6 Offseason Risers (Fantasy Baseball)

Jan 11, 2018

Giancarlo Stanton should have no problem going yard in New York

The early part of winter was all about Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Ohtani, but they weren’t the only players to sign contracts this offseason. Why does it matter? Because in baseball, playing in a new ballpark can have a dramatic effect on a player’s output.

While the season is still months away, there’s no doubt that the fantasy world will look at some of these moves and change their draft strategy. To help with the early analysis, we asked our featured experts below which hitters and pitchers have seen their draft stock change the most due to their new homes.

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Q1. What pitcher that changed teams will be impacted the most in fantasy due to their new home?

Tyler Chatwood (SP/RP – CHC)
“You could certainly argue that it’s Brandon Morrow, as he’s currently projected to be the Cubs’ closer. But for me, it’s Tyler Chatwood, who moves from the Rockies to the Cubs. Chatwood has a career 5.17 ERA in Coors Field but a 3.78 ERA on the road, and the latter number has improved significantly over the last two seasons. Last year, he saw an uptick in velocity and swinging strike percentage, and won’t be asked to be a hero with Chicago’s strong rotation. The move immediately takes him from being entirely irrelevant to a justifiably popular sleeper.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“We don’t have many candidates to go off yet, but I’ve got to say Tyler Chatwood intrigues me the most right now. I’ve taken to calling him “Road Warrior” because of his splits, as he posted a 3.49 ERA away from Coors Field last year compared to a 6.01 mark at home. In 2016, his 1.69 road ERA was absolutely incredible, but once again his 6.12 home ERA really hurt him. He’s now away from all of those Coors starts and gets to have a strong Cubs team supporting him, making him well worth a flier.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Tyler Chatwood isn’t that appealing in fantasy, and he’s really only a late-round selection as of now, but his new home should improve his numbers. Chatwood is coming off a career-high 7.31 K/9 mark, but it’s the home runs that killed him last season as he had a 22% HR/FB ratio. Chatwood allowed 47 earned runs over 70.1 innings at Coors Field last season, compared to only 30 over 77.1 innings on the road. That’s a 3.49 ERA on the road, and a 6.01 ERA at home. Wrigley Field is a much better environment for Chatwood, and he’ll have a great defense behind him.”
– Chris Meaney (FNTSY Sports Network)

Brandon Morrow (RP – CHC)
“Morrow signed a $21 million deal that makes him the current favorite to close for the Cubs, which would obviously skyrocket his fantasy value. Chicago projects to win 90+ games, so they should be among the league leaders in save opportunities. A former top-five overall pick, Morrow posted a stellar 24.1 K-BB% with a 1.55 FIP last season and could easily be a top-five fantasy closer in 2018.”
– Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)

Sandy Alcantara (SP – MIA)
“Alcantara moved from the Cardinals, who may have the most pitching depth of any organization in baseball to the Marlins, who have a downright terrible rotation led by no-namers like Jose Urena and Adam Conley. Two months ago, it seemed unlikely that Alcantara would get more than 20 innings out of the bullpen in 2018. Now, he seems like a lock to see 100+ innings, and with stuff like his and pitching in a big ballpark, he is suddenly worth a late-round gamble.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Q2. What hitter that changed teams will be impacted the most in fantasy due to their new home?

Giancarlo Stanton (OF – NYY)
“Stanton is leaving a park that decreased home runs for right-handed batters by 17 percent since its inception (only four have hurt righty power more over that span) to Yankee Stadium, which has increased HRs for RHB by 23 percent over the last three years (the second most in MLB). He’ll also join a lineup that scored the second most runs in baseball last year. In other words, if Stanton hits like he did last season in his new environment, we’d be looking at a historical season in the power department.”
– Dalton Del Don (Yahoo! Sports)

“It’s not as if Giancarlo Stanton’s value could rise all that much after last season, but a move to one of the most hitter-friendly venues in the game certainly moves the needle, even for him. To be fair, most of the data suggests that Stanton would not have gained many, if any, home runs if he called Yankee Stadium home last season, because he hit the ball so far that the short porches in New York wouldn’t help. Still, given the outstanding lineup and full season in Yankee Stadium, it stands to reason that Stanton’s numbers are only going to increase this year. If you had any remote doubts about Stanton’s performance this year, they are probably, and they should be, gone at this point.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

“There are still some big-time hitters out there who have yet to sign with a team, but there’s no question the early answer here is Giancarlo Stanton. It’ll be hard to top his league-leading 59 home runs and 132 RBIs from a season ago, but he’s in a much better environment this season. ESPN Park Factors had Yankee Stadium as the second friendliest home run park in 2017, while Marlins Park ranked 25th. There are also a few hitter-friendly ballparks inside the AL East, and Stanton is joining a team that finished second in the league in runs last year.”
– Chris Meaney (FNTSY Sports Network)

Marcell Ozuna (OF – STL)
“Everyone wants to talk about Stanton’s jump the Yankee Stadium and for good reason, but Marlins Park may have impacted Marcell Ozuna even more. It is death to right-handed batters, whereas Busch Stadium supports righties’ offensive numbers quite well. We have seen MLB transactions re-confirm the math behind ballpark factors each season, and if you apply the translation to Ozuna’s 2017 stats, we are talking about a .334/.402/.563 hitter with 100 runs and 130 RBIs. Those are Bryce Harper numbers, and at 27 years old, Ozuna is still getting better.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Ian Kinsler (2B – LAA)
“With Dee Gordon’s stock already high, I’ll go with Ian Kinsler. The 35-year-old veteran is coming off of a down year where he notched a career-low .725 OPS with a horrendous .244 BABIP. While that had its roots in more fly balls and fewer line drives, he hadn’t seen his BABIP slip below .288 in either of his previous four seasons and I think he’ll flourish in a steady role in front of Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols. Look for his usual 20 home runs, 12-15 steals, and a return to 100-plus runs alongside a bounceback in average.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Thank you to the experts for giving their offseason risers. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and check out our latest podcast below. Subscribe to get updates each time a new episode is available.

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