Fantasy Baseball Implications For Chase Headley Being Traded To The Yankees

A new grip and a new team could brighten Chase Headley’s future. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

The Yankees completed a trade to acquire 3B Chase Headley from the Padres for IF Yangervis Solarte and right-handed pitching prospect Rafael De Paula. Headley has been a disappointment in Fantasy over the last year and a half since his breakout season in 2012, when he batted .286 with 31 home runs, 115 RBI, 95 runs and 17 stolen bases. Since then, a variety of injuries have plagued Headley, most notably one to his hand, which forced him to change his grip on the bat.

This season, Headley is batting .229 with seven homers, 32 RBI and 27 runs with just four steals. He’s missed 19 games this season with leg, arm, and back injuries. The injury to his back occurred on June 20 and he received cortisone injections to relieve the pain and swelling. Upon his return from that injury, he switched back to the grip he used prior March 2013, when he injured his thumb. The change in grip has seemingly helped his hitting; he is slashing .300/.325/.413 since the change, which he claims returned him to the grip he used in 2012. Fantasy owners are hopeful this is the case, but are taking a wait and see approach. Headley’s Fantasy value could get a boost if he hits somewhere in the middle of the Yankees batting order, but the move to the AL and a whole new set of pitchers may offset any gains.

Solarte put together a huge spring training that convinced the Yankees to take him north with the big club. For the first six weeks it looked like they had a gem on their hands, as Solarte put up a .325/.403/.504 line through May 15 with four homers and 23 RBI in 35 games. However, reality has set in since then, with Solarte slashing .186/.271/.264 and his overall average dropping like a stone to .254. Unfortunately, the move to the lowly Padres will only sink his already low Fantasy value further, as the team may not give him much playing time and could ship him to the minors. The Padres have not announced their plans for Solarte as yet.

De Paula is really the prize for the Padres, who seem to be in constant rebuilding mode, as he was considered the Yankees’ top pitching prospect. His fastball reaches the high 90s with good life on it and he has both a hard curveball and a changeup that are considered plus pitches. De Paula is still quite a ways from the Show, though, and he has plenty of work to do on his command and control. However, at just 23 years old he has plenty of time to get things worked out and he could still be a solid pitcher for the Padres down the line.