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Examining trade deadline from fantasy baseball perspective

Now that’s what a trade deadline is supposed to look like.

Several players who were thought to be on the move (namely Trevor Story) stayed put, while there were many unexpected moves, like Eddie Rosario to Atlanta, or the Cubs landing Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer for the services of closer Craig Kimbrel, or the Phillies snagging Ian Kennedy and Kyle Gibson and giving up on long-time top prospect Spencer Howard.

The Dodgers also put the final touches on their own fantasy team by striking a deal for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, two top 25 fantasy talents. Though this was by far the most impressive and shocking deal of the deadline, and both players should continue to thrive down the stretch for fantasy owners, Roto Rage will focus on some deals featuring hitters who will benefit from a change of scenery, as well as those who may have trouble (or find nothing changes) in their new home.

It’s Miller time!

One of the best moves of the deadline was Milwaukee moving the versatile Eduardo Escobar away from humidor-hell Chase Field.

Coming off a disappointing 2020 season (.212, 4 HR, 20 RBI, .665 OPS) for Arizona, Escobar bounced back by hitting .246 with 22 homers, 65 RBIs, 50 runs, a stolen base and a .778 OPS over his first 98 games. He also became an All-Star for the first time in his 11-year career.

Though he’s striking out a career-high 21.3 percent of the time and walking in just 7.2 percent of his at-bats, Escobar entered Friday ranked 17th in the majors in RBIs (third-most among third basemen) and 18th in homers (tied for the second-most among third basemen).

The biggest factor for his success will be hitter-friendly Miller Park. Escobar may not be the most dynamic player moved at the deadline, but the switch-hitter’s move from the cellar-dwelling Diamondbacks to the first-place Brewers should make him very valuable for fantasy owners.

Kris cross country

In 17 career games at the Giants’ AT&T Park, Kris Bryant has hit .324 with five homers, 15 RBIs and a 1.004 OPS, so the move from Chicago to a contender in San Francisco should be great for the 29-year-old.

Monster mash?

Kyle Schwarber is moving to Boston, despite the fact Fenway Park doesn’t favor lefty power hitters, the Red Sox don’t seem to have openings in the outfield or at DH and Schwarber is still on the IL. He had a historic run from June 12-29, (.348, 16 HR, 27 RBIs, 1.446 OPS) before suffering a hamstring injury that has kept him on the shelf since July 2. There’s no timetable for his return, so fantasy owners will have to wait and see if he can continue to pound the ball upon his return (it won’t happen, as hot streaks don’t last forever — especially after lengthy IL stints).

Kyle Schwarber
Kyle Schwarber
AP

Citi slicker

In 22 games at his new home, Citi Field, Javier Baez has hit .257 with seven homers, 14 RBIs, 31 strikeouts, six walks and a .907 OPS. Outside of (eventually) playing alongside Francisco Lindor, there shouldn’t be much difference in the former Cub’s game. The streaky veteran is going to strikeout a ton (36.3 percent this year, the worst mark in the majors) and rarely walk while hitting for power and a respectable average.

Bronx elixir

Anthony Rizzo was awful last year (.222, 11 HR, 24 RBI, .755 OPS), and wasn’t exactly smashing the ball for the Cubs (.248, 14 HR, 40 RBIs, .792 OPS) before being dealt to the Yankees. Despite his mediocre stats, the 31-year-old is still striking out in just 15.7 percent of his at-bats (a top 25 mark in the majors) and hitting the ball hard, and he will play in ballpark that favors lefties. The move to Yankee Stadium might just be the antidote to revive his fantasy career.

Frazier burn

In the midst of a career year, Adam Frazier was dealt from Pittsburgh, where he was a thriving every day player, to a loaded San Diego squad with which he may struggle to find playing time every day. That’s a big hit to his value going forward.

Cheap power

If you need some power in your lineup, Adam Duvall is moving back to Atlanta after a solid first 90 games with the Marlins, in which he hit 22 homers and drove in 68 runs. Though he will boost your power numbers, he’s a career .232 hitter who barely walks and is striking out 31 percent of the time.

All the same

Former Ranger Joey Gallo leads the league in walk percentage (19.1 percent), has the second-highest strikeout percentage in the majors (32.2) and entered Friday with the 10th-worst batting average (.223). He’s in the top 3 percent of the league in barrel percentage (18.4) and the top 5 percent in maximum exit velocity (115.1 mph). Don’t expect much to change for Gallo, because he is what he is and neither Yankee Stadium’s short right-field porch nor being in a better lineup will change that.

Big Hits

Austin Riley, 3B, Braves

In his first 14 games since the break, he’s hitting .373 with seven homers, 18 RBIs and a 1.276 OPS.

Sean Manaea, SP, Athletics

After going 0-4 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts from June 20-July 7, he’s 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA, 29-4 strikeout-to-walk rate and .169 opponent average over his past three starts.

Joey Votto, 1B, Reds

Not only did the veteran enter Friday with a seven-game hit streak, but he homered in six straight games. He was 18-for-41 (.439) with nine homers, 18 RBIs and a 1.666 OPS over his previous 11 games.

Walker Buehler, SP, Dodgers

After suffering a loss on June 24, he’s 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA, 45-10 strikeout-to-walk rate and .169 opponent average over his past six starts.

Walker Buehler
Walker Buehler
AP

Big Whiffs

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners

The rookie continues to struggle: He’s 6-for-43 (.140) with 22 strikeouts and a .369 OPS in his first 12 games back in the bigs, and 6-for-80 (.075) with 39 strikeouts in his past 23 games.

Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers

The closer is 0-1 with a 24.00 ERA (eight earned runs over 3 innings), three blown saves and .500 opponent average over his past four outings.

Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Reds

In his first 13 games since the break, he’s 7-for-48 (.146) with 18 strikeouts, three runs, one homer, four RBIs and a .532 OPS.

Adbert Alzolay, SP, Cubs

After his last win on June 2, he has gone 0-7 with a 6.28 ERA, 16 walks, 14 homers allowed and a .262 opponent average over his past eight starts.

Adbert Alzolay gives up a two-run homer to Cody Bellinger on June 27, 2021.
Adbert Alzolay gives up a two-run homer to Cody Bellinger on June 27, 2021.
AP

Check Swings

  • The Blue Jays scored one of the biggest arms on the trade market in former Twin Jose Berrios. He was 0-3 with a 3.45 ERA, 45-12 strikeout-to-walk rate and a .194 opponent average over his past seven starts. Having that powerful Blue Jays lineup behind him should help him pile up some wins.
  • Craig Kimbrel loses some value after moving across town to the White Sox, where he may split ninth-inning duties with Liam Hendriks. Richard Rodriguez, who recorded 14 saves in 17 chances for the Pirates, also loses significant fantasy value after landing with the Braves.
  • Seattle’s Paul Sewald, who was 1-14 with a 5.50 ERA over four seasons with the Mets, has picked up four saves in his first 11 games this month while going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA, 20-2 strikeout-to-walk rate and .214 opponent average. He has allowed just four earned runs over his past 24 appearances while limiting opponents to a .138 average in that span.
  • Juan Soto continues to stay hot for the Nationals, going 19-for-46 (.413) with seven homers, 16 RBIs, 13 runs, a stolen base and a 1.455 OPS over his first 13 games since the All-Star break. He’s 50-for-146 (.342) with 10 homers, 31 RBIs, five stolen bases and a 1.051 OPS in 41 games since June 13.

Team Name of the Week

All for Dunn, and Dunn for All

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