June 2008

Even more unreads

5×5 12 team vanilla non-keeper

I need a bat. I’m strong in pitching, I have Haren, Wang, Marcum, Guthrie, Greg Smith, Kershaw and Chris Young on the DL,

I have been offered Morneau and Ibanez for Haren and Damon.  Is this too much?

Thank you,

Thos in CA

Hey Thos,

No, I think this is a pretty fair trade.  If you need hitting, it’s definitely one worth doing.  Power-wise, Morneau’s been a little disappointing, and he had a terrible second half to last year (.243-7-37).  But he’s gone over the 30 HR mark in two straight seasons and should knock in his fair share, hitting in a lineup that surprisingly ranks 11th in the majors in runs scored.  As much as I like Haren as a low-end ace, he was taken a couple of rounds after Morneau in most drafts this spring, and I’ll always give the edge to the hitter when comparing players’ values.  Haren’s home ballpark along with his tendency to give up the long ball also worries me, and as the weather heats up in the desert, this combination will only become scarier.  He’ll go on to have a very good year, but let’s not forget the 4.15 ERA and 1.50 WHIP he posted after the All-Star break last season.  Looking at the outfielders, Ibanez and Damon are fairly comparable, with Raul giving you more HR and RBI production and Damon offering the runs and steals.  You might want to pick up a few more starting pitchers to fill out the back end of your rotation, as I’m not sold on Greg Smith just yet.  But in a standard 12 teamer, there should be plenty of decent waiver wire options.

Zach Steinhorn  

Hi guys, love the show.
I wanted your opinion on these two trades I pulled off in my 16 team standard 5×5 roto.
I gave BJ Upton, Pat Burrell, and Hey-Zeus Flores and got Russell Martin, Robinson Cano, Rick Ankiel, and Andre Ethier.
I then flipped Andre Ethier and Howie Kendrick for Vladdy Guerrero.
I won this league last year and this year I’m languishing in 9th due to Upton and Rios hitting like little girls, so I felt I needed to improve my offense overall (doing ok in steals, so Upton didn’t have a ton of value for me).
Do you think I helped my team with these trades?


Hey Nelson,

I always think of The Simpsons when I see that name. Anyway, let’s break down your trade position-by-position:


You don’t need me to tell you that Russell Martin (.307 AVG, .420 OBP, 28 runs, 23 RBIs, four SBs) is a better option than Hey-Zeus Flores a.k.a. Jesus Flores (.333 AVG, 16 RBIs but in just 75 at-bats). Sure, Flores has good-looking numbers, but the guy just doesn’t play very often. He hit .244 with 25 RBIs in 180 at-bats last season, so his reputation is nearly nonexistent. Martin is probably the best fantasy catcher in the game, now that Victor Martinez suddenly has found it difficult to hit even one long ball. Martin batted .293 with 19 homers, 87 RBIs and 21 steals last season. He may not be able to match the steals, but the other numbers are all attainable, along with about 12-15 steals. Good job there.

Second base

You gave up B.J. Upton and Howie Kendrick and got Robinson Cano. I’ll still include Upton here, since he is eligible for this year. Nelson, if this is a single year league, then I can see parting with Upton, but if it’s a keeper, you might regret this trade. You say Upton is hitting like “a little girl,” but he is sporting very manly numbers: .295 AVG, .399 OBP, a downright brawny – or as fellow MLB.com fantasy writer Dave Feldman would say, “Brauny” – .823 OPS, 34 RBIs and 18 steals. Yes, he has only three home runs, but the 16 doubles this season – and 24 home runs last season – show that the 23-year-old has power. I don’t mind you getting rid of Howie Kendrick since he seems to be one of those frustrating players whose injury-raddled body prevents him from tapping the bottomless well of potential that exists within it. He is batting .379 in 58 at-bats this year, with a ridiculous .534 slugging percentage, but a larger sample size would probably see those numbers much lower than they are now. I like the Cano addition. The guy just loves the summer. He has hit .334 for his career after the All-Star break vs. a .295 average before the mid-summer hiatus. I would rather have Cano, in that powerful Yankees lineup, than Kendrick. However, Upton is potentially the best player out of all the players in your two trades, so losing his statistical versatility could hurt.


