I’m in a 14 team league and am unhappy with Casey Kotchman’s production at 1B.
Chris Davis is still available and I’m worried about someone picking him up if he has another good game. Is it a good move to drop Kotchman for Davis? I see he had 36 home runs between A/AA last year, and 31 homeruns this year between AA/AAA/MLB, but that he strikes out a ton without walking. I haven’t heard much discussion on Davis on the 411, though I’ve missed a show here and there.
Which category is more valuable to you: home runs or batting average? If it’s the former, then you indeed should go with Davis. He’s gone deep eight times in 75 at-bats (not including the Texas game in progress this afternoon), but he’s struck out 17 times. He’s not as an extreme Three True Outcomes player as, say, Jack Cust, but he’s not far off either. Kotchman is embedded as the Angels first baseman, and he should be able to raise his .279 batting average to the .296 average he hit last year. Again, if you need power, then pick up Davis. Otherwise, stick with Kotchman.
Who do you think will have more fantasy value the remainder of the year, Jon Rauch or Joel Hanrahan? I’m in a points league where saves are worth 7 pts and holds are worth 3 pts. And I’m running out of roster room.
Curtis in Texas
No doubt it’s Hanrahan. He’s struck out 65 batters in 59 2/3 innings, so it appears he has the strikeout credentials and pitch velocity to be at least a decent closer. He might not get a lot of save opportunities with the Nationals, but saves are saves. All indications right now are that Brandon Lyon will remain the D-backs’ closer. And rightly so. He’s looked shaky in his past two appearances (seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings) and he’s blown two of his last three save opps, but Lyon has been good enough for most of the season that he deserves some leeway. Rauch probably won’t get a chance to close out games unless Lyon either completely blows up or gets hurt. Right now, you have to go with the guy who has the inside track on saves, and that’s Hanrahan.
I’m an avid podcast listener, the 411 gets me home from work each and every day. In my 10-team vanilla league, another owner (and fellow 411 listener) has proposed a deal along the lines of:
He sends me A-Rod and change (two throw-ins to balance the deal)
I send him Utley, Duchscherer and Gregg.
He’s trying to make a run and wants pitching. I’m probably out of it (over 30 points out of the money), so looking toward next year, hoping to improve my keeper list (now probably Utley, Tex, C.Lee, V-Mart and Hart).
Fair deal? Too much for A-Rod, or not enough? What do you think?
If you were in contention, I’d say hold off as the difference between Utley and A-Rod is not enough to warrant the loss of Duchscherer and Gregg. But being that you’re playing for next year, I like the deal. Missing close to a month due to injury will not change A-Rod’s status as the top overall fantasy player heading into 2009, as he’s still on pace for 37 homers and 103 RBI. After an insane start to the season, Utley has cooled off dramatically, batting just .276 with 6 homers and 21 RBI since June 1st…still respectable numbers but nowhere near elite material. Although Utley, playing at a thin position, is a fantastic keeper option, A-Rod is simply better. With a keeper core of A-Rod, Tex, and Lee, you’ll be in great shape for years to come!
After Miggy Cabrera’s 5 hit night, I got a flurry of trade offers. But only one caught my attention:
Kinsler for Miggy
Do I do this? I am very tempted, because I had Kinsler 3 years ago, but didn’t keep him for Howie Kendrick (Because of you, CORY!!! Haha… Not blaming you, but I did listen to you.)
Also, I got Tex at 1B and Howie Kendrick at 2B. I am gonna need to work another deal or pick up a free agent to fill 3B, but I still like the deal.
There are Kevin Kouz, Scott Rolen, Bill Hall, Hank Blalock available on waiver wire.
I am in 12 team, 6×6 (BB and holds) head-to-head keeper league.
I am in a very tight race where top 5 team is within 4.5 games.
Thank you. Love the show.
