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On this dreary snoozy December day, Walt Jocketty got his wish and made a splash for the Cincinnati Reds in the offseason.  In return for four years of Mat Latos, the Reds sent the San Diego Padres Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

This seems like one of those rare trades where it makes sense from both sides. For the Reds, four years of control of a #2 starter is huge, for the Padres, they need to continue to restock an already potent farm system with some bats.

But, while that is all well and good, what does it mean for you, the fantasy player?

Without a doubt this hurts the value of Mat Latos – but by how much is up for debate. When you think Padres pitching, you assume they get huge bumps from Petco – not exactly the case for Latos. While he has a slightly better K:BB rate at home during the course of his career, his slash lines are virtually identical: .229/.287/.348 at home versus .224/.286/.351 on the road.

Of course, the Great American Launching Pad is by no means your average park away from home. That said, Latos has put up good numbers in noted hitter’s havens:
Cincinnati: 14 IPs, two starts, 4.5 K:BB rate, .111/.149/.267, 2.57 ERA, 0.86 WHIP
Colorado: 25.2 IPs, four starts, 4 K:BB rate, .255/.291/.429, 3.51 ERA, 1.17 WHIP
Philadelphia: 11 IPs, two starts, 2.17 K:BB rate, .220/.333/.415, 4.91 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
Arizona: 19 IPs, three starts, 4 K:BB rate, .209/.274/.358, 1.42 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

Obviously, this is not a definitive sample; however it is not damning whatsoever. If you look at these 11 starts, it paints a cozy feeling. Clearly the change in home venue could hurt the amount of HRs Latos gives up. Still, Latos has appeared to be good at limiting HRs. He has the 18th best HR/FB percentage in the majors over the last two seasons, behind guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Johnny Cueto, CJ Wilson, and Daniel Hudson.

I’ll knock Latos a tad because of the switch, but I am not worried about his 2012. He should pick up a few more wins at the expense of his ratios – that’s not the worst trade-off in the world. If others dock him majorly, be prepared to swoop in and reap the benefits.

As for the pieces coming from the Reds, Volquez appears to be the closest to being an impact player in the majors. Since his breakout 2008 campaign, the man once traded for Josh Hamilton has pitched just barely over 220 innings in the majors. Blessed with an incredible ability to strike batters out (8.67 K/9), his kryptonite (i.e., inability to throw strikes: 4.84 BB/9) is crippling.

That said, this trade spells nothing but good things for Volquez. He hasn’t had a HR/FB rate in single digits since 2008, without giving up a ton of fly balls (just 33.3% of the time). A subtle change in the right direction for his HR/FB rate paired with a slight uptick in his command and we could see Edinson Volquez with an ERA right around 4.00. I’m willing to give him 160 Ks, and a not unusable 1.35-1.40 WHIP. He won’t win many games, but the Ks could be nice.

The other player closest to the majors is Yonder Alonso. In just under 100 plate appearances last year, Alonso made quite the impression, hitting .330/.398/.545 with a .387 BABIP. Not surprising, given the ridiculously small sample, Alonso hit much better on the road than at home. The Reds made him available because he proved incapable of fielding any position outside of first base. Padres will send Anthony Rizzo back to Triple-A for now and play Alonso in 2012.  Alonso should have some late round flyer value for those willing to gamble a corner slot on upside.

Grandal is, in actuality, the huge get in the deal. Grandal was a first round pick in 2010 and rocketed through three levels (A+, AA and AAA) last season, hitting a combined .305/.401/.500. There isn’t much keeping Grandal from starting 2012 in the majors behind the dish. While that’s a tad optimistic, I bet he becomes a real force for the Padres early on next year. He should be on all keeper, dynasty and NL-only owners shopping lists and watched with avid curiosity in shallower leagues. He could be a difference maker at catcher.

Boxberger isn’t much. At 23, he split time at AA and AAA last season, pitching just 62 innings. He was effective though: 2.03 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 13.5 K/9 and 3.32 K:BB rate. He really appears to be the relief version of Volquez: big K numbers with huge walk numbers. Petco has had the ability of turning good relievers into great relievers, but a lot would have to break right for Boxberger to be a viable option in any fantasy format. He might luck his way into saves at some point, but I’d bet most of my money on him being, at most, a solid reliever for a handful of seasons.

So the winners are the Padres, Reds, Edinson Volquez and Yasmani Grandal. Alonso and Boxberger are helped a bit by the move. Latos wasn’t really hurt that much, just a smidge.

