With the free agent landscape almost barren this off-season, the trade market has dominated the hot stove. Let’s run down the impact these trades had in the fantasy baseball prospect world. Here is the 2017 Off-Season Fantasy Baseball Prospect Rundown: The Traded Prospects:
Yoan Moncada 2B/3B/OF, CHW – Dave Dombrowski whipped out the godfather offer to land the most valuable player available this off-season, Chris Sale. His mission to turn an organization with Dynasty level long-term talent into one with a 3-year compete window is nearly complete. You know Rafael Devers and Jason Groome are going to be burning a hole in his pocket at the trade deadline. As for Moncada, I always think it is much easier for a prospect to break in with a rebuilding team than it is with a contender. He no longer has to be pigeonholed in at third base, and can stick at second, or maybe even be transitioned to centerfield. He is more likely to get significant big league at-bats next season with Chicago, and will get a much longer leash than he would have gotten in Boston. He should also get the constant green light on the base paths. At worst, this has no impact on Moncada’s fantasy value, and I think it is actually a slight positive.
Michael Kopech RHP, CHW – Don’t be shocked if Kopech is the top pitching prospect in the game by mid-season. His fastball velocity has reached mythological status at this point, with there being more consensus on the existence of Big Foot than if he really did uncork a 105 MPH fastball earlier this year. Regardless, he seriously impressed in the Arizona Fall League, and put on a show during the nationally televised Fall League All-Star game, pitching 2 perfect innings with 3 strikeouts. If he can maintain the improved control and command he displayed in the AFL next season, there won’t be many pitching prospects I would rather own than Kopech. Unfortunately, with Chicago’s almost willful disregard for defense, especially catcher defense, he was likely better off in Boston.
Mauricio Dubon INF, MIL – Leave it to Milwaukee’s new management to target an underrated guy like the 22-year-old Dubon. He added doubles power to his already plus hit tool and speed at Double-A this season. He is still a slight 6’0’’, 160 pounds, so there is projection for some more homerun power down the line too. With Orlando Arcia and Jonathan Villar currently locked in at SS and 2B, respectively, Dubon’s path isn’t much clearer in Milwaukee than it was in Boston, although there could be some wiggle room at 3B or OF to carve out a niche as an almost everyday utility player if he hits.
Luis Alexander Basabe OF, CHW – The Sale trade is a boon for the 20-year-old Basabe’s fantasy value. He wasn’t cracking the Benintendi/Bradley/Betts outfield triumvirate in Boston any time soon, and Chicago’s outfield talent is very weak up and down the organization. Even if he never hits above .250, the speed/power combo could provide solid value in fantasy, and Chicago might be inclined to stick with him through the slumps due to the raw talent and lack of good alternatives.
Alex Jackson OF, ATL – The relatively weak return that Seattle got for Jackson should tell you everything you need to know about his current fantasy value. It’s a similar return that the Yankees got for Justin Wilson last year. If you already have him on your team, he is a hold, and the only way I would buy low on him is if my fantasy team is in the exact same position as the Atlanta Braves.
Max Povse RHP, SEA/ Rob Whalen RHP, SEA – These guys have value in only the deepest of leagues. Povse profiles as an innings eating back-end starter who will hurt your ratios and not help all that much in strikeouts. Whalen profiles as something similar, or could end up in middle relief.
Albert Abreu RHP, NYY/Jorge Guzman RHP, NYY – Teams obviously weren’t beating down Cashman’s door to acquire Brian McCann, so he had to settle for two high risk, high reward lower minors arms. Abreu is further along than Guzman, and has a better chance to stick as a starter. Neither of their fantasy values change at all with this trade.
Josh Pennington RHP, MIL/Victor Diaz RHP, CHW – Two hard throwing righties, one already in the bullpen (Diaz), and the other likely destined for the bullpen (Pennington). As a New York Jets fan, it is kinda nice to use “hard throwing” and “Pennington” in the same sentence for once.
John Gant STL, RHP – Acquired in the Jaime Garcia trade along with Chris Ellis and Luke Dykstra. Nothing much to see here for fantasy prospect wise. Most interesting part of the trade is that Gant is now infamous for causing a minor rebellion when former Fangraphs prospect writer, Dan Farnsworth, ranked him the 2nd best prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization last off-season.
Adam Eaton trade update:
Lucas Giolito RHP, CHW – The question marks were starting to build even before this trade (fastball took a step back, control and command not improving), and now you can tack on a DH, a hitter’s ballpark, and a team that doesn’t quite believe in defense, catcher defense in particular. I ranked Giolito 5th in my End of Season Top 35, but he probably drops into the top 10 range now.
Reynaldo Lopez RHP, CHW – Lopez has yet to crack any of my Top 100 lists because I believe the bullpen risk is very high, plus, his projection as a starter is more of the mid-rotation variety. He can throw 100 MPH and his strikeouts spiked to 10.4 per 9 IP in the minors this year, so his strikeout upside is undeniable, but he also gave up 13 homers in those 109.1 MiLB IP, and will now be pitching in a homer happy home ballpark. On the bright side, Washington was stacked with pitching, so Chicago probably gives him a better opportunity to stick as a starter.
Dane Dunning RHP, CHW – A 3/4 type starter without huge strikeout upside is far more appealing in a pitcher friendly ballpark in the NL like Washington. On second thought, every pitcher is far more appealing in a pitcher friendly ballpark in the NL like Washington. Which is why I always build my fantasy teams around NL pitching, until they get traded to shitty situations in the AL. Sorry guys if you own these pitchers. I feel your pain.