Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Canadian Invasion

The Canadians are coming!  The Canadians are coming!

Okay, so it does not ring with the same excitement or trepidation of the British, but, nonetheless, Aaron Hill and John McDonald put on their rattlesnake boots and crossed the border to Arizona yesterday.  Forgetting for a moment the hundreds of reasons why this is a bad trade for Arizona, what do these players mean for you in our borderless fantasy baseball world?

Hill is an enigma at this point.  You can look at his numbers in 2010, coming off the tremendous year in 2009, and say “Wow, talk about unlucky AND bad.”  The BABIP under .200 and LD% 10.6, despite an improved K/BB, led us to believe he had either suffered an injury, ran into a very poor streak of luck, or had kryptonite in the dugout. 

His season in 2011, however, can only be described as a huge disappointment.  While the OBP has remained close to 2010 levels (and was poor then), his slugging percentage, isolated power and overall run production have fallen off the map, DESPITE a big uptick in LD%.  In fantasy leagues which play with infield fly ball percentage, Hill is a star (much like Wilson Valdez in double-play leagues).  His swing percentage is down, but his contact rates are up.  All in all, Hill, when he makes contact, is making very poor contact.

A move to Arizona, where the swings are long, the misses are many and the philosophy is essentially “grip it and rip it,” is likely not a good change of scenery for Hill, particularly being thrust into the throes of a playoff race.  If you owned Johnson in a deep N.L.-only league, you are probably going to want to bid aggressively on Hill.  The average is an upgrade and the speed is an essential wash, though you are taking a drastic hit in home runs and RBI.  I am not sure where you make up the power at this point.

In terms of McDonald, the Diamondbacks replaced a decent super utility player with a barely average one.  For fantasy purposes, McDonald is filler if you need a warm body.  For the Diamondbacks, he does offer infield depth and can field his multiple positions well.

If you need to bid on Hill this week, I apologize for that sick feeling in your stomach in advance.  

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