From Around The Web

  1. Bob says:
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    In a12 team league, how good is a starting pitching staff of Lincecum, Latos, Jaime Garcia, Ubaldo, Buchholz, Johan Santana and Zach Britton? Probably need about 1000-1100 innings out of them, so I’m OK with not getting much out of Santana.

  2. xrayxtals says:
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    Only a minor uptick in Wins for Latos? Based on how he finished the season (presumably over early fatigue/injuries), I don’t think its much of a stretch to project 15+ W with the Reds potent lineup (tied for 2nd in NL in RS last year).

  3. chata says:
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    @ Grey :

    you must have been good at cramming in college (charleston ?)

    how you managed to knock out all this info , with analysis , in such a
    short amount of time is pretty impressive .

  4. Appreciate the comment, chata. After hours and hours of using baseball reference and fangraphs, its amazing how quick you can put stuff together.

    Helps that my dad is an absolute whizz with numbers and that my puppy was tired!

    Thanks for reading

  5. Pefacommish says:
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    Another loser in this transaction appears to be Anthony Rizzo, who probably lost his starting and maybe even bench job with the Padres next year. On the other hand, he could be a big winner if traded to a ballpark better suited to his bat than Petco (there are 31 of those).

  6. chata says:
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    oops .
    my bad , albert .

    sentiment is the same .

  7. Hey chata – didn’t even realize. Always nice to be mistaken for Grey!

    Anyway I did cram my way to graduate at Colgate….didn’t see a need to study more than 8 hrs in advance….

  8. lothda says:
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    Keeper Question:

    6 Keeper League

    Halladay and a 7th (post keeper) round pick
    for
    Yu Darvish and Yoennis Cespedes (Both kept as MiLB keepers outside of 6 keeper limit.)

    Who wins?

  9. @lothda:

    Its kind of a toss up — also not sure what you mean by post keeper round.

    If i were in a position to win, I’d take Halladay, if i didnt have good prospects for 2012, I’d take Darvish and Cespedes.

  10. mike says:
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    I think the article, and the reds are downplaying the value of boxberger. 13 k\ 9 is nothing to sneeze at, at his scouting reports indicate a mature and composed mound presence, working well under pressure. For a team looking for affordable closing options, his inclusion in this deal for me is a mistake. Seems like an important throw in, one I think really turns the deal to the padres. He’s much more valueable to the reds imho.

  11. ante up says:
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    Dynasty League (468 players kept) question, 14 team 6×6 (standard plus OPS, Holds) Roto League.

    Hosmer, McCutchen

    FOR

    Miggy

    Thanks!

  12. Cosmo says:
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    I disagree about the Fanatsy value of Latos. I think people put too much emphasis on ballparks. While there may be something to this, I think the switch to a much better run producing team really helps Latos as the largest Fantasy points come from WINS.

  13. @Cosmo:

    Obviously it depends on your format – if you’re in a pts league that values wins, this is huge. if you play 5×5, this isnt the greatest thing. He will likely give up more home runs and consequently will have a worse ERA/WHIP — i dont think this is damning of his future and certainly the lose in ratios will somewhat be offset by the boost in wins.

    Still Latos had 9 and 14 wins the last two seasons. Mike Leake led the Reds in wins with 12 last year, two years ago Arroyo won 17, but no one else bested 12. To assume Latos will get a massive upgrade in wins from the move is kind of faulty.

  14. Cosmo says:
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    True, but I run 40 Fantasy Leagues and we only play H2H points based leagues, so it was based on that. Most every category has from 1-4 points with wins getting you 8-10, so obviously wins are your priority. Also, I never said anything close to a “massive” upgrade in wins, but if you don’t think he will greatly improve his wins pitching for the Reds’ good hitting team versus the offensively challenged Padres, ballpark or not, then I think your logic is “faulty.”

  15. @Cosmo:

    Well yeah, if you’re in 40 leagues and they all give much more points to wins, then this means something different to you. I took by your capitalization of wins to add emphasis, my mistake.

    Wins are highly variable and have very little to do with the actual pitcher. They can be incredibly fluky and subjective, so it’s hard to give any particular pitcher a bump in wins.

    Kershaw lead the NL in wins on a crappy team. Tim Hudson had 16 wins for a Braves team with a poor offense. CJ Wilson won 16 games for one of the best teams with one of the best offenses…

    I’m not prepared to assume Latos gets more than 15-16 wins…I kind of thought, given a full year, he was a definite for 13-14 wins in San Diego. So, give him the extra 24 pts….

