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“In Lou of” – Breaking down the impact of the Justin Upton Trade

How it impacts the Braves, D-Backs and Fantasy Owners: 

For anyone who follows the MLB, the fact that Justin Upton was traded is no surprise. Trade rumors surrounding the slugger had been floating around since before the 2012 trade deadline. Now that Upton has been traded, we can examine if the D-Backs and their trade partners have improved, as well as discuss the impact it will have on the fantasy value of the major players.

Atlanta Braves Point Of View:  The Braves acquisition of Justin Upton gives them one of, if not the best outfields in Major League Baseball. Upton will join Jason Heyward and the Braves big free agent signing, BJ Upton, who is not only a superstar, but is also Justin’s brother. This outfield now has three players that all have the potential to be 5-tool players. Last season they had one. It is an outfield that is by far the best and most dynamic in the National League, and is only rivaled by the Los Angeles Angels of the American League. The Braves also acquired Chris Johnson in the trade with the D-Backs, and they expect him to be their every day 3rd Baseman. He was brought in to replace the long time, beloved 3rd Baseman, and recently retired, Chipper Jones. The impact players that the Braves traded to Arizona are Martin Prado and Randall Delgado. The Braves have an abundance of young pitching, and have replaced Prado by acquiring Upton and Johnson, who play the defensive positions that used to be Prado’s responsibility. They traded from their depth to acquire a superstar player. On paper, the Braves look to be a powerhouse offense, that includes big bats such as Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann to compliment their 3-star outfielders. They have improved as a ball club, and look to contend for the NL East crown with the Washington Nationals.

Arizona Diamondbacks Point Of View: The D-Backs may not have improved by making this deal, but they definitely didn’t get worse. It is possible that they lost some offensive production if Justin Upton ends up regaining his MVP caliber form, but Prado is a very productive hitter. The biggest impact this trade will immediately have on Arizona is in the clubhouse. It is no secret that Upton wanted to be traded, and he made it abundantly clear as time went on. The D-Backs have been looking for a talented, young starting pitcher for the back of their rotation, and that is exactly what they got in Randall Delgado. In my opinion, they addressed their main issues:  A bona fide 3rd baseman who can play multiple positions, and a back of the rotation starter. Before this trade, Arizona had one of the deepest outfields in the MLB, and were going to struggle to find playing time for everyone. They traded from their strengths, to improve their weaknesses. The Braves did the same by trading young pitching to Arizona. Both teams made great baseball trades and have improved in their areas of need. The question that is yet to be answered is whether the D-Backs will return to their 2011 NL West division champion form, or if they will struggle to compete with the World Champion Giants and the money-rich Dodgers.

Fantasy Impact for Upton and Prado:

Justin Upton:  Upton will be joining a very talented offense, that has a great balance of AVG, Power, and Speed. In Arizona he had to carry their offense, which can be a lot to handle for a young player. In Atlanta he’s going to be one of the many contributors to what is now one of the leagues most feared offenses. His fantasy value has shot up with this trade. He is in a better lineup and out of the NL West, which is known for having 3 pitchers ballparks (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego). Both of those factors will contribute to a great fantasy season, but the biggest factor is that he’ll be playing with his brother. This will drive him to compete harder every day, as well as put him in a happier frame of mind, and a happy ball player is a productive ball player. He was unhappy last year in Arizona, and it showed in his lack of production.

Martin Prado: Prado is coming off a career year with the Braves, and is being relied upon to be a large contributor to the offense in Arizona. He is a very consistent hitter and eligible at multiple fantasy positions. Those two factors are enough to make him a valuable fantasy option, but the biggest impact I see for Prado’s value is the change of scenery. With the Braves, Prado was asked to play all over the field and was very consumed with working on playing multiple positions. In Arizona he will be the everyday 3rd Baseman, and able to focus more on his offense. The change of scenery should allow him to build off his career year, and have an even better season.

