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Fantasy Baseball StockWatch: Astros 2B/3B Luis Valbuena
Luis Valbuena will likely benefit from his trade to the Astros from the Cubs, as he should be able to take a majority of the ABs from Matt Dominguez at third base in Houston while he was slated to be keeping the seat warm for Kris Bryant in Chicago.
It is also easier to hit home runs in Houston, so we boosted Valbuena’s projected line to .242 average, 48 runs, 12 homers, 50 RBIs and 1 steal in 449 plate appearances.
Valbuena’s best value lies in head-to-head points and OBP leagues, as his projected 11.5 BB% helps elevate his OBP to .334. He also adds an important element of versatility in deep leagues by qualifying at second and third base.
Valbuena is penciled into the No. 2 spot in the Astros batting order, behind Jose Altuve and just ahead of George Springer and Chris Carter. That should mean plenty of runs scored with his OBP skills as long as he at least gets the good side of a platoon with Matt Dominguez as a left-handed batter.
There’s even a chance Valbuena winds up the full-time third baseman, as he doesn’t have platoon splits in his career – .681 OPS vs. LHP, .687 vs. RHP. Last year, Valbuena put up a .776 OPS with a 2.7 WAR while Dominguez had a paltry .586 OPS and a pathetic -1.7 WAR.
Valbuena rose into the top 30 in both our second and third base rankings and could still be a tremendous value on draft day.