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Thursday, November 21, 2013

FANTASY BASEBALL TRADE FALLOUT: PRINCE FIELDER/IAN KINSLER TRADE PLACES

The definition of a blockbuster trade took place late Wednesday as the Detroit Tigers unloaded 1B Prince Fielder and his massive contract onto the Texas Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler.  The Tigers additionally send $30 million bucks to the Rangers in order to offset the massive cost of Fielder's deal but in essence the move has major ramifications for 2014 fantasy baseball even outside of these two.  So without further delay let's delve into the deal and see how each player's stock changes for the coming season.

Prince Fielder:  The biggest boost in the deal easily goes to Fielder who goes from one of the worst hitting parks in the majors in Detroit to quite possibly the best in Texas.  Twice a 40-plus home run hitter while with the Milwaukee Brewers, Fielder hit only 30 and 25 his first two seasons with the Tigers, with the ballpark no doubt to blame for the drop from his earlier days.  However 40 home runs in now back in the realm of possibility for Fielder this season now that he will be playing half of his games in Texas and for the fact he is still flat in his prime as he turns 30.  Despite being a pure slugger all the way, Fielder has never been an average liability, with a career .286 mark proving as much.  While we initially had Fielder ranked fifth in the first baseman rankings behind Chris Davis, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, and Joey Votto, the trade sends him above the latter two into the third spot overall in that class.

Ian Kinsler:  Now for the bad side of the trade.  Kinsler's fantasy baseball value was already heading south before the deal was consummated and it gets magnified even more as he goes from a hitters park to one that favors pitching.  There has been some very noticeable slippage in Kinsler's stats the last three seasons as he has gone from 32 to 19 to 17 home runs during that time period.  In addition Kinsler's stolen bases have tanked from 30 to 21 to only 15 during that same span.  As he turns 32 this season, one has to wonder if the wear and tear of playing second base is causing Kinsler to begin an early career fade.  You only have to go look back to former All Stars that faded earlier than expected at second base such as Juan Samuel, Carlos Baerga, and to a lesser extent Roberto Alomar as comparable examples.  Now throw in the fact Kinsler will be playing half of his games at Comerica and the result is likely additional erosion to his offensive numbers. 

Jurickson Profar:  The Rangers clearly made this move with a side benefit being the fact second base is now wide open for their top infield prospect Profar.  Widely compared to Hanley Ramirez who will eventually hit for power and steal bases, Profar was didn't exactly wow anyone during his rookie season last year when he hit .234 with 6 home runs and 2 stolen bases in 286 at-bats.  Profar was only 22 however and there are a numbers of years to go before he even reaches his prime.  There is major sleeper appeal here for Profar as a post-hype option as many will move away from him due to the fact he wasn't an instant star as ridiculous as that statement is.  However the recent Mike Trout/Yasiel Puig arrivals have grossly inflated the expectations for prospects of Profar's ilk.  Ultimately there will be growth this season across the board as Profar continues to move closer to his potential.  At second base his sleeper value is even more pronounced.

******In addition, the plan now is for the Tigers to move third baseman Miguel Cabrera back to first base for the upcoming season and possibly promote top prospect Nick Castellanos to play third base.  Cabrera would this have only one more season of third base eligibility which is a bummer but Castellanos would be a sleeper to check out late in your draft due to his advanced hitting approach.  This is a fluid situation however so this could change.******

So there you have it.  As always keep checking back for all the latest news and information as it takes place.

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