Impact: Early Hot Stove Action

(Insert hot stove cliche here). While no major free agent signings are looming, a few moves have gone down in this early hot stove season. Here’s a short recap with some applied fantasy baseball impact.

The A’s acquired David DeJesus for Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks, claimed Edwin Encarnacion off of waivers

DeJesus was having a very solid season in 2010 before having to shut it down due to a thumb injury. His fantasy impact should be limited in mixed leagues in 2011 as 2010 was probably his career year with regards to AVG (.355 BABIP). Vin Mazzaro has some upside as a sinker-baller, but will need to improve his ground ball rate significantly to have a shot of doing much for mixed leagues in 2011. He doesn’t bring much strikeout potential to the table. The other pitcher headed to the Royals’ organization, 22-year-old Justin Marks, was a third round pick by Oakland in 2009. The 6’3″ 170 lb lefty posted solid strikeout numbers at A-ball, but didn’t show exceptional command. Some see his ceiling as a number three, but he’ll need to put up some serious numbers soon. He’ll be 23 in January and only has 19.2 innings above A-ball.

That trade isn’t the only move the A’s have made this young offseason. They recently claimed Blue Jays third baseman Edwin Encarnacion off of waivers. This may be a precursor to another move, but for now EE doesn’t have much fantasy value given a move to the spacious home turf in Oakland. He may not even get much playing time over other, better defensive options.

Positional changes
The Red Sox will seriously consider moving Kevin Youkilis to third base if they can’t re-sign Adrian Beltre. This would be huge for Youk’s value, as he lost third base eligibility after appearing in only two games there in 2010. Third base is an extremely shallow fantasy position heading into 2011.

Chris Coghlan is hoping to enter spring training healthy and will transition to third base from left field. Coghlan played infield through most of his minor league career, so a transition to third shouldn’t be too great of a challenge. Despite Coghlan’s struggles in 2010, he has some, albeit limited, upside for 2011. He still hit line drives at an above average rate (24 percent) and his 23.5 percent strikeout rate was much higher than anything he had showed in seasons prior. As long as he is hitting up in the Marlins order, he has a chance to score 90-plus runs while hitting .290-plus with 15-plus stolen bases.