Fantasy Baseball: Re-evaluating Peavy and Soria

With just a few days remaining until the trade deadline, teams are desperately trying to fill holes in their lineups and pitching rotations to boost their chances of making the postseason. We’ve already seen a decent amount of trades, but the number is sure to increase as we inch closer to the July 31 deadline.

The biggest names to be traded recently have to be Jake Peavy and Joakim Soria. In this article, I’ll re-evaluate their fantasy stock as the season progresses.

boston red sox

Jake Peavy

It seems that every year around this time, Jake Peavy’s name is at least floated around in trade rumors. It’s no wonder why. Any team in the playoff hunt could benefit by having their pitching staff bolstered by a 13-year veteran with a career 3.55 ERA. However, this season, it seems questionable why a contender like the San Francisco Giants were so interested in the former Cy Young winner.

Peavy started 20 games for the Boston Red Sox in 2014. In those games, he posted a less-than-stellar 4.72 ERA (a career high), a 1.43 WHIP (also a career high), and a 1-9 record.

There are a few potential reasons for why the Giants see value in Peavy down the stretch:

First, Peavy is a better pitcher in the second half. His career numbers before the All-Star break include a 3.69 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP; after the break, Peavy performs a bit better, posting a 3.44 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.

Second, Peavy pitches very well in August, September, and October. Peavy’s ERA in August is his best of any month – just 3.04. He’s not as good during September and October, but his ERA is still better than usual at 3.17.

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Third and final, Peavy’s home run to fly ball ratio – 12.6 – is the highest it’s been since 2003. While that doesn’t sound good, San Francisco’s AT&T Park is larger in almost every outfield dimension than Fenway Park, meaning that while pitching at home in San Francisco, Peavy should give up less home runs.

With those three reasons in mind, I believe Peavy’s fantasy baseball stock does increase with this coast-to-coast move. Granted, it isn’t a huge leap, but his stats should be better with the Giants.

In 12-team or larger fantasy formats, Peavy should be owned. In those deep of leagues, the pitchers available are so shallow that, assuming he isn’t already owned, Peavy will most likely out perform the other starters on the free agent market. In any league with less than 12 teams, Peavy is a good option as a streamer, but he may not produce consistent enough numbers to be owned.

Joakim_Soria_on_July_10,_2013Joakim Soria

Joakim Soria was recently traded from the Texas Rangers to the Detroit Tigers. For a closer, this would seem like it would certainly improve his fantasy stock due to the fact that the Rangers own the worst record in baseball at 41-63 and the Tigers are leading the AL Central at 57-44.

However, Soria’s fantasy value has taken a tremendous hit because the Tigers have decided to not use him in the closer role, at least not yet. The Tigers closer all season has been Joe Nathan; the veteran has struggled in 2014, posting career worsts in ERA and WHIP, not to mention he’s just 21 of 26 in save opportunities. In contrast, Soria put up solid numbers in Texas – a 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and he converted 17 of 19 save opportunities.

Without pitching in in the closer role, Soria’s fantasy value is almost non-existent. Of course, with Nathan struggling so much, Soria seems to be just one blown save away from taking over the ninth inning role.

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Another factor that will likely play into Soria’s eventual promotion to closer is the fact that he is much better during the postseason push. In regular season games taking place in September and October, Soria’s stats are incredible. His 1.36 ERA and 0.94 WHIP are far superior to Nathan’s 3.47 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.

Since being traded, Soria’s ownership numbers have fallen significantly in ESPN Fantasy Baseball leagues; he’s owned in 74.3% of leagues and dropping. For Soria owners, or anyone lacking in the saves department, picking up Soria and stashing him on the bench would be a great move. It will probably be sooner than later that Nathan loses the closing job, leaving Soria to take over.

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