Todd's Takes: Reviewing the Moves and ADP

Todd's Takes: Reviewing the Moves and ADP

This article is part of our Todd's Takes series.

Long time no takes. What a week! And it's not over yet. What I thought I'd do is give a quick take on all the major moves so far with a fantasy lean, then wrap up with a bit on ADP.

TRADES

Mariners acquire Teoscar Hernandez

From a park factor perspective, the move is lateral since Safeco Field T-Mobile Park isn't bad for right-handed power (it hurts lefties a bit). The Seattle lineup is a bit of a downgrade, but Hernandez may be able to hit higher in the Mariners' order. He's better suited for left field, which meshes with the current Seattle outfield. It's just speculation, but Seattle is more likely to take advantage of the new rules and run a bit more than last season, with Hernandez profiling as someone who can benefit. Sprint speed isn't everything, but he's 84th percentile. It wouldn't be surprising if Hernandez challenged the career high of 12 bags he set in 2021.

Rockies acquire Nolan Jones

Given, you need to hit the ball to take advantage of Coors Field, preferably in the air. Jones has struggled with contact throughout his career, though he also walked a ton in the minors, giving hope he can get his strikeout rate to a palatable level. His batted-ball profile has been all over the place, but he's demonstrated the ability to hit it in the air. I'm not sure if there are more jokes about airline food or the manner Colorado handles rookies, but they saw

Long time no takes. What a week! And it's not over yet. What I thought I'd do is give a quick take on all the major moves so far with a fantasy lean, then wrap up with a bit on ADP.

TRADES

Mariners acquire Teoscar Hernandez

From a park factor perspective, the move is lateral since Safeco Field T-Mobile Park isn't bad for right-handed power (it hurts lefties a bit). The Seattle lineup is a bit of a downgrade, but Hernandez may be able to hit higher in the Mariners' order. He's better suited for left field, which meshes with the current Seattle outfield. It's just speculation, but Seattle is more likely to take advantage of the new rules and run a bit more than last season, with Hernandez profiling as someone who can benefit. Sprint speed isn't everything, but he's 84th percentile. It wouldn't be surprising if Hernandez challenged the career high of 12 bags he set in 2021.

Rockies acquire Nolan Jones

Given, you need to hit the ball to take advantage of Coors Field, preferably in the air. Jones has struggled with contact throughout his career, though he also walked a ton in the minors, giving hope he can get his strikeout rate to a palatable level. His batted-ball profile has been all over the place, but he's demonstrated the ability to hit it in the air. I'm not sure if there are more jokes about airline food or the manner Colorado handles rookies, but they saw something in Jones they like. Sam Hilliard and Garrett Hampson are no longer in the picture, so Jones could get a shot. The cost to find out if he can make enough contact is nominal.

Diamondbacks acquire Kyle Lewis

Arizona's young outfield is very promising, but they're also decidedly left-handed. Lewis provides a platoon partner for any of Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy or Corbin Carroll. More than likely, he'll spell all three at time, along with some at bats against right-handers. Lewis has serious contact and durability issues, so he's clearly best suited for NL-only.

Angels acquire Gio Urshela

There's really not a lot to see here, other than Urshela picking up eligibility at a couple of other spots. He'll go in 3B-only but could add 1B and SS, as first is open and David Fletcher is slated to start at shortstop. Urshela is mixed-league reserve fodder, so if he can add middle infield to his 2023 resume, his appeal goes up a tick.

Reds acquire Kevin Newman

The Reds address their hole at shortstop with...Newman? Eh, probably not. Newman is more likely to be a super-utility player, albeit it with no power and bit of speed. Newman is the type of guy you get in NL-only when using a stars and scrubs approach. There are pathways to playing time, which is fine for an end-gamer.

Angels acquire Hunter Renfroe

Renfroe has quietly become a useful player, more so in MLB with his good defense, but he has mixed-league pop with a batting average above hurtful territory. Angels Stadium will hurt his power, but the top half of the Angels lineup can be productive, so Renfroe has the chance to compile decent runs and RBI. Outfield thins quickly, so while Renfroe may not get the juices flowing early, he's going to look mighty enticing later.

Brewers acquire Jesse Winker and Abraham Toro

Milwaukee hopes a return to a hitter's park in the NL Central can get Winker back on track. After seemingly figuring things out with the Reds in 2021, Winker's time in the Pacific Northwest was a disaster. In his defense, Winker played through some nagging injuries and maintained his plate skills, but he didn't hit the ball with as much authority. On the other hand, he reportedly drew the ire of the clubhouse for not working to improve, especially on defense. It's more narrative than analytical, but if Winker treats this as a learning experience, a mixed-league worthy bounce back could be in order.

Toro ostensibly replaces Kolten Wong, though Milwaukee can still bring in someone else to man the keystone. Toro doesn't fan much, but he doesn't hit the ball very hard, either. He does, however, hit it in the air, which will be rewarded more in American Family Field than T-Mobile Park. Even so, Toro is strictly an NL-only entity.

