June 2007

Comparing Bat Flips

Click on the link below to watch Mike and Cory’s hilarious bat flip discussion as seen on Thursday.



A Pitching Dilemna

Who would you rather have for the rest of the year: Jon Lester or Jeremy Guthrie?  I’m in a deep league (large rosters and 7 bench spots), so when I pick up pitchers I have to look at it a little more long-term. Pitch or ditch isn’t as effective if Brian Bannister is your main option.  I have Lester and Guthrie is on waivers right now…if I drop Lester he’ll almost certainly be picked up since it is a league with lots of Red Sox fans.

Thanks a lot, love the show.

Jay in NYC


If I had to make this decision today, I’d lean towards Guthrie for a few reasons.  First, Guthrie has seen regular starts in the Baltimore rotation since the beginning of May while Lester’s been sidelined for an extended period of time.  Who knows how long it will take for Lester to get back into a comfortable rhythm on the mound once he returns?  Meanwhile, Guthrie has found quite a rhythm, posting quality starts in each of his last seven outings.  His 42 strikeouts compared to a mere 11 walks over 66 2/3 innings is another bright sign, showing that Guthrie does have the ability to get out of jams with the strikeout, while at the same time limiting baserunners by not issuing many free passes.  Lester’s half season last year was far from impressive, as 91 hits in  81 1/3 innings is simply too many.  Jon will undoubtedly improve as he gains more big league experience, and he would be my pick if this were a keeper league.  But from now until the end of the season, I’ll take my chances with the guy who’s already performing at a high level.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Listener Feedback

On today’s show, Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen chatted with Mike and Cory about Justin Verlander’s no-hitter and the bright future of Andrew Miller.

But we want to hear from the entire 411 community!  What other broadcasters/front office people/players would you like us to have on?  Either post your responses as a comment to this message, or e-mail me at zach.steinhorn@mlb.com with suggestions.


Dealing for an Arm (or two)

Hey guys,
I am in a 12-team, mixed, 6×6 (OBP + QS).  I am in 1st place, but categories I could improve in are SB, ERA, WHIP, QS, and Saves.
John Lackey is on the trading block.  His owner says he needs RBIs.  I am thinking of offering the following:
He would get:
Delmon Young
Boof Bonser/John Maine/Chuck James (his choice)
Luis Castillo
I would get:
Josh Barfield
John Lackey
Chad Cordero

Do you think this is a fair trade?  I am willing to forget about Cordero and just do a 2-for-2 if that’s what he wants.  But his team has been in last or next-to-last for most of the season, so he might want to shake his team up a little.  He already has Hoffman and Hennessey (who is currently on his bench). 
Spring Hill, TN (Nashville area)

Although this deal is by no means veto material, I really doubt your trading partner will accept it.  Take away Cordero, and you’re getting closer (no pun intended).  Considering the extra categories in this league are OBP and Quality Starts, Lackey’s value (7 QS in 13 total starts) only increases while Young’s (.304 OBP) takes a hit.  As for Castillo, he offers little else but a solid average and a modest steal total.  I don’t see him maintaining anything close to a .337 BA by season’s end.  Lackey, on the other hand, is a proven performer easily capable of improving on all of last year’s numbers, with the possible exception of strikeouts.  First, try offering the original trade and see what happens.  But even if you have to remove Cordero from the deal, I still think you’re getting the better end.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Haren’s a Keeper

I am in a 14 team 4 x 4 mixed.  I am in need of OF help.  I am trying to get Granderson for Sheets.  The other owner is insisting on Haren.  My starters besides Haren & Sheets are Bedard, Harang, Mitre & one of Bush, Arroyo & Lohse.  What is your opinion?  My OF is Diaz, Burrell, Cuddyer, Duffy & Guerrero with Bradley, Giles & Quentin on DL or bench.


Ken from Marion, Indiana


No way do I do either of these deals.  Granderson is a nice player to have, a guy fully capable of putting together a 20-20 season.  But giving up Sheets or Haren for him is too much.  If you feel your pitching is deep enough, I’m not totally opposed to trading Sheets or Haren.  But aim much higher!  Think Hideki Matsui, Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter, or Gary Sheffield.  Any one of these outfielders can be had in one for one deals.  First, see what else you can get for Sheets, as his injury history bumps him slightly below Haren on the starting pitching rankings.  If your trading partner insists on Haren, I personally wouldn’t accept anything less than Vernon Wells (a good buy low candidate) or possibly Gary Sheffield in return.  Even then, I’d be very reluctant to trade Haren, who looks to be on the fast track to permanent ace status.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

A Review of the Preseason Picks

On tomorrow’s 411, Mike and Cory will revisit their preseason sleeper and overrated lists to see just how well they’re doing in their predictions.  Below you’ll find the current stats for each of these players.



