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The Waiver Wire: Travis Snider

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Daniel Aubain

The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone with the usually flurry of deals as some teams prepared to make a final push to lock up a playoff spot while others made deals with an eye to the future. This is the same strategy you should be using over the final two months of your fantasy baseball season, too, especially if you are in a dynasty, keeper or a league which utilizes some sort of minor league system.

Many of the deadline trades made have changed the immediate fortunes of some players and increased their fantasy baseball value. Below, I’ll take a look at a handful of those players whose value has positively been changed due to a deadline deal being made.

Outfielder Travis Snider is a player the Toronto Blue Jays organization, their fans and fantasy baseball owners have been waiting since 2008 to burst on the scene and live up to the dreaded “hype” and “potential” of a player who recently had many thinking would only amount to nothing more than a Quad-A player.

After a relatively average Spring Training landed him back in AAA Las Vegas to start the 2012 season, fantasy owners may have finally written him off as a bust. He was called up to the Blue Jays July 20th for what, in hindsight, was a showcasing of his talents to move him prior to the trade deadline. Snider responded with a .250 batting average with three home runs and eight RBI in 10 games and found himself shipped off to the Pittsburgh Pirates for SP/RP Brad Lincoln.

Snider was immediately inserted into the starting lineup in right field and, in two games, has batted second and fifth, so far. He’s gone 3-for-9 with three runs scored, a walk and two strikeouts and should be a vital part of the Pirates’ offense down the playoff stretch. Not convinced? His 162-game averages for standard 5×5 scoring leagues would be .248/73/21/75/11 with 37 doubles.

He’s only owned in 8.6% of ESPN leagues, 6% of Yahoo! leagues and 23% of CBS leagues and should be a nice addition to your fantasy outfield as you make a run towards fantasy gold.

Here are some other players whose fantasy baseball value was positively impacted by a trade deadline deal:

RP Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals: Jonathan Broxton was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, opening up the closer’s role for Holland to inherit. He’s sporting a healthy 12.71 K/9 ratio but a troubling 1.56 WHIP. If there are saves to be had for the Royals, it looks like Holland will be guy earning the opportunities. (27.1% ESPN; 34% Y!; 33% CBS)

3B Chris Johnson, Arizona Diamondbacks: In three games since his trade from the Houston Astros, Johnson is 6-for-11 (.545 BA) with a double, two home runs and ¬†seven RBI. The D’Backs are surging and Johnson is thriving with his new team. If you’re still looking around for an Alex Rodriguez replacement, look no further. (22.4% ESPN; 24% Y!; 51% CBS)

OF Nate Schierholtz, Philadelphia Phillies: Schierholtz has been the odd man out in San Francisco for some time now and may finally get a chance to play regularly to prove his worth. He’s off to a good start, too. Batting second between Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, Schierholtz went 2-for-5 in his debut with a home run. (0.6% ESPN; 2% Y!; 4% CBS)

OF Denard Span, Minnesota Twins: Span was rumored to be on the move to the Reds right up to the 4PM EST deadline but wound up staying put. All he did was hit .361 (35-for-97) in July with 13 RBI, 13 Runs and four stolen bases (three caught stealings, UGH!). He’s also in the midst of a 10-game hitting streak. Do you think the Reds made a mistake not making this trade? (36.4% ESPN; 20% Y!; 53% CBS)

¬†2B/SS Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants: The Giants acquired Scutaro to fill the hole left by injured third baseman Pablo Sandoval and he’s hit in all five games since the trade and creeping toward gaining third base eligibility. He could be a valuable player to fill multiple positions down the wire. If your league has a max/min games played rule, be sure not to leave any games unused. (65.6% ESPN; 28% Y!; 71% CBS)

OF Domonic Brown, Philadelphia Phillies: This may be time to “put up or shut up” for Brown because with Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence being dealt, there’s no time like the present to show if he’ll be part of the future with the Phillies. He made a pinch hit appearance in his debut and singled but followed that up with an 0-for-4 performance. Deep and NL-only leaguers are the only ones who should be diving in this early. (0.8% ESPN; 4% Y!; 19% CBS)

How did trade deadline deals affect your fantasy teams, especially those of you in league-only types of ultra-deep keeper/dynasty leagues? I’d love to hear what players you’re targeting as we start winding down the fantasy baseball season. Does your head-to-head league have a playoff system in place? If so, what week do they begin? Feel free to leave a comment and/or hit me up on Twitter @DJAubain.

