Fantasy Impact: Jon Lester, Yoenis Cespedes Switch Teams

Jon Lester has been traded by the Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics, and in a fascinating twist, Boston will receive Yoenis Cespedes in return. Jonny Gomes will accompany Lester in Oakland, and a competitive balance pick will go with Cespedes to Boston.

Lester has reemerged as an absolute ace in his contract year, and he’s rolling into the Bay Area with a career best ERA, WHIP, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. While most people consider Boston to be a hitter’s paradise, it’s actually relatively neutral outside of doubles smacking off the Green Monster, but moving to Oakland will still be a good thing for Lester. Oakland is one of the great pitcher’s parks, with spacious foul ground that makes ranchers fantasize about life on the open range. Lester has started six games in Oakland throughout his career, allowing four homers with an ERA of 3.52 in 38.1 IP, slightly better than his career ERA in Fenway park.

Moving into Oakland’s spacious digs isn’t the only plus for Lester, as he’ll also get to stay away from Camden Yards and the Rogers Centre, two of baseball’s best hitter’s parks. Yes, Lester may have to go into Texas at some point, but the Rangers are a broken mess, and he’ll also get the chance to punish Seattle like his red-headed step-child. Lester’s value increases slightly, but he’ll still be a free agent come November, so his keeper value is still up in the air.

Cespedes, however, will be in Boston next season, so we can say with a little more certainty how his longer-term value will be altered; moving from O.co to Fenway could be a big boost for Cespedes’ batting average and HR totals. Cespedes pulls the ball twice as often as he goes the other way, and those tendencies will be rewarded by the Green Monster, especially if he abandons the opposite field all-together, which wouldn’t be a surprise to see. I doubt Cespedes ever bats .290 again, but seeing his average rise from .250 to .270 wouldn’t be a surprise, and neither would an uptick in HRs. Cespedes’ last two months probably aren’t going to be worth much more than his first four, but his value will certainly rise in next year’s drafts, especially if Fenway proves to be a friendly home.



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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.


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Lester Fraeman
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Lester Fraeman

what about the impact of David Ross’ pitch framing

Gary
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Gary

I expect Ks to go down, but peripherals to remain the same. The park factors will balance it out.

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