Zach’s Musings (1/24)

Hey everyone,

With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in less than a month, we’re rapidly approaching the finish line in the Hot Stove season. Michael Bourn is without question the biggest name still out there on the free agent market, and I’m very curious to see if the Scott Boras client will end up signing a moderate two or three-year deal or instead opt for a one-year contract so that he can test the free agent waters again next winter.

Anyway, let’s look at the notable signings/trades that took place since my last post.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Arizona Diamondbacks

Justin Upton and Chris Johnson traded to Braves for Martin Prado, Randall Delgado and prospects

Finally! All the rumors turned into reality today as Justin will join his older brother in the Atlanta outfield. Even though J-Up is coming off a disappointing season in which he let down a lot of owners who used a first-round pick on him (myself included), I’m fairly confident that he’ll bounce back. He proved in 2011 just how great of a fantasy force he can be, and it’s not like he completely fell of a cliff last year. Note that he batted .287 with 10 homers, eight steals and a .817 OPS in the second half, which isn’t too shabby. The move from Chase Field to Turner Field might cost him a few homers, but his across the board production makes him well worth taking towards the beginning of the second round of a 12-team mixed league draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if he performs at a top-10 overall level.

As for the rest of the players involved, Johnson has some pop but should only be considered in NL-only leagues or as a last resort CI in deep mixed leagues. Playing time will probably be an issue as he figures to platoon at third base with Juan Francisco. Prado will likely serve as Arizona’s everyday third baseman and should continue to be a quality all-around fantasy contributor, particularly in the AVG department. His multi-position eligibility is a nice bonus. Delgado was erratic in 18 appearances for the Braves last year but will be only 23 on Opening Day. A spot in the D-Backs rotation to begin the season is no guarantee as he will need to beat out Tyler Skaggs, but in an NL-only league there are far worse mid to late-round gambles.

Michael Morse traded to Mariners

Seattle wasted little time following their failed attempt to acquire Justin Upton, adding a much-needed bat to the middle of their lineup. Morse’s power is legit, though you’ve got to think that moving to cavernous Safeco Field caps his home run upside. As for his ability to maintain such a high batting average, I’m very skeptical. Over the past two seasons, the 30-year-old has posted K/BB ratios of 97/16 and 126/36, yet he still managed to register a combined .297 average. This simply doesn’t add up. I can’t see myself drafting this guy. Too many question marks relative to his expected price tag.

As part of what turned out to be a three-team trade, John Jaso heads to Oakland, where he’ll assume the role of No. 1 catcher. Don’t sleep on him in AL-only leagues! Jaso swatted 10 homers with an .850 OPS in 108 games for Seattle last season and batted .302 against right-handed pitching. He even makes for a quality No. 2 catcher in mixed leagues.

Rafael Soriano signs with Nationals for two yrs/$28 million

Wow. The contract also includes a vesting option for 2015 should Soriano register a combined 120 games finished over the next two years, which is very unlikely. But even if we just focus on the two years, I don’t quite understand what the Nationals were thinking here. Both Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen have already proven that they can perform at a high level in the ninth inning role, so I’m not sure why the Nats opted to pay top dollar to address an area that was already a strength. But I guess you can never have enough bullpen arms. Washington is obviously trying to win it all in 2013. Good for them.

From a fantasy perspective, this signing kills Storen and Clippard’s value, as there’s now zero chance that either of them saves more than a few games barring an injury to Soriano, who instantly becomes a top-10 closer. There’s no reason to think that he can’t duplicate last season’s stat line. Clippard and Storen are still worth drafting in NL-only formats for their excellent ratios. Value-wise, I’ll give Storen the slight edge just because I consider him to be next in line for saves.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers

Delmon Young signs with Phillies for one yr/$750 K

As long as Young can avoid any major off-field incidents, this could turn out to be a steal for the Phillies, as they’re getting a quality hitter for a dirt cheap price. Young burned me in Mixed Tout last year so I’m pretty much done with him from a fantasy standpoint, but if Delmon is still available in the last few rounds of your mixed league draft, feel free to take a shot on him. With regular playing time in a hitter-friendly park (and it sounds like the Phils will give him an opportunity to be their everyday right fielder), 20 homers and 85 RBIs isn’t a stretch.

