So, the A’s have decided to cut bait on off-season signee Trevor Plouffe as he struggled to produce and are ready to hand off the job to Matt Chapman. The move, from the beginning, was intended to serve as a stop-gap move, but the A’s perhaps didn’t expect it to the end this early and perhaps hoped Plouffe would at least play well enough to draw trade interest in mid-season. That didn’t happen so they jettisoned his remaining salary as a sunk cost.
So, Chapman will be a primary FAAB or waiver target in most league formats as soon as he becomes available depending on whether you play in weekly or daily play. The first thing you need to know is “yes, he is going to hurt your batting average” if you play in a standard 5×5 or other batting average related leagues. The righty has struggled to his keep his strikeout rate under 30% at the Double-A and Triple-A levels and is already an established .250s hitter in the minors. To expect improvement in that area, barring a change in approach is unlikely and it is entirely possible that he could struggle as much as his predecessor.
On the upside, Chapman at least has power upside, slugging over .500 with isolated power’s over .200 for much of his minor league career. His patience and all or nothing approach at least also serve to keep his OBP respectable and somewhat valuable even if he hits in the .210s to .220s in OBP based leagues. Owners of Oakland pitchers will be happy as well as he should represent an improvement in defense over Plouffe. Chapman has been long well regarded for his throwing arm, agility, and range. Like most all or nothing power hitters, however, Chapman is not a significant threat on the base paths.
If available in most AL-only leagues, starters do not come along every day so you will likely need to open your FAAB budget a bit to acquire him, despite the risk of potential failure he carries. He is unlikely to be available in AL-only keeper or dynasty leagues with minor league drafts, but mixed leaguers may be afforded the luxury of waiting and seeing depending upon the depth of the corner infield market and free agent pool of your league.
The Reds moved Dan Straily to the Marlins for Luis Castillo, Austin Brice, and Isaiah White. Straily made 31 starts and threw over 190 innings for Cincinnati last year and manage a sub-4.00 ERA. With Robert Stephenson pushing for a regular turn in the rotation, Straily became excess baggage that they could leverage for prospects
Despite a solid 7+ K/9 and 3.4 BB/9, a slew of metrics indicate that Straily was pitching well over his head and getting out of town might help him to avoid an ERA over 5.00 in 2017 given how homerun friendly the Great American Ballpark is. The former A’s outwardly good ERA was suppressed by both a .239 batting average balls in play as well as a left-on-base rate of over 80%. Straily also continued to struggle with the long ball, allowing a 1.4 HR/9 and 12% HR/FB rate. It does not help that he is predominately a fly-ball pitcher (48%). A move to Miami and its cozier confines could keep his ERA in the mid 4’s, but still in end game or reserve round territory for most NL-only leagues.
As for the Red’s hall, Luis Castillo is the best of the lot. The 24-year old righty already is throwing in the upper nineties and spins the ball well with a solid slider/curve combo and a developing changeup, but so far he has not missed as many bats as one would expect since moving into a full-time starting role, barely registering a 7.0 K/9 A+ ball this year. Given his age, he’ll begin 2017 in at least Double-A, if not Triple-A and could see some time in the majors as well.
Another 24-year old, Austin Brice is another right-hander who could help the Reds out as earlier as this season. A reliever, Brice showed much-improved control in Double-A with a 2.8 BB/9. He saw brief action at Triple-A and the majors as well. The former starter features a solid fastball/slider combination and profiles as a middle reliever.
Finally, we come to Isaiah White. The 20-year old is the project of the trade having only seen action in short-season ball. There is a lot to like in the tools, particularly the speed, department, but he has struggled mightily to make contact, striking out 30% of the time while batting just .214. At this time, he is a name to note, not draft for fantasy baseball purposes.