Most fruitful offseason moves
Johnson's return to the Yankees might be getting a little too much hype. Rather than hitting somewhere in the 2 through 5 range in the order, there's a good chance he'll be hitting seventh, right in front of
But the excitement is warranted for two reasons. One, he'll be DHing, which should go a long way to keeping him healthy. And two, his moderate power is going to play a lot better in the Bronx Bandbox. Don't believe for a second that the right field porch is the same that it was in the old Yankee Stadium just because they painted the old stadium's numbers on the wall. It doesn't take a genius to see that the right field scoreboard doesn't curve like a regular outfield wall, making it about 10 feet closer in the power alley, and the fences are shorter, to boot. That means Johnson's 15-home run power becomes, oh, 75-home run power. OK, maybe not, but a healthy Johnson should hit 20-plus homers and will get enough RBI opportunities to drive in 90-plus.
Kennedy still has a ways to go, but the move to the desert at least puts him back on the fantasy radar. Last was a wash because of an aneurysm in his right arm (while 2008 was a wash because of overall cruminess). But Kennedy will be back at full strength and looked sharp in limited action late last year (25-to-7 K-to-BB ratio in 22.2 innings for Scranton Wilkes-Barre) and in Arizona Fall League (28-to-5 in 29.2 IP). The move from New York gets him to the N.L. and their inferior lineups, gets him out of the fish bowl and gets him out of cozy Yankee Stadium, where his flyball tendencies would have made him a nightmarish fit. Kennedy's lack of an overpowering arsenal limits his upside, but his control (and improving cutter) should keep his ERA and WHIP from getting too bloated. Assuming he makes the rotation this spring, double-digit wins and 140-plus Ks is a reasonable expectation on a Diamondbacks team that will be much improved over last season.
Three years ago, no one outside of his immediate family was going to have Lewis on their fantasy roster (and even his mom must have been tempted to drop him in favor of a middle reliever). Thems the breaks when you post a 6-plus ERA in each of your three big league seasons with 30-plus innings pitched. But upon returning from a two-year stint in Japan, Lewis has some shiny new upside for 2010. He headed to the Pacific Rim, tweaked his mechanics, added a fairly nasty cutter and made the decision that he'd attack the strikezone. The results over 55 starts for the Hiroshima Carp: 2.82 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 369 strikeouts and just 46 walks in 354.1 innings. Japanese Central League lineups are approximately the equivalent of Triple-A (or at least that's what I gather from scouting the
Here's all you need to know about Penny in 2010: He'll be learning under pitching coach
Pierre's fantasy value couldn't have had a better offseason.
You don't have to be a scientician to realize that a set-up man who becomes a closer is getting a big boost in value. And the two that will make the biggest leap in 2010 are a couple of former closers. Despite joining bottom-feeding teams, Dotel and Gonzalez could end up being top-12 fantasy closers. Both are capable of 90-plus strikeouts. And in Dotel's case, since the Pirates win so few games in blowout fashion, he'll have a save opp in just about every one of their wins (even if there are only 60 of them).