Unreads for 9/23

Hi guys,

12 team 5×5 mixed, we keep 8.
Comfortably in first so the yoo-hoo shower will be mine.  I did trade away some solid players during the season to secure the victory, so here’s my current definite keepers:
1) A-Rod
2) Reyes
3) Cabrera
4) Phillips
After that, my options grow weak.  Pick 4 of the following possible keepers. Pence, Liriano, Valverde, Harden, Joba, Ethier, Mora, Bradley, or Dukes.

Newfoundland, Canada

Hey Deano,

This is the type of situation where, assuming it is allowed, you might want to keep less than the max number and take the extra draft picks.  Of this group, the only guys who clearly deserve top eight round consideration are Pence, Liriano, Valverde, and Harden.
I understand that many will draft Joba before the end of Round 8 in a single-season league, but despite this being a keeper, I’d be reluctant to do so.  Joba’s role for 2009 remains undefined, and I just cannot justify using a keeper slot on him in a league where there are no values attached.  It’s entirely possible that he’ll stay in the bullpen for the entire year, greatly limiting his fantasy appeal.            

Now when looking at the four names I mentioned, Pence and Valverde are safe choices.  Pence’s 2008 season has been somewhat disappointing, but last year’s immediate success probably placed expectations a bit too high.  His numbers this year (.271 AVG  24 HR  80 RBI  10 SB) are still very respectable, and there’s plenty of upside here.  As for Valverde, he’s not the most reliable stopper, but in this 8 keeper format, I think it’s important that you hold onto one for the simple reason that many owners could decide to keep two closers.  Although it’s true that the attentive owner can scoop up plenty of saves from the waiver wire throughout the season, coming out of the draft with less than two adequate options is not recommended.  I’m going to give Liriano the edge over Harden.  There’s no doubt that both are health risks, but Liriano doesn’t have the extensive injury history of Harden, and he’s experienced no setbacks since returning to the mound. 

 If you can keep less than four, those are the three I’ll pick.  If, and only if, four keepers are required, go with Joba based simply on potential and perhaps more importantly, trade value.

Zach Steinhorn


Found out about the 411 this spring and have been listening ever since.  Love it!  (By the way, I think the 3-man booth has been a huge success this year as well.) 14-team keeper league, we protect 10.  No dollar values or other rules associated; no limit to how many years you can keep a guy.  Cats are BA, HR, RBI, SB; ERA, K, Sv, W.  I have 8 of my 10 figured out.  They are 1B Pujols, SS Rollins, C McCann, OF BJ Upton.  SP Lincecum, SP Beckett, SP Felix Hernandez, SP Kershaw. I need to pick 2 of these remaining players:

OF Josh Hamilton
OF Carlos Quentin
OF Jay Bruce
SP Cliff Lee
SP Edinson Volquez
SP Phil Hughes
SP Zack Greinke

One note: whoever I don’t keep will be traded for draft pick(s), which also holds great value in our league.  In a way I’d love to sell high on Hamilton and Quentin and find a way to protect Bruce.  I’m also still intrigued by Hughes.  I know you guys prefer hitters, but pitching is a premium in our league.  Thanks for your help!

Brett Kruschke
Jordan, MN


Hey Brett,

This is almost a no-brainer for me: keep Hamilton and Bruce and trade Quentin. I’m not sure how your pitchers could be held at any more of a premium than hitters, especially considering your league doesn’t track WHIP. That means starters can affect only three cats (ERA, Ks and Ws) and Ws are pretty tough to predict. So that means only two cats in which you can realistically estimate a pitcher’s stats.

You have three hitters who will be valued highly heading into next season, and I think you need to add more power hitters to Pujols and McCann. Upton (8 HR) and Rollins (11 HR) have struggled to come close to matching their 2007 homer totals of 24 and 30, respectively.

Hamilton (.303 AVG, 31 HR, 124 RBI, 9 SB) and Quentin (.288 AVG, 36 HR, 100 RBI, 7 SB) have similar stats and their home ballparks are fantastic hitter’s environments, but I value Hamilton slightly more. I’d feel safer with Hamilton knowing that he gave an indication of what was to come in 2008 with a pretty good 2007, when he hit .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBIs. Quentin hadn’t produced anything close at the Major League level at the rate he did in 2008.

Now, one would think you could scratch Bruce and just keep Hamilton and Quentin. But as you noted, you could benefit from gaining a great amount of value for, say, Quentin and keeping the 21-year-old Bruce. Don’t worry about Bruce’s .260 batting average. He had a career .308 average in the Minors, including a .364 mark at Triple-A Louisville in 49 games this season. He can and will hit at a high level in the Majors. His .287 batting average at Cincy’s Great American Ball Park is a great sign that he has adjusted nicely to his home surroundings, and more experience should raise his road average.

Bruce and Hamilton will round out a strong offensive core for you and Quentin could deliver one or two high draft picks which could be used to regain Lee, Volquez, Hughes or Greinke.

Kyle Stack   

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