Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Prince Fielder Ian Kinsler Trade: Fantasy Impact of Detroit-Texas Deal

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You want a trade to talk about? Well, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, we’ve got one.

If this is real, this move will have a pretty wide-reaching impact on the fantasy baseball landscape. So, let’s assume the trade is real and explore some of that impact.

 

Impact on Prince Fielder

The 2014 Texas Rangers are still a bit of a question mark. It seems as though they have some interest in just about every free agent, but they haven’t landed any as of yet. But what we do know is that if Prince Fielder goes to the Rangers, he’s going to be hitting in a pretty good ballpark. Look at ESPN’s Ballpark factors for home runs comparing Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Comerica Park for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013

 
2013 Rating (Rank)
2012 Rating (Rank)
2011 Rating (Rank)
2010 Rating (Rank)
2009 Rating (Rank)
Comerica Park1.078 (13)1.026 (17)0.987 (T-14)0.922 (18)0.974 (18)
Rangers Ballpark0.903 (19)1.168 (7)1.500 (1)1.160 (7)1.194 (4)

Interestingly enough, Detroit was a better place for homers in 2013 than Texas. But with the exception of this year, Texas has been a Top-10 place for homers, while Detroit has been middle of the road. All other factors being the same, it’s safe to say that Prince’s HR totals will be better in Texas than Detroit.

Now, I’d like to know how Ron Washington would order his lineup if this happened. I’d also like to know if Texas would do anything else in the offseason. But I would imagine that Prince would bat behind the likes of Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, and Leonys Martin Jurickson Profar, Alex Rios, or another top-of-the-order guy.

My biggest concern here is that if he’s not hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera, Prince is losing a guy to drive in who’s had a .417 OBP in their two years as teammates. Even if Miggy cleared the bases in some of those times, it still benefits someone’s RBI total to hit behind a guy like that. But Prince has only averaged 107 RBI in his two years as a Tiger and I can’t see that number going down.

 

Impact on Ian Kinsler

Look at the HR numbers from the two parks. 

 
2013 Rating (Rank)
2012 Rating (Rank)
2011 Rating (Rank)
2010 Rating (Rank)
2009 Rating (Rank)
Comerica Park1.078 (13)1.026 (17)0.987 (T-14)0.922 (18)0.974 (18)
Rangers Ballpark0.903 (19)1.168 (7)1.500 (1)1.160 (7)1.194 (4)

At a quick glance, this would certainly be a downgrade for Ian Kinsler. But unlike Prince Fielder, Kinsler’s value isn’t based entirely on his power. While he’s hit 30 home runs twice before, he hasn’t even reached 20 in each of the last two years.

The big question is this: Where does Kinsler fit into this lineup? I’m assuming Cabrera will bat third. I can easily see Kinsler batting first or second, but even fourth or fifth. More likely than note, I’m going to guess that he’ll be in one of the first two spots and getting driven in by the game’s best RBI guy all year long. If he bats second (which I can see before anything else), he’s getting pitches to hit, and that would benefit him like it did Torii Hunter in 2013.

For the two big players involved, I like this move and I like it a lot. Going beyond that, I’m not as sure.

 

Impact on Others

This certainly helps Jurickson Profar. He still needs a bit more offensive polish to be a great fantasy player but if he gets a spot at the top of the order, he could easily score 100 runs. That, combined with double-digit HR and steal potential makes him a top second basemen, almost no matter what his batting average is.

When we look at Miguel Cabrera, I don’t like this too much. Look at how much having Prince Fielder around has benefited his numbers. 

 
R
HR
RBI
AVG/OBP/SLG
2008-2011 Average10135115.322/.403/.571
2012-2013 Average10644138.338/.417/.620

That spans his entire career in Detroit, both before and after Prince. Nine homers and 23 RBI per year is a massive difference, so is 16 batting average points. Who do the Tigers have to protect him now? Victor Martinez? Torii Hunter? Ian Kinsler? Good hitters, sure. They may even make pitchers pay for walking Miggy an awful lot. But I don’t see how pitchers will do anything other than walk Cabrera in big RBI spots.

What that means, in a nutshell, is that Mike Trout just got some big points in his favor in the debate for 2014’s top fantasy player. I’d still take Miggy over anyone else, because he’s still the best hitter in the world. But this is going to hurt his power numbers. I’m not criticizing the Tigers for the trade, as I think this gives them the money needed to field a more complete team. But, this doesn’t help Cabrera’s fantasy value. Since this is a fantasy baseball site, I can’t get beyond that too easily, even if I think it will have a positive impact on Fielder and Kinsler.

 

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Tags: Detroit Tigers Ian Kinsler Prince Fielder Texas Rangers

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