Fantasy fallout: Mike Jacobs traded to Royals

It was announced yesterday that the rumored Mike Jacobs-to-Kansas City trade finally went through. In return, the Marlins receive relief pitcher Leo Nunez. Today we’ll examine how this affects the values of these two players and their new teammates.

Fallout: The Kansas City Royals

Some will say that this trade didn’t make much sense for the Royals. From the standpoint that they already have a ton of guys who can play first base, it doesn’t, but for the price, I can’t fault them too much. Whether it was the right move is irrelevant to fantasy owners, though, so let’s look at how this affects things in KC.

The team already has Billy Butler, Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue who can play first base or DH, and adding Jacobs to the mix only complicates things further. There has been talk that KC could trade one of them (Butler’s name has come up most frequently), which would help their value. The team also could put Butler in the outfield (if Jose Guillen or Mark Teahen is traded) if they’d like to accommodate at least three of these guys.

Overall, I’d say this trade has a negative effect on Shealy and Ka’aihue but a positive effect on Butler. Regardless of Jacobs’ presence, I don’t see how the team could bench Butler. He’ll either play or this move will force a trade. Either way, it’s good news for Butler. Even if Butler is traded, though, that leaves Shealy and Ka’aihue to battle for playing time.

Indirectly, this trade also helps Ramon Ramirez, who put up an excellent season in relief this year (8.8 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 46 percent GB) and has some impressive looking PITCHf/x data (nice fastball and change-up). With Nunez no longer in the picture, Ramirez will clearly be the top setup man next year and should fill in at closer in the event of a Joakim Soria injury (or if the team changes its mind and puts him in the rotation).

Fallout: The Florida Marlins

With Jacobs gone, the team could look to either Gaby Sanchez or Dallas McPherson in a full-time role next year. If Sanchez is the choice, he would likely play first. If McPherson is chosen, he could play third with Jorge Cantu at first.

I’m a little more excited about McPherson after his 42 homers in Triple-A this year, but he strikes out a ton and could hurt you with batting average. Sanchez is interesting in that he stole 17 bases in Double-A this year, but he was also caught eight times and has only okay power.

The Marlins trading Jacobs indicates a clear willingness to part with their players, making it a little more likely guys like Kevin Gregg, Scott Olsen Jeremy Hermida, and Josh Willingham could get traded.

This would be especially bad news for Gregg, as he likely wouldn’t close anywhere else (unless he lands on a team that really doesn’t know what it’s doing). Dolphin Stadium is mostly a neutral park for lefties and the Marlins have a solid lineup, so any change to Hermida’s value would depend on where he goes. Dolphin Stadium suppresses homers by 15 percent for righties, so Willingham could reasonably benefit from a trade. Olsen could benefit as well, but his days of having fantasy value could be long gone.

Fallout: Mike Jacobs

Contact

+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+---------+--------+-----+-------+--------+-----+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | BA    | FLA tBA | KC tBA | CT% | BABIP | mBABIP | LD% |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+---------+--------+-----+-------+--------+-----+
| 2006 |  25 | Marlins | 469 | 0.262 |   0.273 |  0.271 |  78 | 0.299 |  0.306 |  20 |
| 2007 |  26 | Marlins | 426 | 0.265 |   0.276 |  0.271 |  76 | 0.312 |  0.310 |  18 |
| 2008 |  27 | Marlins | 477 | 0.247 |   0.239 |  0.233 |  75 | 0.264 |  0.282 |  18 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+-------+---------+--------+-----+-------+--------+-----+

Jacobs managed to post adequate batting averages and True Batting Averages in 2006 and 2007, but the decreasing contact rate trend and drop in BABIP caused his True Batting Average to plummet to .239 this year. If we throw him into Kansas City, it would have been .233.

It’s very possible the BABIP was simply bad luck this year, and if it bounces back his batting average could rise back into not-good-but-not-going-to-kill-you territory. Be very cautious, though, because you’re in trouble if it doesn’t, especially given his…

Power

+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-------+------------+-----------+--------+-----+--------+
| YEAR | AGE | TEAM    | AB  | HR | HR/FB | FLA tHR/FB | KC tHR/FB | nHR/FB | RAW | OF FB% |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-------+------------+-----------+--------+-----+--------+
| 2006 |  25 | Marlins | 469 | 20 |    15 |         17 |        16 |     16 | 6.6 |     37 |
| 2007 |  26 | Marlins | 426 | 17 |    12 |         16 |        11 |     14 | 2.2 |     42 |
| 2008 |  27 | Marlins | 477 | 32 |    21 |         14 |        14 |     12 | 0.6 |     42 |
+------+-----+---------+-----+----+-------+------------+-----------+--------+-----+--------+

One of the best things about HitTracker and True Home Runs is that we can see how a player would hit in a different environment. This is exactly what I did with Jacobs, as you can see above. Despite a big rise in HR/FB this year, Jacobs’ True Home Run numbers have been on a three-year decline. It looks as though KC’s Kauffman Stadium will be a little tougher on him than Dolphin Stadium was, which is especially bad news given that he derives most of his value from his power (that batting average certainly isn’t doing anything for him).

He will be 28 next year and could turn things around, but Jacobs doesn’t look anywhere close to the 32 home run beast he appeared to be in 2008. And since he’ll be trading in Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla and Hermida for David DeJesus, Alex Gordon and Guillen, the RBIs and runs could suffer a little too.

Overall, Jacobs clearly loses value in this trade and is probably in the bottom tier of first baseman this year in mixed leagues.

Fallout: Leo Nunez

+------+-----+----+------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+-------+
| YEAR | AGE | G  | IP   | ERA  | LIPS ERA | DIPS WHIP | K/9  | BB/9 | K/BB RI | xGB% | BABIP |
+------+-----+----+------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+-------+
| 2005 |  21 | 41 | 53.7 | 7.55 |     4.70 |      1.49 | 5.37 | 3.02 |   -0.27 |   37 | 0.354 |
| 2006 |  22 |  7 | 13.3 | 4.73 |     4.95 |      1.43 | 4.73 | 3.38 |   -0.51 |   45 | 0.317 |
| 2007 |  23 | 13 | 43.7 | 3.92 |     3.87 |      1.21 | 7.63 | 2.06 |    0.52 |   32 | 0.288 |
| 2008 |  24 | 45 | 48.3 | 2.98 |     3.99 |      1.28 | 4.84 | 2.79 |   -0.40 |   38 | 0.281 |
+------+-----+----+------+------+----------+-----------+------+------+---------+------+-------+

Leo Nunez receives a boost in value with this trade. Matt Lindstrom is the favorite to enter 2009 as the team’s closer (I’m working under the assumption Gregg gets traded), but he didn’t show very good skills last year (6.8 K/9, 4.1 BB/9). If he comes out of the gate pitching like that, he’ll quickly be out of a job.

Of course, Nunez didn’t post very good skills this year either. The Marlins did give up a pretty significant piece for him, though, and his 2.98 ERA and 94 MPH fastball could fool them. Regardless, Nunez would have a better shot at inheriting the closer’s role from Lindstrom than from Soria (and the Marlins don’t have anyone as good as Ramirez for him to battle with).

He might not hold the role for very long, but any reliever can get have a lucky season or a lucky few months. And if his 2007 skills come back, he won’t need good luck to hold down the job.

Nunez makes for a solid sleeper in NL-only leagues and someone to watch in mixed leagues.

Print Friendly
« Previous: The good, the bad and the telling
Next: What the Joker can teach you about fantasy baseball »

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 day month ye@r *