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.

40 Comments
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kwadjo
kwadjo
10 years ago

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

papasmurf@yahoo.com
10 years ago

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.

mic
mic
10 years ago

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…

mic
mic
10 years ago

@in general: who the hell plays in forty leagues…

Terrence Mann
Terrence Mann
10 years ago

Sad to see this nice piece of work get derailed by obscure formats. Good cramming, artie.

Cosmo
Cosmo
10 years ago

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.

Cosmo
Cosmo
10 years ago

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.

Terrence Mann
Terrence Mann
10 years ago

Latos is my pick for Cy Young this year. 20+ wins.

Albert Lang
10 years ago

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!

Cosmo
Cosmo
10 years ago

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

Cosmo
Cosmo
10 years ago

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.”

Cosmo
Cosmo
10 years ago

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.

ante up
ante up
10 years ago

Dynasty League (468 players kept) question, 14 team 6×6 (standard plus OPS, Holds) Roto League.

Hosmer, McCutchen

FOR

Miggy

Thanks!

mike
mike
10 years ago

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.

lothda
lothda
10 years ago

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?

Albert Lang
10 years ago

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….

chata
chata
10 years ago

oops .
my bad , albert .

sentiment is the same .

Pefacommish
Pefacommish
10 years ago

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).

Albert Lang
10 years ago

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

chata
chata
10 years ago

@ 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 .

xrayxtals
xrayxtals
10 years ago

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).

Bob
Bob
10 years ago

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.