Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Pitchers Who Changed Scenes - Preseason Risers and Fallers


Several impact hitters switched teams for 2019, but other than Patrick Corbin, not so many pitchers, especially as we await the fates of Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. And, if Milwaukee signs Kimbrel in light of Corey Knebel's elbow, it shouldn't be that different an experience for his shareholders than Boston was last season given that both teams are contenders in hitters' parks.

Park and run support matter, but there is at least one factor that matters a lot more for pitchers changing teams than for hitters: defense, specifically the one that lines up behind them. It's a bit more complicated adjusting a pitcher's value for a new team than it is a hitter, but you can do it.

Below are three other hitters whose new teams are bound to change their fantasy value one way or the other.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

Cody Allen (RP, LAA)

Moved from: Cleveland Indians to Los Angeles Angels

Had Allen been a free agent after 2017 instead of '18, he might have been that offseason's Kimbrel. However, Allen lost his closing job in a very frustrating 2018 campaign that still saw him save 27 games despite a 4.70 ERA. Oddly enough, this probably helped him sign quicker than Kimbrel by keeping his price down. The erstwhile Red Sox fireman seems to be taking a stand against the price he's being offered in this MLB job market. Allen, however, was probably happy to go to a team that would still let him close games at a decent salary.

Were Allen still in Cleveland, he would likely be facing matchups or a setup role for Brad Hand. Instead, he's got the closer role out of the gate, and it's his to lose, but if 2018 turns out to be a blip, he should be productive. Unfortunately, the Angels aren't the best team in the league, so it's not the perfect place for saves, but then again, a better team would be more likely to have a settled bullpen that did not necessarily need a guy like Allen.

Allen is one example of a change of scene where the effect is fairly obvious: after only posting two saves in his last September with Cleveland, he is already a closer again. For some other pitchers, it's a little more complicated.

 

Blake Parker (RP, MIN)

Moved from: Los Angeles Angels to Minnesota Twins

Parker, of course, used to have Allen's job of closer for the Angels. With less of a track record than Allen, Parker ended up unable to find a closing job this offseason. However, Minnesota is a pretty good place for him to get a shot at some saves. The team isn't very good while reliever Trevor May is, but Parker has more value than he might for a real contender. He's still pretty much a waiver wire option, but he'd have essentially no value if he were still on an Angels team that signed Allen anyway, so his change of scene mattered in that way.

Another problem for Parker, however, is that Minnesota's defense last year was subpar, with a -21.3 Def on FanGraphs, compared to the Angels' third-ranked 30.6 mark. But for a relief pitcher whose sample size is unlikely to exceed 50 innings, that matters a little less than for starting pitchers.

That's enough about relievers.

 

Dallas Keuchel (SP, FA)

Moved from: Houston Astros to who-knows-where

No, we don't even know where he's signing yet! However, Houston would be a solid place to stay. It's somewhat friendly to pitchers, and that lineup should produce wins for an inning eater like Keuchel. Although he only went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA last year, Lance McCullers was 10-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 76 fewer innings; you're always playing the odds with the pitcher wins stat, and Houston pitchers have good chances of winning each game. Several contenders--New York (AL), Milwaukee, Philadelphia--could offer similar lineup support to Houston, but in worse parks. He might not want to go to Philadelphia in particular, which not only plays in a bandbox but also had the fifth-worst defense last year per FanGraphs, and since added Bryce Harper's -14.4 UZR.

Keuchel may even not end up with a change of scenery at all, but if he does, it will be difficult for him to find a better combination of team and park for his fantasy value than Houston. Consider any move a slight hit to his value. And, of course, the longer he goes unsigned, the less time he will have to prove valuable as well.

 

Charlie Morton (SP, TB)

Moved from: Houston Astros to Tampa Bay Rays

Let's end with a starter who does have a new team already. Morton will be one of Tampa Bay's three starting pitchers along with Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, with two out of five games featuring their now-infamous "opener" strategy.

