Fantasy analysis of the Fielder-Kinsler trade
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - It's a simple one-for-one trade, the dealing of Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler, yet it has an effect that ripples throughout many other areas.
Lets look at this trade and follow how it changes things.
The obvious -
Texas no longer needs to improve their first base offense. The Rangers primarily used Mitch Moreland last season and in 462 at-bats he batted .232 with 23 HR, 60 RBI and a .736 OPS. Both the batting average and OPS are below the American league average for the position.
Even in an "off" season for Fielder, he posted a .279 batting average with 25 HR, 106 RBI and an .819 OPS. He was a top-five 1B fantasy option last season and that will continue in 2014.
Detroit used Omar Infante at second base in 2013 and while he put up a solid .318 batting average it came with limited run production. He hit 10 homers, knocked in 51 runs and scored just 54 runs. Like Fielder, Kinsler wasn't at his best last season, but still scored more runs (85) and knocked in more runs (72) than Infante. He's also posted two "30-30" seasons (2009, 2011) and was the No. 2 second baseman in TSN's 2013 preseason position rankings.
So both teams will improve their production at the position obtained.
The not-so-obvious -
The Rangers had been stuck in a dilemma, not having a way to get youngster Jurickson Profar into their everyday lineup. The 20-year-old struggled with the infrequent playing time, batting just .234 with six homers, 30 runs and 26 RBI in 286 at-bats last season.
Profar was Baseball America's No. 1 prospect in 2013 after batting .281 with an .820 OPS at Double-A Frisco in 2012. He was solid in Triple-A Round Rock until called up in May.
With Kinsler in Detroit, the Rangers' keystone combination of 25-year-old Elvis Andrus and Profar could be around for a long time.
The addition of Fielder could also convince free agents that the Rangers are a viable place to land and in particular for "top-of-the-order" guys like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo having Fielder to knock them in could be a factor.
Sending Fielder to Texas allows Tigers' two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera to return to his more natural position - first base. He played there from 2008 - 2011, but shifted to third base where he never looked comfortable, when Fielder arrived in 2012.
The open spot at third base could easily be filled by 21-year-old Nick Castellanos, who came up at third before being used in the outfield over the past season in an attempt to find a place for him with the "big club." Castellanos is a career .303 hitter in the minors, who hit 18 homers last season at Triple-A Toledo. Given the shortage of quality third baseman, Castellanos could be a late-round flier for fantasy owners.
Possibly just as important to Detroit, the transaction frees up money for the Tigers to re-sign 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer.
Scherzer's fantasy value is as high as any pitcher in baseball after his 21-3 season with a 2.90 ERA, 0.970 WHIP and 240 Ks in 214 1/3 IP. His fantasy owners will be happy if he stays in spacious Comerica Park and behind Justin Verlander in the rotation. That way Verlander takes on the opponent's top pitcher and Scherzer gets an advantage in the matchup of No. 2s.
It appears this deal should benefit all concerned. Well, except Moreland and Infante who lose out on starting roles.
11/22 12:44:58 ET