Today, we’ll look at a few more players who will be donning new laundry in 2013 and ask whether their value will be bolstered or diminished as a result of their new surroundings.
Jose Reyes to the Blue Jays
This move has to be a positive for Reyes, if for no other reason than addition by subtraction. As many fantasy-relevant players who can extricate themselves from the Miami Marlins mess, the better.
Reyes moves to a more offensive-friendly division, which will help him; 18 games on the basepaths against the Red Sox catching corps is a boon unto itself. Additionally, the mere presence of a DH helps players like Reyes appreciably. The speedy leadoff man is the type who accumulates value by volume of opportunity. Given enough plate appearances, Reyes will grind out those runs and stolen bases that return big value, while adding weight to a plus- to heavily-plus batting average.
It will be interesting to see where Reyes starts to settle in during preseason mock drafts (he sits at an ADP of 36 right now, which I think is about right). He’s coming off a disappointing season (though it wasn’t as bad as you might think it was), but is now central to the new Toronto Blue Jays hype. I think the Toronto offense actually has a lot of question marks. A vintage Reyes season would be tremendously valuable toward erasing them.
R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays
Dickey’s story is one that proves truth is stranger than fiction. And, frankly, I’m a believer. The great thing about Dickey, from the perspective of somebody looking for potential value, is that he’s essentially a unique profile in the history of the game. For a top-flight pitcher, he’s old calendar-wise, but he hasn’t racked up the number of innings most pitchers his age have. He’s a knuckleballer, which further complicates the question about the age of his arm. But, he throws the knuckler harder than just about anybody before him, making him even unique among knuckleballers. So, there certainly could be room for those with an opinion on Dickey to either get value or let a fellow owner crap out.
Current ADP rankings have Dickey going 55th, the 13th overall pitcher off the board. There aren’t too many pitchers ranked behind him who I’d prefer, so this seems pretty reasonable to me. I would expect that a move to the AL East and out of Citi Field will hurt his numbers a bit, but I still expect a workhorse type season with good rates and nice strikeout numbers.
Whatever progress the NL may have been slowly making on figuring Dickey out last year will be irrelevant, as he inherits a league of relative noobs.
I believe in Dickey are therefore treat him essentially the same as any other ace pitcher moving from a pitcher-friendly NL park to the war zone that is the AL East.
A.J. Pierzynski to the Rangers
The polarizing Pierzynski is a 35-year-old catcher coming off a career year. This is not generally the recipe of a player fantasy experts make their hay touting. Mitigating his age and the fact that his stellar 2012 was preceded by pedestrian-at-best 2010 and 2011 seasons is the fact that Pierzynski moves to the hitters’ haven that is Texas (though Chicago itself is quite generous) and inherits a superior line-up. Pierzynski is a safe pick as a non glamorous back-end 12-14 team league starter, or an absolute stud second catcher. There’s a little upside there as well.
Strategically speaking, most roster-able catchers outside the top few offer some power upside while hurting you in average. Pierzynski is cut in the opposite mold. A full time catcher with career .284 batting average is more valuable than many may think. Those who like to gobble up earlier-round power threats with batting average liability like Jay Bruce, and who are left looking for cheap average-helpers late in the draft, might consider targeting Pierzynski.
Josh Hamilton to the Angels
I guess we have to touch on Josh Hamilton here, but to be honest, his entry is among the least interesting of those who have changed teams this offseason. Simply, superstars are less impacted by the kinds of variables that come with changing teams than anybody else. Hamilton leaves a launching pad of a home park, but inherits a line-up that already boasts two of the best offensive players in the game. He also stays in the same division, so intra-division road park issues remain fairly steady.
I don’t want Hamilton. I won’t be buying him in any auctions, and I’ll try to stay away from him in drafts. If I can’t find any hitters I really like when he’s left on the board, I might even just go with Justin Verlander instead. Hamilton is injury prone and his value is sky-high (ADP of 7). He also strikes me as the type of player who will lose it quickly when it does go. He’s so undisciplined and seems reliant on a few torrid hot streaks to fuel his gaudy production totals. I’d prefer to bet on an Albert Pujols rebirth, or on the balanced output of an Andrew McCutchen.