Mariners acquire Kolten Wong

Hopefully, Wong moving to a far less hitter-friendly venue signals the end of my irrational fantasy man crush. It's not that Wong has been a bad player; it's more not playing to my overly lofty expectations in between injuries. Wong is still mixed-league worthy, but he's no longer a target for sneaky profit. Instead, he's lumped in with the large inventory of end-gamers with second base eligibility.

FREE AGENT SIGNINGS

Red Sox sign Joely Rodriguez

In a vacuum, this signing doesn't mean much unless you're in an AL-only or holds league. However, embellishing the bullpen (Spoiler Alert: Boston made other reliever moves too) paves the way for Tanner Houck to join the rotation, or at least serve in tandem with James Paxton.

Pirates sign Carlos Santana

Are we really hearing "flip at the deadline" before Christmas? Normally, I find the phrase cliché and lazy, but is there any other reason for the Pirates to sign a 37-year-old designated hitter who sometimes masquerades as a first baseman? It's fair to ask if Santana can even make himself attractive enough to be flipped. Gather around, kids. He can. Yes, his exit velocity is down, but he's hit into some bad luck over the past couple of seasons. PNC Park isn't ideal, but Santana is a switch-hitter, which helps counter extreme pitchers' parks. To me, Santana is still reserve fodder in mixed leagues. All I'm saying is there's a chance.

White Sox sign Mike Clevinger

Jacob deGrom is 18 months older than Clevinger. Huh. Maybe I'm too glass-half-empty on this one, but I can't find anything I like, other than the fact that Clevinger is moving to an easy division, and even that's not as actionable with the balanced schedule. He's still a health risk, though neither the knee nor triceps strain seem worrisome, A drop in velocity is concerning, however, since velocity usually returns after Tommy John surgery. It's command, and especially control, that take time. US Cellular Field is a slight pitchers' park, but it's generous for homers; last season, Clevinger surrendered 20 in just 114.1 innings. Hard pass.

Astros sign Jose Abreu

Abreu and the Astros are like peas and carrots. Ideally, it would be nice if Houston has someone to fill in at first base while Abreu plays designated hitter, but Abreu has played 135 and 128 games in the field the past two seasons, so he should be fine for 140 this year, with fewer starts at designated hitter. Abreu's power was down, though check out the Outlook on his player page for an explanation and an optimistic forecast. From a fantasy standpoint, moving to the high-profile Houston lineup may take away from of the discount Abreu has garnered in recent drafts.

Nationals sign Stone Garrett

There's not much to say here, but if I left him out, someone who has Garrett as a keeper in their Guys Who Could Have Been on the Flintstones League would have asked about him in the comments. Well...that's unfair as Garrett did post an .848 OPS in the last month, and Washington is looking for breakout types, so he'll get some playing time. Garrett has exhibited pop and some speed, but he's generally been old for his minor-league level, so the numbers are inflated. However, despite being older than most of his league mates, Garrett still fanned too much while having an aversion to free passes. Taking a chance on Garrett is more about opportunity than skills.

Nationals sign Jeimer Candelario

Candelario added uppercut to his swing and it cost him, as he didn't hit the flyballs far enough to leave Comerica Park. Nationals Stadium is more power-friendly, so Candelario has a puncher's chance to rebound. Even if he does, he's just a late cornerman in mixed, but there is a pathway to profit.

Dodgers sign Shelby Miller 

Yeah, I laughed too, but the Dodgers are a smart organization, and they'll likely use Miller as a reliever where he could have a career renaissance. Miller pitched out of the bullpen last season in Triple-A with a combined 69 punchouts in 53.1 frames. He's only relevant in NL-only and perhaps holds leagues.

Rays sign Zach Eflin

Color me intrigued. Tampa Bay has a knack for getting the most out of their pitchers, with Drew Rasmussen and Jeffrey Springs as recent examples. Factor in that Tropicana Field is a much friendlier pitchers' park and that there will be fewer games in the AL East thanks to the balanced schedule, and Eflin is intriguing. Durability is a concern, but if he can be drafted in the streaming starters range, Eflin could do that and possibly more.

Tigers sign Matthew Boyd

Boyd returns to Motown after a one-year absence. He only threw major-league 13.1 innings last season, all out of the bullpen, but he was effective. The club says part of the reason they acquired him was to be a clubhouse presence and someone to work with the young arms. Hmm, isn't that why they signed Eduardo Rodriguez? Anyway, Boyd will be given a chance to start, though he only compiled 21.1 total frames last season. It's all about the long ball with Boyd. If MLB decides to give Detroit the dead balls, Boyd has a chance to be useful, but workload is still an issue.

Rangers sign Jacob deGrom

There's a lot of speculation suggesting the Rangers no doubt looked at the medicals so fantasy managers should have more faith deGrom stays healthy. Maybe? That feels more like rationalization from a deGrom stan. Citi Field is the best place to pitch, so anywhere else is a downgrade. Globe Life Field has played neutral, but does it matter? If deGrom is healthy, he could throw a no-hitter in a phone booth. To put things in perspective, he needs 150-160 innings to be the top fantasy pitcher and a top-10 overall player. Around 120 innings lands deGrom around top-20 among starting pitchers. There isn't an algorithm capable of projecting his innings. Your team, your call.

