This MLB off-season has seen a ton of player movement. Let’s take a look at some big-name pitchers who have changed teams this offseason and how it impacts their fantasy baseball value.
Josh Hader Fantasy Outlook With The Astros
Hader was not only one of the biggest names on the free agent market this offseason, but he also happens to be one of the best closers in all of MLB. He has had four seasons of 30+ saves, and the only two seasons where he didn’t read that plateau were the shortened 2020 season and his first full big league season in 2018. Entering 2024, Hader has a career 2.50 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, and 15 K/9. It doesn’t get much better than that, and the consistency makes him even more valuable. His signing with the Astros is as good of a landing spot as possible. They are perennial contenders who win a ton of games, and, barring injury, Hader is going to rack up another season of 30+ saves and be one of the top three closers in fantasy baseball. Closers are going off the draft board earlier than ever before, so if you want a chance at Hader this season, be prepared to spend a third-round pick on him.
Chris Sale Fantasy Outlook On the Braves
The Red Sox are a last-place caliber team. Leaving that type of environment immediately gives a boost to any player. In this case, a move away from the hitter-friendly Fenway Park and one of the most competitive divisions in MLB suddenly makes Chris Sale interesting again. At one time, he was an ace, a top-of-the-line SP in fantasy baseball; however, he has been derailed by injuries over the past few seasons. He did make 20 starts in 2023, which is encouraging considering he had made just 11 starts in 2021 and 2022 combined, yet there is still plenty of risk around him. Since the trade to the Braves, his ADP has moved up over 30 spots, and he is now being taken in the top 150 picks. As long as he doesn’t get hurt between now and the beginning of the season, Sale’s ADP is going to continue to rise to the point where he could go inside the top 100. Although there is plenty of upside in his arm and he continues to post elite K/9 numbers, he is not worth picking inside of the top 130-140 picks, so don’t get sucked into the hype. If you’re drafting in January, Sale is an intriguing pick if you can get him around pick 150 or higher. The Braves signed an extension with Sale that will keep him in Atlanta through 2026, which should give you some confidence in the fact that they believe he is healthy and ready to be a big part of their rotation.
Fantasy Outlook Of Marcus Stroman On The Yankees
Stroman was born and raised in New York and grew up a Yankees fan. Signing with the Yankees is a dream come true for him. In terms of what it means for the Yankees, well, they needed a middle-of-the-rotation arm, and they got a guy in Stroman who has been fairly consistent throughout his career. The nine-year MLB veteran has a career 3.65 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 7.5 K/9. None of which should be considered great, but all of which can be valuable to you in fantasy baseball when you are looking for a reliable SP6 who can eat innings for you, not destroy your ratios, and rack up wins. That is what Stroman should be able to do on this new and improved Yankees team. Stroman is primarily a ground-ball pitcher, something that should serve him well in a hitter/home run-friendly Yankee Stadium. For those who may question how Stroman will handle pitching in the Big Apple, although it wasn’t with the Yankees, Stroman has pitched in New York already, with the Mets in part of 2019 and a full season in 2021. His 2021 season was one of his best, as he posted a 3.02 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 33 starts. Stroman has also pitched in big games in his career; playoff games with the Blue Jays and for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He has experience in the AL East, which is helpful as well. His fantasy baseball ADP over the past month has been in the 280 range, which you can expect to see rise up into the 230-240 range over the next few weeks now that he has signed with a big-name team in the Yankees. Taking him as your SP6 and the 100th or so overall pitcher off the board is a solid pick, just don’t jump the gun and start setting new minimum picks on him; although he’s relatively safe, there is no upside.