  16. Cosmo says:
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    Yea, it’s pretty much a crap-shoot trying to predict wins. I’ve seen some odd stats over the many, many years follwing sports. And I also agree I don’t see Latos exceeding the 15-16 win plateau.
    My only point was that I disagreed with you that his value takes a hit. I think his support offsets his park by some degree. GL

  17. @Cosmo:

    totally agree – in your format, this move doesnt hurt his value one bit.

    in 5×5 i think it does a tad….

  18. @mike:
    Hey Mike – those Ks are nice, but he’s old for those levels. In addition, he is walking a ton of players — that’s just not sustainable, especially in high leverage situations.

    He can absolutely become a decent reliever, but his upside seems to be Carlos Marmol-lite with all the metldowns that come with it.

    Hope I’m wrong because I spent a lot of time learning how to spell his name!!

    Thanks for reading!

  19. @ante up:

    It kind of depends — if you are playing for this year, I’ll take Miggy (there is some uncertainty with Hosmer), however, Hosmer + McCutchen is a heck of a fair haul and should set you up long term. both sides are good….i typically prefer the best player, but youth/upside is definitely with Hosmer and Cutch.

    It also somewhat depends on who you would drop, but probably doesnt have a huge bearing on the deal.

    Go with your gut and grab the players who you want to root for long-term.

  20. @Pefacommish:

    Yep you hit the nail on the head — if this gets Rizzo out of PETCO, he becomes a massive winner – his swing just doesnt fit that park at all. Good call.

  21. @Bob:

    It’s a bit above average — Lincecum is good, Latos is solid, the rest are okay options. I’d be fine going into a season with them as long as my offense was solid.

  22. @xrayxtals:

    Well, I had Latos projected for 13-14 wins with SD, so 15-16 with Reds is a slight uptick to my projections — sure it’s more than last year, but not a whole lot much more than two years ago…wins are hard to peg and fluctuate wildly.

  23. Sorry for the delay in responses guys – for some reason some of the comments didnt show up til just now….keep em coming though and thanks so much for reading.

    also, if you play, GL in your fantasy football play-offs!

  24. Terrence Mann says:
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    Latos is my pick for Cy Young this year. 20+ wins.

  25. chata says:
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    @Albert Lang:

    the next time that you wonder how verlander , or any pitcher for
    that matter , can win the mvp award , you’ll know the answer .
    the voters play in those cbs points leagues .

  26. @Terrence Mann:

    Certainly not outlandish. I still think Kershaw/Philly’s starters/SF’s starters have the inside track

  27. @chata:

    I dont think it’s super crazy that Verlander got so much MVP love — wouldnt have been my choice, but dont think it’s absurd.

    Still, wins, I mean I just dont get why people pay attention to them. I’m not sure what they tell you other then which team won the game…certainly dont explain how any particular players played…

  28. Cosmo says:
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    OMG! I was gonna rip Chata a new one and then I realized you(Albert) said that. You don’t understand why ”wins” are paid so much attention to??? I refer back to my first post. Is this not a Fantasy article? Yes, it is and in Fantasy it’s ALL about the wins unless you’re in a roto league. Say it ain’t so.

  29. @Cosmo:

    Well Roto is one of the more popular league formats. I typically specialize in head to head 5×5 leagues — wins is a category, but worrying about wins is kind of pointless. Wins are incredibly variable and two-start pitchers reign supreme in that format.

    I’ve found in analyzing fantasy that predicting wins is pointless and drafting based on wins is kind of worthless.

    How, if you play in a league with multiple categories and multiple ways of scoring points is it all about Wins? Last i checked, they are at most 1/10 of the way you can score points and perhaps the most variable (and most difficult to predict), so why on earth would you focus on them?

    Adam Wainwright, Jon Lester, Ubaldo Jimenez, Phil Hughes, trevor Cahill, Carl Pavano, Bronson Arroyo, and Clay Buccholz had 17 or more wins in 2010. That was 8 of the top 15. How many of them were in the top in 2011? None…Lester tallied 15 wins.

    Wins is never something I think about when drafting a player and I seem to do just fine….

    Maybe in your league where wins somehow trump everything else, it’s worth obsessing about wins, however in most formats, wins are nothing special and clearly not worth spending time trying to figure out who will get them…fantasy is by no means all about the wins…

  30. chata says:
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    @Cosmo:

    that’s ok .
    you can rip me a new one , if you wish .

    am curious though .
    what was your record in those 40 h2h leagues last year ?
    were there daily or weekly line-up changes ??

