Instant Fantasy Baseball Reaction: Justin Upton trade should have little impact in Fantasy, other than the subsequent Cameron Maybin deal

That one came out of left field.

And then got off a plane and went back to left field, since that's the position he plays.

Yes, Justin Upton is leaving Detroit, where he lost much his Fantasy value last year before gaining it all back and then some this year.

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Justin Upton LAA • LF • 8
2017 season
BA.279
HR28
OPS.904
BB57
K147

The move should be a lateral one, at least up to the point that we trust what Upton has done so far. And there are reasons for skepticism, his .351 BABIP being chief among them. His batted ball data isn't too dissimilar from last year, when he had a more ordinary .301 BABIP and wound up hitting .246.

Judging by his career .328 BABIP, the true Upton is likely somewhere between the two extremes, and over the long haul, I trust players to get back to being their true selves.

In other words, I expect Upton to finish with worse numbers than he has today, though not because he'll be playing in a worse park for hitters (which is true, if only moderately so) or in a deeper division overall. This trade changes almost nothing about my expectations for a notoriously streaky hitter who's overdue for a downturn, batting .304 with 13 homers and a 1.013 OPS in his last 44 games. He's not the top-10 outfielder he has been so far, but he's still good enough to start in all Fantasy leagues. It's as true today as ever.

Of course, one variable that could potentially change that equation is where Upton bats in the Angels lineup, because if it's in front of Mike Trout, you have to think he'll get more pitches to hit. And a hitter of Upton's caliber would theoretically take advantage. But seeing as Trout appears to have settled into the No. 2 spot, I'm not counting on Upton batting leadoff. More likely, he'll see a rise in RBI opportunities batting behind.

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Cameron Maybin MIA • LF • 1
2017 season
BA.235
HR6
SB29
OPS.685
AB336

As for the player Upton replaces, well, the Astros took care of that before even wrapping up their deal with the Tigers, shipping Cameron Maybin to Houston. Maybin doesn't have too many believers left, owned in just 36 percent of CBS Sports leagues, but this deal should effectively stick a fork in his Fantasy value. He'll still steal bases when he plays, but I don't suspect he'll play much, not with Marwin Gonzalez seemingly destined for the outfield again when Carlos Correa returns from the DL and Jake Marisnick having a good year himself, batting .248 with 16 homers and an .832 OPS.

The Tigers have an opening in their outfield now, and maybe they'll use it to familiarize Nicholas Castellanos with what figures to be his position next year. I already suspected they'd call up Jeimer Candelario to play third base, bumping Castellanos to DH. Of course, Candelario's struggles at Triple-A Toledo after coming over in a midseason trade with the Cubs make him hardly a priority pickup.

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Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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