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New Team Who Dis? Some of Baseball’s Best Switch Teams

The MLB hot stove is actually starting to get, well, hot.  Big time superstars have changed teams over the last couple of weeks.  Francisco Lindor is now on the Mets, George Springer signed with the Blue Jays, and maybe the best player in Rockies’ history, Nolan Arenado, is now going to suit up for the Cardinals.  Major moves that happen in the big league raise major questions for fantasy team builders.  Let’s take a deeper dive into these moves and maybe, just maybe, we can find some answers.

George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays for 6/$125 mil

The 31-year-old centerfielder has taken his talents to the Six and will be a part of that potentially dangerous Blue Jays lineup.  I have to imagine that most fantasy general managers are excited about this.  There is a lot to be excited about.  In my opinion he improved his home ballpark and his surrounding lineup.  Fangraphs has George Springer projected to be their leadoff hitter.  A spot that Springer should be very comfortable with given that 78% of his career home runs have come from batting first in the batting order.  The Connecticut native has never driven in 100 runs before and I do not expect this year to be the first, but his lineup is undeniably potent so scoring 115-120 runs.  If he produces his usual 80ish RBI’s than you could be looking at a 200 runs + RBI’s season.  As a fantasy GM, you’ll take that.

Now let’s talk about his new home field.  George Springer has been successful in his limited appearances at the Roger Center.  In 65 plate appearances he has swatted 3 home runs and 10 RBI’s.  His .358 batting average and 1.057 OPS are very positive signs that he will really enjoy home cooking during his Blue Jays tenure.  I would never dub someone elite based on 65 PA’s, but this is encouraging.  Given the Rogers Center’s reputation for being very friendly for right-handed batters and looking at Springer’s past performances in Toronto the centerfielder should be on your radar.

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Springer in Fantasy Baseball

There is still some time before draft season officially heats up, but it is still smart to look at his ADP.  According to FantasyPros, George Springer is being drafted around pick 52 overall.  Giving Springer a 4th or 5th round price tag.  He is being weighed down due to his lack of stolen bags.  I do not like playing in category or roto leagues, I am a points league advocate so I would be looking to draft Springer earlier than his current ADP.  Some outfielders that are currently being selected before George Springer that I personally wouldn’t are Starling Marte, Marcell Ozuna, Whit Merrifeld, and Kyle Tucker.  After signing with Toronto I think George Springer is a top 10 outfielder as we head into Spring Training.

Francisco Lindor Dealt to the New York Mets

Let me start by saying I think that Francisco Lindor is amongst the most talented shortstops in all of baseball.  New York was able to acquire Mr. Smile while he is in the prime of his career, he will be 27 this season. The abbreviated 2020 campaign shows that Lindor had a down year but when you dig a little deeper, I think that the statistics that were not up to snub were a product of the shorter season.

Last year Francisco Lindor batted only .258 but his career batting average is .285. Some indicators in his batted ball data shows that the drop in average may not be the beginning of the end for Lindor and an issue of sample size.  His hard hit %, xBA (expected batting average), and xSLG (expected slugging percentage) were all similar to his marks in 2019 where he batted .284. I don’t know exactly where Lindor will bat in the Mets lineup. Fangraphs project him to bat 3rd but other publications project him to bat leadoff. On one hand he has a career average of .300 and could potentially drive in more runs from the 3 hole.  On the other hand he would score more runs and steal more bags from the leadoff spot. Either way Francisco Lindor has as high a ceiling as any other player at the position.

Lindor in NY

How will Lindor fare in New York? Ballpark wise, Citi Field and Progressive Field are both middle of the league in terms of benefitting batters vs pitchers so the field itself will not provide a boost for the shortstop.  However Lindor may be excited to get away from Cleveland. I haven’t spoken with him personally, hit me up Francisco, but he does have more homeruns and has a higher average outside of Progressive than he does hitting in Cleveland. Given the switch in leagues (American to National) there isn’t much data on Lindor hitting in Citi Field. In only 3 games played, Francisco Lindor went 3-12 with no bombs.

If there are fans in the stands in Queens, they will see plenty of round trippers for the Mets. This doesn’t show up in any analytic reports or on any websites because it can’t be officially traced but Lindor being in the big apple will provide a lift to his overall stardom. He is a superstar that will now be able to showcase his skills in the biggest market in sports.  Some players rise to the occasion and I think Francisco Lindor will be one of those players.

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Lindor is currently being drafted as a top 20 player.  He is being selected in the 2nd round and I think that makes a ton of sense.  I don’t really have much to add when it comes to his early average draft position because I think he is an elite talent and is being drafted as such.  Could he creep into the 1st round?  Of course he could, especially if your have some Mets fans in your league.Remove featured image

Nolan Arenado Dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals

In the past few days Major League Baseball gave the green light to the Rockies and Cardinals to complete their trade that sends one of the most storied players in Rockies history to St. Louis.  The initial thinking is that leaving the comfy confines of Coors will be detrimental to his fantasy value.  If that was your first thought than I am right there with you.  Let me get this out of the way, Nolan Arenado is a beast.  He is one of the best third basemen of our era. But his home and road splits are not nothing and even though I think he will be a productive player in St. Louis he may not reach the top of that list outside of Colorado.  His batting average, slugging, and OPS all drop off pretty substantially outside of Coors so far in his career.

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Leaving Coors to play basically anywhere else is a downgrade Park Factors.  Coors favors the hitter in every single Park Factor metric where Busch Stadium favors the pitcher in those same categories.  Most fortunate for Arenado the only Park Factor metric where the Cardinals home ballpark favors the batter is average.  That is the offensive category I am most worried about.  Everyone knew that the home field boost decreased after this trade, but I do not think his surrounding cast improved either.  There isn’t a player on the Cardinals roster that is as talented as Trevor Story, sorry Goldy.

Arenado Right Now

As of now Nolan Arenado is being drafted as a top 25 player. I think that is a fair drafting spot, but it is definitely within the realm of possibilities that you could also see it fall a bit now that the deal was completed.  For roto/categories team builders Arenado will not help you in steals. Like I said his power numbers should be fine. He has averaged just about 40 home runs over the past few years, and I think he could get close in 2021.

Even though I believe his power numbers will remain, Arenado’s batting average and OPS may take a hit.  If that is the case than he goes from a top 25 player to a top 50 player.  That is fairly significant given where you have to draft him.  Am I necessarily avoiding Nolan Arenado? No but if I had to rank these 4 third basemen (all have close ADP’s) it would look like this:

Alex Bregman

Anthony Rendon

Rafael Devers

Nolan Arenado

Final Thoughts

These three superstars will all be playing in different uniforms in 2021 and beyond.  As Spring Training creeps closer you will see more big names either be dealt or sign somewhere else.  If you play fantasy baseball you got to stay up on the league moves and do some research before draft season.  Sometimes a change of scenery can be a great thing but sometimes it can be really bad and you have to know the difference before you make a bad pick or keeper a player that is not worth it.  Keep coming back to Couch Guy Sports for some fantasy baseball content.  Stay ahead of your league mates.

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– Matt Desrosiers (@MattyKiwoom on Twitter)

 

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