June 2007

Salty’s Making Waves

Hey Guys,

I have a question about my catcher situation.  I had Ramon Hernandez on the DL and picked up Saltalamacchia to take his place.  When he plays, Saltalamacchia has been raking, and I was wondering if I should try to make a deal with Ramon Hernandez to a team in need of a catcher in hopes of buying an upgrade at OF, etc.

Thanks a lot,

Mike from Scottsdale


Saltalamacchia may be raking, but it’s too soon to depend on him as a reliable starting option in leagues where you play only one catcher.  There’s no question this guy can hit.  The only question is how much of an opportunity he’ll get with McCann now healthy.  Still, the fact that he’s gotten 12 at bats in the last three games is encouraging, as Bobby Cox has become more and more comfortable giving Jarrod extra playing time at first base.  Scott Thorman’s lack of production of late (.219 AVG  5 RBI in June) will only help.  I wouldn’t look to deal Hernandez just yet, as he’s assured an everyday job while Saltalamacchia is not.  But definitely keep Salty around and closely monitor the Braves’ catcher/first base situation.  By this time next week, I might have a different answer!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com    

Lugo’s Struggles a Mystery

Hey guys, I have Lugo right now.  Should I be looking to trade him or should I just pick up someone off the waiver wire?

Chris from Chicago


Here’s an interesting stat…Lugo’s been on base just 78 times this year, yet has still managed to steal 20 bases.  This means he’s successfully recorded a steal in roughly 25 percent of his times on base.  By comparison, Jose Reyes’ percentage is about 27.  Who knows what Lugo’s stolen base total would be if he were actually hitting above .191!  In fact, if we ignore average altogether, Lugo is almost perfectly on pace to duplicate his numbers from 2005 with the Devil Rays, the year he solidified himself as an upper tier fantasy shortstop.  Just look at the strikeouts and walks.  I think Julio’s average will come around.  It may be far from the .295 he hit in 2005, but it won’t remain this ugly either.  Think .290 from here on out.  Assuming there are quality starting options on the waiver wire and you won’t suffer too much without Lugo’s steals, try benching him until he starts hitting more consistently.  People will be too scared off by his average to offer anything close to fair value in a trade.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Best Move is No Move?

Hey guys,

First, a quick thanks and sincerest appreciation to all of you involved in producing the podcast.  As well, thank you  to MLB for developing a fantasy baseball online environment, including the podcast, that allows those of us in the visually impaired community to fully participate in the MLB Open listener leagues. I am a newbie enjoying the fruits of all of your labors that have created not only a highly accessible online experience but also valuable audio content via the podcast never before available. Thanks from all of us.  It is truly appreciated.

I am in a 12 team mixed head-to-head points weekly league.
We only use pitching staffs.
I’d like to bolster my bench and outfield currently consisting of Rios, Pence, and Berkman/Willingham.  I have Josh Hamilton on the bench currently.

What are your thoughts on picking up Reggie Willits and/or Marlon Byrd?

Rick in Austin


Thanks for the shout out.  We all hope you continue to enjoy what MLB.com has to offer in its fantasy content.  As for your question, I have no problem with this outfield the way it’s currently constructed.  Since your league starts only three at the position and you can’t even change lineups more than once a week, I think you’ve got more than enough depth.  Though Pence won’t maintain a .352 batting average all year, don’t be surprised if he finishes the season with close to 25 homers and over 90 RBI.  And you haven’t even gotten the best part of Berkman’s year yet!  Lance is starting to show signs of breaking out, hitting .301 and slugging .534 in the month of June.  Despite the recent surge in average, Marlon Byrd isn’t worth a pickup in a 12 team mixed league.  In the best season of his career, Byrd went .303-7-45.  Enough said.  Willits is an intriguing option thanks to his 18 stolen bases.  But those steals are way more valuable in roto formats than in points leagues.  Continue to start Rios, Berkman, and Pence, and rotate Willingham in if needed.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Finding a Match for Swisher

Hey Guys,

I’m trying to deal Nick Swisher for an arm and am not really sure what to expect for value in return. Can you throw a few names out there for me? My starting pitching staff currently consists of Webb, Bedard, Shields, Snell, Lincecum, Gallardo, Bailey (Too many young question mark type players, hence the need for an upgrade).

Thanks so much!