In conclusion, this trade should work out for both the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams have addressed their weaknesses and traded from their strengths. Both teams should contend for a playoff spot, and have deep enough starting rotations to make a World Series run. Upton is a top 10 outfield option in fantasy, and Prado is a top ten 3rd Base option. Expect both of their productions to increase and have a positive impact on your fantasy team.

Louis Friedlander
Twitter Handle – @In_Lou_Of

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Corey D Roberts

    January 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Nice piece Louis. The only thing I disagree with is Arizona competing for the W.S. Who cares what I think anyway right? lol

    • louisfriedlander

      January 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

      I don’t think they will make the WS either. My thought is that they can compete for a playoff spot and if they get in, their pitching is deep enough to get there. I appreciate your opinion though and anyone elses. Just wanted to clarify what I said.

  2. Marc Foster

    January 30, 2013 at 11:37 am

    I think this was a great trade for the Braves and that hurts as a Mets fan. The Braves are setup to compete with Nationals for the NL East for the next several years.

    I don’t understand it for the Diamondbacks though. Regardless of clubhouse issues, taking away that productivity does not make your team better. By all accounts they could have gotten Olt and some others from Texas. Based on all the prospect rankings Olt and anyone else that Texas included would have been better than what they got from Braves. Olt could have played third for longer and with higher upside potential than Prado.

  3. Charlie Krensky

    January 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Great article. I gotta say I think the Dodgers got the best OF in the NL with Kemp, Ethier, and Crawford, but ATLs up there. Also I wouldn’t say justin carried the dbacks when aaron hill, paul goldschmidt, and miguel montero all had better years. I think those guys made him expendable.

    • louisfriedlander

      January 30, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      The Dodgers have a great outfield, no doubt about that. However, until Carl Crawford proves he is healthy and can play like he did when he was with Tampa I personally have to give the edge to ATL. Keep in mind that Kemp is also coming off an injury filled year, the Dodgers have a lot of very high expectations too meet.

  4. Corey D Roberts

    January 30, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Ya, I am not a hater of the Dodgers, but I am nervous about their health. Also, Either is grossly overrated for sure. I think the Angels outfield is #1 as far as I am concerned. Hamilton, Trumbo, and Trout.

  5. 65mustangs

    January 31, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I completely agree with what Lou said in his last comment about the Dodgers OF. A healthy Kemp and Crawford, playing at the levels they have in the past would put them up there, but those are just ifs until they happen, esp in the case of Crawford who is two years older then the last time he was relevant. Ethier is good, but he is in that class of productive reliable players like Pence, Swisher, Hunter, Cruz, etc. Every real and FBB team has to have one of them but they are not elite.

    I think the Braves OF is capable of being as good as the Angels OF. Three guys under 30 who have not yet reached their potentials. That is a possible volcano waiting to erupt.

    It makes me a bit sad though when I see a team like Arizona draft and develop a cornerstone player onlyto have to give them up as they are reaching their prime. Whether it is money constraints or other factors it has to be frustrating to watch as a fan or a member of the team. I’ve been spoiled by the Yankees in that regard and could not imagine living the draft, develop, trade for prospects, develop, trade for prospects treadmill.

  6. Corey D Roberts

    January 31, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Yankees fan Joe! Damn it, now thats you and Louis.

    • 65mustangs

      January 31, 2013 at 11:02 am

      I’m grandfathered in as a real Yankee fan though. I was there before the Steingrabber era. The first Yankee game I went to had Gene Michael at Shortstop and Hal Lanier at 3b and the biggest stories were Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich swapping wives and Bobby Murcer was the “Next Mickey Mantle”. I don’t feel old though.

  7. Corey D Roberts

    January 31, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Is Gene Michael that gay guy who sang the song “Faith”? 😉

    • 65mustangs

      January 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      C’mon Corey. Everyone knows that gay guys were not allowed into pro sports until about 5 or 6 years ago.

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