I like the idea of buying low on Vlad. He is hitting just .249 with seven homers and 28 RBIs. Vlad has gone .300-30-100 eight times in the last 10 years. The exceptions were in 2003, when he was injured, missed 50 games and still hit .330 with 25 homers and then last season when he came three long balls shy of the vaunted .300-30-100 triumvirate. He has some knee problems right now, but that shouldn’t affect his hitting when he returns. He is a great value if you can snag him for Kendrick and Andre Ethier. That was a smart move, Nelson.

Ankiel is batting .261 with a .803 OPS, eight home runs and 25 RBIs. He showed some major power production last season (11 homers in 172 at-bats) and I don’t think that was a fluke. He has a great swing and at 29 years old, he still can produce at a high level for the next few years.
You gave up Pat Burrell, who is cruising this season to the tune of 14 home runs and 40 RBIs with a .277 AVG and .993 OPS. However, Vlad will be an upgrade if he can settle down and hit the way he has the past few seasons. Vlad hit just one more home run than Pat from 2005-07 (92 to 91) but he beat Burrell in RBIs (349 to 309), OPS (.947 to .895) and AVG (.324 to .266). If your league uses AVG instead of OPS, then Vlad instead of Pat is a great upgrade.

So, Nelson, you clearly upgraded at catcher, may have slipped at second base (if you were using Upton there), and upgraded in the outfield for this year, if you had planned on using Upton at second base the whole time. I’ll say that the first trade is fairly equal and the second trade should be in your favor.

Cano and Vlad are great buy-low options and the added consistent hitting you will receive from Martin could help propel you up the standings. Good deals!

Kyle Stack


More fun with unreads (6/6)

 Hi folks, unfortuantely my schedule is a little tight today so I only have enough time for two, but here ya go. Also, quick thoughts on PoD for tonight for those of you in ESPN leagues… pitch Webb (duh!), Verlander, Rasner, F.Hernandez, Colon, Marcum, Cueto, Hudson, Lincecum, Bergmann, Kazmir, Padilla (ride the Padilla Flotilla!), Vazquez, Sheets, Lackey (see below), J.Santana, Wolf (only at home) and Kuroda. Ditch on the rest.

Have a great weekend!





1. From Zachary from Long Island:


Hey Guys,


I want to know what you think of this trade.


I Received:

Michael Young

Cody Ross

Matt Holliday

Felix Hernandez


I Traded:

Yunel Escobar

Ryan Church

Carl Crawford

Matt Cain


Also what should I do with Justin Verlander. His past few starts have been better but the drop in K’s concerns me.


Cory: Zach, I think you got a good return here. In simple math terms:


Young > Escobar

Ross < Church

Holliday > Crawford (Holliday is on rehab this weekend)

Hernandez > Cain


Young is no superstar but Escobar has cooled off some lately so their respective track records suggest you got an upgrade there, and while gving up the speed of Crawford will hurt, you should get big gains in all other categories from Holliday. Church is certainly more valuable than Ross, that gap should close as the season progresses. Finally, Felix and Cain are both somewhat disappointing but if I had to gamble on one, it would be Felix. Even if he’s no longer the King but only some Duke or whatever.


As far as Verlander, his inability to reclaim his strikeout rate is indeed a big concern, but the AVG against him is consistent with recent seasons, so he’s still a tough at-bat. His overall stats should continue to improve but it already appears to be too late for him to match his numbers from last season or even ’06.


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2. From Jake Stern


Hey guys (love your show),

I’m in a 11 team mixed league with R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, SLG% X W, SV, K, ERA, WHIP, K/9 as stats. I have a bunch of guys in the outfield (Swisher, Vlad, Milton Bradley, Hunter Pence, Francouer, and Joey Votto), but I’m weak in starting pitching. All I have is Burnett,Lackey.jpg Wainwright, Justin Masterson, Homer Bailey (the latter two I’ve just picked up), with Peavy on the DL. Do you think a Vlad for John Lackey trade would benefit me, or, if not, what outfielder should I trade and what pitchers should I target. Thanks.