Richard from Vancouver
I own Kinsler in all four of my leagues, and am loving it! That said, as long as you’re not in dire need for speed, I’d turn down this offer. I know it’s very tempting, but I think the best part of Cabrera’s season is yet to come while the best part of Kinsler’s year has likely already passed. Cabrera’s batting .324 with 6 home runs and 20 RBI in July. He’s a career .310 hitter, so you’ve got to figure that .289 average will go up. The other factor here is that Kendrick, though a huge disappointment overall, is really picking it up of late, holding a July average of .387. Wouldn’t you hate to give up on Kendrick, a guy you had such high hopes for coming into the season, right at the time when he finally started to live up to all that potential. I don’t have a major problem if you land up accepting this trade, being that there are decent third base options on the waiver wire. But I’d certainly think twice before making that decision.
We just had a show meeting to work on making sure your calls, IM’s and e-mails remain a vital element. Please keep e-mailing (all day and night), calling and pinging us (during the show) and we’ll get to as many as possible.
I wanted to see what everyone wants to discuss today so the Blog thread is open and we will get back to you during the day so keep checking. One interesting thing that came up via e-mail on today’s show was Liriano. I really think he is going to be a difference maker the final two months so pick him up and stash him. If you are near the top then this is good ammo, if you are middle of the pack his wins and K’s will help you climb.
Thoughts on this or anything just fire away and I’ll be back after a few getting my stuff back in order meetings.
Every year around the trading deadline there is one deal that comes out of the blue and shocks everyone, and while this may not be a blockbuster, today’s trade of Jon Rauch from the Nationals to the Diamondbacks has to be viewed as a surprise. With so many other contenders apparently needing bullpen help, the Snakes more or less snaked Rauch right out from underneath them in exchange for a so-so (in my opinion) prospect.
Regardless of what you think of Emilio Bonifacio though, the real question is, who closes now for the Nationals? My immediate guess would be Joel Hanrahan (right), thanks to his superior strikeout numbers and reasonable home run rate so far this season. I picked up Hanrahan already in the 411 listener league and will bid on him in NFBC.
However, there are plenty of other candidates — Luis Ayala, Saul Rivera, Jesus Colome, even Steve Shell — and none have pitched so well that you’re going to want to pick the wrong guy… even worse, this could even end up as the dreaded Committee. Anyway, here’s a comparison of how Nationals relievers have done so far this year.
Good luck picking the right guy, if there even is one!
Quick question – in a mixed 5×5 league I’ve been offered Percival, Crawford and Aramis Ramirez for Longoria and Peavy. I’m currently struggling on steals and saves, so superficially this would help me, but the guy offering the deal is currently leading the league and in need of an ace. In addition, this leaves me with only unproven starters (such as Lee, Ervin Santana, Scott Baker) in my rotation. I’m wondering if I should be able to sell higher on Longoria while fully expecting Peavy to have a dominant second half. What do you think?
I know it’s hard to unload Peavy, but if you think you can gain a good amount of points by adding Crawford’s steals, I say do the deal. Think of the trade as two separate exchanges. At third base, the swap of Longoria for Ramirez has to be considered at least a small upgrade, as Longoria, despite a prolonged tear (.302 AVG 12 HR 32 RBI .616 SLG since June 1st), just doesn’t have A-Ram’s track record. That’s not to say the Rays’ third baseman has no chance of outproducing Aramis from here on out, but it’s pretty safe to view this as at worst a lateral move and a great opportunity to sell high on the likely AL Rookie of the Year. The Peavy for Crawford trade would have been considered a completely balanced one back in April. But Crawford’s 2008 campaign is easily the worst of his career. Crawford’s .269 batting average is more than 20 points below his career mark of .293, and he’s on pace to end a five year streak of at least 45 stolen bases. But the fact is Crawford will still help you a great deal in speed, and is someone who can easily catch fire in the second half. Percival’s injury history is a bit concerning, but any saves you can get from him down the stretch should be seen as an added bonus. Considering the needs, this trade is definitely worthwhile.
Have a pretty big trade question…
I’m in a 12 team mixed, H2H points (no categories), keeper league (keep 4).
