Adrian Gonzalez was already a borderline top 5 first baseman (I had him at number 4 in my initial rankings but you could argue Prince and Teixeira ahead of him). Crawford was already a top ten overall player. While this is a great fit for both players, on a professional level, I don’t see it as changing their fantasy outlooks that dramatically. You should see a jump in power numbers from both, Adrian more than Crawford. There should also be more opportunities to score and drive in runs. However, the fact is, we knew this was coming. Fine, maybe we didn’t anticipate them as teammates but it really is not a shocking development.
The Padres and Red Sox had been in talks for about 15 months revolving around Adrian going to Beantown. Add in the fact that The Padres general mangager learned his craft in Boston and the fact that Gonzalez is in the final yea of his contract and it seemed like the right time (sorry Padre fans). While this was a major trade, it was in no way a shock to anybody who follows the MLB rumor mills. It was the perfect fit for Adrian and Boston and should work out very well for both parties. The Padres also did come out of the deal with at least three exciting prospects- Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo. Baseball fans really can’t grade that side of this trade for a few years.
From a fantasy perspective, this is what fantasy owners are salivating over; in the last three years Gonzalez has hit 107 homeruns and only 35 have come at home. Obviously, that translates to an expected jump in homerun totals and I am sure we will see just that. He has also had a better average and higher run production on the road each of the last three years. Obviously, his numbers will go up in Boston. The reason that I caution over-hyping him still goes back to the point that we all saw this coming. Ultimately, he could catch one of the big 3 at first base (Pujols, Votto and Cabrera) next year. However, he is not going to be the top first basemen in the game.
As for Crawford, we didn’t know where he was going to land and many expected him to go to the Angels. While Gonzalez owners can expect an increase across the board, in terms of numbers, I would not expect the same for Crawford. In 2010, he set career highs in homers, rbi and runs scored. While he is still in his prime, at 29 years old, I don’t think that he is a lot closer to his ceiling than his new teammate. Crawford would have been a top 10 fantasy player no matter where he signed. Simply put, his game can play anywhere. Some will argue that being in a dynamic lineup will allow him to score a lot more than he has before. That is realistic; his career high is only 110 runs scored and I could see him topping that. However, I do not look for his power to change much and I think his rbi will drop off as well. Last year, he spent a good part of the year hitting third for the Rays. Next year that will not be the case, he will likely hit first or second in Boston.
Adrian Gonzalez-295 avg, 44 hrs, 116 rbi, 0 sbs, 102 runs
Carl Crawford-313 avg, 16 hrs, 74 rbi, 54 sbs, 116 runs