Friday, November 6, 2015


Just days after the completion of the World Series, we have our first Hot Stove trade to dissect as the Seattle Mariners dealt infielder Brad Miller and first baseman Logan Morrison to the Tampa Bay Rays for a package highlighted by youngster starting pitcher Nathan Karns.  Since we already are into 2016 fantasy baseball mode, let's take apart the deal and see how it impacts these players moving forward.

Nathan Karns:  The headline player in the deal was Karns who turned out a terrific rookie debut with the Rays in 2015 when he pitched to a 3.67 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and punched out 145 batters in only 147 innings pitched.  Yes Karns is older than you would think as he turns 28 in late November due to the fact he was a late bloomer and it likely this reason the Rays were more willing to swallow such a promising arm.  In moving from Tampa to Seattle, Karns actually goes from one pitching park to another which is always a positive.  In fact Safeco Field is even more of an improvement from Tampa so a slight ratio decrease is likely with the move.  In further dissecting Karns, his 8.88 K/9 last season was very good and he has punched out guys at a high rate coming up the minors league ladder so that number is pretty legit.  Alas Karns struggles with control as evidenced by a high 3.43 BB/9 rare and his .288 BABIP last season was a bit on the lucky side.  While Chris Archer, David Price, and maybe even Jake Odorizzi are or will soon be ace starters, Karns at best will be a solid SP 3, with the more likely scenario of him being a 4.  The K rate alone though makes Karns a good late round grab in mixers and especially AL-only formats this season.

Brad Miller:  For two straight spring trainings, Brad Miller turned himself into a solid sleeper candidate due to the fact he was hitting ropes all over the diamond.  Alas Miller's terrific minor league numbers have never made their way to the major leagues, as he has hit a listless .258 and .221 the last two seasons.  In addition, Miller has not made any one category his own for him to hang his at on.  Now there is some power/speed ability here as Miller hit 11 home runs and stole 13 bases last season for the M's but the 20.3 percent K rate shows the limitations here.  The Rays do have a very good history in unleashing numbers from disappointing prospects, with Logan Forsythe being the latest example last season.  Miller will get the chance to be the Rays' starting shortstop or second baseman this season and at least in AL-only formats, he is worth checking out late. 

Logan Morrison:  The Twitter-loving Morrison is now onto his third MLB team amid rampant reports that he has a bad attitude and won't put in the work to get better.  The Mariners have him a look at first base and the outfield in 2015 and even had Morrison batting leadoff for awhile which was intriguing.  Career-long struggles in the batting average department remain though as Morrison hit just .225 last season.  Like with Brad Miller though, Morrison can hit some home runs (17 in 511 at-bats last season) and he can also run a bit (8 stolen bases).  If Morrison ended up in a more offensive ballpark we would give him another look but in Tampa he remains best left as a bench bat or a starter in AL-only setups.

With the initial trade in the books, we are looking forward to an active winter.  Our own Michael Wong will once again be attending in person both installments of the winter meetings and of course our Fantasy Sports Boss 2016 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide:  Early Offseason Edition" comes out in less than two weeks.  Be sure to get your copy using the BUY NOW tab below.


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