Cory: Our general rule is to never trade a bat for an arm, and I’m a huge Vladdy fan, but this is a good risk. You don’t have great outfield depth, and Vlad could go nuclear at any time, but his advancing age, increasing injury risk and declining speed make his perceived value much greater than his actual value at this stage of the game. And while Vlad would still go ahead of Lackey on draft day, Lackey is a well-established top-shelf starter, who would probably qualify as a bottom-tier #1 in an 11-team league such as this. Plus, your specific categories – particularly K/9 and OBP – serve to add value to Lackey and reduce some from Vlad. We love us some Vladdy, but this is a good return for an aging superstar.


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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

Podcast for Today!

No live 411 today?  Don’t panic.  Both an audio and video podcast of an abbreviated segment are available on the site, as Cory and Seth Everett talk Posada, Volquez, and more.  Check it out! 

Fun with unreads (6/5)

Hey folks, since there is no show today and both Mike and Casey are busy with the draft, I’ll answer a few unread e-mails, since no e-mails are being read at all today! I’m sure Zach and crew will post a few more as well, but below are a few that were passed on to me.





1. From Tony from Long Beach:


I’m in a mafia league and am dead last thanks to a few dissapointing players. (Beltran, Swisher, Verlander to name a few) I’m starting to think about keepers and who I might like to trade to improve my keepers. My question is what do you think Ellsbury’s value will be by the end of the season? Could he be at the Crawford level? (60+ steals, 15+ HR, .285+ BA)


Cory: Crawford is an interesting comp but Ellsbury might not produce that much power;
p1jacobyellsbury.jpgIchiro is another comp although Ellsbury might provide more steals but a lower average. The two things Ellsbury has going over both of them are excellent plate discipline (28 walks vs. 23 K’s so far this year) and of course the loaded Red Sox lineup. Add in that he’s younger than either of them, and he might have an even greater upside. However, let’s temper our expectations a bit, because Ellsbury has played in fewer than 90 Major League games, and didn’t show this much power potential in the minors. If he continues at his current pace he looks like a solid second round pick or a great third rounder, but let’s see where we are in September.


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2. From Mike in Westerville, OH:


Deep 10-team AL/NL points league with emphasis on power over speed, hits over average. 


My team is in the hunt despite been killed by injuries (Hafner, Figgins, Dice-K, Doumit, Correia, ARod, Blalock, Wandy Rodriguez) and underachievement (Hafner, LaRoche, Jose Guillen, Swisher).  I’m currently starting Julio Lugo at my MI spot in place of Figgins, and he’s just killing me.  I’m also starting Adam LaRoche, Lastings Milledge, and Aubrey Huff with Blalock and Hafner on the DL.  I just traded Dice-K, Figgins, Jose Guillen and Julio Lugo for Jimmy Rollins, Kelly Johnson and Paul Konerko.  I obviously start Rollins, and b/c of position flexibility with some other guys it gives me the option to start Johnson and/or Konerko (if he turns it around) over some of my lower-end OF/CI starters. 


I’m not confident that Figgins will be able to run coming off a hammy injury, and if he doesn’t run he doesn’t help much in this league.  I’m also not too confident that Dice-K will return to previous form (I was down on him even before the injury).  Still, do you think I gave up too much?


Cory: You probably did overpay but a little, although it’s not disastrous since your league emphasises power over speed and you got a lot of it. I agree with you that Dice-K will probably suffer some in ERA when he returns, but his strikeout rate should pick up too, to offset his command problems and excellent hit rate. Figgins’ leg problems are definitely a concern, and he doesn’t offer enough of anything else to be valuable without the steals, so I don’t mind trading him. Guillen and Lugo are useful players but not difference makers in a 10-team league. On the other hand, Konerko has been hampered by a hand injury that he suffered at the end of April, but if/when he gets healthy, he’ll probably get back to his usual 30+ homer pace. Rollins has been productive since coming off the DL and Johnson is a solid all-around producer. Think of it this way: you traded Dice-K and Figgins for Rollins and Johnson, which is a pretty fair deal since you got the best player in the deal. Then you gave up Guillen and Lugo for Konerko, which isn’t great, but could pay off if Konerko gets going again. All in all you took on some risk here, but offset some as well.


