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Johan Santana, the Mets trade, and fantasy baseball hype

Your man BatBoy BeeZee jumped the gun a little bit on the whole Erik Bedard to Seattle deal. Johan Santana, however, is officially on his way to the Mets.

Obviously, this is a great move for the Amazin’s… and a good move for Santana, also. Anyone doubting him for his 2007 campaign should stop. Santana struck out 235 and his ERA was only 3.33. The only downside was the amount of losses he suffered (13). That has more to do with the Twins’ talent than his ability. Statistically, the guy is still the most dominant pitcher of the last four years.

Santana’s fantasy value is currently riding a perfect storm. He jumps from the AL to the NL, which will improve his ERA and strikeouts. He goes to a team that will provide run support, which leaves him more room for error. He’ll pitch against the Marlins and Nats three times each instead of the Tigers and Indians, which should increase his win total.

The drivers of the fantasy baseball hype machine might take this trade and run too far with it, making claims like “Santana could win 25 games in 2008″ or something similarly ridiculous.

There’s no doubt that this trade will boost Santana’s fantasy value, just try to be realistic in your expectations. Santana will have a high draft position in 2008 and his numbers will justify a first-round selection, but make sure you understand your league’s settings before hedging your entire season on a starting pitcher.

Most fantasy baseball leagues have more hitting categories than pitching categories for weekly matchups, putting more importance on a great hitter like Alex Rodriguez than Johan Santana. Starting pitchers are also only used once a week, whereas hitters put up statistics daily.

Part of what makes spring training and the hot stove season great for fantasy baseball players is that it gives everyone something to look forward to in early March. But make sure you draft with your head and not your heart in 2008.

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