August 2007

Scouting Report by the Fans, for the Fans

Hi all,

Been a while since I posted here, but I figured Zack and Kid Cushing have been doing a fine job holding down the fort. The reason I’ve decided to chime in again is to let you all know about the 5th annual "Scouting Report by the Fans, for the Fans", which is hosted by noted sabermetrician Tangotiger at his web site:

The scouting report invites fans to evaluate the fielding characteristics of players on their team, determining an overall evaluation for each player based on the "wisdeom of the crowds."

For example, the results of 2006 can be found here:

Tango and I hope you will all participate in this, and if you do, take it seriously. Tango reports having to reject fewer than two percent of last year’s ballots as being "junk", so clearly there’s a big interest in the community in objectively and honestly evaluating player defense.

Check it out and cast your ballot!

Thanks and good luck to everyone in September,


Losing Patience with Bonderman

Would you drop Bonderman in a 10 team league if he gets shelled today?  His upcoming matchups are tough (vs White Sox, vs Mariners).  May have to drop him anyway?

Peter from Merced, CA


5 of Bonderman’s last 7 outings can best be described as disaster starts, as he’s followed a bad month of July (5.31 ERA 1.38 WHIP) with a terrible month of August (7.11 ERA 1.71 WHIP).  And his 4 June wins are very deceiving, as they came along with a 4.99 ERA.  I don’t think it’s far fetched to say that Bonderman’s a little overrated.  He’s never posted an ERA below 4.08 in any one season.  He’s also allowed more hits than innings pitched in the vast majority of those seasons.  But Bonderman’s positives far outweigh his negatives.  The strikeout rate is still strong, and despite 9 home runs allowed in his last 8 starts, Jeremy’s given up a respectable 21 longballs over 160 2/3 innings for the year.  Though Bonderman is clearly not the low-end fantasy ace many expected, he doesn’t belong on the waiver wire.  You likely spent too high of a draft pick on this guy to justify that kind of a move.  All you can do is bench him for now and hope for a September resurgence.

Zach Steinhorn,

Youth Movement

Hi Guys,

I love the show.  I listen to almost every podcast.  This season is pretty much over for me so I’m looking to make my team better for next year.  It’s a 10 team mixed 5 X 5 keeper league and I have the opportunity to trade Valverde for Justin Upton.  The problem is that I already have a bunch of young players that could be great someday.  I have Alex Gordon, Hunter Pence, Delmon Young, Salty, Jeremy Hermida, Adam Jones & Homer Bailey.  Can you rate these guys for me.  I only have room for 3 more on my keeper list (no $$ or round value attached).  I’m weak in the power categories this year so which of these guys are most likely to help me there?  Would you deal for Upton?


Cleveland, OH


If you’re truly out of it for this year, do the deal.  What’s the worst case scenario?  You drive yourself crazy deciding among the many solid keeper options you’ve got here?   So what!  At least you’ll have plenty of choices.  And August isn’t the time to worry about who to keep.  There’s an entire offseason for that.  For now, you should try to assemble the best possible group.  If I had to rank them taking into account position scarcity and your need for power, I’d say Pence, Salty, Young, Gordon, Hermida, Bailey, Jones.  But a lot can change before next February.  Hermida’s definitely a guy worth monitoring, as he’s hit above .330 in each of the last two months.  The reason why I didn’t rate him higher is because he doesn’t have quite the home run upside of a Pence, a Young, or a Gordon.  Make the Upton trade.  It can only help.

Zach Steinhorn,      

Backstop Bounty

Hey guys, my name is Jeremy from Rhode Island.  I currently have three catchers on my roster, one being on the bench.  I would like to know which two catchers I should keep.  Varitek, Pudge, and Mauer.  I know I need to keep Mauer, but out of Varitek and Pudge?  Thanks.


