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Marcus Stroman Heads to Mets - Fantasy Implications


In the first of the significant moves involving pitching at the deadline, Toronto ace Marcus Stroman is headed to the New York Mets. In return, the Jays receive two pitching prospects in Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson. While not the New York team that most expected, Stroman enters a team that thinks they are in the hunt. If the team can win some games, a pitcher with this profile fits nicely.

For fantasy value, this trade has impacts in both redraft and dynasty formats. While Stroman is not one of the top pitchers in the game, he does offer a younger arm with some run. Over a month-long stretch, Stroman can pitch like an ace, but owners need to deal with the other starts as well. For their part, the Mets are making some pieces to rebuild the farm in this deal. Kay and Woods-Richardson are both in the minors, with the former at the top and latter down at Single-A. For owners in NL-only formats, Stroman might be the best option to hit the wire, based on league rules, and could be the arm that changes a season.

To answer all those questions, this article looks to each of the three players in the deal to evaluate their fantasy stock. While this trade got overshadowed quickly by other significant moves, the Mets are going to be fun to watch in the next few years. Stroman could be a cog on a surprise run to the Wild Card, but at the very least, will be a crucial piece next year.

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Stock Up

 

Marcus Stroman (SP, NYM)

A former first-round pick by Toronto out of Duke in 2012, the Stroman experience has been more good than bad for Jays fans. While there have been some clubhouse concerns, and comments off the field, for the most part, Stroman has been a reliable SP3 in real life and fantasy baseball. The concern with looking to measure Stroman’s value for fantasy is that owners do not know what the Mets are going to do the rest of the way. While the easy answer, Stroman’s value is reliant on the team staying in the playoff hunt. If not, then there is as much risk for wins as with Toronto, so no real jump in the short term for that category.

Even without the wins, the park factors seem to work out for Stroman. Rogers Center has played to a 1.037 run factor, and Citi Field is down a tick at 0.957. Rogers Center has also been the worst pitcher’s park for homers, with a 1.458 home run factor compared to Citi Field’s 0.946 mark. The downside for the factors comes on walk factor, as Stroman has struggled with command at times. Over his career, Storman has been one of the better BB% arms in the Majors. Still, this year, he is walking even fewer batters with a rate down to 6.8 from 8.0 last year. Citi Field has a 1.009 walk factor, and Rogers Center is 0.937. This means that while still a core skill, owners might not be able to pencil in the current WHIP.

No matter the trade return and value for Toronto, the Mets have added one of the better arms in the American League, even if that comes at the cost of an elite ceiling. Owners will need to watch the command but should be able to rely on a lower ERA due to the park and division content. Moving away from a hitter’s park, and the New York and Boston lineups seems to only be a good thing for gross fantasy value.

Stock Down

 

Anthony Kay (SP, TOR)

Of the two arms coming back to Toronto in the deal, Kay is the closest to the Bigs but also has a lower ceiling. Entering the year to the worst pitchers park in terms of homers and will need to adjust to make this work. Stock is down with the park, but he might have a longer leash when he gets the call. as the number six prospect in the Mets’ system, Kay had been pitching at Triple-A at the time of the trade. To begin the year, down at Double-A, Kay had a 1.49 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP over 12 starts. While the numbers have risen at Triple-A to 6.61 and 1.63 up a level, owners have to be excited by the stuff that he flashed to start the year.

Mixing in a fastball, curveball, and changeup, Kay relies on the mixture as opposed to his elite stuff. With none of the pitches grading out above average, Kay does project to have plus command. Kay's fastball that tops out at 94, meaning that the changeup has been critical for Kay in terms of getting swings-and-misses. Still, when there are real questions on his ability to command the curveball, Kay cannot rely on the changeup as Chris Paddack does. The other primary concern has been seven homers in seven games at Triple-A. Kay is headed

 

Simeon Woods-Richardson (SP, TOR)

The principal return for Stroman, Woods-Richardson is an arm that will start to appear on top-100 lists this offseason. While only 18, Richardson already has a polished curveball and fastball combination. The only issue has been development of a third pitch, with a changeup still a work in progress. Projecting as a starter, Woods-Richardson does have some concerns with durability and command due to his throwing motion. Still, fantasy owners have to like the elite stuff, and with the tools to dream on, easy to see why this is the return for Toronto’s ace.

In 20 games for Single-A this year, Woods-Richardson has a 2.29 xFIP and 11.14 K/9. If he can keep on an innings schedule, Woods-Richardson will debut in 2021 at the earliest, with 2023 being a better target date. That is the rub for fantasy owners, and why the Jays got hammered for this deal by pundits.

Even if it all goes well, owners are sitting on a lottery ticket with plenty of time for arm injuries, command issues, and new baseballs. For dynasty owners willing to wait, Woods-Richardson can jump up prospect lists in the next two years, but for owners in redraft leagues, this is a name to forget for four years. Stock is neutral in a vacuum, but with the Jays’ recent history, owners should not trust them to polish this blue-chip prospect.

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