July 2007

Think Twice Before Dealing an Ace

Hi Guys, I’m a big fan and I listen to the podcast almost every day.  I’ve been playing fantasy baseball for around 5 years, and for the first time I’m in a position to win my big league, thanks to your advice and strategies.

I need some advice.

16 team 5×5 non-keeper.  I’m bouncing between first and second, and I’m in the top 5 in all categories except runs, HR, and RBI (around 10, 10 and 7 points).  My offense has been hurt by Papi and Frank Thomas’ lack of serious production.  I’ve been offered Ryan Howard for Sheffield and Webb.  I’m thinking about it because I’m concerned about Sheffield’s health.  He’s been slumping offensively, and I’m wondering if the shoulder problems he’s having might lead to a DL trip or hamper him all year.

The rest of my SP’s are Wang, Lincecum, Rich Hill, McGowan, and Jeff Francis.  My offense is basically Varitek, David Ortiz, James Loney, Hanley Ramirez, Miggy Cabrera, Chone Figgins, Sheffield, Nady, Frank Thomas, and a bunch of WW pickups (Loney, Gordon, Nelson Cruz, Vidro…etc) (23 man rosters).

Do you think that’s too much for Howard?

Nelson

Yes!  In a 16 team league, the primary goal should be to build as well-rounded of a group as possible.  Your pitching staff is a good one.  Losing Webb would make it only average.  I’m not sold on McGowan, and I worry about your strikeouts as you’ll become even more dependant on Wang.  Also, pitching and ditching is extremely difficult in such a large league.  Despite his age and perceived injury risk, Sheffield is still consistently producing at a high level.  5 homers and 15 RBI to go along with a .303 average in the month of July shouldn’t be considered a slump.  I understand he’s 4 for his last 29, but let’s not overreact!  Every hitter is allowed a bad week.  Webb is just too valuable to give up in exchange for the small upgrade from Sheffield to Howard.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

No Shame in Only Keeping Hitters

Guys,

Big fan of the show…first time e-mailer!!  Need your feedback on a trade.  I’m in a 6×6 mixed keeper league (OBP + K/9 are the extras) where I am struggling in Runs, Hits, and SBs.  I want to give up Peavy for Crawford straight up to meet some of my needs.  However, Peavy was going to be 1 of my 5 keepers and giving him up would mean not having any of my 5 keepers be pitchers.  I am worried because last year 10 SPs were on the keeper list for teams in this league and I don’t want to be stuck with Chuck James as my #1 next year ( I also can’t use pitch or ditch due to our transaction limit of 35 per season).

What do you think of getting Crawford and giving up Peavy?

Dave from Pinehurst, NC

Dave,

I like it!  Whenever you have a chance to get a fantasy stud who fits your needs perfectly, make the deal.  Even though Peavy is clearly keeper worthy, Crawford’s clearly a first rounder.  And don’t worry about not keeping a pitcher.  Entering 2007, guys like Chris Young, Josh Beckett, Erik Bedard, Cole Hamels, and Kelvim Escobar were not considered top 10 pitchers.  Four months into the season, they all boast ace-like numbers.  You should have no problem building a quality pitching staff via the draft.  Plenty of bargains can still be found.  As for Chuck James potentially being your #1 starter, I think you’d have to take about 10 straight hitters to open the draft for that to happen!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Melky Better in Reality

Hey Guys,

Neighbor Steve here.

In my 10 team mixed 5×5 league, the hot hitting Melky Cabrera is available.  Would you pick him up and drop one of my following OF’s?  I platoon.  C. Duncan, W. Taveras, K. Lofton, or R. Willits?  My other OF’s are Manny, Abreu, and A. Jones.  Thanks.

Steve Cozzolino

Steve,                                                                                                                                                                                        

Maybe it’s because he plays here in New York, but I’ve always felt that Melky Cabrera is overrated as a hitter.  Sure he fits in nicely at the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup.  But who wouldn’t?  For fantasy purposes, Cabrera just doesn’t have enough power or speed to warrant a roster spot in a 10 team mixed league.  When deciding whether or not to pick up an outfielder, my rule is simple.  If the player has a good chance of either hitting 20 homers or stealing 20 bases, he’s worth a look.  Otherwise, stay away!  Melky falls into the latter category.  I’m also very wary of picking up unestablished hitters in the midst of hot streaks because you never know when their good fortune’s due to run out.  I’d take any one of your current group of outfielders over Cabrera.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t search for alternatives.  There’s a lot of redundancy with Taveras, Lofton, and Willits.  All of them do the same thing!  In a 10 teamer, I’m almost certain that a bunch of solid power options are available on the wire.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Uggla’s Worth Fishing For

Hey Guys,

    I am in a 12 team, mixed 6×6 H2H league (extra categories are BB’s and K/9).  I am a lock for the playoffs which start in about 2-3 weeks and am trying to get my roster in line for a run in the playoffs.  Kendrick’s injury is really hurting me (best 2nd baseman on waivers is Pedroia).  What do you think of moving Derrek Lee (who is playing at my UTIL) and Gil Meche for Joe Borowski, Johnny Damon (would take over my UTIL), and Dan Uggla (who would play 2nd)?  My starters are Hamels, Clemens, Haren, Meche, and Burnett (DL).  My relievers are Gagne, Accardo, Capps, Soria, and Otsuka.

