Trade: Team Hydra | In Line 4 the Win

Team Hydra sends: C Jonathan Lucroy ($25), SP Rich Hill ($11)
In Line 4 the Win sends: 1B Freddie Freeman ($41), C Josh Phegley (FA), 2017 3rd Round Pick

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†This deal on paper makes a lot of sense. Hydra was dying for a first baseman, the unluckiest team in the league could use an upgrade at catcher and pitchers are always useful. After sitting on the trade for a couple hours I think both teams improved themselves in this trade.

Freddie Freeman is nearing enigma status. In my head a keeper at $40 makes complete sense. FanGraphs projections has him hitting 1.41 PPPA going forward. That’s pretty legit. Based on how things have been going, IL4W has really improved the team in a lot of ways. Based on projections, it appears to be more of a lateral move. I still love it for them.

For HYDRA I love the deal as well. Lucroy was not really doing enough for them. Freeman, as I said, projects to be better. That’s a pretty significant upgrade. Selling depth for a significant upgrade with easy keep-ability makes total sense.

It’s actually kind of hard to break down a trade like this. I think both teams win. Based on projections Team Hydra significantly improved their team. Based on past results, IL4W has significantly improved their team. At the worst in either direction, they didn’t hurt their respective teams. It’s a win-win.

Andrew’s thoughts: I guess the simplest way of putting it would be this: I’d rather be the side getting Lucroy and Hill.

I’ve given Alex from Team Hydra a hard time before about Lucroy, but the truth is, he’s a really good player and $25 isn’t bad for the second best catcher behind Buster Posey. I’m just not personally into paying premiums for catchers and whenever he and I spoke about a move involving Lucroy, I felt like that’s what I’d be doing. I didn’t really believe Lucroy was keepable at $27 next year, but there’s a good chance I was wrong about that.

Of course, this deal makes fundamental sense for both sides. Team Hydra has Posey, so Lucroy is a tad redundant at catcher. They also have Prince Fielder disappointing at first, so there’s an apparent hole there. In Line 4 the Win, meanwhile, has Anthony Rizzo at 1B but had been plodding along with Jason Castro, so you see where the pieces fit.

Anyway, I’m a big proponent of playing players in the position where they are most valuable. Posey, obviously, is more valuable at catcher. But in this case, I think I’d rather just shift Posey to 1B and play Lucroy at catcher than bring in Freeman to man first until Lucroy logs two more games at first, at which point he’ll have unlocked that position.

As of today, Lucroy has a higher wOBA by .028 points and ZiPS sees Freeman playing out the year with a .023 edge there. I’m not really sure I see a huge performance gap between Lucroy and Freeman heads up. These two guys are close enough that it probably didn’t warrant dumping Hill, a 30+ point per game starter at this juncture, just because Team Hydra has an abundance of pitching. Getting Hill as essentially a throw in is just good work by IL4W. Too much pitching is a gift, not a curse.

The other pieces involved are negligible. Phegley is an okay lefty mashing catcher, but he’s hurt and because he really only hits lefties, he won’t be playable most days. And even when he’s facing a Southpaw, you won’t bench Posey for him. He’s being viewed as depth though (he’s Hydra’s only other catcher now), I’m sure, so he’s fine. And the third round pick is an alright bonus too, just not a piece that really factors in much.

Swinging a Hot Stick in April

There is nothing better than drafting a player who gets off to a hot start, like Justin Upton hitting 12 home runs in April of 2013. ¬†However, the MLB season is a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s important to remember that sometimes you need to know when sell a player at peak value. ¬†But that is different discussion for another day. ¬†Let’s focus in on the¬†players that have dominated the first month of the season over the last three years.

You Won’t Believe Who is #6 On This Cool Spring Breeze List of Hot Sizzling Pitchers

Since 2013, we have seen a decline in players scoring 150 points in April – from 53 down to just 23 last year.

quickstart

Anthony Rizzo is the only other player to score 150 points in each of the last three Aprils, but has not totaled 500 points.  Jose Altuve and Chris Davis have score more points than Rizzo, but each had a season where they failed to score 150 points.