Russell Martin is currently the number 1 Catcher in the game, and the gap between him and the number 5 Catcher is nearly 100 points. With that said, I could really use some pitching help. I’ve been offered Webb for Martin…I think it’s a fair deal, but in a points league it’s so hard to give up Martin. Thoughts?
Thanks for the help!
Jack Burton – Chicago
As I stated in a response yesterday to a reader contemplating a Vladimir Guerrero-for-Tim Lincecum deal, I have a difficult time rationalizing trading a good hitter for a good pitcher. As you imply, Martin is the premier fantasy catcher in the big leagues. He has a realistic shot at obtaining 20/20 status as he has 10 homers and 10 steals. Understand that the everyday physicality of the catcher position could cause him to go through some slumps, but how many other catchers are dual power and stolen base threats?
Webb is fantastic, but you should ask yourself how badly you need a starter. He gave up four or more earned runs in three of four starts from June 17-July 3, although he has stemmed that cold stretch by allowing just two earned runs, along with a 12/2 K/BB ratio, in his last two outings. Webb is brilliant, obviously a pitcher whom just about any fantasy owner would love to have on his or her roster. But his effect on your pitching staff might not be as instrumental to your success as having the best fantasy catcher.
5. Captain James T. Kirk
4. My grandfather Milt Cohen
3. Ron Cey
2. Ace Frehley
1. Bill James
#4 Vin Scully
#3 Brett Favre
#2 Don Mattingly
#1 My dad
5. Lenny Dykstra
4. Pat LaFontaine
3. Dave Meggett
2. My Mother (bring on the criticism)
1. Casey Stengel
Hey all, post your questions and comments and thoughts and ideas here and I’ll drop by to post some replies after today’s show. Random thought for the day: what would James Loney‘s career look like if he had come up with the Rockies instead of the Dodgers? Forget for a moment playing time issues, just keep in mind what he’s done in Coors in his career:
The Dodgers have two more games in Coors tonight and tomorrow, then one more three-game set from September 12-14. Now’s probably a good time to start planning a trade for James Loney some time around the first week of September…
**With the new condensed show format, we’re going to try to cover more questions than we did before. The answers might be a bit shorter, but they’ll also get right to the point!
Hey guys I LOVE this show. Here’s the scoop. I’m in a 15-team keeper league and really need pitching. I have D. Lee and Pujols in my 1B and DH. Then I have A-Ram at 3B and we have no CI or MI. I am in 3rd place and making a push for 1st. I have Glaus on the bench and was thinking of trading D. Lee for Lincecum. Would this get it done? Can I trust Glaus to slide into my DH?
Thanks for all the advice!
Tommy, formerly in Japan, now in Cincinnati
Yeah, go ahead and make this deal if you can! After playing in just 115 contests for the Jays last year, Glaus has yet to miss a single game in his first season with the Cardinals. He’ll approach 30 HR and 100 RBI and should be nowhere near your bench, especially in a 15 team league. The D. Lee for Lincecum swap is a totally fair one. Derrek Lee is having his typical Derrick Lee season, hitting for average, power, and driving in his fair share of runs. But Lincecum, at the age of 24, already ranks among the top handful of starters in the majors and is clearly a fantasy ace. Factor in the added production you’ll be getting from Glaus, accept the trade without thinking twice.
In a vacuum, would you trade away the struggling-as-of-late Aramis Ramirez for Mark Teixera?
A-Ram is without question an elite fantasy third baseman, but you’re right, his recent numbers (2 for 26, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R over last 7 games) are flat out awful. But relax! Every hitter goes through slumps. That said, I’d deal Ramirez for Tex 100 times out of 100. Everyone knows about Teixeira’s history of second half brilliance (post All-Star break average of .305 BA 20 HR 65 RBI since 2005). Without knowing the rest of your roster, I say snatch up Tex now before it’s too late!
I am a huge supporter of the show.
I am in an 5×5 NL Only nine team keeper league.
I am dead last in HR and RBI
I’ve been offered Adam Dunn for Cole Hamels straight up.
