Today, Steve Pearce was traded to the Yankees for a few hot dogs or a substantial stake in the New York Mets, whichever is worth more at the end of the season. The TCB Fantasy inbox has been filling up with questions about how Pearce's absence from the club will open up Fantasy opportunities for Jimmy Paredes, who is called up to replace him. After crunching vast amounts of database bits and bytes, the supercomputer that runs behind the scenes to prognosticate the prodigious or pathetic performances of players spat out the answer:
There is no Fantasy impact of Paredes' being in the major leagues; at least not for managers who figure to be in the playoffs.
A follow-up question from the ravenous Astros' fans: "Is Paredes a viable keeper for 2013?" The supercomputer answereth:
In an expanded answer, the computer explains that Paredes does not have a defined position. In 2013, second base is held by Altuve. Short stop is manned by Lowrie and Greene. Third will be played by...Lowrie and Greene, presumably. The outfield positions are up for grabs, but the Astros currently roster a baker's dozen of outfielders whose skill sets are not too dissimilar from Paredes'. Even if he is the best of the lot, a timeshare looks to be in the cards as management identifies the elusive "players of the future."
So, a game of "what-if" follows: What if Paredes gets full playing time? How about then?
Paredes is a low OBP hitter, and for fantasy purposes, that means he's a low OPS hitter. He has no power (.134 ISO in the minors). So a manager won't get Home Runs. He won't hit in a lineup spot conducive to RBI. He won't get on base enough to factor in Runs. He might help a manger in Batting Average, but even that is questionable since his BABIP in 2011 and 2012 have been over .370. A BABIP that high is so unsustainable it might as well be a Southern Bluefin Tuna. Paredes is still a nice prospect with room to grow, but Fantasy Managers looking at 2013 and 2014 should pass.
So then, what players from the Astros current roster are worth keeping for 2013? Find out, after the jump.
By Yahoo! Average Ranking, Jose Altuve was the 13th-best second baseman this Fantasy Season. In a keeper league, that's good enough to hang on to him. The stats and forecast support his inclusion on the short list of best 2B keepers also. His BABIP is a sustainable .330, which hopefully means he can continue to hit between .290 and .310. His OBP is trending upward from his minor league days. He's got a bit of power, a bit of speed, and he's only 22 years old with plenty of space to improve in all categories. Fantasy managers who hang on to him will have a settled performer at one of the most difficult positions to fill.
Poor Jed can't shake that injury bug. Regardless, his upside is that of a top-10 shortstop. With only 285 AB this season, he still ranks as a top 20 shortstop on Yahoo!. In 2012, he hit more Home Runs per At Bat than any short stop currently playing in the majors. His injury history may make him a bargain if your league keeps players according to their O-Ranking. As a bonus, he may get some starts at third next season too.
Wallace finally looks like he is living up to his top-prospect pedigree. As a First Baseman, there will be plenty of other keeper options, but what makes Wallace attractive as a keeper is his multi-position eligibility. His five starts at Third Base this season means he gains automatic eligibility at that position next season in Yahoo!. As a third-base keeper, Wallace is a fantastic option, and looks to be a decent bet to go 80-20-80 at another shallow Fantasy position. If a manager really wanted to gamble for the skies, Wallace played some short stop in AAA this season. If he gained eligibility there in 2013, he would be a top-10 performer at the position.
Except in the deepest of deep keeper leagues (meaning, 20+ team leagues with more than ten keepers per team), the TCB Fantasy Baseball Prognosticating Supercomputer does not recommend hanging on to any other Astros. It does suggest that in long-term prospect keeper leagues, owners take a hard look at Jonathan Singleton, Domingo Santana, Jarred Cosart, George Springer, Delino DeShields, Jr., and of course Carlos Correa. The computer postulates that other Astros' prospects are worthy of consideration in leagues with even deeper prospect pools, but it becomes a riskier crap shoot after those six names. The computer then bemoans the lack of quality pitching depth in the Astros' farm system but says to keep a lazy eye out for pitchers who look to move through the system quickly.