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Anthony Rendon Signs with Los Angeles Angels: Fantasy Baseball Impact

by Michael Waterloo | @MichaelWaterloo | Featured Writer
Dec 15, 2019

The Angels inked Anthony Rendon to $245 million over seven years.

Anthony Rendon has always been a fantastic real life and fantasy baseball player, but it was in 2019 that he went from underrated to superstar.

What time for Rendon to put together his best statistical season, as he was able to cash in his chips in free agency.

The rumors swirled about where Rendon would land, with Texas being the favorites for the Texas native. They wouldn’t go the extra year that the Angels went, as the Halos will be shelling out $245 million over seven years for the third baseman. 

But how will Rendon do in Hollywood, I mean, Anaheim, in his first foray into the American League?

Like Cameron Maiorano did with Yasmani Grandal, we’ll take a look at Rendon’s 2020 fantasy value in Los Angeles.

Here are the three key items that we’ll be looking at to evaluate Rendon moving forward:

  1. Change in home ballpark.
  2. Change in batting order and general surrounding lineup.
  3. The combination of hitting environments and pitchers he will face most commonly in his new division.

Like Cameron pointed out with Grandal, we won’t be looking at Joe Maddon’s tendencies on the basepaths since Rendon only had five last season.

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Going, Going, Out Out to Cali, Cali

I highlighted in my Stephen Strasburg free agency piece that the Nationals had the third-best home park in the league over the past three years. 

For hitters, it’s a little different on how we can evaluate park factors. We’ll start with looking at the three-year average (from 2016-2018) for park factor for a right-handed hitter in Washington and then Anaheim:

Three-year average in Washington:

  • 103

Three-year average in Anaheim:

  • 100

So it’s a slight decrease in power for Rendon based on FanGraphs.

But let’s look at PitcherList’s Dan Richards park factor by barrels piece that Cameron highlighted in his Grandal piece.

He actually has Anaheim as a park that is “likely” a hitter’s park but does add the caveat that the Angels lowered their right field fence in 2018. He has Nationals Park as a toss-up, with a slight lean toward pitchers park based on the MLB averages. 

If you look at Rendon’s spray chart from last year, you’ll see that while he attacked the entire field, most of his home runs went to left field and left-center. The fence change in right will have little impact on his power numbers.

Overall, I’m giving it a slight downgrade.

Surrounded by the GOAT

Over the past three years, Rendon is going to be going from being in a lineup with Bryce Harper, to Juan Soto, to Mike Trout. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

The Angels traded away Zack Cozart and – laughably – 2019 first-rounder Will Wilson to the Giants for Garrett Williams in an effort to shed money for what seemed to be Gerrit Cole, but ended up being Rendon.

The current Angels lineup looks something like this:

Tommy La Stella

Mike Trout

Anthony Rendon

Shohei Ohtani

Justin Upton

Andrelton Simmons

Brian Goodwin

David Fletcher

Max Stassi

Could you ask for a better lineup spot if you’re Rendon? When Ohtani has off days for pitching or pitching preparation, you have to think that Upton moves up to fourth and Albert Pujols slides into the DH spot.

This is a Maddon team, though, so the lineup construction will change each day.

What’s more, top prospect Jo Adell should be up in late May or early June, which will give the Angels another impact bat in the lineup.

I give the slight edge in Trout and Ohtani to Trea Turner and Soto, so it’s an improvement as far as his support goes.

New Faces and New Places

Unlike his former Strasburg who elected to stay in the NL East, Rendon is heading out west and heading to the American League.

What does that mean as far as the teams he’ll face? 

He’ll now be going against the Astros, A’s, Mariners, and Rangers regularly.

All four teams are interesting with their rotations – and they are far from complete as things stand now – but here’s what Roster Resource has for each team as of December 15.

Astros: Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers, Jose Urquidy, Rogelio Armenteros

A’s: Mike Fiers, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, Jesus Luzardo, Chris Bassitt

Mariners: Marco Gonzales, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield, Kendall Graveman, Justin Dunn

Rangers: Mike Minor, Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson, Jordan Lyles, Kolby Allard

The first takeaway here is that the Mariners rotation is horrible, and the Rangers have a rotation with Minor, Lynn, and Gibson that can either replicate periods of success and be passable, or replicate past struggles and be a bottom team in the division, the likes of which Trout and company can continue to feast on.

It gets interesting with Oakland and Houston. We know how good Houston is with pitchers, but they are without Cole this year. If they can get someone via trade like a Luis Castillo, then that’s going to be trouble for the whole division. The A’s really don’t count, because they are unpredictable. They are the only team who can make Fiers and Edwin Jackson look good in back-to-back years.

It’s going to be similar to the Nationals with Rendon, where you lick your lips when facing the Marlins and Phillies rotations, but you aren’t overly optimistic against Atlanta and New York.

As far as park factors go, Houston should produce good results just based solely on their left field and Rendon’s propensity to pull the ball when he hits homers. Seattle and Oakland, though, are toss-ups based on Richards’ barrels piece but are true pitcher-friendly venues based on FanGraphs’ three-year trends.

Texas’ new ballpark opens this year, and we can’t include it without knowing how it plays for at least the first year of its existence.

Projections

Being sandwiched between Trout and Ohtani helps to make up for the change in the ballpark and the spacious ballparks he’ll encounter in three of the five stadiums in the division, but I have him as a firm second-round pick in both roto and points leagues.

PAs HR R RBI AVG OBP SLG
My projection 666 32 98 92 .287 .376 .511
Steamer 645 28 92 95 .284 .374 .506
Depth Charts 665 28 95 98 .284 .374 .506

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Michael Waterloo is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, check out his archive and follow him @MichaelWaterloo.

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