Peavy a winner at trade deadline
Put it in the books: The 2013 trade deadline -- the actual, July 31 deadline date, that is -- was officially a dud.
That said, trade season -- which, for these purposes, let's define as the period between the All-Star break and the 4 p.m. ET July 31 deadline -- was a more active one on the pitching side than people might give credit. Three trades included incumbent rotation members, and two others incumbent closers, so the pitching ranks endured a shuffling.
Today, let's recap said trade season, breaking down the "winners" and "losers," fantasy-wise, of these deadline deals. First, here's the full trade rundown, all deals since the All-Star break that included a meaningful fantasy name:• The Baltimore Orioles acquired SP Bud Norris from the Houston Astros for DH L.J. Hoes and SP Josh Hader. (July 31)[+] EnlargeAP Photo/Ross D. FranklinIan Kennedy leaves behind Chase Field for the greener pitching pastures of Petco Park.
• The Kansas City Royals acquired OF Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros for SP Kyle Smith. (July 31)
• The San Diego Padres acquired SP Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RP Joe Thatcher, RP Matt Stites and a 2014 competitive balance round B draft pick. (July 31)
• The Boston Red Sox acquired SP Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox and RP Brayan Villarreal and OF Avisail Garcia from the Detroit Tigers and sent SS/3B Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Garcia, RP J.B. Wendelken, SP Francellis Montas and SS Cleuluis Rondon to Chicago. (July 30)
• The Oakland Athletics acquired 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Los Angeles Angels for SS Grant Green. (July 30)
• The Atlanta Braves acquired RP Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels for SP Cory Rasmus. (July 29)
• The Tampa Bay Rays acquired RP Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox for players to be named or cash. (July 29)
• The Detroit Tigers acquired RP Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for OF Danry Vasquez and a player to be named. (July 29)
• The New York Yankees acquired OF Alfonso Soriano and cash from the Chicago Cubs for SP Corey Black. (July 26)
• The Baltimore Orioles acquired RP Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers for 3B Nick Delmonico. (July 23)
• The Texas Rangers acquired SP Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs for SPs C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm, 1B Mike Olt, and a player to be named. (July 22)
Jake Peavy: U.S. Cellular Field had to have been one of the five worst environments in baseball for a pitcher like Peavy, who regularly sports fly-ball rates north of 40 percent, a point made in this space as long as three years and as little as three weeks ago, so simply escaping the venue was a plus for his fantasy prospects. That said, despite the Green Monster's close proximity to the plate, "The Cell" was still a more homer-friendly environment to left field from 2010-12 than Boston's Fenway Park and remains so in 2013, and the rest of Fenway's confines play much more pitcher-friendly, evidenced by our Park Factors page. Peavy, a strike thrower whose greatest appeal is his reliable WHIP, should see his 4.28 ERA drop, his 3.68 xFIP -- that his Fielding Independent Pitching score with his home run rate regressed to the league average -- generally in line with his numbers from his days with the San Diego Padres. Best yet: His new team, the Boston Red Sox, has averaged 1.30 runs per game more than his former team, the Chicago White Sox. Though wins are largely unpredictable, there's little doubt that his win potential improved as a result of the deal, making him a bona fide candidate for top-25 starter status … if he can stay healthy, that is.
Ian Kennedy: Though the Padres moved in the fences at Petco Park this season, the impact upon pitching statistics have been minimal; a quick glance at their own and their opponents' home run/fly ball rates reveals between a 3-3½ percent increase, or effectively 3-4 additional home runs per 100 fly balls hit there. That's why Kennedy's move to San Diego might serve the saving grace to his season; he has dropped to barely 30 percent ownership in ESPN leagues, due to a 5.23 ERA that ranks fifth-worst among 91 qualifiers. His, like Peavy's, is a ballpark change that matters, with easily greater influence than Peavy's. Some of Kennedy's struggles, too, were the result of misfortune, as his 0.64-run differential between his ERA and FIP is 12th-highest, and 66.5 left on base percentage is sixth-worst, among qualifiers. In San Diego, Kennedy's fantasy prospects improve, and he's at least once again worth the look at a mixed-league streamer.
Detroit Tigers pitchers: Yes, Jose Iglesias' defense at shortstop is that good. Granted, his numbers this season don't show it -- he has 0 Defensive Runs Saved and a 1.3 Ultimate Zone Rating there -- but let's point out that he has played only 240 innings there, as the Red Sox have dabbled with him at third base recently. Iglesias is a brilliant defender -- just watch him play and you'll understand -- and he's joining a team that, since the beginning of last season, have minus-34 Defensive Runs Saved from their infield. Should Jhonny Peralta be subject to a Biogenesis-related suspension in the coming days, Iglesias would take over every day at shortstop, improving the team by a notable amount. That's a plus especially for ground-ballers Doug Fister (57.2 percent) and Rick Porcello (56.8 percent).[+] EnlargeLayne Murdoch/Getty ImagesMatt Garza quickly demonstrated that he can pitch in Texas in the summer, going 7 strong innings in 96 degree heat in his debut, Monday.
