Unreads for 4/29

Hi Guys,

Hopefully Casey has completed his civic duty greasing the gears of the wheels of justice.

An impatient owner in my 12-team 6×6 non-keeper league (OPS and holds extra categories) cut Carlos Pena.

I’m falling behind in my power numbers:  should I cut Konerko and grab Pena?  Which has better power prospects from here to the end of the season?  (This is for my DH slot…I’ve got Teixeira slotted in at 1B, and this league doesn’t play a CI).

Brad from Cupertino

Hey Brad,

I’d stick with Konerko.  Although it’s tempting to snatch a guy from the wire who’s coming off a 46 home run season, let’s remember that before 2007 Pena was barely worth a roster spot on a major league team, let alone your fantasy team.  Now give the guy credit.  He obviously figured something out.  You don’t hit that many homers and drive in that many runs by accident.  But when deciding whether to make these kinds of moves, I’ll always lean on the safe side.  Konerko’s hit at least 31 homers in each of the last four seasons, including two 40 HR years.  He’s on pace (5 HR  19 RBI so far) for yet another 30-100 campaign.  With the White Sox first baseman, you know what you’re gonna get.  While Pena’s early power numbers (6 HR  13 RBI) are also solid, he’s hitting .200 and has struck out an awfully high 31 times in 80 AB’s, compared to Konerko’s 16 K’s in 83 AB’s.  It’s entirely possible that Pena posts the higher home run total, but the odds of him duplicating last year’s numbers are incredibly slim given the track record.  Pena offers slightly more upside, but this upside isn’t enough to overcome the risk.  I might consider picking up Pena for someone else besides Konerko and shopping one of the two for an upgrade at another position.  But if you’re asking me who I’d rather have from this point on, it would be the consistent, underappreciated Konerko.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com


I currently have the number one waiver spot in my league and wanted to hear your thoughts on using my spot on Scherzer. Originally I planned on using it on Kershaw but now that Scherzer has been called up I am having second thoughts. Considering ability, date of call up, and playing time, who should I use my waiver priority on? Thanks for your help it is appreciated.

Josh, NYC

Hey Josh,

You might as well use it on the guy who is already in the Majors. Scherzer’s 38/3 K/BB ratio in 23 innings this season for Triple-A Tucson is making strikeout-needy fantasy owners salivate. His role on the D-backs is a bit more speculative than Kershaw’s role on the Dodgers. Kershaw is thought of as a starter, plain and simple.

Scherzer could become the fourth or fifth starter, could stick as a middle reliever for awhile or he could become the closer if Brandon Lyon, and then Chad Qualls, struggle.

These guys both have great long-term potential. Right now, I like Scherzer. Kershaw might have a more pitcher-friendly home park in Dodger Stadium, but Scherzer – if he jumps into the rotation – has a better offense with better pitching in front of him. He’ll have less of a spotlight on him in Arizona than Kershaw will in Los Angeles.

The fact of the matter is that Kershaw may not be called up to the Dodgers until June, possibly July. Scherzer is in Arizona now. Hopefully for your sake, you can pick up Scherzer, then watch a flurry of waiver wire activity in your league push you back up to the top waiver priority before Kershaw gets the call to the bigs.  

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Hi there, first time emailer, long time listener. 14 team Yahoo league 6×6 with holds and walks as extra categories. I’ve been offered Carlos Lee for Edinson Volquez. My starting pitching is quite deep but I have Burrell, Markakis and Dunn already in the outfield and Jeter at utility. No, it is not an 8 team league I just had a good draft! Seems like a great deal if Lee is going to hit – is there anything that should concern me or would you make this trade ten times out of ten.

Great show and great channel – sorry for the loss of Marzano. You all brighten my commute to work every day on your podcasts, so keep doing what you all do so well.

