The stove remains hot! And this past week brought us some of the biggest signings yet. Here are updates on what players signed where, and the fantasy impact of those deals.
Statistics from Baseball Reference and ESPN. ADP from FantasyPros.
Carlos Correa – MIN (3 years/$105.3 million)
I did not have this on my free agency bingo card. Around midnight on Saturday, March 19, reports came in that Correa had signed a contract with Minnesota. The deal includes opt-outs after the first and second season, meaning Correa could decide to chase another mega contract if he feels his performance could net him one.
In terms of fantasy impact, Correa is no longer surrounded by the powerhouse lineup of Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker. But Minnesota’s offense is nothing to laugh at. Last season, they ended as the 11th-best offense, and this season will have Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sanó, Max Kepler, Gary Sánchez, and Alex Kirilloff, who is a well-known breakout candidate.
On top of this, Carlos Correa is, well, Correa. He has hit 20 or more home runs in five seasons during his seven-season career (the outliers being 15 in 2018 and 5 in 2020), and has a career slash line of .277/.356/.481. He will most likely be positioned as the second or third batter in the Twins’ lineup, which will help his counting stats. The Statcast metrics speak for themselves.
This move shouldn’t affect playing time for Jorge Polanco or Luis Arraez; due to Minnesota’s offseason moves, they should man second and third base, respectively. Overall, I would say this move boosts the potential of every Twins bat. And you can draft Correa with confidence knowing that he should remain a solid source of counting stats for your team.
Correa’s ADP seems to be landing around pick 85, after the top shortstops have been snagged. I think you would be happy to have him around that pick.
Nick Castellanos – PHI (5 years/$100 million)
As there’s a drive into deep left … okay, I won’t do it. After missing out on the playoffs despite an MVP campaign from Bryce Harper, the Phillies seemingly went into the offseason with an important mission: improving the offense. They have done just that with the signing of Castellanos to a five-year deal that should solidify him as Philadelphia’s left-fielder/part time DH.
All Castellanos does is hit, and he hits hard. He should do the same in Philly. Since 2018, he has ended three of four seasons with an OPS above .850 and has collected 170+ R and RBI (2020 is the outlier, but he still ended with 70+ R and RBI, 14 HR, and a .784 OPS). 2021 was his best season yet, with 95 R, 34 HR, 100 RBI, and a .309/.362/.576 slash line.
You should trust Castellanos to do more of the same, with potentially slight regression baked in. Citizen Banks Park is not the hitters’ paradise that Great American Ball Park is, but it’s still rather hitter friendly. With a max exit velocity in the 83rd percentile and a hard-hit rate in the 79th percentile, Castellanos should still smack the ball.
Most importantly, Castellanos is surrounded by boppers. Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Castellanos, and Rhys Hoskins are a terrifying collection of bats, and that lineup will provide plenty of protection and counting stat opportunities for Castellanos. The Phillies offense in general is looking like a good source of stats this season.
He is currently going around the 50th pick, around names like Teoscar Hernández and Eloy Jiménez. That seems like a fair position to snag him, and I would be happy to roster him this season.
Kenley Jansen – ATL (1 year/$16 million)
This past Friday night, one of the game’s most established closers decided to join the defending champs. In 12 seasons, Jansen has earned 350 saves with a 2.37 ERA. Since 2014, he has ended seven out of eight seasons with 30+ saves (2020 is the outlier), and currently ranks 13th on the all-time saves leaderboards. He has been great for the Dodgers, and the Braves are hopeful he can retain his talent at the back end of their pen.
While Jansen has garnered a strong reputation, his last few seasons have shown some inconsistencies. Starting in 2018, his ERA rose, walk rate increased, and strikeout rate dropped, a trend that persisted into 2019 and 2020. Part of this was because the velocity of his cutter, his main weapon, began dropping, and he had to resort to different strategies to take batters out.
2021 presented a strong bounce-back, and hope that Jansen could still be dominant. In 69 innings, Jansen held a 2.22 ERA with 38 saves and 86 strikeouts, his best numbers since 2018. Our own Zach Hayes offered an excellent analysis on the changes Jansen made. To summarize, the main points revolved around reworking his cutter, utilizing the slider and sinker more, and throwing his cutter to the outside edges more often. These changes provide hope that Jansen can still be a strong choice for your closer.
Jansen’s stock should remain the same, with a lock for around 25 saves on a strong Braves team and an ERA that won’t sink your team. Also, it’s been confirmed by Alex Anthopoulos that Jansen will hold the closer role over Will Smith. Relievers are always fickle, but Jansen has remained a source of consistent saves for the last seven years. You should be able to draft with confidence that he continues to help you out in his first year in Atlanta.
Photos by George Walker/Icon Sportswire and Keith Allison (KeithAllisonPhoto.com) | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)