May 2007

What goes Upton …

Chris in Columbus- two questions: What can i expect to get for Boss Man Jr (Upton) in terms of OF? Could Upton plus Pierre get me Bay? Does King Felix go right back into a starting spot, even with his pitch limit?


We’re all waiting for Upton to slow down, and we’re still waiting! Incredibly, Upton has a .345 batting average despite striking out 45 times and walking just 11 times in 119 ABs. Though B.J. certainly has the power and speed combination to be a fantasy stud for years to come, he’s also an excellent guy to consider trading. You simply cannot have over a four to one strikeout to walk ratio and be a consistent hitter in the big leagues. The plate discipline will eventually come for Upton, but his immediate trade value will never be higher than it is now. You can try offering Upton and Pierre for Bay, but I doubt that would get it done considering that your trading partner would be losing an awful lot of power. Aim for struggling outfielders with a proven track record like Hideki Matsui or Bobby Abreu. If homers are your main need, how about Gary Sheffield? It’s always risky trading away emerging young hitters, but dealing Upton now is certainly a risk worth taking.

As for King Felix, he’s set to make the start Tuesday vs the Angels. And don’t worry about pitch limits. Just be glad the King is healthy again!

— Zach Steinhorn,

Stick with Rolen

Hey fellas,
Quick question regarding Scott Rolen – I’m in a 6×6 roto league with him at third base, and he’s been stinking the place out since day one. Is he worth holding on to at all, given that there are holes in his swing everywhere and his team aren’t exactly tearing it up in the first place? If so, what kind of trade value – particularly at the hot corner – do you think I can expect back from him?

Thanks a bunch guys.

L-Train, UK


We’re used to seeing Rolen fade come September, but this year he’s doing the exact opposite. Rolen came into the season saying he felt better health wise than he had in a long time, and I still find it hard to imagine that he doesn’t finish the season with the usual near .300 average, 20-25 homers, and 90 plus RBI. He’s simply too good a hitter to let a month long slump extend much further. One good sign is Rolen’s trademark low strikeout total (14 K’s in 100 AB’s), so it’s very possible that a higher percentage of balls put in play will start to drop in. I would stick with Rolen, as you never like to suffer through a player’s slump only to see him turn it around after you deal him away. But if you’re set on trading him, don’t settle for anything less than the Chipper Jones-Troy Glaus-Eric Chavez tier of third basemen.

Zach Steinhorn,

Phillips too good to be true?

Hey guys,
Do you think Brandon Philips will keep on playing like he has this year? Can we expect a downturn like last year, or can we expect more consistency?

– Joel from Manhattan


Expecting Phillips to continue homering at his current rate is unrealistic, but expecting him to produce like an upper tier fantasy second baseman is fairly reasonable. The “downturn” last year was mostly in September, when Phillips hit .149 with just five extra base hits in 87 at bats. And despite the .243 second half batting average, he still managed to hit 10 home runs and swipe 9 bags during that span. In the end, the numbers (.276 AVG, 17 HR, 75 RBI, 25 SB) were solid. I see little reason to believe Phillips can’t have a more consistent season this year. But even if he remains the “inconsistent 20-20 second baseman,” it should be good enough, especially in a rotisserie format where players aren’t penalized for being streaky.

Zach Steinhorn,

Middle-man crunch

I have Cano, Furcal, Roberts, and Reyes for 3 spots. The only categories I’m not first place in are Wins and RBIs (where I’m third). Right now I am benching Cano. Should I play the hot bats or trade one of them?
Dan in Mass.


Definitely try trading one of these guys. Cano, Furcal, Roberts, and Reyes are all elite middle infielders. By continually benching one of them, you are missing out on a great opportunity to strengthen other areas of your team.

If I had to pick one to trade (and this is far from an easy decision), it would be Roberts. Hold onto Furcal, as his trading value is at a low. Furcal’s early season struggles should be expected, so don’t get scared off by his .225 average. Last year, he hit .198 in April only to respond with a .311 May. As for Cano, he’s the one player in this group who will give you something different from the other three. While Reyes, Roberts, and Furcal are all primarily speedsters, Cano should provide a .300 average, 15-18 homers, and 90 RBI. Although Roberts already has 12 steals, keep in mind that he has zero 40 SB seasons and has stolen 30 just once. He seems like a nice trade chip to me!

