Fantasy fallout: Josh Willingham, Scott Olsen for Emilio Bonifacio

Amidst the Matt Holliday to Oakland speculation storm yesterday, the Washington Nationals and Florida Marlins agreed to a trade that also has some fantasy implications. The Nats will send Emilio Bonifacio and a couple of Class-A prospects to the Fish for Josh Willingham and Scott Olsen.

Fallout: Josh Willingham

Power

+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | HR | tHR | HR/FB | tHR/FB | nHR/FB | RAW | OF FB% |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+
| 2006 |  27 | Marlins | 502 | 26 |  18 |    18 |     12 |     10 | 4.1 |     37 |
| 2007 |  28 | Marlins | 521 | 21 |  18 |    14 |     12 |     11 | 2.6 |     38 |
| 2008 |  29 | Marlins | 351 | 15 |  14 |    15 |     14 |     14 | 0.0 |     37 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-----+-------+--------+--------+-----+--------+

If you’re new to THT Fantasy Focus and are unfamiliar with True Home Runs (tHR) or any of the other stats I’m using, check out our quick reference guide. These stats provide a much clearer picture of a player’s talent, so it’s well worth a couple of minutes to learn them.

Sorry guys, the version of HitTracker I’m using doesn’t have National Park in there, so I can’t translate the numbers for you. We can still look at his Park Neutral HR/FB (nHR/FB) and get a good idea about his power, though.

As you can see, Willingham’s power level in 2006 wasn’t for real. His nHR/FB was 8 points lower than his actual HR/FB, which promptly fell in the following year. His nHR/FB has been on the rise, though, topping off at a solid 14 percent in 2008 to go with a steady outfield fly rate.

Willingham isn’t anything special, power-wise, but he can provide at least solid value with 20 or so homers given 550 at-bats.

Contact

+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | BA    | tBA   | CT% | BABIP | mBABIP | LD% | BIP/HR | BIP/tHR |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+
| 2006 |  27 | Marlins | 502 | 0.277 | 0.263 |  78 | 0.308 |  0.311 |  16 |     15 |      22 |
| 2007 |  28 | Marlins | 521 | 0.265 | 0.260 |  77 | 0.310 |  0.311 |  20 |     19 |      22 |
| 2008 |  29 | Marlins | 351 | 0.254 | 0.249 |  77 | 0.291 |  0.289 |  19 |     18 |      19 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+-------+-----+-------+--------+-----+--------+---------+

While Willingham has decent power, he will hurt you with his batting average. He has a below-average contact rate, and his BABIP (and mBABIP) fell below average as well in 2008. What you see is essentially what you get here, as his True Batting Averages match his actual batting averages pretty well.

Willingham has no speed to speak of, so you’re essentially getting a .250 hitter with 20 HR power.

The Nats have said they’ll use him as an outfielder, which means his overall value will take a hit. The team already has Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes, Austin Kearns, Wily Mo Pena, and Willie Harris (underrated, terrific defense) occupying spots on the outfield depth chart. He’ll likely start, but his job will be less secure than it was in Florida. He batted mostly fourth (when healthy) in a pretty potent Florida lineup this year, and even if he bats fourth for the Nationals his RBI and run value will likely take a hit.

Fallout: Scott Olsen

+------+-----+-------+----+-------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+
| YEAR | AGE | LAST  | G  | IP    | ERA  | LIPS ERA | DIPS WHIP | K/9  | BB/9 | K/BB RI | xGB% |
+------+-----+-------+----+-------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+
| 2005 |  21 | Olsen |  5 |  20.3 | 3.98 |     3.84 |      1.43 | 9.30 | 4.43 |    0.44 |   40 |
| 2006 |  22 | Olsen | 31 | 180.7 | 4.04 |     3.95 |      1.32 | 8.27 | 3.74 |    0.36 |   44 |
| 2007 |  23 | Olsen | 33 | 176.7 | 5.81 |     4.73 |      1.57 | 6.78 | 4.33 |   -0.17 |   40 |
| 2008 |  24 | Olsen | 33 | 201.7 | 4.20 |     4.75 |      1.38 | 5.04 | 3.08 |   -0.41 |   38 |
+------+-----+-------+----+-------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+

Olsen was once a very promising pitcher, but he is on a four-year decline. He showed nice promise after given a cup of coffee in 2005, and after his 2006 season he looked like a prime breakout candidate for 2007. He went the opposite direction, though, as his K/BB Run Impact fell into the negatives, his ground ball rate dropped, and his LIPS ERA climbed into the high 4.00s.

