To Hustle Loyalty Respect:
Giancarlo Stanton ($86 31 y.o. 5.83 ppg)
To Eastbound and Dowd:
Tyler O’Neill ($0 cc 26 y.o. 5.77 ppg)
$15 auction budget
TL;DR – HLR picks up an expensive and maybe declining outfield/util slot depth hoping for a hot streak while EAD picks up a solid and cheap guy looking at an above-average upside
This trade probably doesn’t happen if Ohtani is on the board earlier in the day. This trade happened early on in the deals, and it made sense at the time. EAD likely wasn’t keeping Stanton, and he made that clear when he referenced Stanton as being priced to move. HLR hopped on the opportunity and grabbed Stanton for a guy I’d be okay with moving on from for the chance to win a title. After getting Stanton, HLR popped Ohtani late in the day and moved Stanton down his depth chart.
Let’s look at the HLR side. Full disclosure, I was in on Stanton, but my offer was well below the deal EAD accepted ( I offered two 2023 4ths and Jack Suwinski). Stanton probably would have been a pretty regular outfielder or utility slot guy for HLR before the Ohtani trade, and I think he will still slot in at the back end of HLR’s starting squad. Stanton is having a down year from what he has accomplished in the past, but he is still above average and certainly capable of carrying a team if he gets hot. In looking at Stanton for trade talks, I was concerned by a few of his sliding metrics. He is walking less than he has in his prime and the power output is down despite the exit velo data being about the same when he does make contact. He was injured for almost all of 2019 and some of short 2020 season. That led me to devaluing him in terms of longevity as I didn’t see him as a keeper. I don’t think HLR does either. That said, I am always interested in grabbing a guy with the capability to put up 100+ in a week for a playoff run. With Stanton hitting the ball as hard as he ever has, he still has plenty in the tank. Any of the contenders could have done worse than adding Stanton. He has the same upside capability as Springer does for the final portion of the season, and I think the cost he paid to do it was fine.
As to the EAD side, Tyler O’Neill is currently an above average player who has a $0 salary under our cost-controlled system. I’ve never been a fan of his, and I was surprised to see just how well he was doing. I had seen his point totals, but I hadn’t looked under the hood. Scouting his stats, he his walking less, striking out more, and making as much or more hard contact as he ever has. The massive jump in production has come from not only the career-high batting average but also the career high OPS. I don’t know enough about how xwOBA is calculated to figure out if the delta between O’Neill’s wOBA and xwOBA is meaningful, but his wOBA is .365 (25 pts higher than his 2018 high) and xwOBA is .399. What does all this mean? I think, again based on stat-scouting, O’Neill has gotten more aggressive and is doing damage as a result. He is coming into his power-peak, so I have reason to believe his production this year is sustainable. I’m one of those people who believe once a player has demonstrated a skill they own it, and I think O’Neill has had enough of a sample size this year to say he owns the profile he has demonstrated. Sure, pitchers could change their approaches against him after this year’s data, but I think there has been enough opportunity for that this year that expecting 5.5-6 ppg going forward is a reasonable expectation for O’Neill, which makes him a value at his cost-controlled price. I think this season is pretty close to his ceiling, so I wouldn’t hope for more as his owner. I think there is a solid chance that O’Neill’s production regresses slightly after season, but, again, I’ve always been an O’Neill discounter. The best part about the EAD return is that O’Neill is not a prospect. He has proven his MLB worth, and for a guy he was already moving on from, the return is just fine. Side note, I thought O’Neill was clearly on roids. The swollen body and chubby cheeks were classic stereotypical body, but I was referred to his father’s body. His dad was a body builder, so the body makes more sense, but the fact that O’Neill wears his baseball pants as tight as yoga pants is still off-putting. In any event, he’s a fine baseball player that I’d take over almost every prospect or pick surely offered for Stanton.