Wednesday, March 6, 2019

All-Acquired Teams 2019 - Spring Training Update

Since we've reached the episode that serves as the "midseason finale" (and beyond) of my Return to Arkham City Let's Play videos, I've decided to take  a break from the blog recaps to jump into a little baseball. Spring Training games started nearly two weeks ago, on February 21, but it's taken me since then to update my patented baseball database with rosters and rankings as of that day. And with that endeavor, comes the opportunity to update another one of my patented offseason lists: the All-Acquired Teams. I had been keeping track of each league's roster on a semi-regular basis, but since I haven't updated that in a while, we can see some of the more wholesale changes. So here's the first look at my newly updated 2019 database, with a few extra columns, and's 2019 fantasy rankings!

My previous posts were last updated as of Christmas 2018, so most of the main contributors in this lineup were previously covered, including Paul Goldschmdit, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson, and Yasiel Puig. Since that time, both J.T. Realmuto (traded from the Marlins to the Phillies) and Yasmani Grandal (signed as a free agent with the Brewers) supplanted Wilson Ramos behind the plate. Also A.J. Pollock (signed by the Dodgers to what was at the time the winter's biggest free agent contract for a position player) solidified a center field mix that had been mostly populated by minor league signees. At seconds base, Daniel Murphy barely beats out Robinson Cano (ranked 128), probably because Murph is slated to play his home games at offensive haven Coors Field.

Because this version of the list had a "pencils down" cutoff of 2/20 (the day before Spring Training games officially started), two of the NL's biggest acquisitions aren't covered here. There are a couple of different ways to get the Padres' newest infielder Manny Machado (ranked 9 overall) into the lineup. One is to simply have him replace Josh Donaldson at his projected 2019 position of third base, but that's taking away a lot of upside from a former league MVP looking for a bounceback season. The other is to put Machado at short and move Jean Segura to second base, where he has played in the past, even though he didn't qualify there based on 2018 positional eligibility. That would take Daniel Murphy's left handed bat out of the lineup, but this team stands to add another one in the form of new Phillie Bryce Harper (ranked 14), which would push either Puig or McCutchen to the DH spot.

In the pitching staff, Patrick Corbin (signed by the Nationals), Alex Wood (traded from the Dodgers to the Reds), and Luke Weaver (involved in the above-mentioned Goldschmidt trade) were already accounted for, along with closer Edwin Diaz (who was traded, along with Cano, from the Mariners to the Mets). The two new members of the rotation were added by teams that had already appeared on this list, as Sonny Gray was traded from the Yankees to the Reds (by way of the Mariners) and Anibal Sanchez joins Corbin as a free agent signing by the Nats. Andrew Miller was already in the all-acquired pool as of my last updates (having been signed by the Cardinals on 12/21/18), but since I was going by 2018 fantasy points rather than 2019 rankings, he was placed behind Jeurys Familia. Newcomers David Robertson (signed by the Phillies) and Greg Holland (signed by the Diamondbacks) both have a decent shot to accumulate saves with their new teams, which is why I put Holland on the list ahead of Trevor Rosenthal (yet another pitcher signed by the Nats) even though the latter was ranked slightly higher at 250 overall.

Would you believe that Nelson Cruz (signed by the Twins the day after New Years) was the only position player added to this roster after the previous Christmas Day '18 update? Even Mike Zunino was in the pool (he was traded for Mallex Smith), but he amassed fewer 2018 fantasy points than Robinson Chirinos. I'm admittedly bending the rules a bit by placing Carlos Santana at third base, as he only played the hot corner during a brief experiment for the Phillies last year, but otherwise the best option there would have been Asdrubal Cabrera (ranked 228), who was signed by the Rangers. Come to think of it, if we're willing to sacrifice defense, I might as well have put Mallex Smith in center field and had Jake Bauers (ranked 181) line up in one of the outfield corners, despite the fact that he too is a first baseman by trade. But either way, the American League has pretty seriously lagged behind their National League counterparts in terms of bringing in new players during this offseason.

Like the NL, the one, two, and five spots in the rotation had already been accounted for before the holidays - James Paxton was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees, Charlie Morton was signed by the Rays in rare outlay of free agent dollars, and Trevor Cahill was plucked from the open market by the Angels. Yusei Kikuchi will be making his MLB debut when he starts first for Seattle, but his Japanese league stats last year were very impressive: 1,869 points and an average of 81.3 points per game pitching for the Seibu Lions. Shelby Miller is a bounceback candidate in a Rangers rotation full of them, but if he follows the same path that Mike Minor took last year, he could be in line for a more successful trip through free agency next year.

By contrast, all four relief pitchers on this list are new additions. Cody Allen, another free agent signing by the Angels, will likely have the first crack at save opportunities with his new team, after taking a step back from his dominant closing career with the Indians in 2018. Kelvin Herrera might be engaged in a camp battle with fellow newcomer Alex Colome (ranked 286) for the ninth inning role on the south side of Chicago, as he recovers from a season-ending knee injury. Adam Ottavino might have the best raw stuff of any all-acquired reliever, but his low placement in a deep Yankees bullpen depth chart affects his ranking here. I really wanted to put a lefty in this last bullpen spot, but I couldn't get past Zach Britton's fantasy rank of 426, even though his ranking was suppressed for the same reason as Ottavino.

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