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3. From Dale A. Sensenig:


6v6 Roto w/OBP & L, 10-team, 3-keeper


My pitching is as bad as Britney’s undergarment choices, or lack there of. How would you rank these pitchers and who do you like most for the rest of the season?


1. John Danks – excellent K-BB rate and solid ground ball rate makes his breakthrough look legit, although the home park is a concern.

2. Johnny Cueto – seems to be finding his form again, although he’s also in a dangerous home park. I think his stuff is good enough that the strikeouts will come back, too.

3. Brad Penny – I’m not a big fan, but he’s the most “proven” of anyone on this list and is better than he’s pitched lately, although he’s no ace in my book.

4. Jair Jurrjens – very polished, great team, great ballpark, but probably lacks the upside of some other guys on this list.

5. Justin Duchscherer – exceptional so far, great home ballpark, but has to be considered a major injury and/or fatigue risk.

6. Daniel Cabrera – just when I think he’s broken through, he’ll lay a few eggs. But he’s been more consistent than ever so far this year, and keeping the walks down.

7. Jonathon Sanchez – great strikeout ability, great home ballpark, questionable command, lousy team.

8. Gavin Floyd – great stuff, mixed bag as far as results due to middling command. Home ballpark is scary.

9. Darrel Rasner – doesn’t give up walks or homers, but not a dominator and has limited upside. Yankee offense should provide wins though.

10. Jesse Litsch – Rasner without the offensive support.

11. Justin Masterson – primarily because I question how many starts he’ll get this year.

12. David Price – despite his early success, I’m skeptical he’ll make a Major League impact this year.


Cory: I’ve ordered them above as I like them, with a few comments inserted after each guy.


* * *


4. From Chris in Vancouver:


Hello from the Great White North!  I have a question for ya:  5×5 vanilla 10 team roto.
I Have McCann & Ramon Hernandez as my catchers, and I have been after an upgrade for Hernandez all season.  I have been offered Russell Martin for Jay Bruce & Hernandez.  Do you do this deal?  I am leaning toward not doing it.  Also, Pudge is on the waiver wire, as is PITS.  Would either of these guys be an upgrade over Hernandez??


Cory: I would cut Ramon Hernandez and pick up Pudge; scouts and stats a
Martin.jpggree that Hernandez is a shell of the player he was just two years ago. Pudge is no start but he’s at least semi-reliable. As far as the trade, I would strongly consider it… as great a start as Bruce has produced, Martin looks like a legit five-category producer behind the plate. The power and speed are down a little from last year, but the average is up and his excellent walk rate supports that. I wish Torre would just leave him alone in the #2 spot in the lineup, but I think he’s a budding superstar. Count the two years of track record he has over Bruce, and I’d make this deal.

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5. From Jon in Cali:


What’s the deal with J.J. Putz this year? is he a good buy low candidate right now? do you see him bouncing back?

Cory: He’s not fully healthy and the team stinks. He’ll get better as the year progresses, but don’t expect last year’s numbers again this year.


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Unreads for 6/4

Great show guys, I used to listen to the ESPN crew, but you all put them to shame in humor, and blow them out of the water with the insights.

My question: 10 team, 5×5 mixed league. What do you think of this trade:
I give up: Berkman and Lidge
I get: Teixeira, Jason Bay, Fuentes and Rich Harden
I drop Ankiel and Scherzer to make room.
I’m doing great in offense, but needed another starter – my rotation is J. Santana, AJ Burnett, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, and Clayton Kershaw. I like adding Harden, who seems to be healthy.
Do you think Berkman drops off? Teixeira is heating up, and Bay replaces Corey Hart or Hunter Pence in my outfield.
JT in Washington, DC

Hey JT,

I don’t do this trade, and here’s why.  Though I think it’s safe to predict that Berkman won’t maintain his .382 average, at least matching his 2006 career year when he went .315-45-136 is a very reasonable expectation.  After all, Berkman is a career .304 hitter and has actually been a better second half player over the last few seasons.  From 2005 through 2007, Berkman clubbed 58 homers to go along with a .299 average after the all-star break compared to a .291 average with 45 homers before the midsummer classic, in 49 more at-bats.  Now I love Teixeira, and he too has a history of getting hot in the second half.  But in light of Berkman’s torrid start, you’ve gotta give the edge to him when it comes to final season numbers.

