Fantasy Baseball 2012: Mat Latos for Yonder Alonso Trade Reaction

Daniel WheelockContributor IIIJanuary 17, 2012

On Dec. 17, the Cincinnati Reds acquired pitcher Mat Latos for pitcher Edinson Volquez, first baseman Yonder Alonso, prospect catcher Yasmani Grandal and prospect reliever Brad Boxberger.

This was the second big trade of the offseason and is full of fantasy implications.

Let's take a look at the big pieces in this trade from a fantasy baseball perspective.


Mat Latos

With Latos, the Reds received a just-turned 24-year-old starting pitcher with two full seasons already under his belt. 

Latos broke onto the scene in 2010, going 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP, while striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings.

In 2011 his W-L record basically flip-flopped and his ratios regressed a bit (3.47 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.6 K/9).  I don't put too much stock in win-loss record since it depends largely on run support.

Latos only had one less quality start in 2011 than he did in 2010 (20 vs. 21) in the same amount of starts.

A big factor when considering Latos' fantasy value is his new home ballpark.  Everyone knows that the Reds play in a bandbox, and that should hurt his ratios a bit.

Johnny Cueto was able to have an amazing season last year in the same ballpark, however, so don't let the Great American Ballpark scare you away from the talented Latos.

A positive change is that Latos is joining a much better Reds team.  Cincinnati has an explosive offense that was second in the NL in runs scored in 2011.

This will make a 15-win season almost a sure thing for Latos.  Don't be afraid to roll with Latos as your number two starting pitcher in mixed leagues this year.


Yonder Alonso

Alonso is a good young hitter whom the Padres have been in desperate need of.  Soon to be 25, Alonso did well for the Reds late last season during their playoff push. 

In 98 at-bats, Alonso slashed a ridiculous .330/.398/.545 while swatting five home runs.  He hit exactly .296 with 12 home runs each of the last two seasons in 406 and 358 AAA at bats, respectively.

The Padres seem to believe that Alonso is the answer for them at first base; they recently traded prospect Anthony Rizzo to the Chicago Cubs.

It's hard to see Alonso hitting more than 15 home runs for the Padres, even if he gets regular playing time between first base and the outfield.

He should have a good average with decent run and RBI numbers, though, hitting near the middle of the Padres lineup. 

Alonso is a nice sleeper heading into 2012.


Edinson Volquez

Volquez had such promise, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and a K/9 ratio of 9.5 as a 24-year-old in his first season with the Reds.  That success has long been forgotten, however.

Volquez had elbow surgery in 2009 and was then slapped with a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in 2010. 

He had some ugly numbers last season (5.71 ERA, 1.574 WHIP) in 108 and two-thirds innings.

I don't see Volquez regaining his 2008 form.  His career ERA is 4.65 and 2008 is the only season in which Volquez had an ERA under 4.31.

Pitching in spacious Petco Park should help him a bit, and the Padres may not be as inept offensively, but I would still stay away from Volquez unless he's taken as a late-round flier in mixed leagues.


Yasmani Grandal

Grandal, 23, was drafted by the Reds in the first round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft.  He made it all the way up to AAA in his first season while slashing .305/.401/.500. 

He hit 14 home runs and drove in 68 runs in just 374 at-bats.

With oft-injured Nick Hundley in front of him, watch for Grandal to get his first cup of coffee sometime this season.  He should be ignored on draft day unless you are in a keeper league.


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