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Fantasy Baseball Effects of Joe Blanton, Phillies Trade

Joe Blanton, Philadelphia PhilliesThe NL contender that needed to acquire starting pitching the most might’ve been the last team to make a big deal.

Thursday, the Oakland Athletics traded underperforming starter Joe Blanton to the Philadelphia Phillies for three prospects – lefty Josh Outman, infielder Adrian Cardenas, and outfielder Matt Spencer.

From a fantasy baseball perspective, Blanton’s value has tumbled this season. After going 16-12 and 14-10 the last two seasons, Blanton’s won-loss record in 2008 is 5-12. While he’s never been one to carry a low ERA, the last month has been particularly hard, and he sits at 4.96 on the year. His 62 strikeouts in 20 starts also aren’t earth shattering.

Typically, when pitchers from the American League make the switch to the National League, their ERA drops and their strikeouts increase. While Johan Santana continues to try and rebuke this theory, Bronson Arroyo is living proof that this theory is plausible. So is there hope for Blanton in this switch to the NL?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good. There’s no question his strikeout totals should increase, but Blanton’s home park is now the hitter-friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park. The Bank’s right field bleachers are so far in that right-handed slap hitters in the Little League World Series can park it in the seats.

Keep an eye on Blanton in NL-only leagues, where his value will probably be at its peak over the next few weeks as NL scouts try to play catch up on Blanton’s pitch command. Mixed league fantasy baseball players who haven’t yet given up on Blanton should probably say goodbye.

Blanton is two-start pitcher this week, making his Phillies debut tonight against the New York Mets and Santana, also a Week 17 two-start pitcher.

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