Matt Garza: Too much has been made of Garza's Wrigley Field success, as well as the probability that leaving it would harm his fantasy value. While it's true that Wrigley treated him well -- he had a 2.70 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his 28 career starts there -- the fact remains that Garza has always enjoyed substantially greater success in his home ballpark than in his road assignments. Take a look: Garza has a lifetime ERA more than a run higher on the road (4.26) than at home (3.31), and in each season from 2008-12 he had a road era more than three-quarters of a run higher than at home. This isn't to say that Rangers Ballpark is a friendly environment for a pitcher; it's to say that Garza's ERA and WHIP shouldn't go through the roof, not in a division featuring the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. He's also much more likely to get the run support necessary in Texas to maintain his current 7-wins-in-13-starts pace.
Jim Henderson: He was "Wally Pipp-ed." Henderson effectively lost his closer's job because he picked an unfortunate time to land on the disabled list; Francisco Rodriguez snuck in and rattled off a comparably hot streak to Henderson's to begin the year. With Rodriguez gone, however, and with all indications being that John Axford won't get another crack at closing, Henderson got another ninth-inning chance. Frankly, he deserved it. In 22 appearances since his return, Henderson has a 3.00 ERA, 26.7 percent strikeout rate (that going by batters faced; it's 10.29 per nine innings), four holds and five saves, including four consecutive successful conversions. Back in the role in which he thrived in April and May, Henderson could be a sneaky-good top-20 fantasy save-getter.
Joaquin Benoit: Be happy that Jose Veras landed in Detroit, because had it been Francisco Rodriguez, he of the 304 career saves, or Jonathan Papelbon, who has 277, today Benoit might be back in the eighth inning. There has been much made about the Tigers' lack of interest in having Benoit close, but in his defense, he's a perfect 8-for-8 in save chances with a 0.53 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 18 appearances since taking over, even chipping in two holds during that span. That's the reason Veras will set up Benoit as well as provide "closer insurance" initially -- keep that in mind, handcuff-seekers -- and with Benoit's understated amount of success the past year and a half, there's no evidence the Tigers will need it. Remember when the Tigers once claimed they preferred not to use Benoit on back-to-back days? He has done so on eight occasions already this year.
You think he 'won,' but…
Bud Norris: Upon closer inspection, Norris isn't as good a pitcher as people seem to think. He lacks an "out" pitch to use against left-handed hitters -- they're batting .306/.365/.494 against him this season -- and as such is matchups-susceptible, and his strikeout rate has plummeted this year, to a professional career-worst 16.6 percent. He's the kind of pitcher who could benefit from a more competitive environment, but whose skills don't back it up, and who now lands in a situation where his fantasy owners will still need to scrutinize his matchups. Look at the Baltimore Orioles' final 16 scheduled regular season games (home and home series with Boston and Toronto, and a 4-game series at Tampa Bay); would you start Norris in any of them? Granted, Norris' streamer appeal gets a boost by going from a team averaging 3.75 runs per game with the majors' worst bullpen ERA (5.16) to one averaging 4.71 with a 3.67 relief ERA, but the fact remains that his move to Baltimore didn't really result in a substantial value boost.
Francisco Rodriguez: His is the classic tale of closer-turned-setup-man-via-deadline-deal, as Rodriguez, 10-for-10 in save chances for the Milwaukee Brewers this season, dropped to "just another arm" in the Baltimore Orioles bullpen. SSS (small sample size) caveat applies, but in three of six games since Rodriguez's arrival the Orioles have held the lead entering the seventh inning, and in none of those contests did he appear. He pitched games in which his team trailed, in fact, by five and four runs when he appeared, while Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter occupied the higher-leverage spots, something especially relevant to those in holds leagues hoping to recoup some value from Rodriguez in Baltimore. If Rodriguez is a seventh -- not even eighth -- inning guy, it's appropriate; he routinely walks about 10 percent of the batters he faces (10.5 percent career) and that puts him at greater WHIP risk than O'Day or perhaps even Hunter. Rodriguez's "closer experience" could catch manager Buck Showalter's eye in the case of catastrophic injury/performance decline by Jim Johnson, but beyond that possibility it could be argued fantasy owners will squeeze more value out of O'Day going forward.