Although this is a nice problem to have, the decision between Varitek and Pudge is a tough one.  Their counting stats are roughly the same.  They both hit in strong lineups.  And they’re both 35 years old.  I’d take Pudge over Varitek due to his higher average and lower strikeout rate.  That said, I would hate to drop one of these guys.  If by any chance your league’s trading deadline hasn’t passed, definitely try to work a deal so that you can get at least something back.  Otherwise, you’re pretty much out of luck.  The best advice I can give is to check the lineups prior to game start times to see if either player is resting.  It’s very common for catchers to get some days off, especially as the season winds down.  In a standard 12 teamer that starts two catchers, cutting Varitek should only be a last resort.

Zach Steinhorn,   

O’s Cabrera a Work In Progress

How do you guys feel about Daniel Cabrera?  I love his Ks and his potential, but I usually strive for consistency.



There’s no denying Cabrera has electric stuff, but consistent he is not!  The walks are still a major problem, and in Cabrera’s four big league seasons, his walk rate hasn’t gotten much better.  This year, Daniel’s actually posting the best BB/9 rate of his career.  That’s not saying much considering it’s 4.7!  As long as this trend continues, I’d stay away from Cabrera for fantasy purposes.  He remains nothing more than a speculative late round draft pick.  He may eventually put it all together, but let another owner take that gamble.  Get your strikeouts from someone else.  For the time being, banking on Cabrera isn’t worth it.

Zach Steinhorn,   

Ankiel’s Finally Under Control

Hey guys,

What do you think of Ryan Spilborghs?  I dropped him to claim Ankiel off waivers, and am now thinking of doing the reverse. Should I be concerned about LaRussa’s benching of Ankiel on occasion, or should I consider him a regular player and thus a good source of home runs?

Seth from Queens


Spilborghs and Ankiel are so comparable that they have almost the same number of at bats since Ankiel’s debut on August 9th  (27 for Ankiel, 21 for Spilborghs).  Neither of these guys should be considered regulars, but I think Ankiel will be the more valuable player over the remainder of the season.  Simply put, Ankiel has less competition.  While Spilborghs must contend with Brad Hawpe always being in the lineup vs righties, Ankiel joins Juan Encarnacion and Ryan Ludwick in the Cardinals’ right field rotation.  Ludwick isn’t much of a factor since he also fills in for Chris Duncan in left when the team faces southpaws.  And while Encarnacion is established, LaRussa recently met with Juan to tell him that he’ll no longer play every day.  There’s also the chance Ankiel plays left field when Duncan sits.  Thanks to Matt Holliday, who’s ehhh…good, the same opportunity doesn’t exist for Spilborghs.  32 homers in 102 AAA games this season show that Ankiel’s power is legit.  Though I like Spilborghs as a real life player, in fantasy, it’s all about the at bats, which is why I’d go with Ankiel.

Zach Steinhorn,   

Tale of Two Months for Duncan

Rank these 1B’s the rest of the way: Sexson, C. Duncan, Swisher                                                                                                                                                                                 


Brian from Wisconsin


As long as you can stomach the incredibly low average, I’m going with Sexson as the best of this group.  He plays every day and still puts up solid home run numbers.  This year marks the first close to full season since 1999 that Sexson has hit below .263, so you’ve gotta think he’ll improve on that .208 mark.  His .275 August average is certainly encouraging.  Next I’ll take Swisher.  It’s hard to tell whether Nick is underachieving this year or was overachieving last year.  Aside from the huge discrepancy in homers, Swisher’s 2007 and 2006 average, strikeout and walk rates, and RBI totals are very similar.  What separates Swisher from Sexson is the supporting cast.  While Sexson benefits from a solid lineup around him, Swisher has virtually no help, especially with Eric Chavez hurt.  As for Duncan, he’s having the most productive overall season among these three.  So why do I rank him last?  Check out his August totals!  After batting .348 with 6 home runs and 21 RBI in July, Chris is sporting a .162 average, ZERO homers and 1 RBI since.  Add in the fact that Duncan sits vs lefties, and you’ve got yourself a headache, especially if you’re in a weekly league.