Scott Hairston signs two-year contract with Cubs

Hairston could reportedly earn up to $6 million if he reaches all of his incentives. I was somewhat surprised by this move, as it’s not like the Cubbies are in any position to contend this season, but homer-happy Wrigley Field is a nice fit for Hairston, who managed to hit 20 home runs in just 377 at-bats for the Mets last year. Nate Schierholtz will steal some playing time from Hairston, specifically versus right-handed pitching, but he should still get enough at-bats to carry fantasy value in deeper mixed leagues.

Shaun Marcum signs one-year contract with Mets

Despite the injury history, I expected there to be a lot more interest in Marcum, and I love this move for both parties. Marcum gets to re-establish his market value on a one-year deal and the Mets get a very underrated starter who will have the opportunity to pitch half of his games at Citi Field. The only risk you’re taking on by drafting Marcum in the latter rounds has to do with his health, but at what will surely be a very cheap price, I’m all for adding him to your fantasy squad. He’s one of this season’s prime examples of a low-cost SP who can net you a huge profit and help you win your league.


Zach & The Boys –

Ok, this is the very first off season for my 12 Team mixed, H2H weekly points, keeper league. Been playing in the league for 11 years, and we only switched to keeper starting last season.

The points each week are accumulated based on starting 12 bats (C, 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, 4 OF, CI, MI, UTL) and 9 arms (of any kind) in Head-to-Head (H2H) format (total pts accumulated wins the week). Position Eligible: 15 games from prior year; or 5 games during current season.

Bat points earned:
HR (4) R (1) RBI (1) SB (2) 1B (1) 2B (2) 3B (3) BB (.5)

Arm points earned/lost:
IP (2) W (10) SO (1) SV (8) CG (5) L (-2) ER (-1) HA (-.5) BB (-.5)

I finished 4th – losing to eventual champion in Semi’s – so that gives me the 9th slot in this years draft. Last seasons draft sets up this seasons 5 man Keeper League (60 players). The simple rule this season is a keeper retains the draft slot from last season. Non-drafted Free Agents count as a 13th rounder. Keep in mind, next year, anyone kept again counts not only for original round, but also the next highest too. In essence 2 using up bodies of the 5. So for instance, if I keep Braun, this season, he retains his 1st round spot for me (and I can keep 4 others), but if I keep him next year again, he takes up not only my 1st round, but also my 2nd round. And I would only be able to keep Braun and 3 others (if no one else is also kept this season and next). Meaning, if I keep Braun and Votto this year (counting as 1st and 2nd this year), they would count for my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds next year, and I could only keep one new drafted or signed player from FA this year for my 5th and final spot. Just painting the big picture for you.

Ok, so based on 2012 season draft of the league (including trades & FA signings of non-drafted players), I have these options for keepers:

1 = Braun, R (OF)
2 = Votto, J (1B)
3 = Longoria, E (3B)
4 = Zobrist, B (2B/SS/OF)
5 = Bourn, M (OF)
6 = Andrus, E (SS)
7 = Phillips, B (2B)
8 = Gordon, A (OF)
8 = Crawford, C (OF)
11 = Freeman, F (1B)
12 = Markakis, Nick H (OF)
13/FA = Lucroy, Jonathan (C)

Reserve Bat:
12 = Hart, C (OF)

My Arms: (Again, if I kept Medlen and Holland, one counts as 13th and one as 14th)

11 = Carpenter, C
13/FA = Medlen, K
13 = Marcum, S
14 = Hanrahan, J
15 = Hudson, T
17 = Billingsley, C
18 = Dempster, R
20 = Niese, J
21 = Floyd, G
23 = Chapman, A

Reserve Arms:

13/FA = Holland, G
13/FA = Perkins, G
13/FA = Griffin, A.J.
26 = Pettitte, A

So I am thinking of keeping Braun(1st), Votto(2nd) and Longoria(3rd) as my big 3. The question is do I keep Zobrist(4th) with his position flexibility. If so, do I keep Gordon or Freeman as my final slot? Personally, I am thinking Freeman (11th) over Gordon (8th).

Do I keep any arms? Is the value high enough to keep Medlen (13th) or Chapman (23rd)? If so, what bat do I not keep?


My five would be Braun, Votto, Longoria, Freeman and Chapman. For a 23rd rounder, Chapman would be impossible for me to pass up…immense upside. I agree on Freeman over Gordon. Freeman is coming off a strong 23-94-91 year and he’s still just 23, so you’ve got to think that there’s room for even more improvement.


