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Top Offseason Risers (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

Jan 9, 2019

Now as a member of the Rockies, Daniel Murphy could end up being one of fantasy baseball’s most valuable hitters in 2019

Patrick Corbin signing with the Nationals has certainly been the most noteworthy transaction to happen so far during the MLB offseason. Everyone is still waiting eagerly for news on where two of baseball best young stars, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, will go next. Even though we sports fans love transactions in general, switching teams is that much of a bigger deal in baseball because ballparks can have positive or negative influences on a player’s production.

Even though there’s still plenty of time between now and the start of the season, the most zealous fantasy players have already started plotting new draft strategies and are analyzing where some old faces in new places should be taken in 2019 drafts. To help get you the scoop on which players are expected to make a leap in their production thanks to their new digs, we’ve enlisted our featured experts to identify who they are and what impact their latest team has on their value.

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

James Paxton (SP – NYY) 
“When the Yankees acquired SP Paxton from the Mariners, the stage was set for the left-hander to become a top-10 starting pitcher in 2019. In 2018, Paxton put up his best full-season effort to date, striking out 11.68 batters per nine innings with a 3.76 ERA over 160.1 innings pitched. He missed bats at a career-high rate of 14.3% while limiting contact at a career-low 72.8%. Paxton will enjoy more run support from a Yankees team that generated 5.25 runs per game in 2018, which should translate into more wins for Paxton. The 29-year-old is a good bet for a Cy Young-type season in 2019.”
– Tim McCullough (FantasyPros)

Alex Wood (SP – CIN) 
“Wood wasn’t going to pitch more than 150-155 innings for the Dodgers, who strictly monitor everyone’s workload in their deep rotation. The southpaw goes from holding an unguaranteed starting spot to joining Cincinnati as a co-ace alongside Luis Castillo. While the ballpark swap hurts, a pitcher brandishing a career 3.29 ERA, 3.36 FIP, and 22.2 K% will get every opportunity to log 30 starts if healthy. His 219 NFBC ADP should skyrocket by March.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Kelvin Herrera (RP – CWS) 
“Herrera was a top-flight closer for the first half of 2018, posting a minuscule 1.05 ERA and 0.82 WHIP with 14 saves for the Royals. A move to Washington did him no favors, as he struggled in the second half and fell out of fantasy relevance. The White Sox signing Herrera to a two-year deal indicates they weren’t satisfied with the combo of Alex Colome and Nate Jones in the late innings, so I expect Herrera to begin the year closing games. Whether the Sox win out on the Machado or Harper sweepstakes doesn’t matter, as even relievers on non-contending clubs can rack up saves.”
– Pierre Camus (RotoBaller)

Merrill Kelly (SP – ARI) 
“I don’t see much of a change for Corbin, Morton, or the big relievers who changed teams, so I’m going to go a little off the radar with Kelly. Yes, this is a real player and he absolutely needs to be drafted. After being nothing more than a mediocre prospect with the Rays, Kelly ventured to Korea and blossomed into the best pitcher in their league. Every single game over there is like pitching in Coors Field so his numbers were quite remarkable and he could make a Miles Mikolas-type impact this season in Arizona with the humidor.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

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

Daniel Murphy (1B/2B – COL) 
“Murphy’s move to the Colorado Rockies could make him a top fantasy asset with multiple position eligibility at both first and second base. Murphy brings his excellent contact skills and power swing to Coors Field, where he will almost certainly enjoy a bump in production from the park effect. Although injuries limited him to just 351 PA in 2018, he still produced 12 HRs and batted .299 for the Nationals. He’s entering his age-34 season in 2019, but the move to Colorado comes at a perfect time for him to have a couple more great seasons. He’ll be a sneaky middle-round fantasy draft pick in 2019.”
– Tim McCullough (FantasyPros)

Daniel Murphy had the makings of an incredible 2019 bargain. Following a brutal 15-game swoon upon returning from a knee injury, he batted .317/.355/.493 from July 1 onward last season. Yet he torpedoed any sleeper possibility by signing with the Rockies. Now that he calls Coors Field home, everyone should view the career .299/.344/.458 hitter as a serious candidate to capture another batting title. There’s no chance his 143 ADP (far too low before he picked the best landing spot) sticks, but even grabbing him in the seventh round would now represent a coup.”
– Andrew Gould (FantasyPros)

Billy Hamilton (OF – KC) 
“Hamilton was on the verge of being chased out of at-bats in Cincinnati, but the new trade suddenly makes him the best outfielder on his new team. Both Alex Gordon and Jorge Bonifacio are more likely to lose playing time if one of Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler, or Brian Goodwin force their way into the Royals lineup this year. Plus, Hamilton is the most likely player in the organization to actually get people to the ballpark so you can bank on 600+ plate appearances, unlimited stolen base opportunities, and a solid fantasy season.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

Jonathan Schoop (2B – MIL) 
“Schoop doesn’t necessarily get an upgrade in ballpark by moving to Target Field, but he gets a chance to reboot from a disappointing 2018. Schoop fell victim to a dreadful Orioles lineup around him that just didn’t have enough pop after Manny Machado. He is still at a prime age (27) and put up elite numbers for a second baseman in 2017, so a change of scenery may be all he needed.”
– Pierre Camus (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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