Today, the Rockies and Astros came together on a deal that sent infielder Clint Barmes to Houston for power arm pitcher Felipe Paulino. Before that deal the Diamondbacks acquired first base prospect Juan Miranda for a minor league pitcher. While on the surface these deals may seem of the low-impact variety, their fantasy ramifications are certainly noteworthy.
Barmes, 32 in 2011, is eligible at second and short and has hit as many as 23 home runs at the big league level. However, those 23 home runs hit in 2009, were by far the most in his major league career as well as the best AB/HR rate of his career (23.9 AB/HR in 2009, 37.6 AB/HR career average). Barmes sports a .254/.300/.404 career line, but doesn't strike out a ton or swing and miss a lot. He is a bit overly aggressive at times and hits a ton of fly balls -- just about 49 percent in the last three seasons. It's that fly ball rate that creates most of his problems.
Being a right-handed pull hitter, Barmes' plate approach might actually play well in Houston where the left field foul pole is only 315 ft away and left center is measured at 362 ft. Coors Field's left field foul pole measures up at 347 ft and it is 390 ft to left center. According to park factors from Stat Corner, both Minute Made and Coors inflate home runs for right-handed hitters at the same rate.
Barmes is likely to be given a shot to be the everyday shortstop for the Astros in 2010. If that becomes reality, Barmes has a chance to hit 15-plus home runs and drive in a decent number of runs, which would give him value in deep leagues. There is also a chance, however small of a chance it may be, that Barmes raises his AVG. He has a career 20.8 percent line drive rate, so a small adjustment in fly ball outs would help in a big way. Keep him on your watch list in all mixed league formats and look at him as somewhat of a sleeper in NL-only leagues.
Going to Colorado from Houston is hard throwing Felipe Paulino. Paulino, who's average fastball clocked in a 95.5 MPH (ranked in between Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Verlander), has significant upside, but has had injury issues as well as problems with control and allowing home runs. In 91.2 innings in 2010, Paulino struck out 8.15 per nine innings and walked 4.52 per nine, but managed to lower his home run rate significantly. Whether that sticks or not, especially in Colorado, is yet to be seen. His RAW pitcher rating of 64.09 put him in between Andy Pettitte and Brian Duensing in 2010. Those pitchers are not comparables, given their lower strikeout/better command skills, but it does go to show that Paulino can be an effective pitcher, though one with considerable risk involved. However, there should be little risk in where he is drafted in 2011. Given that he is relatively unknown to the mainstream baseball world and still needs to make the Rockies rotation, he shouldn't cost more than a late round flier pick ($1-2 auction bid).
In a smaller deal, the Diamondbacks acquired 29-year-old first baseman Juan Miranda for 19-year-old pitcher Scott Allen.
Juan Miranda was signed by the Yankees out of Cuba in 2006, but there were clearly no openings for him in the Yankees lineup for the foreseeable future. Miranda is out of minor league options, so he'll have to stick with the D-Backs or clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minors. GM Kevin Towers has been looking for ways to eliminate strikeout bats -- he didn't pick up Adam LaRoche's 2011 option an is looking to trade Mark Reynolds and perhaps even Justin Upton. Miranda has a career minor league strikeout rate of 23 percent, so it would be unlikely that he has big-time strikeout issues as an everyday regular. However, as a first baseman, especially in fantasy baseball, he'd need to hit for power. That could be an issue for Miranda. Baseball America describes Miranda's power as "fringy", noting that he tries to pull everything middle-in and has problems with outside pitches. However, in an interview for azcentral.com, Towers describes his power in a much brighter light, "He has probably 70-80 raw power (on the 20-80 scouting scale). He’s got big-time power." That, of course is coming from the GM who just acquired Miranda, so take it with a grain of salt.
Miranda might be a late round flier in NL-only leagues.
Scott Allen is a young project arm that posted a 9.12 K/9 and 2.54 in Low-A. he's not a hard thrower and doesn't show a lot of stamina as of yet, but is said to have a good "feel" for pitching. He has a lot of development left to go.