Thanks, I am nervous to give up Zobrist, and in essence hope he makes it back to me with my 4th rounder….same value I took him basically last year. I would love to know Chapman’s role, and know they wont mess him up….but its Dusty, so who knows.


I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to get Zobrist back in the 4th and if not I wouldn’t go crazy. I’m beginning to think that he’s a bit overrated. His 20 homers last year were nice, but only 14 steals. And by now we can pretty much say that he’s a .270ish hitter. All in all, 2009 was the exception, not the norm.


Are you nervous about Chapman as SP or CL or bouncing around? I am also thinking sending Zobrist back with his flexibility and thin MI needs would make me nervous, but perhaps I could redraft him in 4th?? But will be nervous for sure.


Even if Chapman bounces around (and I don’t think he will) he’s a must-keep at that price.



Where would you rank lincecum, Carpenter and lester among the starting pitchers? Same area as halladay or further down the list?Im in a 12 team 5×5 and im wonder if i should take the standard 411 approach and look for guys like this late or take 1 or 2eliteearly


Further down the list than Halladay. I wouldn’t be afraid to gamble on one of those three, particularly after I draft at least one reliable SP ahead of them, but it’s a little too risky to have these guys make up 40-60 percent of your staff.



Also I was wondering if you have any spots available in any of the listener leagues
or any other league for that matter.


I’ll start setting up the listener leagues in a week or two, and if there are indeed spots available I will let all of you guys know.


Hi Well I pick 12th in my league draft, it is a snake draft so I get 13th pick also..I usually look for guys with power/speed combo early…is Kinsler still worth a pick in one of those slots if available…than look at !B or a OF……where do you think a pitcher like Verlander or Kershaw should be taken in the draft thx

I was thinking of Kinsler with the 12th pick and J Upton with my 13th if available….?????


I like Upton a lot this year as a bounce back candidate but I’m not as high on Kinsler as he showed regression in a bunch of areas last season. 12th overall seems a bit high for him. Mid to late second round sounds better.

As for SPs, I never draft one in the first few rounds (too risky) which means that I won’t be owning Verlander or Kershaw this year.


Hi Big Z, some good stuff in this article im sure and will get to it after posting, but im anxious to ask this first as its my first trade keeper question of the offseason! As it currently stands its:

I get Profar (prospect) and Skaggs (prospect) for E5 ($1) and Olt (prospect).

I know losing E5!!! But his price isn’t really 1$ as he needs to be resigned (8$ for 2 years or 14$ for 3), and he is still a bit of an unknown whether he is now a 30HR+ hitter or he’ll drop a bit back to his old numbers. And I love Profar for my minor league roster, but im not sure whats going to happen re a trade/position shift, reckon he starts the year in the bigs?

And most importantly what do you think of the deal!?



Yeah, I think that’s a fine return, though you are sacrificing 2013 a bit. It’s not like you’re trading a $1 Trout or Harper, but it remains to be seen just how much of an impact Profar will make this year. He’s still very young.


When should we expect the podcasts to return?

Yeah! When do the podcasts come back regularly? Also, any idea when Mr. Stats Schwartz will post his composite stats for 2013?

And cant forget the list of 12🙂

I’ll remind Cory about it.

Any concerns about Bautista’s power due to coming off wrist injury?


We’ll have to monitor this in spring training but I’m not overly concerned at this point. That said, I don’t think Bautista will be on any of my teams. Too unpredictable in the AVG department and I can’t see him being available at much of a discount on draft day.



Had my first draft tonight, being its very early i realize anything could happen at this point but wanted to see what you think of my team. its a 10 team 5×5 roto with 2 catchers and 5 outfielders.


P- Verlander,Price,Strasburg,Felix,Weaver,Bumgarner,Latos

I figured my pitching is really good and maybe i could make a couple moves to make my offense better.
i Kinda went crazy with pitching from the 4th round on with verlander price strasburg felix and weaver all in a row, something i usually never do.


For a 10-teamer, E. Cabrera is a rather weak starting SS. Also, since Chapman won’t be closing this year, you only have one source of saves in Papelbon. I do like the rest of your offense outside of Cabrera and your starting pitching is ridiculously good, so I’d trade from your SP depth to address the SS and/or closer positions.


