Fantasy Impact: David Price Trade
After twenty years of mediocrity in the American League East, the Toronto Blue Jays are finally going for it. In a blockbuster trade deep into the dark hours of Monday night, the Jays acquired the league’s top shortstop in Troy Tulowitzki, ending the Jose Reyes experiment by shipping the latter off to Colorado.
But Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos wasn’t done. Halfway through Thursday, news broke that the Blue Jays acquired 2012 Cy Young winner David Price from the “rebooting” Detroit Tigers in exchange for top prospect Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt, all lefties with a chance to start in the bigs.
We’ll start with the fantasy impact of David Price to the Blue Jays. Realistically, there probably won’t be a huge difference in Price’s fantasy output. Price currently has a solid record of 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA and an even 3.00 FIP. The superficial numbers are there, but the metrics speak well to Price’s performance so far as well, especially the ERA+ of 156. One could argue that this is because Price has been pitching in a weaker division in 2015, which simply isn’t true. The AL Central currently contains three teams considered buyers at the trade deadline, the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox, the first of which is a virtual lock to make the playoffs.
That being said, the American League East is no division to scoff at. ESPN Stats & Info tweeted a graphic of Price’s struggles versus the East this season, in which he has posted an 8.22 ERA and an opponent batting average against of .338, resulting in an 0-3 record. This is a sample size of four games, which any freshman statistics student will tell you should be thrown out immediately as useless information. Sure it says something, but it shouldn’t be used to make any decisions. Price will be just fine in the American League East, just like he had been the previous six-and-a-half seasons.
Of course, there were other players in this trade, and their fantasy values have quite a range as of right now. Daniel Norris looked as if he had proven his talents in Spring Training this season, and was rewarded with the fourth spot in the Blue Jays’ rotation in April. As has been obvious all season though, the Blue Jays rotations is not a good one, and Norris was sent down by early summer to Triple-A Buffalo where he started out fine but has struggled through the humid summer in the International League. At the time of the trade, Norris had accumulated a 3-10 record with a 4.27 ERA while posting 78 strikeouts to 41 walks, which is bad. Norris has struggled at almost every level before usually righting the ship at the end of every summer. Norris will head down the Great Lakes to the Tiger’s Triple-A affiliate, the Toledo Mudhens, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fill Price’s void left in the rotation sometime in September.
Matt Boyd, on the other hand, has pitched very well at Triple-A Buffalo in 2015 after rocketing through the upper levels this season. Boyd featured a 2.77 ERA and a 3-1 record over 39 innings with 37 strikeouts to only six walks. However, Boyd struggled with the long ball in his brief call up with Toronto at the end of June. While Boyd has certainly shown good numbers in the minors, it’s not likely that he’ll ever be much more than a back-end starter for the Tigers and an occasional spot starter in fantasy.
Jairo Labourt is a fun guy to dream on, but he’s only 21 years old and had been pitching at High-A Dunedin before the trade. In Dunedin Labourt has struggled in the Florida State League, with a 4.59 ERA and a 2-7 record with 70 strikeouts in 80 innings. Labourt is still a gamble to even make the upper levels of the minor leagues, and it’s way too early to tell what kind of pitcher he may become.