Fantasy Mailbag: Street, Manny, Liriano

Tim Dierkes writes a daily fantasy baseball blog called RotoAuthority. If you enjoy this article, check it out.

Great influx of mailbag questions this week. Feel free to send yours to
.

How would you rank the following four starters? Dustin McGowan, Ted Lilly, Ian Snell, Oliver Perez. - Mike

I have them ranked like so in a 5x5 league:

1. McGowan - $19.57
2. Lilly - $13.66
3. Snell - $10.34
4. Perez - $7.96

I am a huge McGowan fan; I have him posting the best ERA, WHIP and win and strikeout total of this group. Doesn't hurt that you might get him in the 15th round. The big difference is a 1.27 WHIP for McGowan with everyone else over 1.30. Perez could be closer to 1.40 (and he'll drive you crazy).

What's your outlook on Huston Street for the year? How badly does a trade to a contender affect his value? - Alex

My outlook is rosy, despite the Opening Day troubles. I have him posting a 2.85 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 72 strikeouts, and 33 saves in 66 innings. Not bad for an 11th-round pick. However, risk is high because of last year's injury and the trade possibility. My gut says Street stays put this year, but I wouldn't invest too heavily based on one guy's gut feeling. A trade would kill most of his value — we draft relievers for saves in a 5x5 league.

I noticed that you have Manny Ramirez's projection lower than I would have anticipated. I actually have him as a candidate to have a great year by his standards. Is this projection based on an probable lack of playing time because of injury or just a regression in performance? - Matt

I have Manny at .289-26-95-84-0 in 479 at-bats. This is a blend of regression and injury, and the performance would only be worth about $10 (not counting stats from a DL replacement). Manny will be 36 in May, but he has intangibles in his favor (contract year, new workout regimen). It would not surprise me to see Manny fly past this projection. But do you really want to take that gamble with a fourth-round pick? I'll take Corey Hart, Bobby Abreu, or Nick Markakis (more balanced players to boot).

What do you think of Eugenio Velez and Alexei Ramirez? What projections can we expect from these guys? I've read Velez has 50 steal potential with everyday at bats, and Ramirez is a 20 home run candidate. Both figure to get playing time on bad teams, what do you think of these two intriguing young players? - David

I think it's more likely that Velez steals 40 than Ramirez hitting 20 homers. I agree that both are intriguing and should have starting roles to begin the season. I'm more interested in Ramirez, who's been compared to Alfonso Soriano but with less power. Ramirez could qualify at several positions and offers double digit power and speed. Velez is a one-trick pony, the Michael Bourn of the infield.

I see Billy Butler going undrafted in all of my drafts. I also see a lot of people projecting him hitting 20+ homers with 100+ RBIs. Add on both first base and outfield eligibility, I smell post hype sleeper. What do you think? - Garrett

I smell the same. However, Butler played 13 games at first and six in the outfield in '07 so in many leagues he only qualifies at DH. He is a bit of a forgotten man (Royals often are in fantasy), going around the 18th round. A safer projection might be .290-20-90-75, but that's still solid and he's a fantastic keeper. And the potential for a breakout definitely exists.

I was just wondering if seeing him pitch this spring has shaken your optimistic Francisco Liriano projection at all? - Rafi

I've got Liriano posting a 3.29 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 183 strikeouts, and 13 wins in 165 innings, a $23.12 value. Pretty aggressive, I admit. But with a 13th round pick you don't need that level of production. His last spring effort was promising; he seems healthy even if he is rusty. But given the pitchers who are taken around the same time, Liriano is a high-risk, high-reward choice. He'd make a nice #3 pitcher on your fantasy staff.

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