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MLB Barometer: Trade to LA a Big Plus For Lilly

Mark Stopa

Mark Stopa

Mark Stopa has been sharing his fantasy insights for Rotowire since 2007. Mark is the 2010 and 2012 Staff Picks champion (eat your heart out, Chris Liss) and won Rotowire's 14-team Staff League II in consecutive seasons. He roots for the Bills and has season tickets on the second row, press level to the Rays.

The trade deadline just passed, and with it, the values of many players have changed. Let's break it down, Barometer style.

A recurring theme throughout this article is the way in whichPark Effect changes the fortunes of a player going from one home ballpark to another. Check out the link (where some stadiums fall on the list may surprise you.)

As always, if you think I've omitted a player whose value has changed as a result of the deadline deals, feel free to say so in the comments.

Upgrades:

Chris Snyder, C, Pirates: If you're looking at Snyder's season stats after his trade to Pittsburgh, don't be misled. He did not play very often recently following Miguel Montero’s return from the DL in mid-June. Hence, Snyder's trade to Pittsburgh - where Ryan Doumit is on the DL and isn't very good defensively - is a huge boon for Snyder's playing time. Except for one-catcher, 10-team mixed leagues with few bench spots, I can't see a scenario where Snyder should be unowned, yet he's owned in just 5% of Yahoo! leagues. Jump on board, particularly in two-catcher formats.

Miguel Montero, C, Diamondbacks: Snyder's trade to Pittsburgh ensures that Montero won't be benched for defensive purposes, as has happened on occasion throughout his career. If you own Montero, you have to feel a little better than you did just a few days ago. Keep using him as a top-5 catcher.

Brett Wallace, 1B, Astros: Finally, after being traded by 47 major league teams in the past 18 months (ok, maybe not that many), Wallace has a home in Houston. His situation is not perfect - the lineup around him is certainly diluted, for instance - but Wallace gets to play every day and will hit in Minute Maid Park. If you need power, see if Wallace is available in your league - he's owned in just 3% of Yahoo! leagues.

Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers: Of all the names who've been discussed at first base for Texas this year - Justin Smoak, Chris Davis, Jorge Cantu - it's Mitch Moreland who's going to play first base and hit against most righties down the stretch for a pennant contender. Moreland won't face lefties - that role goes to Cantu - and will sit against some righties, but he is an obvious add in AL-Only leagues.

Gregor Blanco, OF, Royals: Somebody has to play outfield for the Royals, with Rick Ankiel traded to Atlanta and David DeJesus out for the season. Blanco has no power, but he runs a little, hits for average, is just 26, and looks set to patrol center field every day in Kansas City. Best of all, I doubt Blanco is owned in any league of anyone reading this.

Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals: Going from the AL to the NL is always good for a pitcher, and getting to work with Dave Duncan isn't bad, either. Factor in more wins by playing with the Cardinals, and Westbrook's value has increased dramatically.

Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Astros: I wanted to limit this Barometer to those players who were impacted by deadline trades, but Wandy has forced my hand. After another gem on July 31 (8 innings, 9 Ks, 1 walk, no runs), I'm comfortable saying Wandy's early-season struggles are over. Don't be misled by his season statistics (1.410 WHIP) - over his past six outings, Wandy has been the player we saw in 2009 when he had 193 Ks and posted a 1.240 WHIP.

Ted Lilly, SP, Dodgers: For me, the Dodgers getting Lilly and Ryan Theriot from the Cubs for Blake DeWitt and two prospects I've never heard of was the most significant deadline deal. Lilly was pretty good already, pitching in Wrigley - 1.137 WHIP - and his value is sure to skyrocket heading to the Dodgers home park and a division full of pitchers' parks. Yes, Lilly has some fly ball (.60 G/F) and HR (19 HRs allowed) tendencies, but those will be masked in the parks where he's pitching. Consider that Lilly is owned in just 50% of Yahoo! leagues, and he's the first guy I'd be looking to acquire in the aftermath of the deadline trades, be it via waivers or trade.

Chris Perez, RP, Indians: Perez has more saves than the departed Kerry Wood (11 vs 8), but Wood's departure to the Yankees cements Perez as the full-time closer.

Juan Gutierrez, RP, Diamondbacks: I know the stats are ugly - 13 HRs allowed in 38 innings, 6.87 ERA, 1.526 WHIP, but somebody is going to get saves for Arizona, right? Chad Qualls changing uniforms certainly doesn't hurt Gutierrez.

Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek, RP, Pirates: Somebody is going to close for the Pirates now that Octavio Dotel is in LA. My money is on Hanrahan, who has a gaudy 63 Ks in 45.7 innings and a 1.007 WHIP, but early word is that Evan Meek (58.3 innings, 49 Ks, 0.874 WHIP) will also get a chance.

No Change:

Ryan Theriot, 2B/SS, Dodgers: I'm not going to downgrade Theriot based on his move to Dodgers stadium because power isn't his game anyway, so the bigger home park shouldn't affect him. Theriot is what he is - expect an average around .290 and about eight steals the rest of the way.

Miguel Tejada, SS, Padres: Tejada may be moving into a pennant race, but he has to hit in Petko Park. At best, that's a push, making him a "no change."