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The Roster Report – March 24, 2012

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The Roster Report – March 24, 2012

Posted on 24 March 2012 by Bryan Grosnick

Hey there, hardball fans. The first games of the season are less than a week away, and plenty of teams are making final decisions about the last roster spots up for grabs. In this week’s Roster Report, we’re focusing on two late-spring changes to two contending teams on the West Coast. One team is moving a veteran to the outfield to make room for a power-hitting first baseman, while another team is putting a vet on the bench to make room for their own slugging 1B.

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Aubrey Huff has been playing left field recently for the San Francisco Giants.

With Aubrey Huff getting in extra playing time in the outfield, it looks like more and more of a possibility that Huff could log extended time in the outfield this season. The move from first base to left field would probably open up time for Brandon Belt at first. Belt is a tremendous prospect, with most projection systems positing that he’ll hit for at least .350 wOBA already, in his age-24 season. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for Belt to post 20 or more homers and a .350 OBP while playing good defense at first base. Keeping him out of the lineup last season was a travesty, and the Giants lineup is starved for a powerful run producer of Belt’s caliber.

Aubrey Huff, despite his mammoth 2010, is no longer the type of hitter Brandon Belt is. In full-time action last season, Huff managed only an 84 wRC+. To put that in perspective, Huff was about 16% worse than a league-average hitter. But not only that, Huff’s a bad fielder. In the outfield, Huff has never had any sustained success with the leather. Don’t get me wrong, Huff probably isn’t an epic disaster in the field a la Raul Ibanez, but he’s not good. To put things in perspective, last season when Huff played out there, someone drew a chalk outline in the outfield. But a player who doesn’t hit very well, and is going to be average at best in the field, probably shouldn’t be an everyday player. If it wasn’t for Huff’s sizable contract (and loyalty from the 2010 World Series run), it seems unlikely that he’d be a regular starter.

This moves poor Nate Schierholz back into a reserve role, as Melky Cabrera would move over to right field. Historically, Nate’s been an above-average fielder in right, and last season, Schierholz finally put together an above-average season with the bat as well. A triple slash line of .278/.326/.430 is nothing to sneeze at, though it won’t win any MVP awards. In truth, Schierholz is a better player than Huff at this stage in his career, so playing Huff over Schierholz in the outfield isn’t maximizing the team’s assets. However, instead of looking at things from that perspective, if Huff needs to be in the lineup, one could view this as replacing Schierholz with Belt. And Brandon Belt is far too good of a player to be resigned to the San Francisco bench.

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Kendrys Morales will (probably) be the Opening Day DH for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

After almost two years off the playing field, Kendrys Morales appears to be healthy and ready to play for the Angels. You might remember that Morales injured his ankle in a freak home-run-celebration accident back in 2010, and he’s been trying to get himself back on the field ever since. Most of the reports out of Spring Training indicate that Morales is ready to go, and he’s been seeing the ball well in Spring Training thus far, actually seeing game action yesterday. All things point to Morales opening camp with the big league club, and that’s good news, given that Kendrys has proven himself to be a solid hitter in his 1240 big league plate appearances. Morales has power, having hit 55 home runs in his limited big-league action, including 34 HR in a solid 2009 campaign. He’s substantially better than league average as a hitter, and sports a career wRC+ of 114, which puts him solidly above league-average.

Morales would be replacing Bobby Abreu as the everyday DH for the Angels. Abreu, who’s reportedly unhappy about losing out on everyday playing time, wasn’t particularly good in 2011. Though Abreu still draws a mean walk, he’s no longer a threat to hit for lots of power. Abreu still steals bases (21 in 2011), but is a net negative baserunner. And yes, he’s a horrible fielder. According to UZR, Abreu hasn’t been an above-average fielder since 2003, and he’s been downright awful in most seasons.

Abreu is in the twilight of his career, and Morales is still in the prime of his own. If Kendrys is ready to play, he’s an upgrade over every other option in house for the Angels. Whether it is Abreu, Mark Trumbo, Alberto Callaspo, or Maicer Izturis, Morales still remains the best DH option that the Angels have. As long as he’s healthy, he’s proven he can hit.

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