Brad Lidge has been outstanding thus far, converting on 15 of 15 save opportunities and boasting a 0.72 ERA.  It wasn’t too long ago that Lidge was recognized as one of the elite stoppers in the league, going 71 for 79 in saves to go along with a 2.07 ERA during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.  The Phils should generate plenty of save chances, and Lidge will likely finish the year among the top 5 or 6 closers in fantasy.

While you’d clearly be giving up two of the three  best players in this deal, the three other players you’d be getting back besides Tex have significant risks attached, varying in degree.  Can Rich Harden reach the 100 innings pitched mark for the first time since 2005?  Will Brian Fuentes hold onto the closer job in Colorado, or more likely, will he be traded to a contender at some point this season and return to a setup role?  Jason Bay has gotten off to a great start, and should provide solid production this year.  But we can’t entirely dismiss last season’s struggles.

If you need another starter (and I don’t really think you do), why would you target Harden, a guy who’s shown he can’t stay healthy over an extended period of time?  If anything, Harden is a sell high guy right now.  And I don’t see Bay as that much of an upgrade over Pence or Hart, certainly not enough of an upgrade to warrant losing Lidge.

By agreeing to this trade, you’re basically taking a hit at both the first base and closer positions in order to acquire Harden.  If you can get a more reliable starting pitcher than Harden (and I’m not just talking abount talent!), I’d consider it.  Otherwise, I’ll pass.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

What’s up fellas!  You guys are the most informative fantasy show around, in any sport, without a doubt.  Trade question here.  10 team mix h2h standard points league.  I was offered Conor Jackson, John Maine, and Cueto.  I would give up Shields and Billingsley.  My staff is anchored with Dice-K, and Zambrano. I also have Myers, Snell, Kershaw, and Homer Bailey.  C. Jackson would take the place of Mike Jacobs at first base.  What do you think?

Jeff from Toledo

Hey Jeff,

I would stay pat. I like Shields and Billingsley as a pair more than Maine and Cueto. Shields has a 1.15 WHIP and a 58/17 K/BB ratio in 80 2/3 innings while Billingsley has displayed his strikeout potential with 71 Ks in 65 2/3 innings. Additionally, Billingsley has been putting it all together lately, giving up three earned runs on 15 hits in his last 27 innings over four starts. His ERA has decreased to 3.29 in the process.

Maine’s ERA has climbed from 2.81 to 3.66 in his last three starts and his second half numbers from last season (5.53 ERA and 1.45 WHIP) scare me a bit. Johnny Cueto isn’t striking out batters at a high rate (nine in his last 17 innings) and I don’t like that his home park – Great American Ballpark – is one of the best hitter’s parks in the Majors. Aaron Harang might be able to thrive there, but Cueto, like fellow rookie Edinson Volquez, could be in for trouble as the weather warms and the innings pile up.

Another reason I think you should nullify this trade is that Jacobs’ home runs and RBIs are good enough to keep him in front of Jackson. Mike Jacobs and his 13 home runs and 33 RBIs are legit. He averaged 19 homers the last two seasons, so the home run power has been there. Now that he is playing every day, he could realistically put up close to 30 jacks.

Conor Jackson was outstanding in April, hitting .348 with 25 RBIs, but he may have peaked then. He hit .291 and .284 the last two seasons while averaging 15 home runs. He does play in an outstanding hitter’s park, but I don’t think he is a huge upgrade over Jacobs, unless you highly value batting average.

Overall, I think Shields/Billingsley has a higher value over Maine/Cueto than does Jackson over Jacobs. If you could deal just one of your starters for Jackson (possibly Brett Myers if he posts a couple strong outings), then that might be the best way for you to replace Jacobs, if that is truly your motivation.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com


Unread for 6/3

Hi Guys.  Dear God, I need your assistance with this one.

