Michael Cuddyer to the Mets: Fantasy Impact

Michael Cuddyer and the Mets have kicked off the offseason, agreeing to a two-year contract.

Cuddyer spent the last three seasons in Colorado, and it did wonderful things for the right-hander; Cuddyer only managed to play in 49 games in 2014, but he was so productive while on the field that he was nearly a replacement-level outfielder in standard leagues. A healthy Cuddyer in Coors was excellent, but Citi Field isn’t as kind. Coors is consistently the best park in baseball for hitters, but Citi Field is about 10 percentage points worse in right-handed HR park factors, and far worse in terms of singles and doubles. The good news is that playing in New York should be easier than Cuddyer’s time in Minnesota, where he hit 66 homers over his final three seasons with the Twins. Cuddyer was still around his prime then, but at least we have a sample of his skills outside of paradise.

Barring a surprising move over the next few months, the Mets signed Cuddyer to man the outfield, while also taking some time from Lucas Duda at first against left-handed pitchers. Cuddyer is already eligible in the outfield in all formats, but will only be eligible at first in Yahoo! leagues for the time being. First base eligibility isn’t exactly valuable, but it does provide some flexibility that can be useful when platooning players in daily leagues. Like while in Colorado, Cuddyer will likely hit in the middle of the order, and will surrounded by solid bats in David Wright, David Murphy, and Duda. Cuddyer will have plenty of RBI chances when on the field.

While the Mets were likely to sign an outfielder anyway, the move officially takes away any chance that Matt den Dekker had of starting opening day. Cuddyer’s clear history of injuries does open up the possibility of plenty of time as the season goes on, but there’s not going to be much use in picking anyone up before Cuddyer actually goes down.

Going across the country, the loss of Cuddyer clears up the Rockies glut of outfielders. Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon, and Corey Dickerson are now set to take the field without competition — aside from Drew Stubbs in platoon situations.

Cuddyer’s move hurts his roto value, but you should be more concerned with his age and injury history. Cuddyer is a clear draft pick in NL-only and standard leagues; how much you pay for him will depend on your comfort with risk. Cuddyer was a $22 OF while playing 130 games in 2013 — a high number to project in 2015, since he’s managed it just once in the last three years. Aging and Cuddyer’s new park will dip that ceiling, so paying more than $15 for the 36-year-old’s services in standard leagues is not recommended, while paying $12 or less is preferred.



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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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Brian
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What do you see Cuddy’s slash-line as a Met?

I have him around .265/.330/.440 over 90 games. Steamer says .262/.322/.425.

He was a .272/.343/.451 hitter in Minnesota through his prime. My longer (non-fantasy) look is here http://thereadzone.com/2014/10/23/on-a-team-desperate-for-somebody-who-can-hit-lefties-michael-cuddyer-is-a-decent-gamble-for-mets/