Friday, July 24, 2009

Matt Holliday Traded to St. Louis Cardinals

posted by Jon Williams
The Oakland Athletics have decided to trade outfielder Matt Holliday to the St. Louis Cardinals for a collection of prospects including third baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson, and right-hander Clayton Mortensen. These prospects are all worthy of attention in AL-only leagues but Brett Wallace is a prospect I expect to be a very special hitter. The Cardinals knew they had a potentially special hitter in Wallace but since they were extremely reluctant to play him at third base (and some other guy is at first base) it seemed pretty obvious they would eventually deal him.

Matt Holliday has been a much better hitter this month than for most of the first half, batting .344 with a .421 on-base percentage in July. His season totals are just a little worse than I expected out of Coors Field. He has batted .286 with 11 homers and 12 stolen bases in the first half. I expected closer to .300 with about 20-22 homers on the season with 20-25 stolen bases which would be about what he averaged on the road the last few seasons. Basically Holliday has been the same player but he is hitting more fly balls, mostly of the infield variety which has reduced his BABIP and this his batting average. This may be something that Holliday has corrected in his swing but it could also be just a fortunate streak. Either way Holliday is still a very good player that should be owned in fantasy leagues of all types and sizes. In NL-only leagues he is worth a significant FAAB bid.

Holliday will play every day in left field. The big loser in playing time will be Rick Ankiel who will probably steal a few at-bats from Colby Rasmus but will mostly be relegated to fourth outfielder status. Ryan Ludwick (who is blistering hot lately) will remain the every day outfielder in right field. The more interesting question is in the infield. The Cardinals recently acquired Julio Lugo who will almost certainly start against lefties at either shortstop or second base. They also just got Mark DeRosa back from the disabled list. DeRosa could play any of the infield position but is most likely to play third base until Troy Glaus comes back. Glaus could be back in a matter of days which would push DeRosa to second base and Skip Schumaker to the bench. It should be interesting to see how it all falls out.

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