Have you ever questioned how both teams, regardless of sport, could ever win in a trade?
The Prince Fielder–Ian Kinsler trade would be your answer. It makes a lot of sense from a pure baseball standpoint. For the Detroit Tigers, this symbolizes a movement in the right direction for the franchise and should have a positive fantasy impact for all starters. Cabrera is going to be among the first two selections in every single fantasy draft this year and that doesn’t change with this acquisition.
The Tigers now have two very versatile players ahead of him in Austin Jackson and Kinsler, a tandem that will be in scoring position with high regularity. Jose Iglesias, who will turn 24-years old in January, struggled a bit after being dealt to the Tigers last season, but with a .303 season batting average, there is no reason to think he can’t serve as a “second leadoff hitter” type at the bottom of this loaded lineup.
Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez aren’t near their physical prime (38 and 35-years old respectively when the season begins), but both proved last season that they are more than capable of producing runs (cumulative 2013 stat line: .302 batting average, 31 homers, and 167 RBIs).
The Tigers player to remember for this upcoming season is Andy Dirks, an everyday left fielder with plus power and the ability to hit for average behind the big-name bats. Look for Dirks to pick up some of the RBI void left by Fielder at the very least as a result of the increased opportunity. As for Kinsler, he should continue to be the player we’ve come accustomed to seeing (a 20-20 threat with an OPS of .800 and a DL stint or two).
The Texas Rangers add a huge power bat, and while high-OBP have become the rage, you can never have enough home run hitters when playing in Arlington. Texas has a ton of upside when it comes to the top of their order, as Profar and Elvis Andrus have the potential to be one of the more exciting middle infield duos in all of baseball.
Both of these positions are difficult to fill, giving the proven speed of Andrus (165 steals in five professional seasons) and the off-the-charts skill set of Profar (a switch hitter with speed and 286 at-bats of experience at the age of 20) even more value. With a quartet of power hitters behind them and Leonys Martin (36 steals in 457 at-bats last season) batting in front of them, I have both Andrus and Profar ranked inside my top-10 at their position (Andrus at sixth and Profar at eighth).
Speaking of those power hitters, look for yet another solid season from Adrian Beltre. Sure, he’ll be 35 at the start of the season, but he has hit at least .296 with 28 homers, 82 runs, and 92 RBIs in each of the past four seasons, and this season should be no different. I love the change of scenery for Fielder, and the friendly hitting nature of Texas certainly won’t hurt either.
Alex Rios and Mitch Moreland both have 25-plus homer upside, and with plenty of on-base potential ahead of them, this duo could combine for 165 RBIs in this lineup.
I mentioned Martin earlier and he is my most “valuable” Ranger based on where I expect his average draft position to be. I expect him to supply plus totals in stolen bases and runs, not to mention 15-homer upside that is nearly impossible to find in a speed specialist. Martin should be drafted in all formats, as he very well could finish within the top 36 outfielders this season.