Fantasy Impact: Carlos Gomez, Mike Fiers Trade
On Thursday evening, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitcher Mike Fiers were traded to the Houston Astros for four minor league prospects. The trade has immediate fantasy impact for the Astros, and helps the Brewers build for the future. Here’s a breakdown of every player in the trade.
Carlos Gomez – OF
Gomez is the highest-profile player in the deal and rightfully so. He’s coming off of a two-year stretch where he accumulated 74 stolen bases and 47 home runs. A popular late first-round pick this year (our ADP page at FantasyPros has him as the eighth player taken in 2015 drafts), Gomez has struggled this year as he’s battled injuries and decreased production from his previous seasons. As of the trade, Gomez has eight home runs and seven steals in 74 games. He’s one of the best defensive center fielders in the league, but unfortunately, most fantasy leagues don’t count defense. However it is a sign that the Astros will keep him in their lineups even if he’s struggling at the plate.
It is worth noting that the Mets nixed a deal for Gomez due to health concerns. Gomez has battled nagging injuries throughout his career and there’s always a chance one of those ailments shows up, or he finds a new way to hurt himself on Tal’s Hill.
Gomez’s production down the stretch could vary depending on where he’s placed in Houston’s lineup. If he leads off, he’s a great bet for more steals and runs with a few home runs sprinkled in. The Brewers had Gomez batting in the top third of the lineup which gave him more RBI chances, and if Houston decides to slot him in behind Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa he could have a chance to drive in more runs down the stretch. If I were to guess, some combination of Altuve/Correa/Gomez will form the top of the Astros batting order. Regardless, he’s already owned in all the mixed-leagues that matter. AL-only league players in need of offensive production shouldn’t hesitate to add Gomez, and he’s worth a hefty FAB bid.
Mike Fiers – SP
The inclusion of Fiers in the trade gave the Brewers the ability to acquire more highly-rated talent in the deal. It was a rough start to the season for Fiers, he posted a 5.79 ERA in April, but he’s been better as the year has progressed. In May his ERA was 3.82, June was 3.57 and in July he’s posted a 3.19 ERA.
Fiers will immediately help bolster a top-heavy Astros rotation that was experiencing trouble towards the back end. He doesn’t have elite velocity, as his command and ability to throw strikes are his best assets. He has yet to face an AL-West team so far this season, so he could have an advantage as hitters in the division see him for the first time. Those of you in AL-only leagues that missed out on Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto could do much worse than Fiers, and he’s definitely worth an add in those formats. He’s owned in 28% of ESPN leagues, and 59% of Yahoo leagues and that number will certainly increase with a few good starts for the Astros.
Brett Phillips – OF
Phillips is the highest-rated prospect in the deal, and according to Brewers beat writer Tom Haudricort was untouchable until Fiers entered into trade discussions. A former sixth-round draft pick, Phillips has performed well this year between two minor league levels. Here’s what ESPN’s Keith Law had to say about Phillips in a July article ranking the top 50 minor league prospects:
“Phillips has carried his 2014 breakout season forward, mashing in the hitters’ paradise of Lancaster and earning a midyear promotion to Double-A in his age-21 season. He has developed into a true five-tool talent with a power/speed combo that will play in right field but has the potential to remain in center.”
It remains to be seen how the Brewers treat Phillips. My guess is that they aren’t interested in rushing him to the major leagues anytime soon, and the earliest he’ll be playing at Miller Park is late 2016.
Domingo Santana – OF
Santana has been highly productive for Houston’s Triple-A club, slashing .296/.384/.474 in 2014 and .320/.428/.582 in 2015. The outfielder hasn’t fared well in his limited big league experience, hitting .256/.310/.462 with a 40.5% strikeout percentage over 42 plate appearances this year for Houston. He’s still young, he’ll turn 23 in August, and I see the Brewers giving him a long look in their outfield for the rest of 2015 as they commit to a rebuild. The Gerardo Parra trade, along with Gomez departing, should give Santana plenty of opportunities to end the season.
He has the most value in NL-only leagues for teams that need outfield help. He’s posted strong isolated power numbers in the minors, and Miller Park could help keep those numbers elevated. His .205 ISO for the Astros this year is promising. Of all the prospects headed to the Brewers in this deal, Santana will provide the most impact for fantasy teams in 2015.
Josh Hader – P
Hader is a left-handed pitcher who turned 21 this year. He was acquired by Houston in the Bud Norris trade. This year, he’s split time between the rotation and the bullpen at Double-A, posing a 3.17 ERA with a 9.51 K/9 rate. The Brewers are in need of left-handed starters, and they will continue to develop him as a starting pitcher.
His success will depend on his ability to develop his off-speed pitches and their command/control. Former Brewers prospects Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Jungmann have showed great development this year, and hopefully the Brewers minor league coaching staff will be able to unlock all of Hader’s potential. Right now he’s worth filing away as an intriguing prospect on a rebuilding team.
Adrian Houser – P
Houser is the lowest-ranked prospect of the group, but the former second-round pick still bolsters a Brewers’ farm system that has been ranked in the bottom third of the league the past few seasons. Fangraphs lists Houser at 6’4”, 205 lbs, which is a nice frame to build a starting pitcher.
Houser was a prep pick in 2011 taken 69th overall in the draft. Right now he features a low-to-mid 90s fastball along with a curveball and changeup. He’s another project for the Brewers minor league coaches to mold into a mid-to-back end of the rotation starting pitcher.