Thanks – David in England

Hey David,

Not sure I totally agree with your logic in terms of this trade being a total no-brainer. Granted, Lee is a fantasy stud, as his 32 jacks and 119 RBIs last season ranked among the top power numbers in the game. He’s struggling average-wise a bit this season (just .260 in 100 at-bats), but he’s right where he should be in terms of power production. That said, your outfield seems very solid with Burrell, Markakis and Dunn, and Jeter gives you a consistent bat at your utility slot. Sure, Lee would be an upgrade over a couple of those guys, but you’ve got plenty of pop without him as it stands now. Quality young starters are as rare in fantasy as they are in the bigs, so it just doesn’t seem worth it to me to give up Volquez here. Statistically, he’s a Top 5 pitcher in the Majors right now, and he doesn’t seem to be letting up much. It’s possible that he’ll fade and you’ll be kicking yourself for not having sold him at peak value, but my gut tells me he’s here to stay. Stifle the urge to snatch a big-name slugger and pat yourself on the back for having the foresight to grab Volquez early.

Corey Gottlieb, MLB.com





Respectfully to my sorta namesake Corey, I gotta go with Tom here. ALWAYS trade the SP with 22 career starts for the 2nd round bat who is a gold-key lock to go 280/30/110/10 if not more.
Think about it this way. The only SP’s to go ahead of Carlos Lee in drafts this year were Johan Santana and Jake Peavy. You’re not putting Volquez in a class with those guys just yet, not even close.

Chalk me up in agreement that the Volquez for Carlos Lee trade is a no-brainer!

Think of it this way – yes, the OF and utility spots are already solid…but acquiring Lee means that one of those can then be traded for another pitcher if needed – one with a longer track-record than Edinson. It might be worth trying to cash in on Burrell’s hot start, if you can find any buyers.

Chris in London

Carlos Lee over Volquez any day.
Volquez has had some nice starts but the guy is a fly ball pitcher in CIN which spells trouble to me. Volquez has minor league BB/9 of 3.50 and 4.73 BB/9 in the majors.
In fact, I would consider this a vetoable trade-Carlos Lee is that much more valuable than Volquez.

With respect, I would trade Volquez straight up for lesser hitters than Carlos Lee. Volquez has fantastic stuff and potential, but neither are fantasy categories. What is a fantasy category is WHIP, and Volquez could easily see that WHIP slide up into the 1.35-1.40 range very quickly and it could hold there all season.

He has very shaky control, and even the greatest stuff in the world isn’t good enough if you can’t put it where you need to (see Daniel Cabrera 2003-present). Major league hitting is simply too good, and Volquez should be exposed in time.

I point to his unsustainable strand rate (89.2%, compared to a mean strand rate of 75% according to firstinning.com), his 5 walks per 9 innings, his historically low line drive rate (13.4% this year compared to 20%+ between 2005-2007), and the fact that he hasn’t given up a home run this year, whereas he was giving up between 1 and 1.5 per game in the past.

I don’t think Volquez is going to turn into a pumpkin, but I wouldn’t bank on him having an ERA under 4 this season. I think a 4.30 ERA with 7.5K/9 rate is valuable, but a WHIP around 1.35 just makes him a good but far from great option. Make this deal and enjoy .300 30 100 100 10+SB

You’ll be pleased to know that I have done the deal – Lee for Volquez. I explored getting Robinson Cano or Brandon Phillips instead since the guy has both. The upgrade for Uggla would have been nice but so was Uggla’s mini-breakout.

With Pat Burrell’s sudden slump I’ll be pleased to have Lee in the lineup soon – thanks for your advice 411ers.

David in England

PS Can someone tell Cory – the failure to do this deal seems to pain him since he’s mentioned a few times on air now. I’d like to give him one less thing in life to worry about😉

PPS Of course, I’m now expecting to be the guy they mention all season long when Volquez goes on to win a Cy Young and Lee tears an ACL. Ho hum.

Good trade! Volquez may indeed go on to put up big numbers all year long, but it’s not like Lee is going to let you down, either… he’s currently on pace for his usual 30 HR’s and 110 RBI’s.

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