  31. Cosmo says:
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    Being this was about baseball, I went back to the format I was working on when your post came in. Here is a cut and paste:

    Team W L % Strk Rank

    GLB Baseball A.V. Cosmo 21 2 .913 W8 2

    Cosmo And Co. A.V. Cosmo 17 6 .739 W1 2

    Dead Terrorists Silence! I KILL U 17 7 .708 W1 1

    Memory of Bill Cosmo2The Rescue 14 8 .636 L3 2

    UGetTheWholeTeam Milw/Twins 14 9 .609 L1 2

    Cosmo’s Real BB/NL Milw.Brewers 17 5 .773 W7 1

    Cosmo’s Real BB /AL Bos Red Sox 17 5 .773 W1 4

    MLB MVPs Silence! I KILL You! 14 9 .609 L2 6

    Total 132 51 .721 <———–

    This was just the FleA LEAGUES and all were H2H points with daily lineups. As I said before, with this format and wins being between 8-10 points and everything else 3 or lower, Wins are a premium and the most important category of all. I mentioned that I don't play Roto and I draft SP heaby and I usually win my leagues because of the WIN points.

  32. @Cosmo:

    Agreed – in your league format wins are important…although i would imagine that Ks can rack up some points just based on quantity…180 Ks versus 15 wins? if wins are worth 10 pts and Ks 1, then 180 Ks > 15 wins…

    Anyway, yes your format wins are important, but people play in a lot of formats where chasing wins isnt worthwhile. Moreover, its really not worth time worrying about wins in the majority of fantasy baseball formats as they are near impossible to project/predict. In yours it is worth worrying about it, in most it isnt…that’s the point.

    The reason Latos loses a little value is because an increase in ratios over 180-200 IPs will hurt a little bit more than the 2-3 wins he’ll likely gain from the move.

    We can all agree that wins matter to you, but, as you yourself noted, they dont have increased significance in most other formats.

  33. Terrence Mann says:
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    Sad to see this nice piece of work get derailed by obscure formats. Good cramming, artie.

  34. mic says:
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    @in general: who the hell plays in forty leagues…

  35. mic says:
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    ok disregard my comment… i thought you played in forty leagues… *geez you must have a lot of time on your hands… so you don’t believe in a hodgepadre, thats blasphemy…

  36. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @Terrence Mann:

    Eh – no worries on my end, I love to talk and write about baseball and fantasy baseball. Any differing points of view are always welcome. If you cant argue about things on the Internet or particularly the Razzball comments, then what the heck are they for!?!?

    I really appreciate everyone reading and commenting. The kind words are awesome, but the negative ones only help me better hone my writing skills. I should have been a bit more clear that I wondered why in “real” baseball people still loved to talk about wins so much.

    40 leagues is impressive and shows real commitment, i cant do more than 7

  37. papasmurf@yahoo.com says:
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    I am not touching Volquez unless I can draft him well into the 300’s, likely close to 400, in the final 2 rounds. I don’t think the change in ball park helps him much since his problem is walks. The larger park may lead to more balls dropping in and pissing him off. Plus, the weak offense certainly won’t help his psyche. Imagine he loses a few 3-2 games in a row. Could he suddenly get his command into acceptable range? Sure, but I’ll let someone else find out if there’s ANY other reasonable alternative out there.

  38. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @papasmurf@yahoo.com:

    I am, by no means, advocating anyone go out and spend a lot on Volquez. Still, before the trade, he wasnt even a late round flier, now he is definitely.

    Clearly, his control is one major issue. However, that HR/FB rate paired with the walks is crippling. If the HR/FB gets to “normal” i.e., around 10%, his ERA will go down.

    Totally understand the risk averse approach to Volquez. i’ve advocated it myself. But i do think there is a chance the move benefits his HRs, which can only be a good thing.

    Thanks for reading and the comment!

  39. kwadjo says:
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    So I can keep Alonso in my NL-only league for $5. Think he’ll be worth that in SD?

  40. Albert Lang

    Albert says:
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    @kwadjo:

    I’d actually try to trade him. The buzz + playing time might have created a market for him

    that said, if you cant trade him, keep him.

    $5 is good for any player assured full playing time in an NL-only. I think his best case scenario is a .280 average with 20-25 HRs and there is a downside to a guy with very few MLB plate appearances. But $5 really mitigates any downside.

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