Fantasy Impact: Hunter Pence to the Phillies for Jonathan Singleton and Jarrod Cosart
The Phillies once again landed one of the bigger names available at the trade deadline, as they have done the past few seasons. This time, they added Hunter Pence a right-handed bat who is having another solid season. In my opinion, this the fantasy impact here comes more from Pence’s skill-set and not so much the change of scenery. Pence is a hacker, his chase rate stands at 36 percent and his walk rate is below league average. Given those two facts, it seems unlikely that Pence would continue to benefit from a BABIP near .370 for the rest of the season. Pence hit .282 on the nose in both 2009 and 2010 when his BABIPs were right around .300.
Power wise, there shouldn’t be much of a change, given his former home park is great for right-handed hitters and Citizens Bank Park is a great hitter’s park all around. The bigger factor, again, derives from Pence’s skill set. Every season since 2008, Pence has hit exactly 25 home runs with a HR/FB rate between 15 and 16. This season, however, Pence’s HR/FB rate has dropped to 11 percent and he has only 11 homers to-date. It’s hard to expect a big spike in power given his consistently high ground-ball rates — it’s about 52 percent for his career. There is a distinct possibility, actually, that Pence has already peaked in terms of his power.
Hitting in a better lineup might give Pence’s RBI total a boost, but RBI totals are predicated on many aspects beyond Pence’s control, so you never know.
The Astros made this move mostly to shed payroll, as Pence was likely to make $10M-plus through arbitration the next two seasons. They have to be happy that they landed two very high upside prospects in return.
Jonathan Singleton has a chance to be a monster offensively. His numbers may look so-so at high-A, but he was reportedly dealing with a small injury and has put up big numbers since being moved back to first base from left field. His plate discipline has continued to shine through thick and thin and that skill should help him as he continues to progress. Fantasy wise, he has a long way to go, but in the end his upside is to become a top five fantasy first baseman.
Jarred Cosart has fallen down the prospect lists of some who are disappointed in his drop in strikeout rate at high-A. However, consider that Cosart has thrown more innings this season than he ever has before. The lack of strikeouts might just be a product of fatigue. According to FirstInning.com, his strikeout rate went from almost 20 percent in April and May to 17 percent in June and 12 percent in July. Pure stuff wise, Cosart runs with the best of em. There is still ace potential here, though it may be a few years before he’s ready for a look at the big leagues.