Fantasy Baseball Weekly Roundup
In early January, there is not usually a lot of action on the MLB Hot Stove, but there have been some stories this week that will help shape the 2016 season. Three major hitters found their 2016 homes. FantasyPros MLB News Desk had you covered for all the key transactions of the past week, providing information to inform your mock drafts. These are the top five stories for the week from Jan. 16 through Jan. 24.
Yoenis Cespedes agrees to three-year contract with New York Mets
by R.A Beltran, New York Mets Correspondent (Saturday, January 23)
According to ESPN, Cespedes agreed to a three-year, $75 million deal with the New York Mets. He will get paid $27.5 million in his first year, after which he can opt out. (ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: Cespedes provided a big punch for the Mets’ offense after the trade deadline. Expect him to hit at the heart of their lineup and have many chances to put up gaudy stats.
New York Mets add left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo
by R.A Beltran, New York Mets Correspondent (Thursday, January 21)
The Mets bolstered their bullpen by adding left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo on a two-year, $12 million deal to serve as a setup man. He went 4-1 with 2.98 ERA and one save in 66 relief appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. (ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: Bastardo will join Addison Reed as the primary setup relievers for closer Jeurys Familia. He will not provide too many saves, but could slot into a time share for the closer spot if Familia goes down with an injury.
Justin Upton signs with Detroit Tigers
by Eric Townsend, Detroit Tigers Correspondent (Monday, January 18)
Fantasy Impact: Justin Upton provides an immediate boost to the Tigers offense. With the Detroit power bats, J-Up will have some much-needed protection in the lineup, unlike last year with the Padres. At a minimum, this should revert his batting average numbers back to normal (.270) and could also lead to a boost in runs and RBI. The boost in counting statistics and the hitter-friendly Comerica Park only mean good things for Upton’s 2016 prospects, so move him up in your draft rankings accordingly.
Chris Davis to return to Baltimore
by Chris Zolli, Orioles Correspondent (Saturday, January 16)
After testing the open market, Chris Davis will return to Baltimore, penning a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Orioles. Davis slugged 47 home runs for the Orioles in 2015 and had a .923 OPS. There had not been too much interest on the open market for Davis at the price point he demanded and pundits saw the Orioles shifting their interest to Yoenis Cespedes before re-signing Davis. (Jon Heyman on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Davis has smacked 159 home runs over the last four seasons, but there are issues to fear regression in Davis. For all the home runs Davis hits, he is only one season removed from hitting .196 over 127 games in 2014 and topped 200 strikeouts for the first time in 2015. The 2014 performance came a year after slugging 53 home runs and topping a 1.000 OPS; Davis’ talent is well known but so too is his volatility. Look at him as a top-10 1B, but do not overspend for the slugging 1B.
Royals to sign Ian Kennedy
by Chris Zolli, Royals Correspondent (Saturday, January 16)
Ian Kennedy will join the World Champion Royals on a five-year, $70 million contract. Kennedy had a 9-15 record and 4.28 ERA in 2015 and will add rotation depth for the World Champions. (Jon Heyman on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Although he has not shown huge impact on a standard statistics level, Kennedy’s profile makes many believe that he could be an impact player in the future. Since going 21-4 with a 2.88 in 2011, Kennedy only has a 4.19 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, but he has also struck out more than a batter per inning in each of the last two seasons while improving on his strikeouts per nine in each of his six full seasons. A fly ball pitcher, Kennedy has posted one season with a GB/FB ratio better than 1.0, but had a 3.63 ERA and 3.21 FIP in that season (2014). Although he will not be drafted like one, Kennedy has an opportunity to be an SP3 this season, especially with a better chance for wins in Kansas City.