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.
Twitter Handle – @In_Lou_Of