Zach’s Musings (2/8)

Hey everyone,

It’s that time again! With the NFL season officially in the books, earlier this week ESPN and Yahoo became the latest sites to launch their 2013 fantasy baseball game, meaning that some people who couldn’t wait any longer to draft their teams already have rosters to stare at. I’d prefer it if you are not one of those owners though, as I fully endorse the Mike Siano rule of not drafting before St. Patty’s Day. Too much can change between now and then and don’t you want to take advantage of spring training to do some scouting?

Anyway, let’s continue the trades/signings series by looking at the fantasy relevant moves that have taken place since my last post.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez signs 7 yr/$175 million extension with Mariners

Whoa. The deal makes King Felix the highest paid pitcher in big league history and quite frankly took me by surprise. I mean, Hernandez was under contract through 2014 anyway and we all know about the risks involved in committing long-term to pitchers. But I guess M’s ownership wanted to make a statement to their fan base that they care about their team, and they certainly did that. And if you are going to gamble that a starting pitcher will both continue to dominate and stay healthy for a seven-year period, there’s really no better option than Hernandez, who is coming off yet another Cy Young caliber year and has tossed at least 190 innings in each of his first seven full big league seasons. For fantasy purposes, he’s a no-brainer top-5 SP and probably belongs in the top-3, behind only Verlander and Kershaw, which means that there’s a 99% chance I won’t be owning him in any of my leagues because, well, I don’t spend big on starting pitching.

Travis Hafner signs with Yankees for one yr/$2 million

A nice low-cost investment for the Bombers considering that Pronk posted a solid .798 OPS versus right-handed pitching last year and should benefit from the short right field porch at Yankee Stadium. But what the Yanks really needed was a right-handed outfield bat, so why they went out and signed a left-handed hitter who can’t play the field is just another head scratcher in what has been a puzzling off-season for this team. If he manages to stay healthy (a big if), I can see Hafner hitting 20 homers as the Yankees’ primary DH against righties, which makes him worth taking a flier on in AL-only leagues. In mixed leagues I’d pass, especially considering that he will clog up your Utility spot, which is very annoying.

Joe Saunders signs one-year contract with Mariners

Saundo was hoping for a decent multi-year contract but the bottom line is that he’s a league average, low-strikeout pitcher. He’ll give Seattle innings and maybe an ERA around 4.00, but that’s about it. And with the fences moving in at Safeco, you can’t even say that he’s moving to an extreme pitcher’s park. He should be relegated to AL-only leagues for the most part, though you might want to spot-start him in mixed leagues when he faces the Astros, the odds on favorite to post the league’s worst record in 2013.

A’s acquire Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez from Astros for Chris Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi

Lowrie launched a single-season high 16 homers in just 340 at-bats last year, but the move to the Coliseum in Oakland puts a real damper on his power upside. The good news is that since he can play multiple infield positions, playing time shouldn’t be an issue. But while I expect Lowrie to receive close to everyday at-bats and appreciate the multi-positional eligibility, I just don’t see much mixed league value here. He doesn’t hit for average and doesn’t run, so if his HR total falls to the 10-12 range, why bother? As for Carter, keep him in mind as a cheap source of power in AL-only leagues. 16 homers in 218 at-bats for Oakland last season is pretty impressive, and he’s likely to get first crack at earning the Astros’ regular DH job. And don’t forget that he’ll now get to play his home games at a much more hitter-friendly ballpark.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Tampa Bay Rays

Luke Scott re-signs with Rays for one yr/$2.75 million

Scott missed a significant amount of time due to injury last year but still managed to smack 14 home runs in a mere 314 at-bats. I’m very high on him as an under-the-radar power contributor, especially in AL-only leagues. This is a guy who averaged 25 home runs per season from 2008 through 2010. A fully healthy year could easily result in 20-plus homers for Scott, who is slated to serve as Tampa Bay’s DH versus right-handed pitching.

Kelly Johnson signs with Rays for one yr/$2.45 million

Honestly, I’ve lost all of my patience with Johnson, but if you want to roll the dice on him in the last couple of rounds of your deep mixed league draft due to his 20/15 potential, go right ahead. At least it seems like he’ll be the Rays’ starting second baseman on Opening Day with Ben Zobrist moving to the outfield. Who knows, maybe he will surprise us.