Clay Buchholz's fantasy owners: The reason this is directed at Buchholz's fantasy owners rather than the Boston Red Sox right-hander himself is that the team's Peavy acquisition doesn't impact Buchholz's role at all; the Red Sox would find room for Buchholz in their rotation once the inflammation in the bursa sac area of his right shoulder heals. With Peavy on board, however, "if" might be an appropriate substitute for "once" in the previous sentence; certainly his arrival validates Buchholz's own July 23 admission to the Boston Globe that his aim is to return with only 4-5 starts remaining in his regular season. That's what Buchholz's fantasy owners are looking at: 4-5 starts at best, no guarantee of anything close to the 1.71 ERA or 2.46 FIP he had before getting hurt, plus added reason for the Red Sox to end his season at the first hint of setback.
Jose Veras: Like Rodriguez, Veras suffered a substantial drop in fantasy value as a result of his trade to the Tigers, dropping back into a setup role, but at least in his case the scent of saves is stronger. He's next-in-line in a bullpen that's a little weaker in the middle frames, and Benoit does have a past injury history -- a more distant past, mind you -- that weighs. Still, here's a comparison that merits discussion:
Jim Johnson's 2012-13: 122 games, 116 1/3 innings, pitched consecutive days 35 times
Joaquin Benoit's 2012-13: 116 games, 114 innings, pitched consecutive days 31 times
Anyone care to argue that the Orioles have shown a tendency to lean considerably more on Johnson than the Tigers have on Benoit now?
Those who overrate the Houston Astros' eventual closer: Jose Cisnero might be an exciting add for AL-only owners, but before you race to the wire to scoop him up in a shallow mixed league, first consider his -- or any other Astros reliever's -- fantasy prospects. Though this is an Astros team that helped Veras to 19 saves in 103 team games, it's also one that has won just six of its past 29 contests, not to mention one that had Veras on a mere 30-save pace at the time of his trade. I've recited the stats of pitchers on all-time-bad teams, so if you're among those who believe they'll struggle to win more than 17 of their remaining 57 games, there's not a lot of saves potential for Cisnero, or Wesley Wright, or Josh Fields, or … gosh, who else would you really want from this bullpen? AL-only owners can freely speculate -- you're drawing from a pool of 15 closer jobs -- but mixed leaguers might prefer to pass.
TOP 150 PITCHERS
Note: Tristan H. Cockcroft's top 150 pitchers are ranked for their expected performance from this point forward, not for statistics that have already been accrued. For position-specific rankings, see the "Pos Rnk" column; these rankings can also be seen split up by position.
Rnk Player, Team Pos
Rnk Player Pos
1 Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP1 1 76 Mike Leake, Cin SP57 88 2 Felix Hernandez, Sea SP2 3 77 Joaquin Benoit, Det RP20 89 3 Max Scherzer, Det SP3 6 78 Wade Miley, Ari SP58 107 4 Adam Wainwright, StL SP4 2 79 Tim Lincecum, SF SP59 77 5 Yu Darvish, Tex SP5 5 80 Koji Uehara, Bos RP21 69 6 David Price, TB SP6 14 81 Zack Wheeler, NYM SP60 110 7 Cliff Lee, Phi SP7 4 82 Tony Cingrani, Cin SP61 95 8 Madison Bumgarner, SF SP8 8 83 Huston Street, SD RP22 84 9 Stephen Strasburg, Wsh SP9 9 84 Chris Archer, TB SP62 123 10 Matt Harvey, NYM SP10 7 85 Brandon Beachy, Atl SP63 90 11 Gio Gonzalez, Wsh SP11 16 86 Mark Melancon, Pit RP23 85 12 Craig Kimbrel, Atl RP1 13 87 Ricky Nolasco, LAD SP64 93 13 Jered Weaver, LAA SP12 25 88 Josh Johnson, Tor SP65 83 14 Chris Sale, CWS SP13 12 89 Jim Henderson, Mil RP24 137 15 Zack Greinke, LAD SP14 23 90 Gerrit