C Chris Ianetta- .200 AVG  1 HR  11 RBI

1B Mike Jacobs- .281 AVG  4 HR  14 RBI

2B Ian Kinsler (taken by both)- .230 AVG  11 HR  29 RBI  10 SB
3B  Wilson Betemit- .200 AVG  5 HR  16 RBI

SS  Yuniesky Betancourt- .305 AVG  4 HR  26 RBI  3 SB

OF  Nelson Cruz- .188 AVG  3 HR  12 RBI

OF  Ryan Church- ..269 AVG  6 HR  29 RBI  3 SB

SP  Erik Bedard- 4-4  3.72 ERA  1.29 WHIP  103 K in 87 IP

SP  Dan Haren  (taken by both)- 7-2  1.58 ERA  0.86 WHIP  76 K in 97 IP

CL  Jose Valverde- 21 for 24 in save chances  3.33 ERA  29 K in 27 IP


C  Gerald Laird- .239 AVG  3 HR  21 RBI

1B  Ryan Garko- .306 AVG  8 HR  22 RBI

2B  Ian Kinsler (taken by both)- .230 AVG  11 HR  29 RBI  10 SB 

3B  Edwin Encarnacion- .274 AVG  4 HR  27 RBI

SS  Julio Lugo- .213 AVG  4 HR  34 RBI  17 SB

OF  Willy Taveras- .321 AVG  1 HR  12 RBI  31 R  15 SB

OF  Hideki Matsui- .282 AVG  6 HR  33 RBI

SP  Dan Haren  (taken by both)- 7-2  1.58 ERA  0.86 WHIP  76 K in 97 IP

SP  Dave Bush- 3-6  5.70 ERA  1.35 WHIP  59 K in 79 IP

CL  Jonathan Broxton- 1 save  3.98 ERA  38 K in 31 2/3 IP


C  Ivan Rodriguez- .298 AVG  6 HR  34 RBI

1B  Kevin Youkilis- .336 AVG  8 HR  32 RBI

2B  Brandon Phillips- .280 AVG  11 HR  34 RBI  11 SB

3B  Melvin Mora- .242 AVG  7 HR  27 RBI  5 SB

SS  Felipe Lopez- .231 AVG  3 HR  21 RBI  6 SB

OF  Milton Bradley- .306 AVG (just 62 AB’s)  2 HR  7 RBI  2 SB

OF  Jeff Francoeur- .282 AVG  7 HR  44 RBI

SP  Barry Zito- 6-6  4.02 ERA  1.40 WHIP  46 K in 78 1/3 IP

SP  Dontrelle Willis- 7-5  4.74 ERA  1.57 WHIP  59 K in 89 1/3 IP

CL  Todd Jones- 16 for 20 in save chances  5.55 ERA  11 K in 24 1/3 IP


C  Michael Barrett- .246 AVG  9 HR  27 RBI

1B  Conor Jackson- .283 AVG  4 HR  21 RBI

2B  Ray Durham- .255 AVG  6 HR  36 RBI  34 R  3 SB

3B  Joe Crede- .216 AVG  4 HR  22 RBI

SS  Bill Hall- .252 AVG  6 HR  21 RBI

OF  Jermaine Dye- .216 AVG  10 HR  30 RBI

OF  Raul Ibanez- .299 AVG  4 HR  41 RBI

SP  Dice K- 7-5  4.52 ERA  1.31 WHIP  85 K in 85 2/3 IP 

SP  Jered Weaver- 5-3  4.14 ERA  1.53 WHIP  48 K in 58 2/3 IP

CL  Joe Borowski- 18 for 20 in save chances  6.75 ERA  22 K in 24 IP

Another Big Brewer Bat

Is Ryan Braun worth a Lincecum or a Capuano?  A Peralta?
Maybe a Sonnanstine?  Also, Dmitri Young, Richie Sexson, or Carlos Pena?

10 team mixed keeper head-to-head league.

