The Padres are just as much in contention as the Brewers, so he remains as prolific of a saves source as always. The bigger question is who closes now for the Brewers. Rogers seems like the easy choice, but the Padres had just removed him from the role after an ugly month of July in which he allowed 10 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings. So the better bet might be Devin Williams, long thought to be a closer in waiting with his Airbender changeup (h/t @PitchingNinja) and career 14.7 K/9.

Because Rogers throws lefty and Williams righty, it could become a platoon of sorts, but the Brewers will want to make sure Rogers is right before they go that route. We should all be rooting for Williams to claim the role outright. He has top-three closer potential.

To make up the talent gap between the two lefties, the Brewers also got Esteury Ruiz, Dinelson Lamet and prospect Robert Gasser. The most interesting of these names for Fantasy purposes is Ruiz, who put up monster numbers in the minors prior to his promotion just before the All-Star break, highlighted by 60 stolen bases in 77 games. He hadn’t done much with the big club, and was in fact optioned right away by the Brewers. He could eventually claim the starting center field job from Tyrone Taylor, though. –Scott White

Luis Castillo traded to Mariners

Castillo will enjoy a significant park upgrade with this move, which you could argue makes less of a difference for a pitcher who consistently ranks among the top five in ground-ball rate. But Castillo has faded his sinker in recent weeks for more four-seamers — a change that has yielded positive results overall, with his K/9 going from 7.8 before May 31, when he first ramped up the four-seam use, to 10.1. Still, it has made him less ground ball-oriented, and relatedly, he has a 3.64 ERA at home this year compared to 2.09 on the road. So what does that mean, practically speaking? Probably that we should treat Castillo like a top-20 starting pitcher in Fantasy again. For a more complete breakdown of this deal, click here–Scott White

David Peralta traded to Rays

Peralta had already lost his grip on an everyday role with the Diamondbacks, and that certainly won’t change with a team like the Rays. He is, after all, batting .268 with an .823 OPS against righties compared to .114 with a .462 OPS against lefties, which at least gives him some utility in daily five-outfielder leagues. His acquisition means Josh Lowe is back in the minors, not that the former top prospect was contributing anything worthwhile. It also helps clear the path for Diamondbacks prospect Corbin Carroll, however remote his chance of debuting this year are. –Scott White

Andrew Benintendi traded to Yankees

This trade probably means the Yankees are giving up on Joey Gallo as more than a spot starter, and things could tighten up even more once Giancarlo Stanton returns from his bout with Achilles tendinitis. So far, though, Benintendi looks like an everyday part of the lineup, having already made a start against a lefty since coming over. He’s been serviceable in Fantasy this year because of his high batting average, but it’s been an even more hollow one than in years past. It’s possible he makes more of an effort to pull the ball now, taking aim for the short porch in right field, but I wouldn’t hold your breath on that. –Scott White

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