Mets Acquire Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco: Betting, Fantasy Baseball Tips
New York Mets fans can rejoice. New majority team owner Steve Cohen is interested in building a winning team, and a blockbuster deal for Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco enhances their outlook for this year.
Cleveland received Amed Rosario, Andrés Giménez, Josh Wolf, and Isaiah Greene.
Unfortunately for fans of Cleveland’s baseball team, they’re stuck watching their club deal away a homegrown stud shortstop and a supremely talented pitcher. In return, they were sent a pair of big-league shortstops who are huge downgrades from Lindor and a couple of prospects who don’t offer help to the big-league team this year.
Should Mets fans and sports bettors in general race to sportsbooks to get some action in the wake of the trade? How will the deal impact the fantasy outlook for those involved?
Mets Acquire Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco
Mets MLB Futures Betting Odds
Predictably, there’s been some line movement with bettors hopping on the Mets’ bandwagon.
Prior to the Mets and Cleveland swinging their large deal, the Mets were +650 to win the National League and +1800 to win the World Series, as you can see in the following tweets from BetMGM:
Mets are currently +650 to win the NL ⚾
— BetMGM (@BetMGM) January 7, 2021
woah… the Mets are currently +1800 to win it all https://t.co/1x0K5w5hpO
— BetMGM (@BetMGM) January 7, 2021
As of Monday at 3 p.m. ET, BetMGM lists the Mets at +600 to win the National League and +1200 to win the World Series. The former is a modest move while the latter is a bit bigger, but neither move was irrationally large. In fact, I’m a believer that either or both wagers are reasonable and may dabble myself.
The Mets were only 26-34 in last season’s pandemic-shortened campaign, but there were positives, and Lindor’s a legitimate superstar addition, as MLB.com’s Matt Kelly discussed in-depth.
Circling back to the positives, the offense was elite. The Mets’ 122 weighted-runs created plus (wRC+) was tied for the highest mark with the 2020 World Series Champion Dodgers, per FanGraphs. Ace Jacob deGrom was also his typically superb self spinning a 2.38 ERA that was backed by an impressive 2.70 Skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) in a dozen starts spanning 68 innings, according to FanGraphs.
Also, closer Edwin Diaz returned to shutdown-reliever form with a 1.75 ERA, 2.52 SIERA, 45.5 K%, and career-high 21.5 SwStr% in 26 appearances spanning 25.2 innings.
The pitching positives essentially ended there for the Mets in 2020, but Carrasco will provide the team a massive rotation upgrade. The 33-year-old righty missed a chunk of 2019 while being treated for cancer before returning for a few relief appearances to close out the year. Last year, he was his sharp self for a dozen starts totaling 68.0 innings, ripping off a 2.91 ERA and 3.91 SIERA.
The rotation upgrade likely doesn’t end there, either. Noah Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery on March 26 last year, and team president Sandy Alderson recently told WFAN a “reasonable expectation" for Syndergaard’s timeline to return is June, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post.
The team will also be getting durable mid-rotation starter Marcus Stroman back after he opted out last year and accepted the team’s qualifying offer for this year.
As New York’s roster is constructed right now, it doesn’t take too much squinting to see them winning the National League and culminating 2021 with a World Series Championship.
Having said that, the best time to jump on wagering on them — beyond obviously having done so already prior to this blockbuster — may pass soon. The team’s been linked to free-agent outfielder George Springer and probably isn’t finished tinkering with roster upgrades.
Fantasy Baseball: Lindor, Carrasco with Mets
Lindor and Carrasco will be moving from a hitter-friendly home ballpark, Progressive Field, to a pitcher-friendly home park, Citi Field. In 2020, Progressive Field had a park factor of 1.106 for runs while Citi Field’s park factor for runs was 0.987, according to ESPN. The previous year, Progressive Field slightly suppressed runs with a park factor of 0.972 while Citi Field suppressed run scoring even more with a park factor of 0.895.
The park change is a plus for Carrasco, but it’s not necessarily a negative for Lindor.
There’s more to scoring runs than park factors, and Lindor will benefit from joining a better lineup. Additionally, the park factors changes might not all be detrimental for him, either. In 2019, Progressive Field slightly bumped up homers with a park factor of 1.048, and Citi Field played exactly neutral. Last year, however, Progressive Field suppressed dingers with a park factor of 0.896, and Citi Field amplified tater mashing with a park factor of 1.257.
In a down year at the dish — by his standards — in 2020, Lindor still finished as the 12th-best shortstop, according to FantasyPros. He doesn’t carry any red flags in his statistical profile that should deter gamers from expecting a bounce back to loftier production and flirting with a top-five finish at the position.
My preliminary rankings prior to Lindor being dealt to the Mets had him fourth at the position. He’ll stay fourth for the time being, but his floor and ceiling both get a pick-me-up from joining a better lineup that will award him more run-scoring and RBI potential.
I would draft him as early as the beginning of the second round in a 12-team mixed league and wouldn’t let him slip out of the second round.
Carrasco’s work in 2020 resulted in work befitting a third fantasy baseball starting pitcher, somewhere in the top 30-40 arms. The veteran righty’s bat-missing ability is tantalizing, and he fits the bill of a fringe SP2 or SP3. As is the case with Lindor, the trade to the Mets is a plus for Carrasco’s fantasy value in 2021.
Fantasy Baseball: Rosario, Gimenez in Cleveland
Shortstops Amed Rosario and Andres Gimenez will take their battle to man that position to Cleveland. However, the loser could still get regular playing time elsewhere on a Cleveland team that looks like an also-ran and might not be done trading veterans.
Rosario’s offensive production cratered after a promising fantasy season in 2019 in which he smacked 15 homers, stole 19 bases and sported a .287 batting average in 655 plate appearances. His struggles last year opened the door for Gimenez, and the 22-year-old shortstop hit three homers with eight stolen bases and a .263 batting average in 132 plate appearances.
Both Rosario and Gimenez have large mixed-league (think 14-team or larger) and AL-only appeal, with the former offering more well-rounded potential and the latter’s carrying fantasy tool coming in the form of stolen bases.
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