Real time trades sometimes offer fantasy opportunities, sometimes sure things, sometimes huge gambles which the fantasy owner needs to take a look at. Obviously simple things like changing leagues can impact a pitcher’s numbers depending on if they have to face a DH or not. However other things, like being traded to a place where they will become an every day player, or where they’ll platoon, or have a better/weaker lineup behind them, or even just being given a chance can lead to some interesting opportunities.
Rather than spend much time on big name players who’ve moved via trade, we’ll mainly focus on the lesser players and prospects who’ll likely get a chance this season. Many of these guys are longshots, but all have some serious potential. Only a handful will breakout but here are some players who you should definitely keep an eye on.
Danny Haren (SP, Diamondbacks) - moves to a league where he won’t have to face a DH, and the number eight hitter is usually a joke. Plus he’ll be a number two pitcher and won’t get the same quality of match ups.
Johan Santana (SP, Mets) - moves to a strong offensive team in a pitchers park and won’t have to face the DH and also gets those number 8 hitters.
Miguel Tejada (SS, Astros) - should find Houston very much to his liking, but he’ll love batting with Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee in the same order and the weak pitching of the National League to boot. Let’s see if he can avoid his steroid troubles all season long.
Brad Lidge (RP, Phillies) - He’s got great stuff, he’s pitching for an offensive juggernaut of a team but he is moving to Philadelphia known affectionately as “Coors Field East.” Lidge’s vulnerability is all in his head and he’s been inconsistent since getting rocked in the playoffs by the Cardinals several years back. Still an improvement and a playoff race should help him improve on last year’s numbers.
Edison Volquez (SP. Reds) - Don’t expect too much from this 25 year old, but he could win a rotation spot in Cincy and be a major impact player - his minor league numbers last year and the year before suggest he’s ready to step up at the big league level. His AAA numbers in 2006 - 120.2 IP 6-6, 3.21, WHIP 1.31 130 SOs and in 2007 6-1, 1.41, WHIP 0.90 with 66 SO in just 51.0 innings.
Cameron Maybin (OF, Marlins) - Maybin is a true all around player who can help in all categories if he’s ready to play at this level. The question is, is he? No one really knows so watching what goes on in the spring will probably determine the situation - but don’t go it with the expectation of an easy season with no rough patches. He’s been too well publicized to be a deep sleeper.Ryan Church (OF, Mets) - Church will finally get a chance to play everyday and that may make all the difference when it comes to elevating his game. He should be better than his numbers the last few years suggest and batting in a lineup outside of the Washington/Montreal organization can only make him better. Consider him to have moderate upside and think that a .275-20-85 season is possible.
Mike Rabelo (C, Marlins) - Rabelo isn’t much of a candidate to get a lot of playing time but if he does win a starting job he could have double digit home run power. Still he’s a very, very late round option in leagues which require you to have several catchers.
Andrew Miller (SP, Marlins) - The erratic Miller will get a chance to start in Florida but he hasn’t proved himself ready to be a true major league pitcher at this point. Last year’s 5-5 with a 5.68 ERA looks very much in line with the mimor league numbers he’s put up so far. This 22 year old needs seasoning and should not be on your fantasy roster.
Elijah Dukes(OF, Nationals) - His .190 average from last year should scare you off, although those power numbers at AA, AAA, and the Majors make you want to take a second look. Don’t be fooled: he might be ready in the second half, but he’s not ready now.
Lasting Milledge (OF, Nationals) - Once a sure five category stud for the New York Mets, Milledge hasn’t shown any ability to hit for average at the major league level. He’s unlikely to develop into a .300-20-100 guy but he could steal 20 if he gets on enough. Draft him only in deep leagues.
Jair Jurrjens (SP, Braves) - Jurrjens should be a lock for a rotation spot in Atlanta this season and could easily be worthy of a sleeper selection in most leagues. He could post a sub 4.00 ERA and manage about 0.85 K/inning as well as post double digit wins IF he can make his minor league success translate.
Jim Edmonds (OF, Padres) - He’ll try to reinvent himself in a different city in one of the best pitchers’ parks in the country. He’s 37 and expecting a big bounce back is unrealistic, but if he can stay healthy and get 500 AB a 20+ home run season should be a lock.
Evan Longoria (3B, Marlins) - Is he seasoned enough to play at the big league level? This kid sure has looked good in the minors but he’s only had 104 at bats at any level above AA. At AAA he still showed power but his average fell from a .307 (AA) figure to a .269. Still his AA numbers (.307-21-76 with 78 runs scored and a .403 OBP) were impressive and unless he flops in the spring he’ll be given every chance to win the third base job.
Josh Anderson (OF, Braves) - The Braves could stick with Mark Kotsay the whole season but that would be silly since Kotsay has little to offer at this point in his career and Anderson’s whole career is ahead of him. At AAA last year he hit .273 and stole 40 bases - and that’s what he has to offer: speed and a decent OBP.
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