Cole, Pit SP66 108 16 Kenley Jansen, LAD RP2 28 91 Jeff Locke, Pit SP67 78 17 Francisco Liriano, Pit SP15 71 92 Ernesto Frieri, LAA RP25 70 18 Aroldis Chapman, Cin RP3 15 93 Kevin Gregg, ChC RP26 94 19 Mat Latos, Cin SP16 17 94 Rex Brothers, Col RP27 104 20 Mariano Rivera, NYY RP4 20 95 Ian Kennedy, SD SP68 109 21 Justin Verlander, Det SP17 10 96 Tom Wilhelmsen, Sea RP28 81 22 Mike Minor, Atl SP18 30 97 Ryan Dempster, Bos SP69 97 23 Matt Garza, Tex SP19 56 98 Brad Ziegler, Ari RP29 115 24 Cole Hamels, Phi SP20 18 99 Bud Norris, Bal SP70 141 25 Hiroki Kuroda, NYY SP21 24 100 David Robertson, NYY RP30 NR 26 Homer Bailey, Cin SP22 34 101 Jorge De La Rosa, Col SP71 106 27 Jordan Zimmermann, Wsh SP23 11 102 Rick Porcello, Det SP72 119 28 Anibal Sanchez, Det SP24 32 103 Rafael Betancourt, Col RP31 122 29 CC Sabathia, NYY SP25 27 104 Corey Kluber, Cle SP73 102 30 Greg Holland, KC RP5 38 105 Paul Maholm, Atl SP74 86 31 Jeff Samardzija, ChC SP26 39 106 Ryan Cook, Oak RP32 147 32 Joe Nathan, Tex RP6 26 107 Jhoulys Chacin, Col SP75 103 33 Patrick Corbin, Ari SP27 41 108 Jacob Turner, Mia SP76 117 34 Jake Peavy, Bos SP28 47 109 Trevor Rosenthal, StL RP33 142 35 Fernando Rodney, TB RP7 45 110 Andrew Cashner, SD SP77 96 36 Lance Lynn, StL SP29 42 111 Felix Doubront, Bos SP78 127 37 Rafael Soriano, Wsh RP8 36 112 Jose Veras, Det RP34 91 38 Hisashi Iwakuma, Sea SP30 21 113 Ivan Nova, NYY SP79 125 39 Matt Cain, SF SP31 33 114 Jeremy Hefner, NYM SP80 112 40 Glen Perkins, Min RP9 44 115 Drew Smyly, Det RP35 126 41 Julio Teheran, Atl SP32 72 116 Edwin Jackson, ChC SP81 138 42 Jonathan Papelbon, Phi RP10 31 117 Scott Kazmir, Cle SP82 NR 43 Jose Fernandez, Mia SP33 64 118 John Axford, Mil RP36 116 44 Jim Johnson, Bal RP11 51 119 Eric Stults, SD SP83 101 45 Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD SP34 54 120 Samuel Deduno, Min SP84 NR 46 Bobby Parnell, NYM RP12 53 121 Tyler Clippard, Wsh RP37 129 47 James Shields, KC SP35 19 122 Randall Delgado, Ari SP85 NR 48 Shelby Miller, StL SP36 37 123 Trevor Cahill, Ari SP86 NR 49 Edward Mujica, StL RP13 35 124 A.J. Ramos, Mia RP38 NR 50 C.J. Wilson, LAA SP37 60 125 Dan Straily, Oak SP87 98 51 Addison Reed, CWS RP14 43 126 Miguel Gonzalez, Bal SP88 121 52 A.J. Burnett, Pit SP38 48 127 Jason Grilli, Pit RP39 61 53 Doug Fister, Det SP39 46 128 Johnny Cueto, Cin SP89 66 54 Chris Perez, Cle RP15 76 129 Dillon Gee, NYM SP90 139 55 Jon Lester, Bos SP40 67 130 Jordan Walden, Atl RP40 NR 56 Grant Balfour, Oak RP16 58 131 Yovani Gallardo, Mil SP91 87 57 Ervin Santana, KC SP41 59 132 Wei-Yin Chen, Bal SP92 128 58 Sergio Romo, SF RP17 29 133 Jose Cisnero, Hou RP41 NR 59 Jeremy Hellickson, TB SP42 65 134 Jason Vargas, LAA SP93 143 60 Kyle Lohse, Mil SP43 92 135 Brandon McCarthy, Ari SP94 130 61 Casey Janssen, Tor RP18 49 136 Darren O'Day, Bal RP42 NR 62 Chris Tillman, Bal SP44 99 137 Mark Buehrle, Tor SP95 NR 63 Derek Holland, Tex SP45 52 138 Dan Haren, Wsh SP96 NR 64 Bartolo Colon, Oak SP46 63 139 Heath Bell, Ari RP43 NR 65 Justin Masterson, Cle SP47 55 140 Andy Pettitte, NYY SP97 NR 66 Matt Moore, TB SP48 22 141 Wily Peralta, Mil SP98 NR 67 Jarrod Parker, Oak SP49 73 142 Alex Wood, Atl SP99 NR 68 R.A. Dickey, Tor SP50 57 143 Steve Delabar, Tor RP44 114 69 John Lackey, Bos SP51 79 144 Kyle Kendrick, Phi SP100 124 70 Alex Cobb, TB SP52 74 145 Erasmo Ramirez, Sea SP101 136 71 Travis Wood, ChC SP53 50 146 Francisco Rodriguez, Bal RP45 105 72 A.J. Griffin, Oak SP54 75 147 Alexi Ogando, Tex SP102 100 73 Tommy Milone, Oak SP55 82 148 Alex Torres, TB RP46 NR 74 Steve Cishek, Mia RP19 68 149 Jenrry Mejia, NYM SP103 NR 75 Kris Medlen, Atl SP56 62 150 Brett Anderson, Oak SP103 133
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