Latest installment from a pretty good off-season column by Rotoworld.com's Tim Dierkes. Note that he assumes Coco and Marte trading teams in this column.
I like Patterson as a late round sleeper in Crackmore this year.
http://fantasybaseball.rotoworld.com/co ... &column=89
Players keep changing teams, so I’ll keep analyzing the moves. Here’s seven more players with new teams to monitor for your draft.
UPDATE: There is word Tuesday night that the Crisp/Marte deal is on hold due to Guillermo Mota failing his physical. It seems probable that some sort of deal will still be hammered out, so the Crisp/Marte updates should be relevant.
Coco Crisp – Red Sox
Whether trading Crisp for Andy Marte was the best way to obtain a center fielder remains up for debate. Regardless of Marte’s star potential, Crisp has been a solid and underrated fantasy OF for a while now.
Irrespective of the trade to Boston, I expected Crisp to post career highs in most categories. He maintained a solid contact rate and now moves from a ballpark that suppressed batting average to one that inflates it. I think he’ll hit a touch above .300 in ’06.
Crisp’s slugging percentage has been rising, and he should top 600 at-bats for the first time as the Red Sox’s leadoff hitter. Unless he changes his approach, this should spell a career high 18 HR with a good shot at 20. Crisp killed righties in 2005.
As evidenced by Johnny Damon before him, Boston leadoff hitters still get a fair share of RBI opportunities. Given the power bump, Crisp could knock in near 80. He’ll easily score more than 100 runs for the first time, and he’s always close to 20 steals. This is a solid $15 player entering his age 26 season. He probably won’t fly under the fantasy radar this time around, but he’s a top 20 OF in my estimation.
Andy Marte – Indians
Speaking of the Marte/Crisp swap, the young third base prospect lost a lot of his value for 2006.
There’s a difference between being blocked by Mike Lowell versus Aaron Boone. The Red Sox never wanted Lowell, and had the payroll to justify benching him if Marte was clearly the better choice. While Boone makes half Lowell’s salary, the Indians chose to exercise his option for ’06 and probably still see him on top of the depth chart at third.
There are some who say Marte needs more seasoning at Triple A, but this is likely based on a shaky 57 at-bat debut. .275/.372/.506 as a 21 year-old in Triple A says he’s ready now in my mind. As I said earlier this month, Marte probably wasn’t going to hit better than .260 with 20 HR and 80 RBI in his first full season. He won’t get the playing time to show that ability with Cleveland in 2006, so stash him away on your keeper list for another year.
Wade Miller – Cubs
The Cubs picked up Miller as an affordable rehab project, as the righty is coming off labrum surgery.
Miller has always been difficult to hit, as evidenced by a career hits per nine mark of 8.3. He pitched hurt for Boston in 2005, and his numbers were down across the board. What can we expect for the Cubs?
Miller is already throwing, and he expects to join the Cubs’ rotation in May. He should be good for about 120 innings with an ERA close to 4. Ks will be solid in his limited stint, but walks have become a problem lately. Miller hasn’t had decent control since 2003, and there should be enough rust for his walks to remain a concern.
Walking a hitter every other inning spells a WHIP near 1.4, so Miller probably isn’t a good bet even at the back end of your fantasy rotation. He could win 8-10 games, but you should pass unless you see gains made in his walk rate.
Danys Baez – Dodgers
The Dodgers, possibly fearful of Eric Gagne’s health, sent a couple of young arms to the Devil Rays for Danys Baez. They’ll install him as the setup man, making him the obvious backup plan at closer.
Prior to the trade, most of Baez’s value rested in his opportunity to rack up 30+ saves. As they say, any halfway decent reliever can me branded a Closer if he’s thrown into save situations. Baez has a strangely low strikeout rate given his fastball, and he allows a decent number of walks. He’ll have an ERA under 4 and a WHIP near 1.30, but he was never considered anything near an elite closer.
Obviously Baez is a reasonable waiver wire pick if Gagne starts late or hits the DL again, but he’s barely equivalent to Mike Timlin at this point.
Corey Patterson – Orioles
Having given Corey Patterson over 2000 at-bats to develop some plate discipline, the Cubs finally cut the cord and sent him to the Orioles for a couple of long-shot prospects.
The O’s have similarly ended the honeymoon with Luis Matos, and will likely give Patterson close to 500 at-bats as their center fielder. He’s not a .215 hitter, but he’ll probably struggle to crack .250. You might hope for .265 in the best case.
Patterson had long been touted as a 30/30 candidate, but he’ll need a lot of at-bats to have a shot at 20/20 in 2006. I think he’ll just miss both marks and will add in unimpressive RBI and run totals.
Camden Yards isn’t any better than Wrigley for lefties, and a new environment probably isn’t going to plug the holes in Patterson’s swing. I can think of approximately 100 outfielders I’d draft before him.
Carlos Delgado – Mets
After attempting to sign Delgado last year, the Mets swapped some young talent to bring in the slugger this winter.
Shea is a worse home park than Dolphins Stadium for left-handed sluggers, but Delgado should be fine. Look for him to hit around .280 with his typical 30-35 HR and 110 RBI. Even entering his age 34 season, Delgado is clearly still a top ten first baseman in fantasy baseball. I’d pony up $10-12 for him in a 5x5 mixed league.
Hanley Ramirez – Marlins
22 year-old shortstop Hanley Ramirez was sent to the Marlins from Boston in an unexpected Josh Beckett trade. There’s a decent chance he snags a starting gig despite his inexperience.
Red Sox Nation’s hype of Ramirez was justified following his .310/.360/.512 line in 129 at-bats back in 2004. But that was a tiny sample, and Ramirez was much less impressive in a full season at Portland last year.
It’s pretty rare that a hitter plays average ball in Double A and factors into fantasy baseball the following season. If he’s pressed into shortstop duty with the Fish, you might see 350 at-bats of a .240-250 average and maybe ten steals. Hold off on Ramirez until he shows some serious development in the minors.
Kris Benson – Orioles
The Mets unloaded Benson and his salary on the Orioles for pitchers Jorge Julio and John Maine. Can Benson become the ace Baltimore craves?
Benson has only posted an ERA below 4 and thrown 200 innings once, in 2000. He’s had decent WHIPs on occasion, and is capable of winning 10 games if things go his way.
I think Benson will post a 1.29 WHIP and 4.03 ERA for the Orioles; not much different than he would have for the Mets. His K rate is below average, and 12 wins would be a stretch. In a pinch, Benson could be worth a buck in your fantasy league. But you’d really have to be in a deep league or a major pinch. I’d rather gamble on a young gun with upside.