Flurry of pitching trades at deadline shake up fantasy baseball

So, that was a weird trade deadline, huh? 

Several players who were thought to be on the move stayed put, while the Yankees shockingly dealt Jordan Montgomery (more on him in a minute) to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader, who is currently on the IL, and the Mets traded J.D. Davis and three others for Darin Ruf. The Padres seemingly traded away all their minor leaguers to acquire Juan Soto, Josh Hader, Brandon Drury and Josh Bell to construct their own fantasy squad. 

San Diego’s aggressiveness landed it what is, by far, the most impressive deadline haul (especially for fantasy purposes, though Houston deserves credit for acquiring Trey Mancini), but Roto Rage is going to focus on the fantasy impact of deals made featuring pitchers and how their moves will affect their value. 

Meet Monty in St. Louis 

Since going 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA and a .216 opponents’ average over his first 13 starts, Montgomery struggled mightily. Before taking the mound Saturday against the Yankees, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft and surprisingly dealt him to the Cardinals, the lefty had not won since June 17 and was 0-2 with a 5.36 ERA in his past eight starts. 

Despite his recent struggles, Montgomery entered the weekend with the seventh-best walk rate (4.9 percent) in the majors, as well as the 10th-best swinging-strike rate (14 percent) and the 13th-best called-plus-swinging-strike rate (30 percent), both career-best marks. He also ranked 21st in WHIP (1.10), and his .269 BaBIP indicates he has gotten unlucky (as does his 3.62 xFIP). 

Jordan Montgomery while with the Yankees
USA TODAY Sports

The biggest plus: Montgomery gets a ballpark upgrade ditching hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium for pitcher-haven Busch Stadium. His new team comes with a Gold Glove infield consisting of Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman and Paul Goldschmidt, which should only help a pitcher who deploys his sinker about 40 percent of the time. Barring injury (and he has been injury-prone over his career) or interruptions, Montgomery could be lined up to make seven of his next eight starts in St. Louis, and half of those starts could come against teams with records below .500. 

It was surprising to see the Bombers trade Montgomery, but fantasy managers should be happy he landed in St. Louis. 

Wild Card 

Jose Quintana was the third-most added pitcher in ESPN leagues this week, and he backed that up Thursday by allowing one run over six innings and striking out seven while taking a no-decision in his Cardinals debut. He is 1-0 with a 0.48 ERA, 15-4 strikeout-walk rate and .148 opponents average over his past three starts (two with the Pirates), and has allowed more than three earned runs in just four of his 21 starts this year (and two or less in 15 of those outings). He won’t dominate, but, like Montgomery, Roto Rage likes his chance for success in St. Louis. 

Bronx bummer? 

Among pitchers with a minimum of 100 innings pitched, Frankie Montas ranks 18th in strikeouts per nine (9.37) and 25th in ERA (3.18) while going 4-9 with a .233 opponents’ average. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in 15 of his 19 starts. The numbers are impressive, but Roto Rage isn’t sold on Montas’ move to Yankee Stadium — not after spending the past six seasons pitching in the majors’ biggest stadium and having a 5.01 ERA away from Oakland this year. 

Frankie Montas while with the A's
Frankie Montas while with the A’s
Getty Images

Tyler hero 

Before making his Twins debut Friday, Tyler Mahle was 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA over his first 19 starts while striking out 9.83 per nine (11th-best in the majors) and walking 3.36 per nine (fourth-worst mark in MLB). The move from Cincinnati to a more pitcher-friendly park (with a much better team) should help that 3.22 xERA come to fruition. 

Noah changes 

Former Met Noah Syndergaard is striking out a career-low 7.0 per nine innings and has pitched six innings or more in just seven of his 16 starts this year. He was respectable for the Angels (5-8, 3.83 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) but was far from a difference-maker. It is unlikely he will suddenly become a fantasy stud for the Phillies either. 

Noah Syndergaard pitches during his Phillies debut.
Noah Syndergaard pitches during his Phillies debut.
USA TODAY Sports

SEA how they fly 

Luis Castillo was having a solid season on a cellar-dwelling Reds team (4-4, 2.86 ERA, 9.5 K/9, .201 opponents average) before being shipped to a playoff contender in Seattle. Seems like a winning combo. 

Odorizzi on the eyes 

Jake Odorizzi (4-3, 3.75 ERA, including 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA and .195 opponents’ average over his past nine starts) went from one great situation in Houston to another in Atlanta, and made his first start for the Braves on Saturday. With Roto Rage favorite Spencer Strider likely facing an innings restriction at some point, Odorizzi should have plenty of opportunity to be a viable fantasy option over the final months of the season.

Big Hits

Jose Miranda 3B, Twins 

In 27 games since June 28, he is 31-for-93 (.333) with six homers, 28 RBIs, 16 runs and .951 OPS. He had at least one RBI in 15 of those games. 

Blake Snell SP, Padres 

Has not lost since June 25, going 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA, 49 strikeouts and a .202 opponents’ average and .632 OPS in his past six starts. 

Blake Snell
Blake Snell
AP

Anthony Santander OF, Orioles 

Entered Friday on a 14-game hit streak, going 21-for-56 (.375) with four homers, 13 RBIs, nine runs and 1.114 OPS. He had at least one RBI in each of his past seven games and 10 of his past 12. 

Merrill Kelly SP, D’backs 

Before taking the mound Saturday, he was 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA, 33-8 strikeout-walk rate and .168 opponents’ average in his previous six starts. 

Big Whiffs

Patrick Sandoval SP, Angels 

July was not kind to the lefty, who took the mound Friday, as he went 0-5 with a 6.20 ERA, 4.01 walks per nine and .317 opponents’ average. Good news: His FIP and xFIP were far lower than his ERA. 

Ryan Mountcastle 1B/OF, Orioles 

Hadn’t homered since July 3 and was just 5-for-46 (.109) with six RBIs, 15 strikeouts, .189 OBP and .319 OPS in his first 12 games since the break. 

Ryan Mountcastle
Ryan Mountcastle
USA TODAY Sports

Marco Gonzales SP, Mariners 

Allowed 18 earned runs over his past 24 innings (four starts) en route to a 6.75 ERA and .337 opponents’ average. Allowed six homers in that span. 

C.J. Cron 1B, Rockies 

In his first 14 games since the All-Star break, he was 9-for-58 (.155) with one homer, 20 strikeouts and a .438 OPS. He walked just three times. 

Check Swings

  • Despite having no wins since May 17, the Giants’ Alex Cobb (21.7 percent owned) has lowered his ERA from 6.25 on May 23 to 4.08 after going 0-4 with a 2.86 ERA and .217 opponents’ average over his past 10 starts. He allowed more than three earned runs just once in that stretch, and two earned runs or less six times. 
  • Kolten Wong of the Brewers, on an eerie 66.6 percent of ESPN rosters as of late Thursday, entered the weekend ranked first in the majors in average (.429), third in runs (12) and OBP (.490), and sixth in slugging percentage (.714) and OPS (1.204) since the start of the second half. He also had a 18 percent strikeout rate and 10 percent walk rate. 
  • Joey Gallo is wearing No. 12 with the Dodgers in honor of the 12 hits he is hoping to get the remainder of the season. 
  • In nine appearances since July 9, the Yankees’ Clay Holmes is 1-3 with a 9.35 ERA, one save, three blown saves, 11 strikeouts and .257 opponents average. During this rough nine-game stretch, he also issued nine walks after allowing just five free passes over his first 37 appearances. In those first 37 outings, he was 4-0 with a 0.47 ERA, 39 strikeouts and a .165 opponents average while collecting 16 saves in 17 chances. 

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