Roy Oswalt, SP, Phillies: Nothing about Oswalt has changed except his uniform.

Downgrades:

Ryan Doumit, C, Pirates: Snyder's addition won’t bode well for Doumit's playing time, and the Pirates have stated they’re going to use Doumit in the outfield a bit when he is activated. Doumit's bat has always been his calling card, but it will be much tougher to out-hit other outfielders than catchers.

Lance Berkman, 1B, Astros: I thought about listing Berkman as a "No Change," and I realize that his ceiling is a bit higher now that he's hitting in the Yankees lineup. In other words, it's absolutely possible that the trade revitalizes him and he returns to career norms (as I discussed when I profiled him a few weeks back). But here's the problem - his ceiling may be higher, but Berkman's floor is much, much lower. In Houston, Berkman was assured of every-day playing time, even if he struggled. In New York, Teixeira plays first, and the Yankees have lots of other options at DH, so if Berkman struggles, he may platoon. Given the choice of everyday playing time in Houston or the possibility of riding the pine in New York, I'd have chosen Houston for fantasy purposes.

Chris Davis, 1B, Rangers: The Rangers trade of Justin Smoak a few weeks back wasn't a way to give Davis playing time after all. Davis has been demoted to Triple-A (again) and newly acquired Jorge Cantu will share time at first with Mitch Moreland.

Jorge Cantu, 1B/3B, Rangers: My rationale here is the same as that for Berkman - yes, the lineup around him has improved, and so has the home park, but it doesn't matter if Cantu loses out on everyday playing time. In other words, if I owned Cantu, I'd have much preferred that he stay in Florida, and play every day, than get sporadic playing time in Texas.

Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees: Right now, here's how I see the Yankees lineup: Gardner in left, Granderson in center, Swisher in right, Berkman at DH. But Granderson has awful splits against lefties, so I could easily see Gardner in center and newly acquired Austin Kearns in left against lefties. Also, what happens if Jorge Posada's health relegates him to DH duties? If I owned Granderson, I'd be concerned the Yankees have too many capable hitters for too few lineup spots. Granderson will be on the pine more than he'll like, I suspect.

Ryan Ludwick, OF, Padres: Raise your hand if you thought, before the season, the Padres would be buyers at the trade deadline. Didn't think so. Anyway, Ludwick's power potential (37 HRs in 2008) may be good for the Padres, but hitting in Petco is bad news for his fantasy owners. Going from the Cardinals lineup to the Padres isn't good, either. Ludwick has no speed (zero steals) and just 11 HRs through 281 ABs and I see his ownership rates - currently at 67% in Yahoo! leagues - steadily declining as the season progresses.

Austin Kearns, OF, Yankees: Kearns' playing time is sure to take a huge hit with his trade to the Yankees, as he's no better than the fourth outfielder in New York (Gardner, Granderson, Swisher) and Berkman occupies the DH spot.

Will Venable, OF, Padres: The Padres acquisition of Ludwick creates a logjam in the outfield, and it seeems Venable is the odd man out.

Nate McLouth, OF, Braves: It's been a miserable season for McLouth (.544 OPS - is that even possible?), and now Rick Ankiel is in the fold. Ankiel has always struggled against lefties (.239/.279/.402), but McLouth hits from the left side, too; and since they both play center field, it's hard to see where McLouth fits in for the Braves.

Jeremy Hermida, Free Agent: Hermida has been viewed as something of a sleeper after hitting 18 HRs in 429 ABs for the Marlins in 2007 at age 23. But it's been downhill for Hermida ever since, culminating with his DFA by the Red Sox on the eve of the trade deadline.

Jon Rauch, RP, Twins: I'm not sure what the Twins see in Matt Capps - not only did they demote Rauch (25 saves, 3.07 ERA, 3:1 K:BB) to a setup role, they traded top prospect Wilson Ramos to get him. In any event, Rauch's demotion to the eighth-inning role obviously kills his fantasy value. I suspect Capps has a short leash, since Rauch has proven himself capable, but Rauch belongs on waivers in most standard mixed leagues.

Kerry Wood, RP, Yankees: Last I checked, the Yankees had some guy named Mariano Rivera pitching in the ninth inning. Barring an injury, Wood will earn some holds and have minimal fantasy value. He wasn't pitching well anyway (18 Ks, 11 BB in 20 innings, 1.600 WHIP).

Octavio Dotel, RP, Dodgers: Here's the good news, Octavio: (1) you're moving from Pittsburgh to LA; (2) you've been traded from a perennial cellar-dweller to a contender; and (3) you're pitching in a good home park in a division full of pitcher's parks. Now the bad news: Jonathan Broxton is the closer and you have no chance of unseating him.

Chad Qualls, RP, Rays: Any chance of Qualls earning a few cheap saves has been eliminated with his trade to the Rays, where All-Star closer Rafael Soriano and Joaquin Benoit, among others, are ahead of Qualls in the pecking order. (By the way, have you seen Benoit's stats? 53 Ks versus 6 walks in 37.1 innings, 0.536 WHIP, 0.72 ERA - wow).