My other starting pitchers are:
Would you do this deal? Your insight would be great.
Thanks for your help,
No way! First off, I don’t think your starting pitching is deep enough to afford the loss of Hamels. Despite the first half success of Wellemeyer and Campillo, I’m worried about both of these guys. Wellemeyer is already at a career high in innings (111) and has already shown signs of wearing down, posting a 1-2 record with a 7.15 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in four July starts. Campillo has made it through the 6th inning in just six of his eleven starts and is just not consistent enough to be trusted as anything more than a pitch or ditch option. As for Dunn, the 28 homers are great, but the .230 average is a category killer. Unless you play in an OBP league, Dunn’s appeal is fairly limited. I see him as a very poor man’s version of Ryan Howard, the big difference being that Howard actually has the ability to post a final season average above .250 on a consistent basis. Though I advise against it, if you’re thinking about trading Hamels, definitely hold out for a better return.
I’ve just joined a competitive NL-only, 10 team, rotisserie league. It’s a mid-season start (we drafted last Wednesday) but it’s a keeper league. I am just finding my way on the trading as I’ve never done anything but mixed leagues! I am currently doing this trade (I’m the Phillibusters):
Team Phillibusters would receive the following players:
Corpas, Manuel (P, COL)
Lewis, Fred (OF, SF)
Team BeanEaters would receive the following players:
Atkins, Garrett (3B, COL)
Is this too much to pay in an NL only league to get some steals and a closer in waiting? My only closers are Fuentes and Jon Rauch and I’ve only got Michael Bourn and Lance Berkman for steals. Could I have done better for Atkins? Thanks!
Laura in Columbus, OH
Yup, I think you can. Don’t get me wrong, acquiring speed while at the same time protecting yourself against a likely Fuentes trade is a smart move. But you don’t really have to give up a top notch bat to do this deal. In such a deep league, major run producers like Atkins are extremely hard to find, especially one who calls Coors Field home. Atkins is a legit .300 hitter with 30 HR power and has a great shot at driving in 100 runs for the third straight season. With only Fuentes and Rauch at the closer position, I agree that dealing for Corpas makes sense. But if you can’t obtain him at a lesser price and have a decent backup plan for third base, try shopping Atkins around. I bet you can do better!
I’m looking for some SB’s from a middle infielder just before our July 27th deadline. Got a guy who has offered me Kaz Matsui for Kobayashi. I’m OK in saves right now (10 team mixed league with 30 man rosters …and I have Mariano, Jenks, Kobayashi, M. Gonzalez, Corpas, Marmol, Capps). Worth a shot to do the deal for some SB’s?
Yeah, it’s worth a shot to make that trade. Astros manager Cecil Cooper just mentioned the other day that he hopes Matsui starts to steal more bases now that he’s embedded in the leadoff spot. He has 15 base swipes in 19 attempts, but he could definitely swipe 15 more now that he has the green light to run. You can afford to part with Kobayashi since Jenks is back from the DL and Marmol will take over the closer role with Kerry Wood shelved. And Corpas could provide some late-season saves in the seemingly inevitable event that Brian Fuentes is traded. It’s a worthy deal.
Hey guys, love the show. I have Ryan Zimmerman coming off the DL and I’m looking for some advice. I could drop Garza, Parra or Nolasco, or even Edwin Encarnacion. I’ve also got a trade offer on the table: I get Lincecum for Vladdy and Cristian Guzman. Tell me what you think.
Ben in London, ON
What’s up Ben,
First, with Zimmerman: I’d keep Encarnacion. Zim is coming off a shoulder injury, so he might struggle initially at the plate. Plus, you’d want some third base insurance in case Zim re-injures himself. Garza must stay, so I’d keep Nolasco over Parra. Nolasco has a 53/6 K/BB ratio in 57 2/3 innings, over his last eight starts, compared to a 34/20 K/BB ratio for Parra in his last eight outings. I’d stay at home with Vladdy and Guzman. Many others might do this deal, since Guzman’s .268 career batting average suggests he can’t sustain his current .310 average. However, I think Vlad will have a huge second half and I have a hard time rationalizing trading a good hitter for a good pitcher.
