Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Just as 2009 fantasy baseball prognosticators were getting ready for a slight dip that Matt Holliday’s stats were going to take when he was on his way to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Colorado slugger is packing his bags and heading west to Oakland. Reports are coming in that the Rockies outfielder, currently our no. 1 rated OFer for 2009, will be traded to the Athletics for pitcher Greg Smith and some others.
This is terrible news for Holliday’s stats and for owners who have him in a keeper league, as Oakland has one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors.
Holliday is a great hitter who takes full advantage of playing in the thin, mile-high air of Coors Field. Last season, he hit .321 with 25 homers, 88 RBIs, 107 runs and 28 steals. The little bit of silver lining in this trade for fantasy owners is that Holliday hit .308 on the road last year. However, Holliday hit home runs with 36 percent more frequency at home. Ouch.
While he will still hit at least .280 and drive in about 90 runs, Holliday’s days as a 30-homer guy appear to be on a one-year hiatus (he is likely to move on from Oakland when he becomes a free agent after 2009). He’ll still hit at least .280 and drive in about 90 runs, but he is no longer as coveted an asset in a fantasy outfield.
Greg Smith’s 2009 Fantasy Value As A Colorado Rockie
As bad as things seem for Matt Holliday, imagine how Greg Smith feels. This guy managed to lose 16 games in a pitcher’s park in Oakland. He won’t fare much better in Colorado.
In 2008, Smith’s rookie season, he went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA, 1.34 WHIP and 111 strikeouts. He started off the season impressively (he was 5-6 with a 3.44 ERA on June 30) and caught the attention of many fantasy owners.
Then the wheels fell. Smith went 2-10 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.47 WHIP the rest of the way. These are the growing pains that many rookie starters endure, and had he remained in Oakland, Smith would have been an excellent option as a late-round sleeper in 2009.
That was then, this is now. Joe Kennedy has the lowest single-season ERA for the Colorado Rockies among pitchers who threw at least 162 innings. In 2004, he held a 3.66 ERA. It’s hard to imagine a 25-year-old, second-year player having much success in a new league in a horrendous ballpark for pitchers.
It’s true that Coors is not the most-hitter friendly park, but because the dimensions of the field were made in consideration of the light air, the outfield in Colorado is HUGE. This will yield more hits, even if the ball does not fly out of the park. In 2009, ignore Smith completely unless he has a tremendous April for the Rox.