Zach Steinhorn,    

Patterson’s Always on the Go

I’m looking at dropping Melky Cabrera and want to fill the slot with the hottest player.  Some choices would be Johnny Damon, Corey Patterson, or Josh Willingham.

Just looking for help down the stretch run.

Pete in northern Michigan


Damon can be immediately eliminated from consideration.  His numbers are the worst of this bunch and he’s not even getting regular playing time.  So now the decision is one of needs.  If you stand to gain a lot of points in steals, go for Patterson.  If you’re concentrating more on the power stats, Willingham’s the one.  Since the beginning of June, Patterson has really turned it on, batting .306 to go along with 24 stolen bases.  Even though Corey’s a streaky hitter, as long as his average doesn’t completely collapse, he should carry your team in steals over the final month and a half.  Willingham’s another streaky hitter, but his power cannot be ignored.  26 home runs last year followed by 18 homers so far this season prove that Willingham is a very capable third or fourth outfielder in standard mixed league play.  Either one of these guys will help, and both are an upgrade over Melky.  The final choice is yours!

Zach Steinhorn,      

Swapping Aces

Hey guys, great show.  I’m in an AL only 5×5 keeper league.  I have a chance to get Wang for Kazmir.  I have Kazmir at $17, and Wang is $10 but I will lose him at the end of the year.  We have a high WHIP (thanks to Burnett, Kazmir, Felix, etc.)  I’m in the mix for the championship and can’t decide who is the better pitcher for the rest of this year.

Scott in Houston


Not only is Kazmir the better pitcher for the rest of this season.  He’s the better keeper.  Finally healthy, the D-Rays’ ace is giving us a sampling of what to expect for years to come.  Sure the high walk rate is somewhat concerning, but what Kazmir loses to Wang in WHIP he easily makes up for in strikeouts.  And besides, if you’ve been struggling in WHIP all season, how much ground can you really make up in six weeks?  Strikeouts are a lot easier to predict and control.  Let’s also not forget that Kazmir’s ERA is over a half run lower than Wang’s.  Simply put, Kazmir has a higher fantasy ceiling than Wang.  Add in the fact that you can’t keep Wang beyond this season, and the choice is clear.  Resist the urge to chase wins!  Hold onto Kazmir.

Zach Steinhorn, 

Andruw’s Not a Lost Cause

Hey guys,
I’m in a 12-team, mixed, 6×6 with OBP and QS.  I’m in first place, have been for a while, but my lead is down to 2.5 points at the moment.  The two main areas I think I could improve upon are starting pitching and closers.  My rotation and closers are currently:
C. James
Chad Cordero

My question: Should I trade Andruw Jones or Adam Dunn for either Rich Hill or Jeff Francis?

Dan Cleary
Nashville, TN

You could definitely use another starting pitcher, as Bonser, Bush, and Bannister are currently nothing more than pitch or ditch guys.  I wouldn’t trade Adam Dunn for Hill or Francis.  His consistent power production to go along with a solid OBP are way too valuable.  As for Andruw Jones, the decision becomes tougher.  About three-quarters into the season, Jones is hitting just .214.  But the power numbers (21 HR  74 RBI) are still there.  Even though his strikeout rate is higher than usual, Andruw is roughly on pace to match his 2004 strikeout total of 147.  And in that year he batted .261.  Since starting the season looking like a Cy Young candidate, Rich Hill has been nothing special.  Take away the month of April, and he’s 3-6 with a 4.56 ERA.  That being said, I’d prefer Hill over Francis.  Any pitcher who gives up more hits than innings pitched cannot be trusted.  If you’re deep in the outfield, swapping Jones for Hill isn’t a bad idea.  Another option would be to deal Dunn for an ace or #2 type starter.  Can Dunn get you Justin Verlander?  Or Kelvim Escobar?  Now that would be a nice trade!

Zach Steinhorn,