Someone might want to let Siano know Kerry Wood might be headed to the DL with blister problems… anyways, I’m proposing the following in my AL-keeper:
Baker (15th round keeper), Swisher (2nd), Eveland (15th) and Jeremy Reed (15th) for Ichiro (can’t keep), Morneau (can’t keep), Gallagher (can’t keep), and Dotel (15th). I also have Big Erv (15th) and Choo (15th) which I could replace Baker and Reed with, respectively. Am I offering enough for Ichiro/Morneau? I want to win now, the other owner is punting this season.
Hey Scotty Mac,
Baker and Eveland could make nice keepers and it feels like Swisher will start showing more consistent pop in his bat – at least more than in the two- or three-game instances he showed in June. If the other owner is punting this season, then you should use that philosophy against him as leverage. If he really cares about just obtaining keepers, it seems like your initial proposal is a good start. There is an obvious imbalance to the quality of talent in the proposal, so be prepared for his counteroffer. But I think your proposal is a good place to start. I’d hold onto Erv as long as possible, though.
Like it or don’t, but Monday marks the first day of the 411 airing at 11:00 a.m. ET as a 30-minute show. Let’s see how it goes before we render final judgment. Once the show is over, I’ll swing by here for a 30-minute mini chat session and blogfest through noon ET, so post your questions and comments and whatnot here and I will reply to as much as I can.
BTW, did anyone notice Luke Scott (right) is getting hot again? He was one of my “underrated” picks this year, and while he hasn’t been as consistent as one would like from an everyday player, his overall numbers are very solid for a 4th/5th OF, on pace for just under 30 homers although the RBI’s are a little light. Did you know he’s a gun nut, too? Enjoy the picture!
Thanks and talk to ya tomorrow!
Zach the intern — well, he’s not really an intern anymore but I still like to call him that — posted recently on the blog that “it seems that the “Home Run Derby Curse” is just a myth”. Well, as an agnostic I’m never one to just settle for blind faith, so I decided to do a little research on this subject and see if there’s any truth to that. Call it the first installment of Fantasy 411 Mythbusters.
First, I got the stats for every player who competed in the Home Run Derby from 1999 to 2007, broken out into pre-All-Star break and post-All-Star break. I probably could’ve gone back before that since the Derby dates to 1985, but this is the data I had on hand… plus, the Derby only switched to the current three-round format (or something like it) in 2000, so even the 1999 data might not be completely relevant. But I had it so I used it.
First I compared the stats for all players combined both before and after the All-Star break, and pro-rated them out to 162 games for easy comparison. The results make it clear: there IS a decline in second half stats for those players who have competed in the Derby since 1999. A few facts and figures:
* 43 of the 74 players who have competed saw their home run production decline in the second half, measured by plate appearances per home run;
* The average player hit one homer per 16.22 PA before the break, with a .995 OPS, but homered only once per 17.85 PA after the break with a .970 OPS.
* 14 players out of 74 – nearly 20 percent! – hit fewer than 10 homers after the All-Star break, although to be fair, one had only 104 at-bats and another only 38, as injuries curtailed their production.
Here are the overall numbers (pro-rated to 162 games):
SPLIT AB HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS PA/HR
Pre 593 43 130 88 113 .307 .399 .595 .995 16.22
Post 586 39 118 95 118 .300 .402 .569 .970 17.85
This makes it clear that, at least since 1999, the Curse is real, but then again, is anyone really going to complain about the difference between 43 homers and 39? That’s just greedy!
So now we know there is indeed a Curse, although it’s not a major one. But there’s a twist… while 43 of the 74 players saw a decrease in their production after the Derby, that means 31 of them — almost 42 percent — saw an increase, or no change, in their production!
