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Gary Sanchez and Andrew Chafin: Buying and Selling the Latest Offseason News for Fantasy Baseball

MLB News - Fantasy Baseball Injury Updates

Even though the Winter Meetings are now behind us, there’s still plenty of offseason left when it comes to baseball news and rumors – especially with a number of the offseason’s top free agents still without a team. And that’s all without mentioning potential trades as there hasn’t been an overabundance of deals made so far. The reports and rumors of free agent interest and trade interest, combined with actual free agent signings and trades, will continue to have significant ramifications for fantasy managers ahead of drafts this Spring.

The aim of this column is to provide you with the latest fantasy analysis on both rumors and reports, as well as official signings and trades, and how it pertains to redraft fantasy baseball leagues this Spring. Moves, or rumors and reports, tabbed as “Buying” are obviously good moves or potentially good moves from a fantasy standpoint. Moves or potential moves and reported interest that are filed under “Selling?” Not so great.

So, without further ado, let’s dive into the news with a look at some news regarding a pair of veteran free agents.

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(Potentially) Selling For Fantasy Baseball

Gary Sanchez Reportedly Being Linked With The Angels

The Los Angeles Angels have reportedly been “in touch on” a number of veteran free agents, including Sanchez, per an article from The New York Post’s Jon Heyman on February 2.

While Sanchez’s fielding metrics took a bit of a step forward in 2022, he hit just .205 with a .282 on-base percentage, 16 home runs, and a pair of stolen bases in 471 plate appearances. It marked the fifth straight season in which he has hit below the .235 mark. Still, the catcher mostly provided reasonable power production during that stretch, power production that wasn’t quite there this past season.

Gary Sanchez from 2018 to 2021:

  • 2018: 374 PA, 18 HR, .220 ISO, 13.9% barrel rate
  • 2019: 446 PA, 34 HR, .293 ISO, 19.1% barrel rate
  • 2020: 178 PA, 10 HR, .218 ISO, 17.4% barrel rate
  • 2021: 440 PA, 23 HR, .219 ISO, 13.7% barrel rate

And while Sanchez did log a 13.5% barrel rate in 2022, not to mention a quality 49.3% hard-hit rate, both metrics came with an increase in strikeouts and a decrease in walks. Sanchez’s strikeout rate jumped to 28.9%, the second-highest it’s been in his career. Elsewhere, his 8.5% walk rate was the second-lowest in his career.

At any rate, the strikeouts and low averages certainly aren’t ideal from a fantasy standpoint. And while it might be a different story when assessing the potential fantasy fit of Sanchez with the Angels if Los Angeles didn’t have any starting catching options, that’s not quite the case. The Halos have a couple of potentially fantasy-relevant catching options.

Max Stassi is coming off a down season at the plate but is just a year removed from a multi-year stretch where he hit a cumulative .250 with a .333 on-base percentage and 20 home runs in 424 combined plate appearances in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. And then there’s prospect Logan O’Hoppe, who could step into the starter’s role with plenty of fantasy upside.

The 22-year-old hit .283 with a .416 on-base percentage, 26 home runs, and seven stolen bases in 447 plate appearances for the Double-A affiliates of the Angels and Phillies after arriving in a midseason trade with Philadelphia. He already made his Major League debut with Los Angeles down the stretch last season.

Something of a timeshare between Stassi and O’Hoppe probably isn’t the most ideal situation, but given the state of the catcher position league-wide, both could find varying degrees of fantasy success for the Angels. Potentially adding Sanchez to the mix would only complicate things from a fantasy ceiling standpoint for all three catchers.

 

(Potentially) Buying For Fantasy Baseball

Andrew Chafin Reportedly Being Linked With The Angels

Another free agent the Angels have reportedly “been in touch on,” per Heyman is left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Chafin.

The veteran pitched to a 2.83 ERA and a 3.06 FIP in 57.1 innings for the Detroit Tigers last season, turning in a solid fantasy campaign in saves+holds leagues with 19 holds, three saves, a pair of pitcher wins, 67 strikeouts, and 19 walks in those 57.1 innings of work.

Chafin, who’s now logged a FIP below 3.30 in seven of his last eight seasons, would be positioned for more fantasy success if he were to sign with the Angels. There’s the obvious hold potential. Regardless of the bullpen he’s pitching in, the reliever seems like a lock for solid hold numbers. He’s logged at least 17 holds in each of his last five full seasons.

But in the right situation, not unlike the one in Anaheim, he could be a source of saves – whether they be ancillary saves or as part of a closer-by-committee approach.

As of now, the Angels’ current ninth-inning options are plenty, without a clear-cut leader in the clubhouse for the role. The potential closing candidates for the American League West franchise include Carlos Estevez, Jimmy Herget, Jose Quijada, Ryan Tepera, and Aaron Loup.

Plus, if Phil Nevin’s bullpen usage is anything like it was last year, the Angels will likely have multiple pitchers with multiple saves. Following Raisel Iglesias’ trade to Atlanta, the saves were fairly widespread among the remaining late-inning options in the Angels’ bullpen. Herget logged eight saves through the rest of the campaign and Tepera finished with five from the trade deadline through the conclusion of the regular season. Quijada also chipped in with a pair of saves while Loup added one as well.

Should that trend continue, Chafin would have the potential to approach double-digit saves with his similar quality hold numbers if he were to sign with the Halos.



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