Every offseason, there are moves. Some statement, huh? But every year, guys switch teams. Sometimes this is stupendous for fantasy purposes (example: Leaving PETCO) other times the move is irrelevant (say, anything pertaining to Placido Polanco). I am here today to discuss some of the moves that will alter the fantasy landscape, moves that will make a player more valuable to your team, moves that will score you a ‘nice move’ by your fellow drafters on the big day. Here are some hitters that moved and how they’ll be that much better for it in the upcoming year:
Obviously, I was going to start this post with my new friend’s upside. Carl Crawford doesn’t really need to be hyped up for you to know going to the Red Sox will be beneficial for his numbers. But I’m going to give you a few ideas anyway. Here is one time I’m going to completely ignore Bill James’ predictors. He seems to think Carl is not going to have 100 runs scored. I’m willing to bet my left ear that Carl Crawford will score a ton in the newly revamped Sox lineup, easily scoring 100 runs. Also take into account that Crawford has always been a good Fenway hitter. Give him a bunch more at bats in our beloved banbox and he could definitely see a spike in both homers and triples, what with the 300 foot foul pole in right and all kinds of juts and jabs in the outfield wall. Take a look at Crawford’s projections then add up- he’s going to have a monster year.
Much of Crawford’s production will be due in large part to this man. I salivate thinking about Adrian Gonzalez in Fenway. Notorious for being an excellent opposite field hitter, A-Gone could potentially hit 50 homers and set the record for most 301 foot 4-baggers in the history of baseball. You see, Fenway, in all it’s glory, has the unique dimensions ideal for a power hitter like Gonzalez, short porch in left for those lofty fly balls to the opposite field and short down the line for the extreme pull. With a good lineup, Gonzalez should hit 40 homers and have 100 walks easily, it’s some of the other stats that interest me. Doubles, RBI, Runs, in this new Sox lineup Gonzalez should flourish. He’s a power hitter, sure, but he also consistently puts good wood on the ball. Don’t you think some of those line drives to left in PETCO are suddenly going to be high up on the Monstah at the Fens? I expect the new Slugger to put up big, big, big numbers in all the useful categories: Homers, Doubles, RBI’s, Runs, OBP, OPS, all the stats you would want a slugger to provide in fantasy. Draft him accordingly.
I know, be afraid. Be very afraid. Many owners don’t want even a sniff of Reynolds on their team but I’m not one of them. You don’t make up that kind of power. I acknowledge and accept his strikeouts, those aren’t going anywhere. Mark Reynolds is not going to win you a week with singles and average. Draft Ichiro if you want that. Mark Reynolds can mash. I draft him as a late cheap source of power, and let the season sort itself out. So why am I such a Mark Reynolds madman this year? Power is contagious. Camden Yards is a fairly good hitters park, so his power shouldn’t take a hit at home. Removing PETCO and Coors from the equation, where he doesn’t have great numbers also will serve to help Reynolds. Let’s also not forget that he suddenly gets to play a handful of games at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and the new launching pad in Toronto. I’m betting Reynolds, at the very least, has an excellent power year, filling up the Homers and RBI categories, while maintaining his lumberjackian strikeout rate.
Speaking of sluggers at launching pads, Adam Dunn, known for his big bat, is heading to an absolute rocket pad of a home stadium. Especially in the summer, Comiskey tends to be a homer-happy stadium where you can put it on the booooaaarrrrrd. Dunn joins a solid lineup this year and let us not forget, he put up his usual numbers playing on a team protected in the lineup by Ryan Zimmerman and not much else. Now paired up with Paul Konerko, I expect an upturn in homers, as well as more RBI’s with there being more people on base in Chicago as opposed to the Nats. If Adam Dunn can hit 40 homers in Nationals Park, he should be able to put up big numbers in Comiskey with his eyes closed.
Just wrote up Mr. Uggla here, in our Second Base post, and it should be pretty obvious I like the guy going into the year. The Braves have a pretty nice lineup and Uggla should be in line for some excellent RBI/Run numbers. Playing in the same division, the parks are relatively the same and I believe Turner Field is a fairly neutral park. However, much like Dunn, Uggla seems to be pretty much guaranteed for 30-100 (HR-RBI) regardless of what’s going on around him. I expect nothing less this year and he could benefit greatly from a year-old Jason Heyward’s improvement that we all see coming.
There is a certain type of player who can thrive in PETCO Park. I believe Maybin is one of them. Long and athletic, Maybin is the perfect fit defensively for the stadium, able to gracefully cover the spacious park’s outfield. But who cares about actual baseball when there are fantasy implications to discuss? Maybin has great speed. This speed/athleticism is also perfect for PETCO’s spacious alleyways as a hitter. Bill James (yea, him again) has him hitting .277. I would be thrilled with that. At PETCO, I can see Maybin being a Mike Cameron-like player for the Padres, hitting 15 homers, a bunch of doubles and triples, and stealing 20 bases. Doesn’t that sound better than ‘what the hell is the deal with Cameron Maybin?’ which is what was happening in Florida. With a fresh life in San Diego (which is Spanish for a whale’s vagina), and his notoriously fresh legs, I’m looking forward to a good year from Maybin in 2011. Without a doubt, though, he’ll win you the Web Gem category if you have that stat…
Sigh. I wanted 7 players and this is what I came up with. Wiggington is a useful fantasy chip for his versatility and power. He figures to only strengthen both in Colorado, where he’ll play all over and should see a considerable spike in his home numbers. Though a small sample size, he has good numbers at Coors, but then again, most people have pretty good numbers at Coors. Wiggington is my go-to guy for injury plug in, but once again, his usefulness in understood and likely not changing.
There you have it, my thoughts on some of the guys who have switched colors this offseason. Don’t hold me to my own thoughts, I’m no ‘expert’. Now enjoy the snow and drink lots of water, New Years Eve means long island iced teas for everyone!