So the real question becomes, how do we figure out who will be the second-half gainers and who will be the losers? If you could trade Justin Morneau ’07 (26 before the Derby, only 7 after) for David Ortiz ’05 (21 before vs. 27 after, in 43 fewer at-bats), you’d do that in a second, wouldn’t you?
To try and figure this out, I broke out the stats into three groups, based on how far each player advanced in the Derby: one round and out (including all ’99 players since they only each got one turn in an AL vs. NL format), semifinalists, and finalists. Here’s where the results get interesting, and perhaps telling:
First round only (42 players):
SPLIT AB HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS PA/HR
Pre 599 44 133 84 116 .307 .395 .599 .994 15.73
Post 586 39 119 91 123 .296 .394 .560 .954 17.66
Semifinalists (16 players):
SPLIT AB HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS PA/HR
Pre 574 42 126 104 105 .308 .417 .598 1.015 16.51
Post 562 39 115 110 104 .302 .421 .588 1.009 17.79
Finalists (16 players):
SPLIT AB HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS PA/HR
Pre 599 40 127 82 113 .308 .393 .583 .977 17.28
Post 607 39 118 88 119 .311 .401 .573 .975 18.39
Whoa, now THAT is interesting, isn’t it? Players who went out after the first round saw a considerable dip in their numbers, and while those who made it to the second round or the finals saw their HR per PA decline, their combined OPS was virtually unchanged, and those who reached the finals produced almost identical numbers in the second half. So in reality, the Derby Curse really only exists for those players who don’t get out of the first round… advancing to the semifinals, if not further, seems to excise the curse.
To be fair, we are dealing with extremely limited sample sizes, but when combined, the numbers do seem pretty clear: if you’ve got Josh Hamilton, Justin Morneau, Lance Berkman or Ryan Braun, sit tight… the second half should treat these players pretty well.
P.S. – The complete spreadsheet I used is attached here (HR Derby splits 1999-2007.xls) in case anyone wants to tinker further and provide more detail on these numbers, or even a rebuke. I didn’t consider a tremendous range of other factors that could come into play — such as the player’s physical size, career track record, home/away splits before and after the break, etc. etc. – but this is at least a jumping off point for further investigation.
Now that Harden was dealt to the Cubs, would you deal Harden and Cano for Phillips? Might be giving up a little much, but getting the best player in the deal by far.
Greg from Chicago
When you look strictly at the stats, Rich Harden is easily a top five fantasy starter. If instead of Harden, we were talking about other members of the elite class, like a Johan, Webb, or even Sabathia, I might be hesitant to pull the trigger. But considering the clear injury risk attached to Harden, I’d take this deal and run! In his four full seasons in the bigs prior to this one, Harden reached the 20 start mark just once. This season has so far been a pleasant surprise, and a huge lift to those owners who snatched him up very late in drafts.
I selected Harden in the 16th round in one of my main leagues, partly because our draft took place after that opening series in Japan. And when he promptly made yet another trip to the DL in the first week, I honestly thought he’d never return. Now I can credit Harden for pretty much single handedly (with a little help from Mr. Sabathia) propelling my squad from ninth place all the way to second. I’ve looked into potential trades, but haven’t found anything that gives me back close to fair value. You, however, are fortunate!
Robinson Cano is not a .246 hitter. Despite his first half struggles, The Yankees’ second baseman is actually striking out less than he did last year and posting a better fly out to ground out ratio. A final average in the .280 range is still a reasonable expectation, meaning Cano could very well bat over .300 from here on out with solid HR and RBI numbers. That said, I do think he’s a bit overrated in that most of his fantasy value lies in that high average, thanks to his lack of speed at a position that more often than not requires it. Cano’s in the upper echelon of fantasy second basemen, but the difference between him and Brandon Phillips is a significant one. Phillips gives you everything, more power than Cano, even more RBI, and by far more speed. The only category in which Cano might top Phillips is average, but that almost surely won’t happen in 2008.
On paper, paying Harden for the upgrade from Cano to Phillips might seem too steep, but when we factor in the benefits of unloading a risk while it’s value is at a high, this is too good of an opportunity to pass up.