Max Scherzer ($100 37 y.o. 37.2 ppg)
Mike Moustakas ($25 32 y.o. 4.7 ppg)
To Eastbound and Dowd:
Stephen Strasburg ($75 33 y.o. 17.9 ppg)
Patrick Corbin ($26 32 y.o. 19.45 ppg)
Brennen Davis – prospect
Edward Cabrera – prospect
Ezequiel Duran – prospect
2022 #1 from HLR – projecting for 13-16 overall
2022 #2 from HLR – projecting for 29-32 overall
TL;DR – HLR gets a top-10 pitcher for Brennen Davis
Hooray for the trade deadline in DG heating up! Hopefully we end with a flurry by Friday similar to the MLB deadline this year. If you were looking for a trade that has it all, we almost got it here. Old stars, injured stars, high-end prospects, meh prospects, and picks for yet-unknown prospects. For me, this trade boils down to Max Scherzer for Brennen Davis.
Let’s look at the HLR side. He gets the 10th or so best starter left standing by ppg (Glasnow is toast, deGrom/Bauer/Kershaw are likely toast with him, and Bieber is maybe back in August), and a guy who has shown up every 5th day since 2009 with the exception of only 27 starts in 2019. Seriously, Scherzer is an ironman, even despite some back issues he had a couple years ago that I thought signaled his decline (wrong again, Aaron). Scherzer represents a much-needed replacement for Kershaw on HLR’s squad, particularly with HLR’s overall points lead gap closing. Max is a stud and worth every penny of his $100 salary. HLR’s roster construction has allowed him to be able to take Max on without concern of having to sell Kershaw in the offseason. HLR likely gets value from Scherzer the next couple years as Scherzer ages out of baseball. Moustakas is a non-factor for me – HLR likely cuts him in the offseason and hopes for lightning in a bottle when Moustakas comes back from a heel injury that cost him nearly three months. It’s been a couple years since Moustakas has been above fantasy replacement level, but he’ll always have that 6 ppg year in Milwaukee.
As for the E&D side, he gets Davis with an expensive lotto ticket, a less expensive lotto ticket, and a bunch of cheap ones. Brennen Davis is hopefully as awesome as his AA stats from this year. He destroyed High-A pitching this year in a short stint before continuing the hitting clinic at AA. His power has showed out along with an elevated walk rate – his K-rate has also spiked but has been more than offset by the damage he is doing. He’s only in AA, but his 2021 updated midseason rankings of anywhere from 9-17 on the outlets I’ve seen reflect the strength of the gains he has made. He still has to prove he can do it with the big boys, but he appears likely to have a high floor to go along with his high ceiling. Unfortunately for E&D, my excitement at his return ends here. Strasburg underwent thoracic outlet surgery, something I thought was a death sentence for pitchers. Turns out there is a recent study (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33472488/) with a small sample size (27) that says 74% of pitchers undergoing the procedure return to MLB performance with a range of 105-638 days to return. The study tried to quantify performance upon return and found similar returns of fastball velo and control but lesser returns in ERA performance (3.66 ERA pre-surgery to 4.50 ERA post-surgery). Even with all the issues ERA represents, I think the nearly-one run delta between pre- and post-surgery tells us what we need to know about effectiveness. I don’t think E&D acquires Strasburg if he doesn’t plan on keeping him, but the large salaries of $117 invested in Harper and $86 in Stanton add up to a salary cap crunch that will require some ingenuity to solve, particularly so considering the significant pitching needs E&D has to fill. Corbin has been bitten by HR issues badly this year. Health and velo remain on his side, but his pitch effectiveness has significantly deteriorated from his stellar 2018 and 2019 seasons. His fastball effectiveness in particular has significantly declined this year despite gaining velo, which is interesting. Despite the bad results with the fastball, he is throwing it more than ever before so maybe he knows something we don’t. Either way, he has been bad but is probably another keeper at $26 for a pitching starved E&D. Here’s to hoping for a bounceback or a move to Tampa so they can fix him. Edward Cabrera is a sexy name who made big gains over the pandemic year and rose on lots of lists. Fangraphs says his secondary pitches made big jumps which led to the lessening of the dreaded reliever risk. He moved up to AAA in the middle of July after a solid 26 innings at AA and immediately stopped throwing strikes, which is probably fixable. That said, I don’t like the fact that he has not pitched over 100 innings in a season despite 6 years of minor league baseball due to various injuries that have popped up. Sure, Miami is a pitching development haven, but even they can’t put Humpty back together again. MiLB is littered with the bodies of electric arms who couldn’t stay on the mound. Duran is a 100-150 ranked guy who has been comped to Dan Uggla. Uggla was not a fantasy star in this format, and he exceeded replacement level twice in his career. The two picks are nice to have but hard to evaluate who may be out there in the 13-16 ranges and 29-32 ranges of the draft. Ultimately, E&D is going to love running Davis out there everyday for six years as a cost-controlled (hopefully) stud. Will it be in time to contribute to his currently assembled stars of Harper, Stanton, Cruz, Story, and more? I guess we’ll see.
Haddy (Who’s Your Haddy?)