Zach Steinhorn,

Beckett’s Red-Hot Start is Real

I’m in a 12 team, 9×9 (Hitting categories: R, H, HR, RBI,
SB, BB, K, AVG, OPS. Pitching: IP, W, L, SV, ER, BB, K, ERA, WHIP) Yahoo

I got a trade offer. I would give up Josh Beckett and get
B.J. Upton.

is available at 2B and 3B, my current 2B is Alex Cora and my 3B is Chipper

Should I pull the trigger on this trade?

Phil in






The biggest difference between Beckett and Upton is that one’s
hot start is real.


When you stop and consider that Upton has 38 STRIKEOUTS in 101 at-bats, it’s
extremely difficult to imagine him sustaining his current .366 batting average.
It’s hardly something you want to bet on. If anything, Upton’s a player to sell — not buy — given
how fast he’s become everyone’s favorite Devil Ray.

Beckett is the opposite case. His ability to limit long
balls in 2007 is one of several reasons to take his comeback seriously. After
surrendering 36 homers last year, the Red Sox ace has given up just two in 46
2/3 innings. Oh, and he leads the Majors with a 7-0 record.


Unless you’re overwhelmed, hold tight on Beckett, who looks primed for the Cy Young-caliber
season everyone envisioned from him with the Marlins.

You’re better off scooping up a second baseman off the
waiver wire.

— Alex Cushing,

A closer look at Boof



What do I
do?  I have Carpenter & Wickman on DL – is it time to drop Carpenter –
Have Haren, Bedard, James, E. Santana (Can he pitch at home all year?), Maine,
Lilly & Lincecum as starters & Nathan, Rivera (what possessed me to
draft a Yankee?), R. Soriano with a waiver claim on M Gonzalez.  Also would you pitch
& ditch with Boof? Thanks guys – you
got me into 1st place in my division!


Dave in




Even though it’s incredibly
frustrating to lose a guy as dominant as Carpenter, I wouldn’t drop him. He’s expected back in August, and if healthy,
will certainly help your team in the stretch run. Unless you are absolutely ravaged by injuries
and cannot afford to use another DL spot, keep Carpenter around.          

As for the rest of your pitching staff,
you may want to add another arm from the waiver wire. I like the players you have, but relying on
both Maine and Lilly to keep pitching like front line starters might be asking too much. You would also like to have the luxury of
being patient with Lincecum.

I definitely endorse the idea of
pitching and ditching with Bonser. He’s
allowed a combined four runs over his last three starts, and boasts an
excellent strikeout rate (32 K’s
in 31 2/3 IP). His only real awful
outing this season came against the Yankees, a team you wouldn’t dare start him
against anyway. Feel confident playing
the matchups with Boof.


— Zach Steinhorn,

Reviewing rookie starters

Last week it was Phil Hughes, and this week it’s Tim
Lincecum. With the highly touted Giants’
pitching prospect set to make his big league debut Sunday night against the
Phillies, fantasy owners everywhere will be watching. But the big question is whether Lincecum will
throw a gem, get shelled, or do something in between. When taking a look at the major league debut
performances of other big name prospects from the last couple of years, the
answer seems to be the latter.   



  Hamels 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 7 K  92 pitches ND

Billingsley 5 1/3 IP,
6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K  98 pitches ND

Jered Weaver 7 IP, 3
H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K  97 pitches W

King Felix 5 IP, 3 H,
1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K   81 pitches L

Cain 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER,
4 BB, 2 K  103 pitches L

Liriano 5 IP, 2 H, 2
ER, 1 BB, 6 K  69 pitches ND

Hughes 4 1/3 IP, 7 H,
4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K  92 pitches L

Pelfrey 5 IP, 5 H, 2
ER, 4 BB, 3 K  104 pitches W

Verlander (2005) 5
1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K 95
pitches L 

Olsen 6 2/3 IP, 4 H,
1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K  89 pitches W

Josh Johnson (2005) 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 7 K 100 pitches ND

Anibal Sanchez 5 2/3
IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K 96
pitches W


The common thread here (with the exception of Jered Weaver
and Olsen) is that these guys do not tend to go deep into the game, thanks in
large part to fairly high pitches/inning numbers. Only Weaver and Olsen finished the sixth
inning. Another thing to be concerned
about from a fantasy perspective is the frequent habit of young starters to
take a walk on the wild side. The BB
results here are mixed, with Hamels somehow managing to give up no runs despite
issuing five free passes. So what’s the
lesson learned here? Owning Tim Lincecum
may be fun, but start him at your own risk. Don’t expect brilliance right away.