Matt from Boston


I definitely agree that you can use one more reliable mid-tier pitcher to add to this impressive collection of youngsters.  Trading Swisher a month ago would’ve netted considerably more in return, but Nick’s been struggling lately.  In June, he’s batting a mere .241 with just one homer and 9 RBI.  That doesn’t mean Swisher can’t bring you an innings eater albeit low K type of pitcher like a Derek Lowe or a Mark Buehrle.  Of these two, I’d prefer Lowe since he pitches in a more favorable home park and for a better team.  But if these strong Buehrle to the Red Sox trade rumors prove to be true, the lefty could be in store for a boost in value.  Boston puts up a lot more runs on the board than the White Sox, who rank dead last in the majors in that category, so Buehrle’s low win total of 4 despite a 3.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP is a more than slightly deceiving stat.  One last name I’ll mention (a great buy low opportunity) is Matt Cain, another guy who should have at least 3-4 more wins.  Though Cain suffers from control problems at times, he has far greater strikeout potential than either Lowe or Buehrle.  If by chance the Cain owner in your league is fed up with the 2-8 record, pounce on the chance to deal Swisher for Cain in a one for one.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

A Numbers Crunch

Fantasy 411 Fellas,

I am in a 5×5 head-to-head which has two utility spots.  As of right now, I have Youkilis and Teahen in my utility roles but have Teixeira on the DL and Mike Cameron and Richie Sexson on the bench (picked up both of them on waivers).

Cameron is heating up but I have no outfield spot for him (Berkman, Swisher and Matsui) and Sexson has great power numbers and his BA should go up.

Do I replace anybody on my roster with somebody else or do I try and look to trade anybody to upgrade pitching?

Thanks for your help,

Jared from Trumansburg, NY


For now, leave your lineup as is.  Teahen and Youkilis have been just too consistently productive, and though you’ll eventually want to get Sexson’s power into your active roster, Richie’s still hitting for a miserable average.  I think the best solution here is to somehow find a way to trade Cameron, who in the month of June is batting .323 despite striking out roughly once every four at bats.  Cameron’s value in head to head leagues takes an added fall thanks to his incredibly streaky nature.  Take advantage of the fact that he’s in the midst of a hot stretch, and see what you can get in return.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Helton’s Power Going Going Gone


Good thinking, Brian!  I can definitely see Helton getting dealt to a certain team that plays its home games in the Bronx if the Rockies fall out of contention.  But Colorado’s still in the thick of the NL West race (only four and a half games back of the division lead), so I don’t think a move will happen anytime soon.  While this real life trade may be on hold for the time being, your fantasy swap should be completed right away!  Even if Helton stays put, his massive power decline over the past few years, despite playing in Coors, has severely hurt his fantasy value.  Since the beginning of the 2005 season, Helton has hit a combined 41 homers, well below the average at the first base position.  Unless we’re talking about an OBP league, I can think of at least 10 National League first basemen I’d rather have than Helton.  I’m not a huge fan of Hall, as he strikes out a bit too much for my taste.  So you might want to look at other outfielders.  But when we add in the possibility of losing Helton for nothing, you can do a lot worse.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Peavy’s Worth the Bat

Hey guys,

Love the show.  I’m in a 13 team mixed roto league.  Pretty deep, 30 man roster.  I’m currently in 3rd (3.5 points out of 1st).  My offense is killer, but my pitching could use some help.  While I understand and agree with the Fantasy 411 mantra of not chasing wins, I was feeling a little forced to do something; therefore, I set up two trades to acquire some SP help.

(1) I give Sheffield and get Peavy
(2) I give Bailey and Monroe and get Halladay (non keeper league)

Both trades were vetoed by the league.  Am I missing something here?  Are these trades really vetoeable?

KC in DC


First off, neither of these trades are worthy of a veto.  The Sheffield for Peavy deal is about as fairly balanced as you can get, while the second one is in your favor, but not to the point where it should be vetoed. Though I wouldn’t have a problem with trading Sheff for Peavy if your offense is, as you say, “killer,” the second trade is really the better deal for you, as you’re getting a definite top ten fantasy starting pitcher without parting with any offensive player of consequence.  Monroe’s power is legit, but anyone with a career on-base percentage of .307 cannot be relied upon too seriously.  Without knowing some of your other pitchers, my advice would be to try to scan the waiver wire for useful pitching options to at least help out in wins and strikeouts.  If you’re successful in finding one or two pitch or ditch type names, pull the trigger on Trade 2 and hold onto your offensive strength.  But if your league is so deep that these guys aren’t available, go ahead and get Peavy, who is currently throwing as well as anyone in the majors.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

Two Trades Better than One?

Great show guys.  I’ve got a trade question for you.