Tropicana Field always leans towards pitchers and should continue to do so, which is good news for Morton. Less good, of course, is losing Bregman, Altuve, Springer, Correa, etc. for run support. Other than Tommy Pham, the Rays offense mostly consists of the unspectacular or the unproven. And, of course, he goes from a division with few contenders to one with perhaps the two best teams in baseball, albeit also the worst. In terms of defense, Tampa Bay in 2018 was slightly but not significantly worse (-24.4 in FanGraphs Def vs. -14.5 for Houston, which amounts to a run every 16 games, or two runs over 32 starts).

So while Tampa Bay may hit Morton a bit in the wins column, he should be pretty close to the same pitcher otherwise, and can be valued as a solid starter as his Steamer-projected 3.58 FIP would attest.

 

Conclusion

As with hitters, a pitcher's team's quality and ballpark will affect output. Pitchers have the additional factor of the defense behind them. There's also the defense in front of them; one factor not touched on above is pitch framing, so if you want to get really deep in the weeds, make sure a pitcher's new catcher(s) do or don't have extreme framing skills that could affect the numbers. Also, how teams utilize their bullpen matters for relievers; Allen, for example, gets to enjoy a pen with a clear closer role.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice




More Recent Articles

 

ADP Cost Analysis – Aaron Nola vs Lance Lynn

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Regression Candidates: Breakout Outfielders

Every season in MLB you can count on the fact that you will have breakout performances from players. Sometimes these breakout performances can be seen coming a mile away and sometimes they catch you entirely by surprise. Regardless of which type of breakout we see, you will almost always have to pay up for that... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - Quality Start Episode 1

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) and Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) of the Turn Two Podcast come together for a new co-pod series called "Quality Start". This will be a joint effort and episodes will be found on Bases Loaded as well as the Turn Two Podcast. We are joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) as well for this one.... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Adrian Houser

In life, there seem to be two kinds of people, the flashy and the boring. “Flashy” people like high-end materialistic things such as nice clothing or an expensive car. "Boring” people prefer the simpler things in life like spending time with their loved ones. This seems to be true when it comes to fantasy baseball,... Read More


Taking Out the Trash: Pitchers Who Should Junk Their Worst Pitch

Pitch mix changes can make or break a player’s season. That obviously goes for fantasy value as well as real-life. We've already seen how throwing an effective pitch more often could make a huge improvement a la Patrick Corbin. Sometimes pitchers just need to eliminate a pitch to see their numbers improve. Consider the following: Mitch... Read More


ADP Showdown – Trevor Story vs. Trea Turner

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher Statcast

Statcast metrics such as Barrels and Brls/BBE are great ways to evaluate a batter's performance, so it is only natural to assume that the metrics would be predictive for pitchers as well. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is evidence... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - All Things Fantasy Baseball w/ Nick Pollack (@PitcherList)

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is  joined by Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) and they discuss all things fantasy baseball! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune... Read More


Finding Combo-Player Values Using Z-Scores and ATC Projections

Towards the end of last season, I asked the question – “Draft Speed or Pound the Power?” Loaded in this seemingly simple query are two contradictory approaches – one for power and one for speed. Power Approach 1: Home run totals are dramatically up in baseball these days. Therefore, there are many power bats available... Read More


ADP Showdown - Whit Merrifield vs Austin Meadows

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already begun dealing with tough draft position decisions. The outfield position is deep as always, but... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Third Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Dynasty Leagues: Players to Sell (Premium Content)

As draft day approaches in dynasty leagues, the window to sell-high on a big name has never been better. The first days of spring training are a chance to cash in on players who may have hit their peak value before the 2020 season begins. Bartering is a matter of risk vs reward. You hate... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast: Early Round Values

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) and Zach Braff (@BraffZ) and they discuss early round values. They go through and highlight a few players that are going inside the top 150 in ADP that offer a great chance to return profit. Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast... Read More


Second Year Pitcher Preview: Fantasy Baseball 2020 ADP Analysis

Host Anthony Aniano of RotoBaller Radio discuss the 2020 fantasy baseball season and keeps you updated with all the latest news and analysis Be sure to tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210, XM 87) - every weekday morning between 6-7 AM ET, every weekday afternoon from 1-2 PM ET, Saturday nights from 9-11 PM ET... Read More