Finally, one of the biggest MLB free agents this offseason has found a home. Manny Machado has signed a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres, where he’ll presumably step in at third base to keep shortstop open for top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. Luis Urias is also in the mix at shortstop, with a future move to second base possible.
Machado’s presence doesn’t move the needle greatly for San Diego in real terms for 2019, as an ongoing rebuild continues. But how will signing with the Padres impact Machado from a fantasy baseball perspective?
Regardless of if he has primarily played third base or shortstop, Machado averaged 36 home runs and 96 RBI per season over 159 games per season over the last four years. Hitting in a hitter-friendly home park for the Baltimore Orioles and a set of favorable road parks elsewhere in the AL East (before last year’s trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers) surely helped, but Machado is a stable fantasy asset and a top-five option at third base or shortstop.
One of Machado’s new road parks, Dodger Stadium, was of course his home field at the end of 2018. Over 125 home plate appearances as a Dodger, he posted a .279/.360/.514 slash-line with seven home runs and 19 RBI. He’s trading in say, Yankee Stadium as a road venue for a more pitcher-friendly Oracle Park in San Francisco while also gaining hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Based on ESPN’s Park Factor for home runs last year, Machado is trading No. 9 (Camden Yards), No. 8 (Rogers Centre), No. 6 (Yankee Stadium), No. 23 (Tropicana Field) and No. 17 (tied, Fenway Park) for No. 16 (Petco Park), No. 10 (Dodger Stadium), No. 2 (Coors Field), No. 19 (a post-humidor Chase Field) and No. 29 (Oracle Park) as the parks he’ll spend the majority of his time in.
So let’s drill deeper to how Machado may perform at Petco Park. His career sample size there is as promising as it is inconsequential, with a .444 batting average and seven RBI over four games (20 plate appearances).
But thanks to Fantasy Gospel, we’ve got Machado’s batted ball spray chart from 2017-18 overlaid on a diagram of Petco Park.
⚾️ Career numbers @ Petco Park for #Padres Manny Machado:
-4 games, 20 PA
-.400/.500/.500 + .533 BABIP
-33.3% LD rate 🔥
-26.7% soft contact rate
-13.3% hard contact rate
— the Fantasy Gospel™ (@fantasy_gospel) February 19, 2019
Petco Park hasn't been as extreme in recent seasons. Left-handed power is what really suffers. Last three years, righties have been taxed four percent on average, six percent on home runs. It's gotten a lot better.
— scott pianowski (@scott_pianowski) February 19, 2019
Petco may not suppress Machado’s home run total all that much then, and getting back to 40 doubles is a solid bet. The bigger issue might be the lineup around him, but a look at my early projection says the pieces surrounding Machado in San Diego’s lineup are not a collection of stiffs (if healthy).
My projection of the Padres lineup with Manny Machado (pre-Fernando Tatis Jr., with OF Franmil Reyes and C Francisco Mejia in the mix too)
1-2B Ian Kinsler
2-1B Eric Hosmer
4-RF Wil Myers
5-LF Hunter Renfroe
6-CF Manuel Margot
7-C Austin Hedges
— Brad Berreman (@bradberreman24) February 19, 2019
Machado probably won’t threaten his career-high 37 home runs from last season this year, and topping 100 RBI again will ride on the opportunities provided by those ahead of him in the lineup. But he’s still no worse than a second-round pick in fantasy drafts, with an across the board baseline of .280 with 30 home runs, 90 RBI, 80 runs scored and seven stolen bases.
Manny Machado 2019 Projection: .280/.330/.500, 32 HR, 93 RBI, 90 runs scored, 10 SBDownload the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...