The unreads keep coming…

Hey Guys,

In my 5X5, 11 team mixed league I need K’s and a starting catcher. I have been offered Cole Hamels and Chris Snyder for Adam Dunn and JR Towles. What do you think?

Fred in Vermont

Hey Fred,

As long as you have some other home run guys besides Dunn, I like this deal a lot.  Hamels was terrible in his last couple of starts, giving up a combined 15 hits and 13 runs over 9 2/3 innings.  These two outings likely caused your fellow owner to panic, and you should take advantage.  Hamels can provide ace-level production from here on out, boasting great strikeout numbers while not walking many.  Pitching behind the dangerous Phillies lineup certainly doesn’t hurt, as he’ll be given every opportunity to pick up the W’s.  As I write this, Cole has just finished off a 3 hit shutout vs the Reds, so there you go!

Dunn is about as consistent as they come…in one category.  He’s clubbed at least 40 homers in four straight seasons and is well on his way (15 HR in 57 games) to extending that streak to five.  The problem with Dunn is that he hinders you in average almost as much as he helps you in homers.  You’d take the 40 HRs if they went along with a .264 average (like they did last year), but the .234 mark he posted in 2006 is a category killer.  And it’s pretty much impossible to predict which one of these two seasons you’re going to get.  Dunn has substantial fantasy value, but he’s a far cry from the elite at his position while Hamels fits that bill.

As for the catcher swap, I think you’re getting the better end of the trade.  Towles might have more upside than Snyder, but for this season, I’ll take Snyder, who’s shown the ability to hit for power while not hurting you much in average.  Towles has been a disaster at the plate this year.  Coming off an .094 month of May, his high-level prospect status hints that a rebound is likely.  But rather than wait for this, it’s probably wiser to cut your losses sooner rather than later.

Overall, this is a great trade, one that fills two needs while allowing you to exchange a one-dimensional player for a guy who can single-handedly enhance the makeup of your pitching staff.

Zach Steinhorn         

                                                                                                                 

Hey Gents,

I know its been said before but, what’s up with Erik Bedard?  Can we expect any consistency from this guy at any point this season, and if we can what are the odds that its consistently good?

Dan in DE

Hey Dan,

It is certainly a worthy question, considering the lofty standard Bedard set with his fabulous 2007 season (13-5, 3.16 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 221 Ks in 182 innings).

Bedard hit the disabled list in April with left hip inflammation, but he has struggled since coming off the DL. He gave up six earned runs and nine earned runs in two of three starts in mid-late May and his most recent outing – four earned runs allowed on seven hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings – is probably leaving his fantasy owners with the suspicion that he is either still injured or that his 2007 season was deceptive. However, take a closer look at some stats this season, along with his past month-to-month splits.

Bedard has posted 10/1 and 8/3 K/BB rates in two of his last four starts. The outing in which he posted the 8/3 rate was in a masterful seven inning, two-hit shutout win against Boston on May 28. Check out the lefty’s past splits as well. He started off terribly last season with a 6.09 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in April before essentially shutting down hitters for the next four months (2.49 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 179 strikeouts in 148 innings). He performed brilliantly in May, but he was still exceptional in June through August before an oblique injury prematurely ended his season. Remember that dominant four-start run from July 7-25 in which he posted a 0.62 ERA and 0.66 WHIP with a 41/7 K/BB rate in 29 innings?

In 2006, Bedard put up a 5.69 ERA and 1.68 WHIP with 36 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings in the first two months before rattling off a 2.31 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 74 Ks in 70 innings in June and July.

He hasn’t suddenly lost the ability to dominate opponents. The talent is still there. He may be suffering from a bit of bad luck, as his 7.83 K/9 rate is in line with most of his career (though much smaller than last year’s ridiculous 10.9 K/9 ratio). He is throwing 16.8 pitches per inning, a tad under his career average of 17.3 and he is giving up the highest percentage of fly balls in his career (43.4 percent).

All in all, Bedard still has great ability, his home park (Safeco Field) is one of the friendliest to pitchers and he has a track record of heating up during the summer. Since you probably can’t get full trade value for Bedard, due to his poor peripherals, it’s best to hold onto him and ride it out. He will run into a hot streak at some point in the summer and you’ll want him – and his extraordinary strikeout ability – on your team when it happens.

Kyle Stack

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