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Fantasy Baseball Effects Of Coco Crisp / Royals Trade

Coco Crisp

The Kansas City Royals – buyers in the off-season? Apparently so. After acquiring Mike Jacobs from the Marlins a couple weeks back, the Royals sent reliever Ramon Ramirez to the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Coco Crisp.

If the Royals had pulled off this trade three years ago, it would have been a tremendous coup for a small-market club. Now, they are merely offering Coco Crisp another chance at living up to the expectations that he set roaming centerfield for the Cleveland Indians.

In 2005, his last year in Cleveland, Crisp hit .300 with 16 homers and 68 RBIs. He added 15 steals and 86 runs scored. The ceiling was quite high for the then-25-year-old.

In three seasons in Boston, Crisp averaged only seven home runs and 46 runs batted in. He scored an average of 66 runs per year and hit .271. The most impressive part of his tenure with Boston is that he stole 70 bases in three years.

With a move to Kansas City, Crisp will no longer have to share playing time. Assuming he can beat out light-hitting Joey Gathright for a starting job, he’ll get 600 at bats for the Royals; he averaged only 433 at bats for the Red Sox. That alone will increase Crisp’s fantasy value.

The truth, though, is that Crisp’s fantasy value has been rather low. Any change of scenery is good news for him. Kansas City scored the third-fewest runs in the American League in 2008, and only three AL teams had fewer steals than the Royals last year.

Kansas City brass certainly thinks that Crisp will help turn those numbers around. Why else would they pay $5.75 million for him? Expect Crisp to perform slightly better. He could hit .280 with 10 home runs, 60 RBIs, 70 runs scored. Still, his greatest fantasy value will be in stolen bases. If he can steal 30 times, he’ll become a coveted fantasy commodity.

Jacoby Ellsbury

The absence of Crisp in Boston means that Jacoby Ellsbury will be an everyday player for the Red Sox. In 2008, Ellsbury did play 145 games (129 starts) and came in third in Rookie of the Year balloting. He hit .280 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs. He was a beast on the basepaths, stealing 50 bags and scoring 98 runs.

Ellsbury hit a bit of a wall in 2008, stealing only 16 bases and scoring 45 runs in Boston’s last 81 games. In the Sox’ first 81 games, Ellsbury stole 34 bases and crossed the plate 53 times.

Expect Ellsbury to be more fully able to complete the season in 2009. He will hit around .300 with 100 runs and as many as 60 steals. He is a great option as a second outfielder because of his propensity to pilfer.

The Red Sox also added Ramon Ramirez in this trade. Ramirez was a solid middle reliever for the Royals in 2008, appearing in 71 games. He posted a 2.64 ERA and 1.228 WHIP. He was 3-2 with one save and 70 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. As long as Jonathan Papelbon is closing games for Boston, though, Ramirez will have no fantasy value outside of leagues that reward holds.

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