This past year, his strikeout rate fell below league average as his ground ball rate fell even further. He did improve his control, but Olsen just doesn’t seem like someone fantasy owners should care much about anymore.

I suppose the potential will always be there for him to turn things around (he is still just 24 years old, after all), but he won’t be drafted until the second-half of NL-only leagues this year. This trade shouldn’t change that. If anything, his value decreases just a little.

This year, the two teams had nearly identical RZRs (.827 to 8.25) but Washington got to more out-of-zone balls (457 to 396).

Last year’s Bill James Handbook (sorry, I haven’t picked up my 2009 copy yet) put Dolphin Stadium at a HR Park Index of 91. ESPN put Nationals Park (new in 2008) at 94 this year. The sample size is small there, though, and if we were to regress it to the mean, the difference would get a little larger.

The Marlins scored 770 runs this year compared to Washington’s 641, but if the Marlins continue clearing house and the Nats make a big signing or two (which is being rumored), the gap could close quickly.

I guess the summary is that, weighing all these factors, Olsen’s value stays relatively the same. He is still a below-average pitcher with little fantasy value who won’t really be helped or hurt too drastically by the trade.

Fallout: Emilio Bonifacio

Bonifacio’s value takes a huge hit with this trade. While he was a legitimate option to start at second base for the Nationals, he now has Dan Uggla ahead of him on the depth chart. Florida is insistent they won’t trade Uggla, so unless they change their tune, Bonifacio figures to spend most of the season in the minors or on the bench.

He would be an interesting sleeper if he gets some playing time as he has great speed and could get you some cheap steals. He doesn’t have much power, though, and strikes out to often to help much with batting average.

Fallout: Marlins

After trading Mike Jacobs last week, this trade continues to emphasize the Marlins’ commitment to deal off their players whose contracts are getting larger. Right now, the two main guys this affects are Kevin Gregg and Jeremy Hermida. If Gregg is traded, his value likely drops. If Hermida is traded, it’ll depend on where he goes. He’d likely benefit from a trade to most teams in the league at this point.

As yet another power hitter is being removed from the team’s lineup, guys like Uggla and Hanley Ramirez lose a bit of value since they’ll be driven in a little less frequently. If Hermida ends up going, there would be little left of this offense aside from Uggla and Hanley. There’s talk Hanley could be moved to the third spot in the order, which might actually hurt him. He’ll grab a few more RBIs at the expense of some runs, and in that spot might not be allowed to run as often.

This trade helps the value of Andrew Miller a lot. He was sort of the odd-man-out at the end of 2008 once he returned from injury, and the departure of Olsen frees up a rotation spot for him. Scouts love his raw talent, but his numbers have not been impressive yet. He’ll be interesting to watch, but he’s no more than a high-risk speculative pick on draft day.

It might not have been necessary, but the trade of Willingham all but assures Cameron Maybin of a starting spot in 2009. I’m still not sure he’s major league ready, but the potential is there. I’d be more inclined to wait until 2010 on him, though.

Fallout: Nationals

The outfielders I mentioned earlier (Milledge, Dukes, Kearns, Harris, Pena) are all affected by this trade since another outfielder with a reputation for being pretty good is thrown into the mix. Milledge is the safest of the bunch, followed by Dukes, and I won’t be changing their values too much. The other guys all need to be concerned and will likely start the season on the bench, if they aren’t traded (which could actually be a good thing for their value).

Print Friendly
 Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone
« Previous: Fantasy fallout: Matt Holliday to A’s (Part 2)
Next: TUCK! sez: True pros »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current ye@r *