I have a logjam at OF in a ten team mixed H2H keeper league.  I start Ichiro, McLouth, Spilborghs, and Pierre (utility spot) Also have Murphy and Hermida on my bench.  I just traded Hermida for Carlos Gomez as of today, yet another outfielder, so I am still in trouble.  I have been scouting C. Gonzales all season and am now about to grab him, but whom should I let go? Also, is giving James Loney for Hafner a great potential steal for me?

Tucson, AZ

Hey Malik,

Well, Ichiro and McLouth will obviously stay. Pierre and Gomez are great stolen base guys. The Rockies outfield is a mess, but Hawpe is slated to return soon. Holliday remains out, though, which should mean continued playing time for Spilborghs, who is hitting .310 with a .407 on-base percentage and 23 RBIs. David Murphy is batting .326 with seven doubles, two home runs and 15 RBIs since May 13, but he has just one walk – along with one intentional walk – in 87 plate appearances! Yikes. However, he is hitting the ball well and plays in a hitter-friendly park, Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. He has to stay on your team.

If you’re thinking long-term, then I would replace Gomez with Gonzalez. Gomez has great speed, but what good does it do you if he can’t reach base? The center fielder has a .311 on-base percentage despite batting .280. My goodness, even Juan Pierre is reaching base more often (.347) and Pierre is a more efficient base stealer (21 steals in 25 attempts vs. Gomez’s 17 steals in 23 attempts). Plus, Ichiro and McLouth are there to accumulate more stolen bags for you, so it looks like Gomez is expendable.

As for Loney/Hafner, I would stick with Loney. He’s not your prototypical slugging first baseman (10 doubles, five home runs), so it would be wonderful if he could at least improve his .280 average to offset the lack of power production at a typically powerful position. However, just take a look at his September last year (.382 AVG, 1.138 OPS, nine homers, 32 RBIs) to remind yourself that he dose have some pop in his bat. I’d rather keep him around to see if he gets hot in the second half rather than gamble on the 30-year-old Hafner to repeat numbers from his prime.

Kyle Stack, MLB.com

Updated Feud Standings + Roundtable

Here’s the updated fantasy feud standings, through Week 9:


And here’s the latest fantasy roundtable where our experts talk about which prospects will soon make a substantial fantasy impact:


Unreads for 6/2

Hey guys love the show, have a quick trade question for you.

12 team 5×5  vanilla non-keeper league.

I need help with my pitching rotation and an owner in my league wants Teixeira who I currently have at the CI position . I would trade Teixeira and get back Kazmir and Billingsley. I can move Braun from outfield to CI and replace him with Hawpe when he comes off the DL. What do you think?


Hey Chris,

I’d hate to give up Mark Teixeira.  Heading into 2008, I thought he’d have a monster season, in the neighborhood of .300-40-120.  A .309-16-48 second half to 2007 combined with the fact that this year would be a contract year were the main reasons for my optimism.  Despite somewhat of a slow start, Tex has been on fire of late, going  9 for 27 with 3 homers and 13 RBI over his past seven games.  And the best may be yet to come, as he’s a notorious slow starter.  Without knowing more about your team it’s hard to say if your offense is in good enough shape to afford the loss of Teixeira.  It’s also hard to determine the true extent of your need for pitching.  My first choice would be to keep Tex, as hitting should always be given priority over pitching.  Kazmir and Billingsley, although extremely talented, both have their question marks.  Can Kazmir finish off the season without making another trip to the DL?  Can Billingsley take the next step towards ace status by cutting down on the walks?  (He’s issued 34 free passes in 65 2/3 innings)  That said, this trade is a totally legit one.  To go along with the question marks, Kazmir and Billingsley also have a ton of upside and can be flat out dominant at times.  Carefully look over your roster one more time to objectively determine whether you can get by with your current pitching staff.  If you’re fully convinced that the answer is “no”, go ahead and make the trade.