Hey Goose, more I think about this deal the more I like it🙂

I get V-Mart ($1) and 1st round prospect pick


Craig ($3) or Butler ($7) or Medlen ($6) and 2nd round prosp pick

What you think? At the prices and V-Mart has C eligablity I assume (ESPN?). I kinda value him and my keepers the same, so getting the upgraded pick and a catcher which I need seems like a good thing. And I think id rather lose Medlen outta the 3, still not sure what his true level is.


Big Z, when you get to it im just looking at who I want as my piece in the deal. Decided I want to do the deal but he’s given me an option of Y Molina ($3) or V Mart ($1)…both are pretty nice prices!

Part of me says Yadi can’t repeat whereas part of me says V-Mart is a risk due to injury, which do you like the most? Also I’d need to decide how many years to sign them, prob either +$3 for 1 year or +$6 for 2.



Hi Big Z can forget my 2 questions as I made the deal trading :

Craig ($3) and 2nd round prospect draft pick
Y Molina ($3) and 1st round prosp pick

Like the deal? Personally I love it as ill get 2 top 10 picks in our upcoming prospect draft, and im getting a quality catcher for cheap which I needed.

You can answer me this though, how many years would you give Molina: 1 year ($6), 2 years ($9) or 3 years ($12)?



Yeah, I do like that deal. I would’ve picked Yadier over V-Mart too…a little safer. ESPN has V-Mart as C eligible but CBS doesn’t, an interesting little side note to all of this. Anyway, I’d go either one or two years for Molina…probably two. Worst case scenario, you break out even for the second year.



In my early mocks I have noticed many trends that im not sure are good ones.
first off it seems every draft im in i pick pujols followed by longo..seems like a great start to me but then i reach for a pitcher most of the time its felix or price. where would you start taking pitchers and who are some of the guys you are targeting?


I don’t usually think about starting pitchers until the 7th or 8th round of a 12-team mixed. So we’re basically looking at the Gallardo/Latos/Scherzer/Shields tier. I’d much rather draft one of those guys later on than take Felix or Price in the 3rd.


hey thx 4 feedback on Kinsler….I was iffy about him that early….so with the 12/13 picks in a 12 team I would look for a 1B and than what do you think of Hanley that early?? Maybe have a better year at SS for LA I really hope for Votto to be available but doubtful


That’s a bit too early for Hanley, though I do like him a tad more than Kinsler this year. Votto or Fielder are obvious choices if they fall that far and I wouldn’t be afraid to draft J-Up or Tulo with one of those picks either.


who would you prefer early in a draft for OF McCutchen/ Hamilton/ Stanton/ J Upton or carlos gonzalez

McCutchen, Car-Go, Stanton, Upton, Hamilton, in that order.


Hi Goose am working on a deal in my keeper league to get a high end prospect (Profar). However am I giving away too much ‘current’ value for this year?

I give- Encarnacion ($1) and Butler ($7) for Hosmer ($6), Moustakas ($0) and Profar (prospect)

Held out for more getting Hos added to the deal, these guys can be signed for an extra 3/6/9 bucks for 1/2/3 years.

Do you like it, or is there too much risk attached with Moose and Hos?.


I like it. I think you’re getting enough back here. I’m still a Hosmer fan and am excited to see what Moustakas can do in his second full big league season. If he could just improve his AVG to the .265-.270 range, this trade could pay off big time. And it’s not like E42 is an established superstar or anything. There’s risk attached to him as well.


Big Z the keeper Q’s just keep on a comin now🙂
Next up Josh Hamilton, I smell a tough decision here. Great last year helping me win but I dont think any fantasy player likes his move to Cali too much. Then again the lineup standard is equally good, just a much harder park to mash em out now.
Anyway here are my options: 1 year $25, 2 years $28, 3 years $30. Good luck deciding!


Personally, I won’t be drafting Hamilton on any of my teams this year unless he comes at a steep discount. Too many concerns for a guy you’ll need to shell out big money for. I don’t even think I’d pay $25 for him but one year at $25 is reasonable enough. I wouldn’t go more than that.


Hey Zach
From everything I heard, Bruce Rondon is going to get the closers job in Detroit. Rondon has huge potential and no experience. What is his fantasy value come draft day.