Thanks,
Joe in Chicago

Joe,

Sounds like a solid trade to me!  You’re giving up some value but getting more of it in return.  I’m just as confused as anyone by Lee’s complete loss of power.  In 330 at bats this season, Derrek has hit the same amount of homers (8) as he did in 175 at bats last year.  It’s not like we were all expecting a repeat of his 46 homer campaign, but not even reaching 20?  Something is terribly wrong.  Now is a good time to cut bait before the situation gets any worse.  As for Meche, he’s nothing more than a back of the rotation starter in 12 team leagues.  I don’t expect the Royals’ “ace” to maintain his mid 3 ERA.  After all, the last time Meche posted an ERA under 4 was in 2000!  Although I’m surprised that Uggla has improved on his 2006 power stats, the numbers don’t lie!  This guy’s easily in the top five of all fantasy second basemen.  You cannot possibly buy Damon at a lower price.  That’s why I like it.  After enduring a horrendous month of June and first half of July, Johnny’s starting to get it going for a Yankee lineup that’s red hot.  And Borowski’s rebounded well from a disastrous April (9 ERA), allowing only 5 runs in his last 17 2/3 innings.  In exchange for the downgrade from Lee to Damon plus a borderline starting pitcher, you’re receiving a stud 2B plus a closer who’s job is secure.  Nice work.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Already Waiting Till Next Year

Looking to next year, after taking my basement team to 13th in a 20-team, 6-keeper, H2H league. I feel like I could turn some of my young talent into a first or second rounder. What do you think?  Also, are my keeper picks right?

Here are my keepers as it stands:

Lance Berkman
Mark Teixeira
Russell Martin
Brian Roberts
Corey Hart
Billy Butler

Here are the rest of my bats:

Howie Kendrick
J.J. Hardy
Michael Young
Mark Teahen
Mike Cameron
Ryan Freel
Reggie Willits
Marlon Byrd
Jason Botts
Brandon Wood

I also have Hughes, Soria and Carmona.  The rest of my pitching is scary bad.

Thanks guys,

Luke in Kansas

Luke,

If this league doesn’t attach values to keepers, why keep Billy Butler over J.J. Hardy or Michael Young?  Despite its rebirth over the past few years, the shortstop position is still fairly weak, making Hardy and Young better options than Butler, especially considering that you’re not already keeping a shortstop.  Other than that, I definitely agree with your keeper choices.  Although Hughes and Carmona are both solid, Corey Hart looks like a five-tool star in the making, and I’ll always give the edge to the hitter when planning for the future.  Another possibility would be to trade Hart, either Hardy or Young (the one who isn’t kept), and possibly Kendrick (since you already have Roberts at 2B) for a high quality keeper pitcher, like a Peavy or an Oswalt.  Your offense is in good shape, boasting a nice combination of power and speed.  Now it’s time to start upgrading the pitching!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

Felix Still a Keeper King

I have just pulled the trigger on a pretty big trade, wanted to get your reactions.  Did I get a good deal or did I overpay?

12 team, 5×5, keeper

Good Pitching staff, dwindling offense
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I got Mauer, Vlad, and Carlos Pena and traded away Beltran, Johjima, Sexson, King Felix, and Homer Bailey.

The other team is in last place and looking for keepers.

Thanks, love the show!!!

Shane

Shane,

Even though I like all the players you got here, did you really have to give up King Felix?  I know he’s been a bit erratic, but the kid’s only 21!  And he still holds an impressive 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.  In a keeper league, Felix is as close to untradable as it gets.  I would’ve tried to substitute Hernandez with a pitcher who might be enjoying a better 2007 but has less future upside.  My biggest concern with this trade is that outside of average, I don’t really see how you significantly improved offensively. Guerrero and Beltran are pretty much a wash, with Guerrero offering more in average and RBI and Beltran putting up stronger home run and stolen base totals.  As for the first basemen, don’t be surprised if Sexson posts similar power numbers to Pena from here on out.  While Mauer is certainly an upgrade over Johjima, Kenji has twice as many homers!  Considering that you’re strong in pitching, I’m not going to call this deal a bad one.  It just doesn’t seem like you clearly addressed any specific needs.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

Rollins Nearly Untouchable

Yo guys!