Tucson, AZ


Talk about living up to lofty expectations…Through his first 16 big league games, Ryan Braun is doing just that, batting .317 to go along with four homers, 10 RBI, and two steals.  Braun still has to work on his patience at the plate (17 strikeouts vs only 3 walks).  That being said, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he winds up with a .280 average, 20 homers, 60-65 RBI, and 10 steals by year’s end.  Even in a 10 team league, Braun is a legit keeper, depending of course on how many you’re allowed to keep.  If I had Braun, the only two players (of the four you mention) who I’d even consider trading him for would be Peralta or Lincecum.  You almost certainly wouldn’t be able to get Peralta, as his 12 home runs and 36 RBI from a shortstop are likely too valuable to pass up.  But considering Lincecum’s shaky last two outings (9 ER over 11 innings), I see a Braun for Lincecum swap as at least the start of a deal you can work on.  Even though Capuano is a solid mid-rotation fantasy starter thanks to his fairly high strikeout rate, a 4.22 career ERA from a guy who’s pitched exclusively in the National League just doesn’t excite me.  Lincecum, on the other hand, is a future ace, and a top notch keeper.  Sonnanstine sure looked impressive yesterday, but he needs to show me more before I place him in the same class as Lincecum.

As for your first base question, I refuse to bail on Sexson!  Though Richie has given his owners very little to smile about this season, his track record when it comes to the power numbers is just too consistent.  While you might want to bench Sexson for awhile and ride the hot hitter, I still say Sexson will have a more productive year than both Young and Pena.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com    


Escobar Gets No Respect


Daily podcast listener, fantasy baseball fanatic and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the show!  I’m in a 12 team 5×5 mixed that limits transactions to 20/yr, not counting trades.  Obviously, each pickup from the waiver wire carries a lot of weight.  I need to pick up a pitcher as I just traded for Ichiro and gave up Vernon Wells and Tom Gorzelanny to get him.  Which available starting pitcher would you pick from this list:  Kelvim Escobar, Homer Bailey, Yovani Gallardo, Sergio Mitre, Jeremy Guthrie, Chad Gaudin, Jorge Sosa, or Justin Germano.   I know all these guys are doing well currently but who is the best bet for the rest of the season as well.  Also, would you waste a DL spot on Pedro Martinez.  This is my first ever question for you guys and I appreciate your thoughts!

Hoosier Hacker

That’s an awfully low transactions limit, Hoosier!  How can you stand it?  Anyway, Escobar is my clear choice from this group.  I don’t even know why he’s still available in your league.  As long as Kelvim is healthy, he produces at a high level.  Since joining the Angels in 2004, Escobar has compiled a 3.55 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, and 453 strikeouts in 532 1/3 innings.  Judging from these numbers, not only is Escobar worthy of a roster spot…he’s a solid #3 fantasy starter who would’ve been ranked even higher heading into the season if the Angels’ offense wasn’t so bad.  This year, he’s off to a fantastic first two months, boasting a sub 3 ERA and (for a change) a high win total (7).  Expect Kelvim to continue his dominance in what’s shaping up to be his long awaited career year.

As for Pedro, I have no problem stashing him on your DL as long as you have room.  But if holding onto him is preventing you from keeping another injured player who has a better chance of making an impact this season, feel free dropping Martinez.  The Mets aren’t counting on him returning until August.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com    

The Value of a One-Category Stud

Someone is trying to get Kelvim Escobar from me and I am in need of some stolen bases badly.  He has Juan Pierre who’s he not afraid to give up.  Is the trade worth pulling off, because I am iffy with Juan Pierre, but he’s always big for stolen bases, which I am in desperation for in my rotisserie league.



If steals are what you’re looking for, Pierre’s your guy.  From 2004-2006, Juan has averaged a little over 53 stolen bases per season, making him one of the very few sure things when it comes to speed.  The problem with Pierre is that he does pretty much nothing else.  A former .300 hitter, Pierre is batting just .269 this year.  And a declining walk rate to go along with an increasing strikeout rate doesn’t bode well.  But you say you’re desperate, and since it’s almost impossible to win a fantasy league without at least competing in every category, I say make the trade.  While Escobar is a solid mid-rotation fantasy starter, Pierre is too much of a difference maker to pass on…even if we’re dealing with only one stat.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Any doubts on Pujols?

Carlos Delgado. Paul Konerko. Albert Pujols. Ryan Howard.
Lance Berkman. Richie Sexson. Nomar Garciaparra.

What do they all have in common? They’re all marquee first basemen. And
they’re all off to slow starts
at least by their lofty standards.

Who among them is the best bet to turn his season around? MLB.com’s
fantasy gurus tackle that question as
Prince Albert takes center stage in this week’s edition of
the Roundtable: