Monday, February 4, 2008

Down on the Farm

Well I hope everyone enjoyed the Super Bowl as much as I did. As well as being a great game, I've never had any great love for the Pats and I wasn't looking forward to them being considered the greatest team of alltime. Also with the Super Bowl being over it means that football is officially done and our focus now turns to baseball. With pitchers and catchers due to report in about a week and Opening day less than two months away baseball is starting to heat up. In this past week we've finally seen the answer to the question thats been asked all off season, "Where would Johan Santana end up?"With that deal completed and the Erik Bedard trade about to be finalized, it looks as though the "Hot Stove" is about to have a serious cooling off period (until July that is). While all of us in the fantasy world realize the potential impact of Santana and Haren moving to the NL, Bedard pitching half his games at Safeco and Miguel Cabrera hitting in the middle of the potent Tigers line-up, this installment isn't going to be about what it does for their numbers, but a look into the other side of the deals. This article is going to focus on the prospects that came back in these blockbuster moves, and which of these players might be the next stars for their respective teams. We will take a look at these deals in the order that they happened, this list is not an anylasis of every deal just those players with the chance to make the biggest impact in 2008:

  1. Michael Bourn-CF Houston Astros (Brad Lidge trade): One of the first deals from the offseason might well produce one of the best fantasy sleepers in 2008 in Michael Bourn. Bourn who spent all last season up with the Phillies only got 119 at bats in backup and pinch hit duty, now moves on to the Astros where he has practically been given the center field job and the lead-off role. While no one is going to mistake Michael Bourn for Beltran, he should do a very good job at making Astro fans forget Willy Taveras. In limited time last year Bourn hit .277 and went 18 of 19 in stolen base attempts. Now with the every day oppurtunity Bourn could very well lead the league in stolen bases, and with Kaz Matsui, Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman hitting behind him he should be a lock for 100+ runs as well. While he won't hit for power or drive in that many runs don't hesitate to take Bourn late to be your fantasy teams answer to Crawford and Reyes.

  2. Cameron Maybin-CF and Andrew Miller -SP (Cabrera/Willis trade): The blockbuster trade of the winter that made the Tigers the favorite in the AL Central, did not come without a steep price. That price came in the form of Detroit's 1st round draft picks from 2005 and 2006, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. Maybin debuted in a September callup for the Tigers last season with some struggles hitting just .143 with 1 HR and 5 SB in 49 at bats. Don't let his numbers from last year make you forget about Maybin come draft day, he is the real deal and has the potential to put up Carl Crawford numbers as unlike Bourn he has some power to go with his speed. Be aware though that Maybin will only be 21 as the season starts and was playing high school ball just three springs ago so don't expect great things from day one. While due to his youth Maybin is not a lock to make the team out of ST, if he does though he will play everyday and likely hit at the top of the order. Andrew Miller was the other big piece of the trade for the Marlins as they got the Tigers top pick in 06. Miller is a left-hander with top of the rotation talent that was rushed to the big leagues last year to try and save the Tigers and keep them in contention. He struggled in his stint in Detroit going 5-5 with a 5.63 ERA and 56 K's in 64 innings pitched. Though wins may be harder to come by in Flordia then in Detroit, Miller should still be able to put up numbers worthy enough to fill out your rotation. I would expect 12-15 wins with an ERA just north of 4, and some where around a strikeout per inning.

  3. Carlos Gonzales-OF (Dan Haren trade): While most people look at this deal and think how it was a great deal for the Diamondbacks as they added another frontline pitcher, what they fail to realize is that the big winner in this trade might be Carlos Gonzales. Gonzales, only 22, didn't have a place to play in Arizonia plain and simple, he was blocked by Brynes, Upton and Young. In Oakland on the other hand Gonzales should have every oppurtunity to make it to the big leagues as Travis Buck is the only thing close to a sure thing in the Athletics outfield. Look for Gonzales to claim one of the other two spots and to stay there for quite some time. Gonzales hit .288 with 17 homers and 86 RBI's to go along with 10 steals in only 500 minor league at bats. Gonzales should hit for 25-30 HR's a year with15+ steals and should get his fair share of runs and RBI's as well.

  4. Carlos Gomez-CF (Johan Santana trade): While the talk around baseball and most newspapers is that the Mets 'stole' Santana away from the Twins, trust me when I say they gave up more than a couple of Shea hotdogs and a bucket of balls to get their Ace pitcher. Carlos Gomez is the best of the deal from the Twins perspective as he is a legit ML center fielder who should be stepping in to Torii Hunters shoes come Opening day. Gomez in limited time with the Mets last year hit .232-2-12 adding 12 steals in 125 at bats. While Gomez has some power and could be a 20 homer guy, speed is his best asset. Gomez could very well be faster than former teammate Jose Reyes and when he reaches the top of the Twins order he becomes a fantasy play as 60-70 steals would be very likely for him. Keep a close eye during Spring Training to see if Gomez makes the team.

  5. Adam Jones-OF (Erik Bedard trade*): Now this trade isn't official yet but hopefully it will be within a day or two and barring some very unlikely turn of events if this deal goes down Adam Jones will be the centerpiece of the trade and the Orioles centerfielder come Opening Day. Though his major league numbers to date haven't been too impressive, batting .230 with three homeruns and 12 RBI's during September callups the last two seasons, Jones has dominated the Minors at every level and has shown a great combination of power and speed making him very likely to be a 30-30 player. Expect him to hit in the middle of the order in Baltimore, maybe even clean-up right behind Nick Markakis, and to be a solid run producer in their lineup as well as yours.

I wanted to add that from now on anyone with questions or comments please feel free to post them and and I will respond to them as best I can under the same post. Have a great week everyone and see you next Monday.

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Anonymous said...

Well done!