— Zach Steinhorn, 

Accardo goes mainstream

Is Jeremy Accardo a good pickup in non-hold leagues? Is he first in line if Frasor continues to struggle? How much time do you give him?

Seth from



In the time Frasor’s spent filling in for B.J. Ryan as interim closer, he’s seen his ERA rise from 1.23 to 6.39, and allowed seven earned runs in his three most recent outings. His implosion has prompted justifiable concern from Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, who on Thursday hinted that he’d be open to giving save opportunities to both Jeremy Accardo and Scott Downs. "I’m sure he’ll get his chance," said Gibbons, when asked if Accardo might receive some save chances. "He’s been very good. He hasn’t been scored on. He came out and had a good spring and he’s worked his way in there and is piching good. … I’m not locked into any certain guy for a certain role. I don’t think you can do that.” Accardo, 25, closed for the Giants last year before being dealt to


, so he’s not without some shred of ninth-inning experience. Not to mention the fact that he’s thrown 13 2/3 scoreless innings this year.

Given the fluctuating state of affairs in


’s bullpen, Accardo is worth a pickup in all formats.

— Alex Cushing,

Wondered if you would care to bestow some sound knowledge my way, regarding the science of middle relief – I’m in a 12-team 6-by-6 roto league with holds as the extra category, and after pitch-and-ditching successfully I have a decent lead in wins, and I’m also OK in saves. But I have barely any holds – I’m 22 behind the leader in that category already – and could also use some help with Ks and WHIP. Most of the "top-tier" middle relievers are gone, such as Shields and Linebrink, so I’m looking around for someone else under the radar. Solid workers such as Doug Brocail, Wilfredo Ledezma and Scott Proctor are available, as are strugglers Brad Lidge and Fernando Rodney, and I like the look of Toronto’s Jeremy Accardo as he has given up nothing so far and apparently may even be next for the closer’s role if Jason Frasor doesn’t get a lot better pretty quickly.

This is a very tight league thus far, and solid work in a category such as holds will probably make all the difference. Is there anyone that you guys like the look of, or should I just bite the poisoned bullet and pick up Lidge again for the K’s? What’s the worst that can happen, right?🙂

Thanks for your help fellas, love the show.





I think Accardo is a much better option at this time than Lidge, who still looks lost on the mound.  Sure the K’s are nice, but he’s given up way too many hits and walks to be considered a reliable option.  Two other guys to think about who could be available are Speier and Turnbow.  Both rank among the league leaders in holds, and both have a track record of success.  Speier’s always been an effective reliever, and Turnbow seems to have regained his old closer form, holding an ERA just over 2 and striking out 21 in 12 1/3 innings.

— Zach Steinhorn,

Saving Strength

Just wondering your opinion on a trade I made yesterday? Mixed – 12 team – 5 x 5.
I traded Alex Gordon and Saito for Rios and Overbay. What do you think of the trade and will I have enough saves to compete with my remaining 3 closers: Wagner, Wheeler and Izzy.


Ryan in Denver.

Current roster:

C – Barrett
1B – D. Lee
2B – Utley
3B – Teahen
SS – Furcal
OF – Taveras
OF – Duncan
OF – Holliday
Util – Konerko
Util – Swisher
BN – Alex Gordon
BN – Johjima


Job well done. Rios possesses 20-20 talent and you’re getting him before the boom, which makes losing Saito less painful. Having three secure closers, as you do, is a luxury in 12-team leagues so fret not. And while Alex Gordon has the tools to turn it around tomorrow, highly touted can’t-miss prospects have flopped in their rookie years before, so his unexplainable disappointment isn’t without precedent. Also, Overbay’s a notorious slow starter who should bat at least .300 the rest of the way.

All in all, great job at dealing from strength to acquire some outfield and batting average help.

— Alex Cushing,