Fantasy Baseball: 4 Starting Pitchers Whose Outlook Would Be Boosted by Getting Traded
It's tradin' season in Major League Baseball, as buyers look to pillage the sellers for any pieces who could help them make a run at the postseason. And, as usual, starting pitchers are a hot commodity, although this year, there isn't much to go around.
Two names likely to be dealt include Texas Rangers hurler Cole Hamels and Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, both of whom have had very interesting 2018 seasons thus far. Looking at their overall numbers, neither has blown away the competition, but when you dig into their numbers, they have something in common -- massive home/road splits.
Both Hamels and Happ pitch much better away from their home ballparks -- information that could become very useful for fantasy owners if either hurler is traded in the next week.
There are a couple other pitchers with some interesting home/road splits who could be dealt, but a trade could have a negative impact on their fantasy outlook.
So which guys should you target now in anticipation they find a new home, and which pitchers should you be shopping for fear that they get traded? Let's dig in.
Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers
A number of teams are said to be interested in Texas' left-hander, even though he has a 4.72 ERA and 5.19 FIP in 114.1 innings this season. His big problem has been the homer, giving up 1.81 dingers per nine innings, the third-highest total in baseball this year. Many of those homers have been hit at Arlington Stadium.
At home this season, Hamels has an ERA of 6.41 in 59.0 innings with 16 dingers allowed and a wOBA of .387. On the road, his ERA falls to 2.93 with just 7 bombs given up in 55.1 innings and a wOBA of .308. That's 2.24 homers per nine at home and 1.14 jacks per nine on the road.
Over the course of his time in Arlington, the numbers are similar. At home, he had a 4.40 ERA in 2016 and 4.35 ERA in 2017. On the road, he had a 2.40 ERA in 2016 and 4.06 ERA in 2017.
It's clear getting Hamels out of Texas would likely help his overall numbers, and that would make him a more valuable fantasy player for the rest of the season. That makes now a good time to try to buy Hamels on the cheap.
J.A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays
In Toronto, Happ has an ERA of 5.22 in 69 innings, with a wOBA of .308. On the road, that ERA drops to 2.60 with a .278 wOBA allowed. As with Hamels, dingers appear to be the problem, although not quite to the same degree. At home, Happ has given up 1.57 homers per nine, and on the road, he's allowed 1.00 taters per nine.
Were he to be traded to New York or Milwaukee, neither of which is a great environment for pitchers, a move to Yankee Stadium would probably be preferable going by Happ's numbers in each park, granted it's a small sample. In four career starts at Miller Park, Happ has an ERA of 5.68 with a WHIP of 1.84. In eight career starts in the Bronx, his ERA is 3.94 with a 1.18 WHIP.
Jake Odorizzi, Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins signed Jake Odorizzi to a free-agent contract over the winter in the hopes of contending for the American League Central title once again, but he and the team have been a disappointment in 2018, and it seems as if the Twins are ready to deal him to a contender.
In 49.1 innings at Target Field, Odorizzi's ERA is 5.11 with a .367 wOBA allowed. In 57.2 innings away from Minnesota, his ERA is 3.75 with a wOBA allowed of .314. However, could some if it be luck-based?
At home, Odorizzi's BABIP is .348, while on the road it's .264, and his walk rate is actually higher on the road (11.9%) than it is at home (7.7%). Conversely, he has given up more long balls at Target Field (1.46 per nine) than away from home (1.25 per nine), although the chasm is not huge.
It's not a big home/road split, but in this case, it might be enough to make Odorizzi an interesting throw-in to any deals you do over the next week or two.
Danny Duffy, Kansas City Royals
At the moment, there are no direct indication that Danny Duffy is going to be dealt by the Kansas City Royals, but with the team in free fall, it's likely anyone on their roster is a candidate to leave town. And while Duffy has had a pretty good career up to this point, he has not been particularly good pitching in Kansas City this season.
His home ERA of 5.89 is vastly higher than his road ERA of 3.54, and he's pitched far more innings on the road (76.1) than at home (44.1). He's allowed a wOBA of .355 at home and a .311 wOBA away from Kauffman Stadium, with a better strikeout rate (21.8% to 17.5%) and batting average allowed (.238 to .270) in his travels. And none of those numbers are fueled by a higher-than-normal BABIP (.296 at home and .280 on the road).
It is also fair to note that for his career, Duffy has had a better ERA on the road (3.63) than he has in KC. (4.03), so his road woes this season aren't a one-year thing. Acquiring Duffy before the deadline would be a nice speculative move that could help out your fantasy rotation in August if Duffy does get traded.