Every July a host of players change teams as World Series or playoff contenders shore up perceived positions of weakness. In these “pros for prospects” deals, there is no mistaking which team comes out on top during the current season. In the fantasy world though, we have to dig a little deeper to judge the impact of each deal.
After striking out on Roy Halladay, the Phillies went to Plan B and unquestionably improved their rotation. On the surface it’s pretty easy to say that Lee will profit from improved run support, pitching in the NL and team defense. You can’t overlook the move to Citizen’s Bank Park though. The Phillies home stadium has the 8th worst park factor year-to-date, while the Indians’ Progressive Field ranks all the way down at 28th. Lee might help the Phillies win a few more games, but expect his ERA and WHIP to suffer along the way.
Sanchez was already a legitimate fantasy player and can be counted on to continue hitting for average. What you should see is an increase in his runs scored. Perhaps more importantly, Pablo Sandoval will have somebody to drive home at the top of the lineup. As a team, the Giants figure to take a decent step forward offensively with the additions or Sanchez and Ryan Garko. Keep this in mind when you start pitchers against them.
Of all of the deadline deals, the Mariners acquisition of Wilson and Snell offers the biggest change in fantasy value. Wilson should immediately see a bump in his batting average, OBP and Runs statistics due to his presence in a better hitting lineup. The large outfield will not hurt this line drive hitter as much as it would a power guy. Ian Snell is said to be on his way down to the minors. If he does come back, don’t forget the ballpark factor. Snell could be a decent spot start at home against the right competition. That’s a big improvement from being un-rosterable previously!
It probably goes without saying, but none of these guys are going to light the world on fire. Of this trio of minor acquisitions, Garko has a chance to produce somewhat meaningful results and should also have a small positive impact on Kung-Fu Panda’s stats at the plate. LaRoche and Francisco will struggle to get on the field and were acquired to add depth.