Thursday, November 12, 2015


The Winter Meetings brought another trade on Thursday, this time with the Atlanta Braves trading the best defensive shortstop in the game in Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels for fellow shortstop Erick Aybar and top pitching prospect Sean Newcomb.  It was quite a haul for the Braves in getting a better offensive shortstop in Aybar and a very good prospect in Newcomb.  Let's break down the trade from a fantasy baseball perspective.

Andrelton Simmons:  We always start with the headliner in these posts and in this case it is Simmons who is a Gold Glove shortstop who also has some very good athleticism.  Unfortunately on the offensive side of the game, Simmons is not so impressive.  At 26, Simmons is still quite young but again his bat has not caught up anywhere near his defense as he comes off a 2015 campaign where he hit just .265 with 4 home runs and 5 stolen bases in 578 at-bats.  Now very close to his prime, this is pretty much what Simmons will remain when it comes to his numbers and that really has no place in fantasy baseball.  Simmons has almost zero power and his very good speed has never translated into stolen base production.  Guys can be fast but terrible base runners and Simmons is a classic example of this player.  In NL-only formats Simmons has a smidge of value but in mixers he should stay on wire even at a shallow position like shortstop. 

Erick Aybar:  The Braves actually get the better offensive shortstop in this deal as Aybar has generally been a solid but not great option in fantasy baseball leagues.  A typical Aybar year is around 10 home runs with 15-20 stolen bases and 70-plus runs scored.  In addition, Aybar can hit for a better average than Simmons, historically being in the .270-.275 range.  Aybar is now turning 32 in January though so there is a debate as to how much speed he can retain.  Either way, Aybar is on the border of mixed league usage in 12-team leagues but he is best served as a backup who can help when needed.

Sean Newcomb:  The Braves get another big prospect for their future in the form 2014 first round pick (14th overall) lefty pitcher Sean Newcomb.  The 22-year-old made the jump from Single-A to Double-A in 2015 and at the latter he was terrific with a 2.75 ERA and 9.75 K/9 in 36 innings.  Newcomb is not expected to be much of a factor at the major league level in 2016 as the Braves want him to get more seasoning and have no need for him yet since they won't contend this season.  Still the ceiling is sizable here as Newcomb has strikeout stuff and is a lefty.  The control is a big struggle for Newcomb right now though and that is something he will need a large portion of 2016 to figure out.  Still the Braves did well with this trade. 


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