Zach Steinhorn, MLB.com

Hey guys…the show rules…dunno how I got my FLB fix before the 411. Here’s the question:

10 team, 5×5, 5 keeper league. I’m in 1st right now. 1st or 2nd in all offensive cats. 1st – 3rd in all pitching stats.

I’m thinking about offering the following deal to the last place team in the league:
I send: J. Bruce, M. Kemp and Eva(n) Longoria I get: J. Reyes and B. Sheets

I am asking for too much?


Hey K.C.D,

Classic over-managing move here. You’re in first place, so why do you feel the need to shake things up? And why in the world would you want to give up three very keeper-worthy players for one keeper (Reyes) and another whose injury history and position make him much less desirable when given only five keeper options?

Reyes has fantastic speed, as evidenced by his 18 steals in 23 attempts this year, not to mention the 202 bags he swiped from 2005-07. Of course, he was caught stealing 53 times in that span, so he isn’t the most successful base stealer in the game; he just runs so much that he inevitably accrues a high amount of steals. Anyway, aside from the steals, Reyes isn’t valuable enough to sacrifice your three-headed monster of young studs. Reyes scores plenty of runs (36 this year), but the .284 hitter is batting right in line with his career average and he won’t drive in many runs batting from the leadoff spot.

Speaking of fantastic, Sheets looks that way seemingly every time he takes the mound, but how many times can you realistically expect him to step onto the rubber? The guy just can’t stay healthy. He has started 22, 17 and 24 games the past three seasons, and though he has already made 11 starts this year – with an exceptional 2.71 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 60/13 K/BB ratio in 76 1/3 innings – I wouldn’t be comfortable trading three very good young players with Sheets representing half of the return. The potential for injury is just too great.

Bruce, well, I love the guy. I have him on one of my main teams and have been rewarded with a .591 average (13-for-22), 10 runs, two long balls, six RBIs, two steals and a ******** 1.690 OPS. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he probably won’t maintain that AVG and OPS, but it is entirely plausible for him to finish with a .300 AVG, 20 homers, 70 RBIs and an OPS around .900. And he’s just 21 years old.

Kemp took 39 fewer games this season to match his 10 steals from last year and his power potential makes him a highly sought-after commodity. He can easily be an annual 20/20 guy with an outside chance at 30/30 numbers.

Longoria, despite sometimes being confused as an NBA player’s wife, will probably be an annual first-round pick in two years, maybe even one year. The third baseman has already socked seven home runs and driven in 28 runs, and, even though third base is a deep position, Longoria will be the cream-of-the-crop in a very short time.

So, K.C.D, no, you are not asking for too much. In fact, I wouldn’t make this trade. Look at it this way: Bruce, Longoria and Kemp (can I just call them BLK?) can each contribute invaluably to all five offensive categories in your league, with the possible exception of Longoria with steals. Reyes is fantastic in two categories – steals and runs – but just slightly above-average in three others (HRs, RBIs, AVG). Sheets is a fine contributor but I don’t advise mortgaging BLK on the chance that he might remain healthy. Build for the future with BLK, don’t be so kind to last-place teams and good luck with your immediate success!

Kyle Stack, MLB.com



POD for Monday June 2nd

reminder that there is no show on Thursday and Friday due to the draft, but that Schwartz and Zach will be blogging POD , Unreads etc.. for those two days from 2-3pm ET.


I’ll be in on Monday and then done for the week to go do my real job, but I really like my fake one……Siano


Monday’s Probables


I say pitch Guthrie (really just a hard luck loser and no Big Papi most likely), Pettitte, Olsen, Laffey, Harden, Wainwright, Big Erv, Big Z, sure why not on Derek Lowe at home vs battered Rox, and last chance on Ollie Perez , if he can’t stop the Giants he is getting cut by me in 411 no doubt.


t1_oliverperez.jpgSanchez is interesting with the Mets having to fly cross country after being the ESPN night game, I could see some sluggish bats vs Sanchez’s fireballs.


Ditch the rest even Arroyo but just because its Philly.Also I think the Doug Davis to bullpen watch is on, he needs to be effective to keep Scherzer at bay.