Here’s a shout out to girl power, though I’m just stinking it up in GP’s mid-season league.  I’ve rocked up to 11th place.  Woohoo!  Thanks to listening to you guys, I’m in 4 leagues this year and the first female commissioner of a Fantasy Baseball Mafia league, where I’m mired in the middle of the pack.
I have a trade question about one of my 12 team, vanilla leagues.  I am currently in 5th place and I think I can finish in the money.  I’ve been proposed a trade for Jimmy Rollins.  I’m doing pretty well in the power categories and my weakest hitting category is SB where I’m 6th out of 12.  However, I’m well back in the pack in pitching—I need saves and WHIP badly (I’m 3rd from the bottom in both).  Here’s the trade I’ve been proposed:

I give up: Jimmy Rollins
I get: Chris Young (Padres) and Melvin Mora

My biggest issue with this is that I don’t have another shortstop and the waiver wire’s really thin on MI.  Mora would "replace" Eddie Encarnacion or Teahen, who are okay but not great.  The other guy has Accardo, Jenks, Borowski, and Embree as relievers so I was thinking I’d try for Young and Embree instead, to get some saves until Street returns.  What do you guys think?

Thanks!
Laura in Columbus, OH

Laura,

As much as I like Chris Young, I think you’re really undervaluing Rollins, who’s on pace for 31 homers and 27 steals at a weak position.  Add in the fact that there’s no other viable shortstop either on your roster or on the waiver wire, and it’s pretty clear that losing Rollins would be a huge blow to your team.  I would strongly advise against trading him.  I’m also not too sure if Young’s the right guy to deal for at this time for the simple reason that he’s been too good!  Don’t expect him to pitch poorly over the remainder of the season, but don’t expect that 1.85 ERA to last much longer.  I’d be much more inclined to use your strength in power to acquire one or two solid mid-rotation starters plus a serviceable closer who’s job, unlike Embree’s, is secure.  Even though it can be very tempting to make a blockbuster trade, sometimes you’re better off working two or three smaller scale deals.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

What’s the Right Package for Holliday?

Hey guys,

Made this deal in a 10-team, weekly, head-to-head keeper: I gave up Hafner, Chris Young (pitcher) and Brett Myers and got back Matt Holliday.  Did I overpay?  There were 2 objections to the trade, but the deal still went through.  My team is out of it for the year and I’m looking to rebuild.  Holliday seems like a sure-fire first or second rounder next year.

Love the show.  The play-by-play All-Star game was a great idea!

Thanks again,
Tim from Madison

Tim,

I hate to say it…you definitely overpaid here!  There’s no doubt that Matt Holliday is a great keeper.  But is he worth a big bat, a top of the line pitcher, AND a guy in Myers who, once healthy, should be a solid option either as a closer or a starter?  I would’ve begun by offering Hafner plus a mid-rotation starting pitcher for Holliday.  If the deal were rejected, I might have slightly upgraded the pitcher, but that’s about it.  There’s no need to include a third player.  And giving up Chris Young is too much.  Heading into this season, Holliday was roughly equal in value to Hafner.  Even though that’s no longer the case, expect a big second half from Hafner, one that will place him no later than the middle of the third round in drafts next spring.  I would like this trade a lot more if your league attached values to keepers and Hafner’s price was higher than Holliday’s.  Otherwise, I think you could’ve done a lot better.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com 

D-Rays’ Pena a Great Trade Chip

Hey guys, love the show.  It’s the best source of fantasy info hands down.  Question…I need to fill 2 utility spots.  Who should I start between Chipper Jones, Chris Duncan, Pat Burrell, Carlos Pena, and Byrnes?  Thanks, Brian from Staten Island

Brian,

I’d go with Jones and Byrnes the majority of the time.  Chipper’s an established star who’s enjoying his best season in years, hitting well over .300 with plenty of power.  Byrnes likely won’t maintain his .311 average, but 14 homers to go along with 22 steals midway through July is hard to ignore.  You have a ton of depth here, which is why I suggest making a trade.  Pena has both the most current value and the most future risk among the other three guys.  Look to trade him!  If for some reason you cannot pull off a trade, try working Duncan, Burrell, and Pena into your lineup either on Mondays and Thursdays or based on the matchup.  Byrnes has been terrible versus lefties this year while Duncan and Pena also struggle mightily (or don’t even play in Duncan’s case) when they face southpaws.  But the best option is to trade.  All this lineup juggling can be awfully frustrating!

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com   

Bailing on Tejada

I traded Miguel Tejada and received Roger Clemens.  I have Tulowitzki and Peralta already.  I know trading a bat for a pitcher is not encouraged on the 411, but I feel that Tejada’s wrist is going to give him major problems the rest of the year.  What do you guys think?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Schulyer from the Hudson Valley

Schulyer,

Since you’ve got Peralta and Tulowitzki, trading Tejada isn’t a terrible move.  That being said, I wouldn’t have made this particular deal.  Is a 44 year old Roger Clemens coming off a start where he looked every bit his age really a guy worth targeting?  The latest news out of Baltimore is that Miggy’s progressing well in his rehab.  And it’s not like Tejada’s been injury plagued throughout his career. Prior to this DL stint, the last time he missed a single game was in 2000!  Looking to deal Tejada now before his situation potentially gets worse is fine, but I can just as easily see him return to form once he comes back.  So why not aim for younger pitchers with a bit more upside, like a Chris Young or a Josh Beckett or even a Kelvim Escobar.  I’m just not convinced that Clemens is a difference maker.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

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