2013 Fantasy BaseballFantasy Baseball

2014 Fantasy Baseball: Addison Reed Traded for Matt Davidson

addison reed
Photo Credit: Brule Laker

I’m not quite sure what’s going on with MLB teams and overpaying for relievers, but it’s happening.  Maybe I’m wrong, but I prefer saving the top five prospects in my organization to fill other needs.  Alas, I am no general manager.  But I will explain the fantasy baseball ramifications of today’s trade between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox. 

If you didn’t happen to hear, the Diamondbacks traded third base prospect Matt Davidson to the White Sox for closer Addison Reed.

Matt Davidson:

Davidson, 22, was considered a top five prospect in the Diamondbacks’ farm system.  He has shown power in the PCL, but the league is known as a hitter friendly environment.  He also has a bit of a strikeout problem and it remains to be seen if he can be an average defender at third, although it is said that he has made improvements. 

The good news for Davidson is that he won’t have much competition at third base this spring.  Conor Gillaspie is the biggest threat to steal playing time away at third, but the truth is, he isn’t very good.  The rebuilding White Sox may want to delay the service time on their shiny new toy, however, so Davidson may not get the call until later into the 2014 season.

So what can we expect from Davidson?  I would expect him to struggle.  U.S. Cellular Field should help his home run total, but Davidson simply whiffs too much to help in batting average leagues.  Last season at Triple-A, the right-handed hitter struck out 26.8% of the time.  He also has a tendency to hit popups, sitting at 10.2 percent, which won’t help is BABIP any.  He has shown the ability to take a walk, so he will be more suitable for OBP-based leagues, but owners will be relying directly on his power, as Davidson isn’t a threat on the base paths.  He could run into about 20 or so home runs over the course of a full season, but the bad will likely outweigh the good in 2014.  There is more value to be had in deeper leagues and dynasty leagues, but this may be best moment to sell him high to an owner, as it looks like he has a clear path to playing time and newfound buzz.

Addison Reed:

Reed’s role with the White Sox was as a closer, and for two seasons, he managed to get the job done despite some bumps in the road.  And although Reed’s role as closer won’t change with the Diamondbacks, the right-hander has some red flags.

Reed, 24, showed a significant decrease in velocity during the 2013 season, losing almost a full two miles per hour on his heater (94.5 to 92.7).  His zone percentage went from 57.6% to 52.9%, which could increase the risk for injury.  In fairness, this could be due to the increased use of his slider, which is now over 30%, but even the high usage of that pitch makes you a bit concerned, since sliders are known to heighten the risk of injury.  Chase Field actually graded out lower than the Cell according to ESPN’s home run park factor, so Reed’s fly-ball tendencies may survive the move in that sense.

Reed’s other numbers did improve across the board, so perhaps I am being a bit too cautious, but the velocity concerns are enough for me to be wary on draft day.

Final View:

The White Sox got two years of service time from Reed and stand to gain an extra two from Davidson.  Both are risky, but the rebuilding White Sox did well here.  This could still work out for the Diamondbacks, since Davidson is no sure thing, but you would have hoped that if they traded one of their better prospects, it would be for a need that makes a greater impact.

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