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Juan Soto and Josh Bell Head to San Diego - Fantasy Impact of a Baseball Blockbuster Trade

juan soto fantasy baseball rankings outfield MLB injury news

Right before the trade deadline the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres agreed on a trade. Juan Soto and Josh Bell were sent to the Padres while the Nationals received SS C.J. Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, OF Robert Hassell III, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana, and 1B Luke Voit. In total, eight players were involved in this huge trade.

What is the fantasy impact of Soto and Bell coming to San Diego? What about the Nationals? Did they get anyone that good and will any of these players be fantasy relevant for them?

We'll break down that deal below as the RotoBaller team keeps you updated on all the breaking news and MLB trades as they go down.

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Juan Soto On the Move to San Diego

Soto himself moving to San Diego does not change much for him on an individual level. This man is one of the best in the game and has the potential to be considered one of the all-time greats when it is all said and done. He has a .246 average but a .408 OBP still, a .240 ISO, a 20.9% walk rate, and just a 14.2% strikeout rate. Getting on base and hitting for power translates anywhere. The Nationals were 26th in runs scored with Soto in their lineup and he still scored 62 runs.

Since he has not played a game yet in San Diego this is speculative, but most are expecting him to bat second in the order just ahead of Manny Machado. Having someone in the lineup like that bat ahead of you is great news for Machado. Although Machado is already having a nice season, he should see more pitches to hit and have more RBI opportunities with someone like Soto on base 40% of the time.

With Soto in the lineup alone, this San Diego team that is 12th in runs scored should only improve. They also have Fernando Tatis, Jr. seeing live pitching and expected to come back this month too.

I see nothing but a boost to Soto's counting stats, with getting better pitches to hit with Machado behind him. He has a .243 BABIP this year, so the combination of that improving and being in a better lineup should boost his batting average.

Soto is one of the greats not only in real life but in fantasy and moving to a better lineup only improves his offensive opportunities to score, drive in runs, and get more hits. His batting average, runs scored, and RBI should all improve on a per-game basis going forward.

The impact of Soto starting every day in RF affects Wil Myers the most. Myers will likely be a backup in the corner outfield spots and also DH. But if there are situations where a better position player bat gets a rest from the field, Myers could find himself out of the lineup completely.


Josh Bell Switches Teams Again

Josh Bell is coming over to San Diego as well on a rental through the end of the season most likely. Bell is projected to bat cleanup for now, it could be fifth when Tatis returns.

Bell was actually having a nice season despite playing in a bad lineup overall. He has a career-best .301 batting average, a career-best .384 OBP, but a .192 ISO with just 14 home runs hit this season. Having been someone with a 37 home run season on their resume, the power output has been a bit disappointing. He also had 52 runs and 57 RBI through 102 games.

Moving from Nationals Park, which is 11th in the MLB for home runs, to Petco, which is 18th in the MLB for home runs will likely not improve his home run hitting this season. They will travel to Dodgers Stadium, which is third in the MLB for home runs, and Coors Field which is ninth. Chase Field and Oracle Park are both towards the bottom of the league. It's a mix. Some at the top, home park in the middle, and some at the bottom. Likely not much changes.

With Soto and Machado batting ahead of him, Bell should get more RBI opportunities. He has 57 through 103 games. He was on pace for close to 90 RBI this season. One would have to imagine if he were to bat a full season with Machado's .364 OBP, and Soto's .409 OBP (and the .409 is down for him), Bell would have a better RBI rate than 90 RBI in 160 games.


What About The Nationals' Haul?

Luke Voit had been struggling this season. He had a 32% strikeout rate, a .225 average, and a .317 OBP and that was with a BABIP at .301. Since 2019 and 2020, we haven't seen the same type of power from Voit. He had a .197 ISO last year on the Yankees and has had a .191 ISO this year with the Padres. Moving to Nationals Park in general is a home run boost but not as big as Yankee Stadium. Moving from one of the better lineups to one of the worst lineups won't help Voit either.  He has shown these numbers for the past 150 games he has played.

MacKenzie Gore started the year off great and then got moved to the bullpen. He has an elbow injury but is expected to come back this year. He likely would join the Nationals' rotation at some point which is a boost to his fantasy value. In most formats, middle relievers do not help us much in fantasy. He has some consistency issues, he has his gems and his blowups but that is typical for young pitchers.

Having the chance to start, learn, and adjust will be good for him. I would be interested in him for fantasy in 2023.

CJ Abrams has been a hyped prospect that the Padres never seemed to believe in. Technically not a prospect anymore with 139 plate appearances, he is still a young and exciting player. He will start in Triple-A for the Nationals. In Triple-A he had a .364 OBP, a .314 average, seven home runs, and 10 steals in just 151 plate appearances.

He doesn't have much to prove in Triple-A and I would expect him on the Nationals roster soon. He is better than Luis Garcia and Cesar Hernandez and should get a chance to play every day down the stretch and into 2023.

Robert Hassell III becomes the National's best prospect now according to the MLB site. He has some upside and could be a great player down the road. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2020 draft and has 10 HR, 20 SB, and a .379 OBP in 75 High-A games this year. He might be a couple of years away yet from joining the big leagues as he has no experience in Double-A or higher.

James Wood becomes the National's fourth-best prospect now. He has 10 HR, 15 SB, and a .453 OBP at Single-A this year. He is 6'7, 240 lbs, and should be a big home run hitter as he progresses in his career. He is a couple of years away most likely.

Jarlin Susana was signed internationally by the Padres and considered one of the top pitchers if not the top pitcher in that class. He is 18 years old, the National's eighth-best prospect right now. Like most young pitchers, he throws hard but has command issues. He is probably a few years away from becoming a big leaguer.


Final Thoughts

Juan Soto and Josh Bell join a lineup that scored the 12th-most runs but has just the 23rd highest ISO and the 10th-best OBP. These two will improve the lineup in all areas. Players batting ahead of them should see a boost in runs scored, these guys should see both a boost in RBI and Runs Scored, and players batting after them should see a boost in RBI as well. If a healthy Tatis joins them, they will rival the Yankees and Dodgers for the best lineup in the league for the last two months of the season.

Wil Myers may see less at-bats going forward, he is not an every day position player on this team anymore, and Ha-Seong's playing days could also be impacted soon when Tatis comes back from injury but that remains to be seen at the moment.

The Nationals got some big pieces back: a potential everyday SS for years to come, a potential rotation staple, and three prospects with big-time upside. While this move may not move the needle in 2022, Abrams and Gore are viable in 2023 for redraft leagues. These prospects are good ones to keep an eye out for in dynasty leagues going forward.

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