Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero Trade Implications on Fantasy Baseball 2012

Daniel WheelockContributor IIIJanuary 19, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Jesus Montero #63 of the New York Yankees watches the flight of his fifth-inning home run against the Baltimore Orioles on September 5, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. The blast was the first in the major leagues for Montero.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

On January 13, the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees pulled off a surprising trade that sent Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to Seattle for righties Michael Pineda and Jose Campos.

While Montero and Pineda are obviously the centerpieces of the deal, Noesi could end up in the Mariners rotation in 2012 and Campos is a promising 19-year-old to keep track of, even if he doesn't sniff the majors for a couple more years.

Let's take a look at the fantasy implications of this big trade.


Michael Pineda

I admittedly have a man-crush on Pineda since 2010 when he dominated minor league hitters going 11-4 with a 3.36 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He was Baseball America's 16th- ranked prospect heading into last season and didn't disappoint.

Pineda started out hot, going 8-6 with a 3.03 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and a 9.0 K/9. The second half wasn't as kind to the youngster as he finished the season with a 3.74 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP and a strikeout rate of 9.1 per nine innings.

Not bad for a rookie.

Pineda had never thrown more than 139.1 innings, and I think that played a roll in his second-half numbers.

Pineda, soon to be 23, obviously has great upside and a move to the Bronx does not change that.

While he is leaving a great pitchers' park and heading to one of the best hitters' parks, he also just inherited a lot more run support. Pineda is almost certain to get 15 wins, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him get close to or even reach 20 wins. I also don't think his ratios will be hurt too badly by the move to New York.

I think the fatigue of a whole season won't be a factor for him this season and he will just plain get better as a lot of young players do.

Pineda is still largely unknown, just like a lot of players in Seattle.

He should be a solid No. 3 pitcher on your team that you can get for a bargain. Target Pineda on draft day and he won't disappoint you. I guarantee it!


Jesus Montero

Montero, 22, has been in the Top Four of Baseball America's preseason prospect lists each of the last two years and we're about to see what he can do over the course of a full season in the major leagues.

Over the past two seasons at AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Montero hit .289 with 39 home runs in 873 at-bats.

He surprisingly put up even better numbers for the Yankees last season after he was called up on September 1. He slashed a ridiculous .328/.406/.590 with four home runs in 61 at-bats. Those numbers were helped significantly by an unsustainable .400 BAbip and a 17.4% HR/FB ratio so don't expect to see them from Montero in 2012.

The move to Seattle will obviously hurt Montero's counting stats. There is no way he will hit as many home runs in Safeco Field as he would have if he played 81 games at Yankee Stadium.

He is also going to be hitting in the middle of a lineup that leaves much to be desired. The Mariners were last in the MLB in runs scored with 556. By comparison, the Yankees were second in the MLB with 867 runs scored. That is a huge difference and greatly hurts Montero's run and RBI potential.

Another question mark surrounding Montero is eligibility. Will ESPN, Yahoo!, etc., give him catcher eligibility to start the year even though most of his games played in 2011 were at DH? He only caught three games for the Yankees.

This will have a huge impact on Montero's fantasy value. Make sure you know the answer to this question before your draft(s). If he does not start the season with catcher eligibility, it might take a while for him to gain it since the M's have Miguel Olivo and John Jaso on their roster.

Montero is immensely talented and has huge upside, but this Jesus is no miracle worker. Don't expect him to put up the same numbers as he would have if he still played for the Yankees. He still could end up being a solid No. 1 catcher in fantasy because of his solid average, good power and large projected number of at-bats as Seattle's designated hitter.

For more fantasy baseball insight and to join the Beat the Kings fantasy league challenge, visit us at http://www.fantasysportskings.com/.


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