12 team 5×5 mixed keeper (we keep 5 with no penalty)

I’m tied for 2nd place and want to make a final push.  Need help the most in RBI and AVG without losing ground in the pitching cats.  I’ve got 2 potential deals. 

Do you think I should do either, neither, or both?

Trade 1 –
I give Haren, Gordon and Hart
I get Vlad and Lowe

Trade 2 –
I give Soriano
I get Santana

Here is my current roster
C – Torrealba
C – I Rod
1b – Konerko
2b – Barfield
3b – Zimmerman
SS – Rollins
OF – Soriano
OF – Sizemore
OF – Francoeur
OF – Dye
OF – Hart
UT – Nady
CI – Blake
MI – K. Matsui
BN – Gordon
BN – Teix DL
BN – Gomes
BN – Rowand

SP – Haren, Schilling, Verlander, Wolf, Gorzelanny, McGowan RP – Jenks, Jones, Hennessey, Guardado DL, Myers DL

Grand Rapids, MI


The daring side of me says to just do Trade 1 and not Trade 2.  The more rational side says to do both.  Although the potential gain in RBI by acquiring Vlad without having to give up Soriano is substantial, I don’t think your pitching staff is deep enough to recover from losing Haren and just getting Lowe in return.  Schilling and Wolf are solid options, but both come with risk.  Schilling is getting up there in age, and has looked absolutely awful in the two outings since his near no-hitter, while Wolf’s 6.86 June ERA suggests he might be starting to wear down in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery.  When looking more closely at your roster, accepting both of these trades makes perfect sense.  In the outfield, Soriano and Hart would be replaced by Vlad and Rowand (off your bench) while Haren becomes Santana and Lowe.  Not only does your pitching see a clear improvement, but the outfield tradeoff is at the very worst a wash, and more likely a win.  Considering your primary needs are average and RBI, Guerrero’s .329 average and 62 ribbies surely top Soriano’s .294 mark and 23 RBI.  Complete both deals, and feel good about them!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com      

Casey’s One Hot Halo

Hey guys,

12 team weekly roto single season 8×8 league.  This trade was recently accepted and vetoed right before it was due to go through:

Holliday/Kotchman for Howard/Krod

Our league has come a long ways with vetoing only in extreme situations…this would be one of those situations, right?  The Holliday/Howard part of the trade was not the issue.
They did rework the deal to something more acceptable:

Holliday/Harang/Kotchman for Howard/Krod/Jered Weaver

As always, love the show.
Eric in North Dakota


Your league was absolutely right to veto the original deal, which was clearly an attempt to “sell high” on Kotchman.  But this one went way too far!  Even if you consider Holliday to be a slight upgrade over Howard (which is debatable), there’s no way that a player with less than 600 big league at bats comes anywhere close in value to arguably the #1 overall closer. 
As for the reworked trade, it doesn’t deserve a veto.  That doesn’t mean it’s fully balanced.  I’d much rather have the Howard/Krod/Jered Weaver side, as statistically, the difference between Weaver and Harang isn’t that great.  The Angels are also a much better team than the Reds, with a much better bullpen.  That should only help Weaver’s chances of matching or exceeding Harang’s win total.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Grab Gallardo!


I have Sonnanstine, Wolf, and Mitre…Should I drop one of them for Gallardo?  6X6 11 team non-keeper with OPS and CGs.

My other pitchers are Dan Haren, Ben Sheets, Randy Johnson,  Dontrelle Willis, Homer Bailey, and Phil Hughes on the DL.


Pat from Washington DC


Normally, I would advise against dropping a productive pitcher in favor of a stud prospect who has yet to step foot on a big league mound.  But when speaking of Yovani Gallardo, you can throw all the “normal” rules out the window, because 110 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 77 2/3 minor league innings this year is far from normal…it’s dominant.  With both Dave Bush and Claudio Vargas struggling in the Brewers’ rotation, Gallardo should be given every opportunity to stick around even when Chris Capuano returns from the DL.  Of the three pitchers you list, I would drop Sonnanstine, as it’s never a good idea to depend too heavily on rookie pitchers no matter how talented they might be.  The fact that Sonnanstine plays in the AL East for a mediocre team with an awful bullpen won’t exactly do wonders for his ERA or win total as the season goes on.  With Gallardo and Bailey, you’ll have arguably the top two healthy pitching prospects in baseball while maintaining enough proven depth in Haren, Sheets, Johnson, and Willis.  Since the league is a non-keeper, you may even want to trade Gallardo (if he gets off to a good start) or Bailey (if he puts a nice stretch together), for either a reliable veteran pitcher or another bat.  Set your rookie pitcher limit at two!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com