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Luis Arraez and Pablo Lopez: Buying and Selling the Latest Offseason News for Fantasy Baseball

pablo lopez fantasy baseball rankings starting pitcher draft sleepers MLB injury news

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 the offseason’s most recent blockbuster trade.

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Selling For Fantasy Baseball

Luis Arraez Being Traded To Miami

Arguably the sport’s preeminent hitter where batting average is concerned, Arraez has hit .314 in 1,569 plate appearances since making his Major League debut in 2019, including a .316 batting average in 603 plate appearances last season.

Unsurprisingly, for a player with such a high batting average, the infielder has routinely logged quality strikeout and whiff rate metrics. He’s finished in the 99th percentile or better in both categories in each of his last three full seasons.

That isn’t likely to suddenly change, nor is Arraez’s power production. The veteran has collected just 14 career Major League home runs.

Essentially, fantasy managers know what they’re getting in Arraez, who should provide elite batting average production on a weekly basis. However, one component of his stat line from 2022 that might change in a significant way is his runs scored total.

Serving as Minnesota’s primary leadoff hitter last season, Arraez scored 88 runs, the 15th-most in the league. Most often, Carlos Correa hit second with some combination of Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton hitting after the shortstop.

Twins Hitters In 2022:

  • Carlos Correa 590 PA, 22 HR, .291 average, .366 on-base percentage, .363 xwOBA
  • Jorge Polanco: 445 PA, 16 HR, .235 average, .346 on-base percentage, .358 xwOBA
  • Byron Buxton: 382 PA, 28 HR, .224 average, .306 on-base percentage, .358 xwOBA

Overall, it wasn’t hard to see why Arraez crossed home plate so many times. He might find it difficult to score with that type of regularity in Miami next season. Only three Marlins hitters finished with an xwOBA above .340 last season: Bryan De La Cruz (.355), Jazz Chisholm Jr. (.345), and Garrett Cooper (.341). No one else topped the .325 mark.

Furthermore, of that trio, De La Cruz might not be a lock for regular playing time given the overflowing outfield portion of the National League East club’s depth chart.

And that’s all without mentioning the general disparity in terms of run-scoring between the two clubs last season. The Twins weren’t an extremely deep lineup and were rather middling on the whole as a run-scoring unit with 696 runs scored. Still, that was exactly 100 more than the Marlins last season.


Buying For Fantasy Baseball

Pablo Lopez Being Traded To The Minnesota Twins

Pablo Lopez enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 and followed it up with another quality campaign in 2021. He struggled a bit, at least comparatively, last season, but there’s plenty to like about this move based on the starter’s metrics from last season.

Most prominent among the reasons to like the move? The potential for an increase in pitcher wins.

The same lineup led by Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco, and Byron Buxton that Arraez just departed is now the same lineup that’ll support Lopez. They’re by no means the Dodgers or the Yankees from a runs-scored standpoint, but they’ll improve Lopez’s fantasy ceiling considerably.

Since the right-hander’s breakout campaign in 2020, the Marlins have scored the second-fewest runs in the league. In that same span, Lopez has just 21 pitcher wins from 63 starts spanning 340 IP. During that same span, 45(!) different starters have more pitcher wins than Lopez. Of those 45 pitchers, 26 had a higher FIP than the 26-year-old's 3.48 FIP during the same span.

Of the starter’s 21 wins in the last three years, 10 of them surprisingly came in 2022 despite Miami scoring the third-fewest runs in the league. Those 10 wins in 2022 also came despite Lopez’s ERA and FIP jumping to 3.75 and 3.71 last season, though those numbers certainly weren’t helped by starts against the New York Mets.

While not as significant as getting to pitch with better run support, Lopez also won’t have to face the Mets quite as often. Of course, schedules are changing in 2023 to include fewer division games, so he might not have had to face them as much even if he stayed with the Marlins, but the 26-year-old struggled considerably against the Mets this past season.

Last year, Lopez made 32 starts. He only allowed more than four runs in an outing in five of those 32 starts. Of those five starts where he allowed more than four runs? Three were against the Mets. All told, 21 of the 75 earned runs Lopez surrendered in 2022 came in matchups against New York’s National League franchise.

Pablo Lopez's 2022 Splits

  • Pablo Lopez vs. the New York Mets in 2022: 22.2 IP, 9.53 ERA, 4.30 FIP, .423 wOBA
  • Pablo Lopez vs. Teams Not Called the Mets in 2022: 157.1 IP, 2.92 ERA, 3.63 FIP, .284 wOBA

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