I’d be willing to take a flier on Rondon as my third closer but that’s it. Huge potential but control has been in issue for him, especially following his promotion to Triple-A last year (7 BB in 8 IP).


hey Im a Mariners fan and although not a good fantasy decision usually like to grab at least 1 if possible for at least the bench….seems like quite a mix at DH for them this year….Ive had Kendry in the past is he worth a pick up later in the draft….Seager may be a possibility also…


I’m a fan of both of those guys this year…great value potential. 1B and 3B are both fairly deep and you should be able to get either pretty cheaply as your starting CI or UTIL in a 12-team mixed league.


would you hesitate to draft a player who is on the list of the peds list from Miami I know last year Braun was passed on til the 5th round when it was accounced he wasnt being suspended??

Let’s wait to see what comes out of this (possible suspensions etc.) before making any rash decisions. Still a lot of time left before draft day to alter our rankings.


I am in a keeper/auction league (10 team/13 keepers). My OF, 1B, and C keepers are solid. For SS I have Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B Danny Espinosa, and 3B David Freese. For my draft where do see my first priority coming from?

My thoughts were to draft a solid 2B and move Espinosa to the 2B/SS spot and then drafting a decent 3B and moving David Freese to my 1B/3B spot.


It really depends on the rest of your roster. What about your outfield? Make sure you don’t neglect that position!


Outfield is really good, I have Stanton, Heyward, Jennings, and Gordon as 4 of my 13 keepers. The three players mentioned above are my main concerns and I am confident using Asdrubal as my main SS, the other two I am not sold on as much.

OK, I totally agree on your thinking then. I’d be content with Freese as my starting 3B but Espinosa is a pretty weak starting 2B in a 10-team league (the AVG just isn’t there). I’d prioritize the 2B position.


So in my keeper league (12 team mixed, 5×5), we can keep 4 major league players and 4 minor league players. My major league keeper options are:

Trumbo (11th round), Year 2/3 year contract
Encarnacion (12th), 2/3
Gordon (25th), 3/3
Hosmer (25th), 3/3
M. Moore (27th), 2/3
Medlen (27th), 2/3
C. Gomez (27th), 2/3

My minor leaguers are Wil Myers, Jameson Taillon, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Martinez.

I am debating whether or not I should trade Matt Moore for Oscar Taveras or Taijuan Walker (both offers are on table). I would then drop Carlos Martinez to open a minor league slot. Would love your thoughts on the trade and who you think I should keep from the above list. Appreciate your thoughts!


I really like that trade idea as you’ve got a number of viable major league keepers and would benefit from bolstering your minor league group. As for your big league choices, I think Trumbo, Encarnacion and Gordon are definites with the fourth a toss-up between Hosmer and Medlen. I might lean towards Medlen due to the fact that he’s only a second year keeper.


Hey Zach – I’m in a 9 team NL only 4×4 roto $260 auction league. I can keep all or any of the guys below. I’m on the bubble with these turkeys. What do you think? Thanks!

Jay Bruce – $45
Matt Harvey – $20
Brandon Beachy – $2
Starling Marte – $15
Johan Santana – $9
Josh Beckett – $11
Carlos Quentin – $5
J.J. Putz – $23

Here are my definite keepers:
David Freese
Jason Motte
Carlos Gomez
Jason Heyward
David Wright
Paul Goldschmidt
Jordan Zimmermann
Ike Davis


I’d definitely keep Beachy, Marte and Quentin. Johan and Beckett are real toss-ups but I’d lean towards no. I like Harvey, but $20 is a bit too pricey for my taste.


Dear 411,

Fantasy season is back!!!
I need your opinion for my keepers in two fantasy leagues:
League1: ROTO 12team mix
Draft pick pos: 1
I need to pick 2 batter and 1 pitcher or viceversa from this list:
E5 Round 8
Rizzo round 10
A Hill round 11
Gio Gonz round 8
Shields round 8
League2: H2H 12team mix
I need to pick 2 batter and 1 pitcher or viceversa from this list:
Draft pick: Random serpentine
Bryce Harper round 8
E5 Round 9
Cespedes round 9
Altive round 11
Kimbrel round 5
Gio Gonz round 7
B Morrow round 12
Harvey round 16
Thanks a lot!!!!


League 1: E42, Hill, Shields. I’m a little down on Gio right now until we find out more about this PED situation. My SP decision is subject to change but I think Shields is a little safer. Hill gets the edge over Rizzo due to the position factor but if you’re thinking more long-term, beyond 2013, Rizzo is more attractive.

League 2: Harper, E42, Harvey, though I really like Cespedes too and choosing E42 over him was a tough call.


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