The trades have been made, and now it’s time to analyze the fantasy value of the players that were included in the deals. Most of the players below aren’t having stellar seasons, nor are most of them considered great (at least anymore), but they are still fantasy options. It’s important to understand how much switching teams, divisions and leagues can affect a player’s value. You would think being traded to a competitor would almost always boost a player’s value, but you’ll find that is not always the case.
Three Guys: by Conan Hines
Lance Berkman – Yankees
Berkman has been known for flip-flopping great seasons with decent seasons over the last several years. He had an average season last year, and he’s no better than average again this year. At 34, maybe this is the new Berkman. But don’t tell that to him. A former member of the Killer B’s, Lance has battled injuries for the last few years. He’s also hitting below the Mendoza-line against lefties, so a platoon in the Bronx could be in store for him. With that said, he will be on the better side of that platoon. And all I have to do is point to Vladimir Guerrero for evidence that resurgences do occur. Being in that NY lineup will help, but batting 7th won’t. I think Berkman pulls his average up 15 points by season’s end and increases the power a bit. The loss of at-bats will sting a bit, so I wouldn’t jump on him as the crux of your team. But if you need a nice piece for the stretch run, look no further. Value is NEUTRAL.
Edwin Jackson – White Sox
Poor Edwin. He has been with four organizations in three years despite winning 34 wins in that time; so what gives? To put it frankly, it seems to be a case of “wrong place, wrong time.” Tampa Bay had too many young arms pushing for major league time. Detroit and Arizona both believed they were in position to “go for it” in 2009 and 2010 respectively. And now, the White Sox traded for him primarily to obtain Adam Dunn. That trade fell through, so now Jackson is in Chi-Town and I think an upgrade is in order. He has limited his home runs (.87 / 9 IP), which is essential for pitching well on the South Side. He will also have a more competent offense in a lackluster division. I would look for his wins to increase noticeably. Parlay that with the huge chip he must be carrying on his shoulder, and I would buy on this guy today. Value is UP.
Miguel Tejada – Padres
When any player goes to San Diego, the general consensus is to downgrade his offensive production numbers by a good 20%. I think Tejada could be the exception to this rule. You shouldn’t be looking at Miguel for power, but the guy is still a solid singles and hits from gap-to-gap. Playing in San Diego could actually improve his average due to all the space at Petco Park. Tejada’s BABIP is a little lower than normal this year – he sits at .285 after posting at least a .303 number the past three season – so a spike in average should not be unexpected. And although Tejada ha snot landed with an offensive juggernaut, he at least will get to hit in front of Adrian Gonzalez, who just may be better than the entire Orioles offense combined. Tejada should get some nice pitches to hit and score a bunch of runs. The old-timer still has some left in the tank, and I think his value deserves an upgrade. Value is UP.
Tres Chicos: by Justin Green
Rick Ankiel – Braves
With Nate McLouth in the minors, Ankiel looks to get the majority of playing time in center field for the Braves. Though he is now on a better team, I don’t see his value increasing too much. Ankiel had some injury issues in KC and ended up with a 14-4-15-1-.261 line in 101 plate appearances. Ankiel’s health and the Royals’ weak offense (ranked 23rd in RBI and 21st in slugging) did not help those numbers. Now, Ankiel is in Atlanta, supposedly a better offensive team, but not by as much as you would think. The Braves don’t rank in the top 10 in any major offensive category (other than OBP) and rumor has it Ankiel will be facing a platoon due to his .241 career average against left-handed pitchers. Unless Ankiel finds a good hitting groove, he probably won’t hit or play enough to warrant a pick-up in most formats. Value is NEUTRAL.
Jake Westbrook – Cardinals
When American League pitchers get traded to the National League, it must feel like a normal Joe getting transferred from Omaha to Hawaii. Westbrook has gone from having to face the Twins and White Sox on a regular basis to facing NL clubs like the Astros and Pirates. Westbrook has been decent the last few years despite his health issues. His strikeout rate has held steady around 5 K/9 IP, and his ERA, which has never been very impressive, is hovering around the mid-to-low fours. Westbrook should increase his strikeout rate and get more wins than he would have in the AL with the Indians. Value is UP.
Ryan Ludwick – Padres
Ludwick, who didn’t see regular playing time until eight years into his MLB career, was traded to San Diego and will remain in the NL. Unfortunately for Ludwick, that means he will have to face the Giants, Dodgers, and Rockies more – all teams ranked within the top 11 in the league in ERA. Two things working in Ludwick’s favor: he will receive regular playing time after losing some starts in St. Louis, and the lingering calf injury that threatened to sideline him seems to be in the past. Ludwick has a 46-11-43-0-.282 line in 282 at-bats this year; and though he moves into a pitcher-friendly park, he should be able to maintain his production in a quality Padres lineup (it feels weird to say that . . .). The trade hasn’t handicapped Ludwick, but the move to San Diego won’t really benefit him either. Value is NEUTRAL.