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MLB Trade Deadline: 3 UP/3 Down

The trade deadline has come and gone, and it did not disappoint. The big move was Juan Soto being traded to the Padres, but there were many other significant moves. The Padres added Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader, and Brandon Drury in an attempt to load up for the postseason. In addition, the Twin made some great moves to try and win the AL Central by adding Tyler Mahle, Jorge Lopez, and Mike Fulmer.

There were many moves for teams trying to contend for the playoffs or sell for the future. Regarding fantasy purposes, there are always some positive and negative effects of the trade deadline. Some players lose playing time or gain playing time. Some pitchers’ roles change. A lot took place over the last few days, so let’s look at a few of the players that had a positive or negative change in their fantasy value at the trade deadline.

3 UP

Jordan Montgomery (SP – STL)

In one of the more surprising moves of the deadline, the Yankees sent Montgomery to the Cardinals for Harrison Bader. The Yankees were rumored to be in the market for more starting pitching as the deadline approached, but instead of adding another arm, they traded Montgomery.

Montgomery is coming off a couple of rough starts, but the season has been outstanding. He leaves the Yankees with a 3.69 ERA and 3.62 xFIP to go with a 15.8% K-BB. Montgomery induces a nice amount of groundballs (46.4%) to go with a lot of soft contact, which will work well in St. Louis. Entering a bad NL Central division benefits Montgomery and pitching in the pitcher-friendly Busch Stadium will also help. Montgomery was not getting much run support in New York and only had three wins in his 21 starts, so hopefully, he can improve on that with the Cardinals.

Tyler Mahle (SP – MIN)

Mahle is one of the bigger winners of the trade deadline as he moves out of Great American Small Park and into Target Field. Mahle will also get a massive upgrade in the defense behind him as the Reds are one of the worst defenses in baseball. Mahle is allowing 46% fly balls this season, so that will play much better in Minnesota. His 4.40 ERA should improve significantly as his strikeouts continue and he possibly improves on his 17% K-BB. Mahle should flourish in Minnesota, facing teams like the Guardians, Tigers, and Royals for the final two months. Get Mahle wherever you can and reap the benefits.

Felix Bautista (RP – BAL)

Bautista did not get traded, but he will benefit tremendously from Jorge Lopez getting traded to the Twins. Lopez had 19 saves on the season as the Orioles’ closer, and Bautista should step right into that closing role. Bautista already had three saves on the season, but his dominance is more impressive. He has a 1.65 ERA and 2.72 xFIP, with an outstanding 26.2% K-BB. Bautista is only allowing 69.8% contact to go with a 14.6% SwStr. Bautista should continue to dominate and hopefully, add 10+ saves down the stretch as he finishes the season as an elite closer.

Honorable Mentions- Luis Castillo and Trey Mancini

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3 Down

Raisel Iglesias (RP – ATL)

There may not be any traded player that lost more fantasy value than Iglesias. Iglesias appears to be not as dominant this season with a 4.04 ERA, but his 3.06 xFIP and 26.7% K-BB would beg to differ. Iglesias has 16 saves for the Angels as well. He now goes to the Braves to likely set up for Kenley Jansen, who is cemented as the closer for the Braves. Sure Jansen struggles from time to time and has been none to battle injuries, but as long as he is healthy, he will be the closer. Iglesias will get a save or two, but he is now a setup man compared to being an elite closer than many drafted him.

Whit Merrifield (2B/OF – TOR)

Merrifield being traded was not a significant surprise. Being traded to the Blue Jays with his vaccination history was surprising. Assuming that gets resolved, Merrifield still takes a hit joining the Jays. He will likely take Santiago Espinal’s spot in the lineup, but that means he will hit at the bottom of the Jays’ order. Merrifield’s fantasy value is built around accumulating stats hitting atop the batting order. He may still provide a decent batting average, but racking up runs and stolen bases will be harder to come by. Every at-bat lost will decrease Merrifield’s value, and he looks to lose a handful of at-bats the rest of the season.

Frankie Montas (SP – NYY)

The Yankees did add one starting pitcher before they traded Montgomery, but it may not be the best for fantasy purposes. Sure Montas will get better-run support with the Yankees, but that is where the benefits leave for Montas. He moves from the AL West to the juggernaut of the AL East and one of the best pitching ballparks in Oakland to the short porch in Yankee Stadium. Montas does have an excellent 3.18 ERA on the season with a 19.1% K-BB, but that ERA will likely go up in New York. He has always shown severe home/road splits in his career, and this year alone has a 2.63 ERA at home and a 4.85 ERA on the road. Look for some regression coming Montas’s way, assuming the shoulder stays healthy.

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