Matt Capps (CLE), Jon Rauch (MIA), Kyle Farnsworth (TB), Brandon Lyon (NYM)

I’ll lump together these four middle reliever signings, the most intriguing one being Lyon. As if Frank Francisco’s ninth inning job security wasn’t dicey enough with Bobby Parnell waiting in the wings, Lyon now provides the Mets with another closing option. Yeah, he has a terrible track record as a closer, but he is coming off a strong bounce back campaign. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he sees some save chances at some point during the season. Whether or not he succeeds is anyone’s guess. Lyon should probably be avoided on draft day in all but the deepest of NL-only leagues, but the Mets’ closer situation will be worth monitoring throughout the year.

30 Comments

Hi Zach
Carlos Quentin . How many HR, RBI, runs do you expect & what batting avg for 2013? Thank you

Jim,

I think the MLB.com projections for Quentin (.251 AVG, 24 HR, 69 RBI, 66 R) are pretty reasonable. But the key for him is health. If he can avoid the DL, I can see him surpassing those numbers, particularly RBIs and Runs. That said, he’s not a guy who I’ll be actively targeting. Too much of an injury risk and Petco Park won’t do him any favors in the HR department, which is basically what you’re drafting him for.

Zach

Keeper Question… I get to keep 7.. I have 6 no brainers with Miguel Cabrera (1st Round), Cano (2nd), Kemp (3rd), Verlander (4th), Wainwright (14th), Victor Martinez (22nd).. Unsure who to keep with my 7th spot… Willingham (15th), Niese (20th), Aoki (24th), or Greg Holland (24th).. Thoughts on my “no brainers” and who should be my 7th keeper? Thanks!

Ron,

Go with Holland. Excellent value there and he’s a guy who can be drafted as a second closer but has #1 RP upside if he could just work on lowering his walk rate a bit.

Zach

Zach,

So i did my second draft today and this team has a lot of question marks. I need your advice on my team overall but mostly on my rotation because in my mind its horrible.
this is a 10 team 5×5 with 2 catchers 5 outfielders a MI and CI and 9 pitching slots for starters and relievers.

C-Avila,McCann
1B-Goldschmidt
2B-Weeks
3B-Zimmerman
SS-Rollins
MI-Rutledge
CI- Cuddyer
OF-Trout, McCutchen,Cargo,J.Upton,Harper
UT- D.Jennings

B-Frazier,Konerko,Laroche,Stubbs

SP- Weaver,Garza,Estrada,T.Hudson,Iwakuma,T.Hanson and Beckett
RP- J.Johnson,G.Holland,Street and K.Jansen

As you can see I went hitter heavy and let my pitching suffer a bit following the 411 rule of trying to find gems late. Not sure it worked out real well though.

Dmenz

How did you get Trout, Cutch,Cargo, and J Upton?! This must be a keeper league.

I had pick number 3 in this 10 team league and most everyone was taking pitching early that why my pitching is so bad. Not a keeper unfortunantly

Dmenz,

I have no idea how you were able to get that outfield. Maybe the other owners were asleep or something. Yeah, the offense looks great but I do think you need one more high-end SP. I like Garza as a value pick this year but he is an injury risk, and the only sure thing you have is Weaver, but who knows if he can get that K rate back up. His strikeout decline last season was puzzling. I don’t think the rotation is terrible but it could definitely use one more guy, at least a solid #2.

Zach

In a standard 10 team h2h league, who wins this trade?

CJ Wilson and Chase Headley for Buchholz, Milone, Moustakas, and Morneau

Stevo,

Seems fairly even to me but when analyzing a 4-for-2 trade you really have to take into account who those extra two guys would be replacing in your lineup, so essentially they’re a part of the deal as well. Honestly, even though I can’t see Headley doing what he did last year, I’d lean towards the Wilson/Headley side. It’s a quality vs. quantity situation and I’m just not that high on Buchholz and Milone. Put it this way. I wouldn’t trade Wilson for Buchholz and Milone. Would I deal Headley for Moustakas and Morneau? Maybe, but it depends on the rest of your roster.