There is one name on that list that jumps out in a group of future Hall of Famers – Jed Lowrie.

He got off to a hot start in 2013, with 14 XBH in the month of April. Lowrie had another quick start in 2014, with eight doubles and two home runs, drawing 20 walks, In 2015, Jed hit .300 with four doubles and four home runs.  His 12 walks led to a .432 OBP.  Unfortunately, his season lasted just 69 games due to injury and the Astros promoted this kid named Carlos Correa.

Over the past three seasons, Lowrie has a triple slash of .313/.425/.508 with 23 doubles and nine home runs.

Now a member of the Athletics, Lowrie is slated to bat second and play 2B according to RosterResource.com.

2014

Troy Tulowitzki had the greatest April in recent memory in 2014, totaling 262.3 fantasy points.  With seven home runs that month, Tulo hit .381 with nine doubles and a triple (.762 SLG) while drawing 21 walks, leading to a .495 OBP.

2013

In 2013, Justin Upton and Chris Davis each scored over 250 points.  Upton hit 12 home runs that month, despite striking out 30 times.  He only hit 14 more HRs that year, eight in August.  Davis totaled 17 XBH in April of 2013,  He followed up nine home runs in April with 10 in May and 12 in June en route to 37 home runs before the MLB All-Star Game.

Last season saw the fewest number of player score 150 points in April.

2015

 

2016 Auction Review – In Line 4 the Win

In Line 4 The Win

4w

And with great giant lightning bolts, the team wins their super hero, their Thor. Holy cow what a bid. I mean there’s probably cause for Thor costing $80, but holy Norse God he¬†is still young and fresh. Here¬†is the league’s token all upside team. It does¬†not¬†typically work for me, but if it works for IL4W. I am¬†not certain I actually know anything.

Hitting – Alright

Kyle Schwarber could have been the steal of the draft for 2016. Being a qualified catcher playing every day in the outfield. However, at $52 you’re looking to see him be as good as we was last year for an entire season. It¬†is clearly possible, he could be better, but IL4W¬†paid for it. Anthony Rizzo at $75 seems like a great price to me. Is Starlin Castro back to for real now? Joc Pederson is an enigma much like Colby Rasmus. Should be awesome, but um something’s not right. Dustin Pedroia and David Wright offer yesterday’s stars as older staples that in a day to day shuffling, should offer higher floors. Freddie Freeman being hurt before the draft could have dropped him into value territory. There is just enough question marks over the whole stack that I settled on alright.

Pitching – Not Quite

Something is missing here. Noah Syndergaard¬†is a tier 2 with tier 1 potential. Jose Quintana is a tier 2 that everyone wants to believe is a tier 4. Carlos Rodon getting paid $35 means he needs to be awesome soon. Matt Moore as your 4 is scary. The top half just isn’t good enough to get behind and the bottom half is even scarier. It clearly could work out, but I’m missing what that is to make this rotation great. Bullpen should be good though. Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon should be reliable stable relievers, as they come anyway.

Depth – Very Good

There is a plethora of decent talent that can be flexible and move around on this roster. The hitting depth is great, but the pitching depth drags this down quite a bit. Jose Reyes is a huge question mark, but at $8, possibly $10 next year is an exciting gamble. Guys like Matt Duffy, Brett Lawrie and Billy Burns could all finish high enough to start by the end of the year. They all are a small hot streak from being good enough to flip for something even more interesting.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

All of that upside could be egg on this teams face. Sure, it is exciting, the possibility of being right and awesome on young guys in a dynasty league is incredibly tempting. Just like a few other teams, this team is currently built for everything to go right, or its on to 2017.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

Well Syndergaard, Quintana and Rodon obviously blow away expectations. The hitters are good enough, as is, to carry.¬†They need these pitchers to be at their friendliest projections. Rizzo and Freeman could battle each other out for National League Silver Slugger, Joc Pederson gets his head on straight. Lots of upside here, it’s all over.