…but he now enters the spacious settings in Oakland.
The Oakland A’s and San Diego Padres have agreed to a deal that will send former Padre Scott Hairston, whom the A’s acquired in the middle of last season, and minor league outfielder Aaron Cunningham to the Padres for Kevin Kouzmanoff and minor league second baseman Eric Sogard. What does this do, if anything, for your fantasy baseball team?
Once upon a time Kevin Kouzmanoff was tearing up the minor leagues on a fast track to Cleveland. In four minor league seasons Kouzmanoff hit .332/.395/.556 with a 22.2 AB/HR rate. Then after a cup of coffee with the Indians late in 2006, he was traded to the San Diego Padres for another highly touted prospect, Josh Barfield. Neither player really took off with their new teams.
Three years later Kouzmanoff stands as a .261/.308/.435 hitter with a 27.3 AB/HR rate. At age 28/29 in 2010, Kouzmanoff is far from finished as a ballplayer, but he would have to make some significant changes to see any improvement going forward. Over 30% of the time, Kouz swings at pitches outside the strike-zone. He only makes contact on 55.3 percent of those swings. That keeps his overall contact rate at around only 76%. Unless he starts being more selective at the plate, Kouzmanoff will only have value in AL-only leagues.
Scott Hairston is in many ways a similar player to Kevin Kouzmanoff. Hairston has shown a bit more pop with a career 24 AB/HR rate, but he too swings at a few too many pitches outside the strike-zone, making contact on about 56% of those swings. His overall contact rate is a bit better than Kouzmanoff’s but was still below the 80% mark for 2010. Hairston’s biggest problem is that he struggles against right-handed pitching. His career .234 AVG against righties makes him mostly a platoon player.
What this trade really does is affect the players already in place in each city.
In San Diego the move of Kouzmanoff opens up a chance for Chase Headly to move back to his natural position of third base full time. Headly was once considered San Diego’s top offensive prospect, but has only shown a few flashes of start potential at the big league level. He’ll be 25/26 this season, so there is still room to grow. Overall Headly’s ceiling may be just below star-level. As an outfielder his fantasy value would be very limited. As a third baseman there is a much better chance that he can provide decent mixed league keeper value as a future .280/20/10 hitter.
In Oakland things become very clouded at the corners. The A’s have already acquired slugger Jake Fox, who can play third and first and resigned Jack Cust to DH. Though it seems a moot point, Eric Chavez is hoping to be ready for spring training after back surgery in June of last season. If Chavez is healthy, he’ll get the first chance to start. Then there is one time hot prospect Daric Barton who is still only 23 years old. Though Barton has struggled to hit for AVG, he has displayed great plate discipline and provides decent OBP. Add on top of that power hitting prospect Chris Carter, who is looking for a chance to break camp after hitting 28 home runs in 544 at bats in the minors last season. Oh yeah, Dallas McPherson will be looking for a chance to impress this spring as well.
Those are a lot of pieces to fit into three possible starting spots, making it difficult to target any of these players in mixed leagues.