Zach

HI Big Z, you know you were down on Hamilton, well listen to this deal im sure you’d approve :) :

Hamilton ($22) for Moustakas ($0) and Hosmer ($6)

Getting 2 nice young bats with future keeper capabilities. As for contracts this offseason, Moose is the obvious one with a $6 renewable year (usual choice for most good $0 prospects), but Hosmer is the question now:

1 year ($9), 2 years ($12), 3 years ($14) or another renewable year ($12)

Is it a bit of a risk to offer him 2 years $12? I think its that or give him just the one year, just would be a shame if he does breakout not to have two- that said if he struggles again this year id have penalties for cutting him and breaking a 2 year contract. Tough call :) , what say you Goose?

BB,

I’d go two years. I’m still a believer in Hos.

Zach

Is Headley and Niese for Kimbrel and Soriano fair enough? I have no established closers and the other team has about 6 of them. I have Longoria as my 3B, Headley at Util

Nate,

If it’s R. Soriano, I’d make that trade in a second. If it’s A. Soriano, I’d think about it for five minutes. Then I’d do the deal. Yes, Kimbrel is that much of a difference maker. And Headley’s trade value has nowhere to go but down.

Zach

Any timeframe for List of 12, under-rated/over-rated, and of course Cory’s first draft of the industry consolidated spreadsheet info?

-BDH

BDH,

I know Cory was planning on putting up the List of 12 this week. Will have to check about the projections. He usually doesn’t have them ready until March.

Zach

12 tm mixed pts league. Would you keep Latos for $32 or Kuroda for $9? For reference, according to the mlb.com player preview, the only SP ranked higher than Latos that will be available in our draft are Felix (est. auction price $50), Cain ($45-$50), C.Lee ($45-$50).
While they will put up similar #’s, just not sure it makes sense to put back a SP that will go for $8-$10 higher than what I have him for. Kuroda is always underrated and I could get him for roughly the same.

hey would you consider J Reyes or Beltre as a top 12 or 13 pick….would you consider Posey/ J upton or Votto/ fielder before them

hey Zach well I took Reyes with the 12th pick and trying to figure my 13th…kind of between McCutchen and Posey? Im leaning towards McCutchen although that will leave catching thin

Alan,

I’d go with McCutchen. Posey is the #1 ranked catcher so there will be plenty of time to address the catcher position. McCutchen is simply the more valuable all-around fantasy player in my opinion.

Zach

thx took McCutchen in the 2nd….coming up on my next pick end of the 3rd than the 1st of the 4th round….Am wondering about Kimbrel? Also F Hernandez is available if looking at SP otherwise some players to choose from would be J Upton/ Hanley/ AGon/ Bruce/ weiters/ Mauer/ Zimmerman or Altuve/weeks still thxplayers chosen before my picks

addendum: Bryce Harper and heyward are also still there

Alan are you really going to ask Zach to make every pick for you? Use the tools that mlb.com has available. the rankings, the composite rankings, etc.

yea I think I know what picks Id make but guess looking for some assurance….what site do you find more reliable between CBS or MLB

Alan,

Yeah, it’s really just a matter of how you want to build your team and which positions you value more. In the first few rounds, you really can’t go “wrong” with anyone. I personally endorse the MLB.com rankings (personal bias) but ESPN is good too. CBS is awful IMO:-)

Zach

Even with Nando now on CBS? ~LOL /jk

what are your thoughts on wilin rosario of col and Holland as closer of KC do you feel both are in top 5/10 of their Positions….I know what the rankings say but?

Alan,

Rosario’s elite power production and promising future certainly puts him in the top-10 but I’d say no for top-5. I’d still feel more comfortable with a guy like Miguel Montero, who is consistently ranked outside the top-5. As for Holland, I’m not ready to put him in the top-10 just yet. He could definitely get there, but he needs to cut down on his walks. I wouldn’t trust him as my #1 closer to begin the season. A great #2 though.

Zach

2nd base is getting very thin in my draft….any idea what the plans are for Profar? I read his profile and has him as a bench player but still mentions M Young on Texas…with him gone now what do you expect?

Alan,

While I think the chances are slim that Profar opens the season in the Majors, he could definitely make an impact sometime in the first half…certainly worth a flier if it’s, let’s say, the last round of a 12-team mixed league or towards the end of deeper mixed league drafts.

Zach

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