Red Sox sign Chris Martin

For a few days, it appeared Martin may get a chance to close, but now he's part of the revamped bridge to Kenley Jansen. Martin is relevant in AL-only and holds leagues. He's especially adept at protecting WHIP. Last season, Martin walked just five batters in 56 stanzas. That was a typical inning for the Red Sox bullpen last season.

Orioles sign Kyle Gibson

if you drafted Jordan Lyles in the 39th round of your Draft and Hold last season, you should be in the market for Gibson. Even with the renovated left field in Camden Yards, Gibson's strikeouts are low. He's only in play as a streamer. The balanced schedule helps, but the Orioles will still have four series against some quality AL East lineups.

Phillies sign Trea Turner

Turner was my No. 1 overall player before the signing, and he remains atop the heap. Every box is checked. Citizens Bank Park is a power-friendly venue, the lineup is potent and the Phillies shouldn't put a clamp on his running. Adding Turner pushes Bryson Stott to second base. The corner defense still needs work, but the Phillies will be stout up the middle.

Mets sign Justin Verlander

I'm recused from evaluating Verlander since I didn't think he had any chance to do what he did. The brain still says there is no way he can do it again. The heart agrees with last season's proponents; if anyone can do it, he can. He's in the best pitchers' park with a great closer, so all the pieces are in place.

Angels sign Carlos Estevez

Park factor translations will love the transition from Coors Field to Angels Stadium, though it was only 2022 when Estevez was effective. Even then, he doesn't fan a batter an inning, and his control is suspect. Still, he'll be in the closer mix, which is all he needs to get invited to the fantasy party.

Rangers sign Andrew Heaney

Last season's Robbie Ray wasn't a bad call, except Heaney only managed 72 frames. That said, he whiffed 110 batters over that span with just 19 walks. If he can shake the injury bug, Heaney will make a nice lefty-righty tandem with Jacob deGrom. Recurring shoulder issues limited Heaney to three first-half starts, but once he returned from his second IL stint in late July, Heaney made 13 starts, albeit covering just 57.1 innings. He mustered five innings just four times, with only one six-inning outing.

Giants sign Mitch Haniger

Durability and playing in Oracle Park will likely suppress Haniger's price tag. The interesting thing is the difference in home run factors between San Francisco and Seattle is negligible. Haniger clubbed 39 long balls in 2021, so if healthy he should be able to put up good numbers with the Giants. A high ankle sprain limited Haniger to only 57 games last season but he should be healthy to begin the 2023 campaign. One of my joys in life is getting a park-factor-related discount, so I'll be bullish.

Pirates sign Vince Velasquez

If Pittsburgh plans on starting Velasquez, I have no interest, despite the great pitching venue. If the Bucs try him in the bullpen, where he can max out and regain some lost velocity...who am I kidding, I still have no interest.

Phillies sign Matt Strahm

Strahm had his moments last season, at one point pitching his way into the Red Sox closing picture. He worked only 44 innings after losing a month with a sore wrist incurred via a comebacker. Even in an unsettled Phillies bullpen, it's hard to imagine Strahm being anything more than a source of holds.

Phillies sign Taijuan Walker

On the other hand, Walker is intriguing. The righty doesn't go deep into games, but he's only missed seven or eight starts since 2020. He doesn't miss many bats, but his command and control help keep his ratios strong. A low strikeout rate combined with shorter outings isn't ideal, but Walker has been quietly effective and should continue in that vein, with an adjustment for a better hitters' park.

That'll do it for the moves for today. Look for the rest soon. I'd like to end with a few words on...

Average Draft Position

Don't worry, I'll spare you the "don't be a slave to ADP" rhetoric, or the "A is for Average" diatribe. Though, the latter is my phrase and I've contributed to the bevy of work on the former, but I digress.

There's more I want to say on ADP which I'll address when I hit on the rest of the moves. For now, I want to share something I was thinking about. It's pretty intuitive, if not obvious, but it may escape some.

Some think of ADP as a default ranking, but it isn't. ADP represents where the most aggressive person in each room ranks the player. It's not a true rank. 

The idea is that if you get a rankings list from 15 people and come up with an average rank per player, it probably doesn't look a thing like a draft from that same group. Obviously, draft strategies have a lot to do with this, but work with me here and don't try to poke holes in the notion. I know they exist, but having a grasp of this concept helps fuel the "Don't be a slave to ADP" argument.

This is extreme, but if one person ranks a player No. 75 while 11 others are around No. 100, the average rank is around No. 98, but the ADP with be closer to 75th. Over time, the gap will narrow, because there may not be someone so optimistic on every player in every draft, but the ADP will almost always be ahead of the aggregate rank.

This helps explain my research demonstrating "value" picks usually don't work out. They're a value compared to the ADP, but they may not be a value relative to their rank.

It's just a little something to think through while waiting for the next major signing to be announced.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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