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THT's Fantasy Archives
Friday, May 15, 2009
Welcome to THT Fantasy's Roster Doctor. If you'd like your team to be analyzed by one of our fantasy baseball experts, please send your full roster to this address. Also be sure to include your league's player pool (mixed, AL-only, NL-only), number of teams, scoring format (roto, head-to-head, points, etc.), categories, whether or not it's a keeper league, and any other pertinent information. If your roster is selected it will be analyzed in a future Roster Doctor column.
An unconventional roster for today...
Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 10 (with two divisions)
Categories: Traditional 5x5 + extra-base hits and blown saves
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head (One win or loss each week)
Other notes: Five teams make playoffs, two keepers
C - Brandon Inge
1B - Justin Morneau
2B - Aaron Hill
SS - Michael Young
3B - Alex Rodriguez
OF - Grady Sizemore
OF - Matt Kemp
OF - Curtis Granderson
UT - Bobby Abreu
BN - Raul Ibanez
BN - Nick Swisher
BN - Mike Lowell
SP - Roy Halladay
SP - CC Sabathia
SP - Joe Saunders
SP - Tim Wakefield
SP - Barry Zito
RP - Francisco Rodriguez
RP - Heath Bell
RP - Fernando Rodney
RP - Kevin Gregg
BN - Brandon Morrow
This is one of those really shallow leagues where everyone's hitting looks like an all-star team. However, your team is, I am guessing, in the upper echelon of hitting teams because even your preseason "scrubs" like Inge (doubtful you drafted him), Swisher, and Hill especially have come through. The only position you could easily upgrade is catcher with Inge, who should not continue hitting anywhere near as well as he has. Other than at catcher, hitting upgrades will be hard and unnecessary so I would stick with the guys you got.
The biggest problem with your hitting right now—and I call it a problem sarcastically—is that you have hitters on your bench worthy of a starting gig. I would imagine other teams have a similar "problem" so I am not naive and expect a deal that consolidates you hitting to be easily done, but if a good one comes around I would accept.
In the meantime depth is not the worst of things, especially when injuries can happen anytime and it also allows you to platoon players to get favorable lefty/righty splits or sit them if one is facing Chad Billingsley and the other Chad Gaudin. All that is required is a little effort.
As for your pitching—it is pretty obvious and you expressed the concern yourself, about your lack of starting pitching depth. Saunders and Zito have done admirably so far but I do not expect them to maintain ERAs under 4.00 going forward. Wakefield is an easy drop and that leaves you with your two aces, Halladay and Sabathia.
Another type of deal I would explore is one where you give one of either your bench or starting outfielders—depending on who you get back—and a closer in exchange for another starting pitcher. In this way you can use two areas in which you are overloaded to fill a void.
With just the two aces though, you can employ what I call the Implode Strategy, a favorite strategy of mine in H2H leagues. It works like this: You always start by only pitching your aces and closers. If they do well, you consider benching your starting pitchers for the rest of the week, hoping to win ERA and WHIP, with saves and blown saves as toss-ups (potential victories). Wins and Strikeouts are sacrificed. In the event of CC or Halladay having a bad start (imploding for six runs in five innings), it probably is not worth it to try and come back in ERA and WHIP categories. What you do then, is use two roster spots every night for the rest of the week for streaming. Now the opposite happens; Wins and Ks should be won, ERA and WHIP most likely lost, and saves and blown saves remain toss-ups.
Every week should not be so extreme keep in mind. Most weeks you should stream or sit pitchers to a lesser degree than what I described above. What this does is let you at least tie pitching categories, leaving it up to your hitting vs. theirs to decide who wins the matchup. If they beat you in hitting, then they beat you in hitting.
Overall I like this team and it should at least make the playoffs. Once you're in, anything can happen then. Good luck!
Posted by Paul Singman at 2:11am
American League by Rob McQuown
Andrew Bailey | Oakland | RP
YTD: 10.5 K/9, 3.7 K/BB, 1.61 ERA
True Talent: 7.5 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 4.55 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.7 saves, 7 games, 4.59 ERA
In the California and Texas Leagues the past two years, Andrew Bailey has been used primarily as a starter, and a rigorous projection system like “True Talent” weighs his good-but-not-great numbers in those years. However, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound fireballer has lately stepped into a relief role like it’s his calling. The main reason that Bailey is not already closing for Oakland is so that the A’s can squeeze more innings out of him. Pick him up now, and even if he doesn’t help you immediately in saves, he’ll help you in ERA and WHIP. “Ziggy” owners, beware!
Juan Cruz | Kansas City | RP
YTD: 6.3 K/9, 1.1 K/BB, 1.72 ERA
True Talent: 9.9 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 3.55 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 1.4 saves, 6 games, 3.64 ERA
Joakim Soria might have Tweeted “i be back,” and we agree that's likely. Still, Juan Cruz has shown marginally closer-worthy skills for years, and he is significantly better than his much more highly paid teammate Kyle Farnsworth. Walks can still get the best of Cruz (as attested by his career WHIP of 1.37), but he should be rate-stat-neutral, and he will get virtually all the KC saves while “The Mexicutioner” is out, and a smattering thereafter, as well.
Luke Hochevar | Kansas City | SP
YTD: (don't look)
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Luke Hochevar is better than Sidney Ponson; of course, that's like saying that a steak house is better than a lunch wagon. Most analyses regard Hochevar as a 5.0-5.5 Runs/Game pitcher, on a team scoring under 4.5 Runs/Game. His Triple-A stats suggest that he’s healthy, but a .241 BABIP makes them look overly enticing. He won't help your WHIP, ERA, K, or wins, regardless of how many times he was drafted in the first round.
Phil Hughes | New York | SP
YTD: 6.2 K/9, 1.0 K/BB, 8.49 ERA
True Talent: 7.1 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.97 ERA
Next Week Forecast: n/a
Hughes’s True Talent is the portrait of a run-of-the-mill thrower. That said, a run-of-the-mill thrower can be useful when he does his throwing in front of a 5.5+ RPG offense like New York’s. Moreover, as Branch Rickey noted, “the difference between a great pitcher and a run-of-the-mill thrower is astoundingly slight.” And in the minors, Hughes looked “great,” so the “slight difference” could yet be overcome.
Julio Lugo | Boston | SS
True Talent: .262/.329/.366
Next Week Forecast: 0.2 HR, 2 R, 1 RBI, .258 BA, 0.5 SB
Not much fanfare surrounded Julio Lugo's return, but he can still be a valuable fantasy asset. The 39-SB/.300 BA days are long past, but as the knee gets closer to 100%, look for him to resume the 25-30 SB pace that’s his norm in Boston. Also, this line-up offers more opportunities for runs and RBI than most No. 9 hitters get. Lugo should fend off Nick Green, and if Lugo hits well, Lowrie could end up in a utility role upon his August return.
Dioner Navarro | Tampa Bay | C
True Talent: .253/.313/.368
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .251 BA, 0.1 SB
Dioner Navarro has never been much more than filler, but this year he’s slumping not only at hittting but also at throwing out runners. If this combination persists, it could cost him PT. Nonetheless, Navarro has a good chance to turn things around—he has hit far fewer liners and grounders this year, instead hitting more infield flies (IFF/FB% at 30%, up from 14% in 2008). But there are no reports of physical ailments, so we expect to see the '08 model again soon.
Nolan Reimold | Baltimore | OF
YTD: .394/.485/.743 (IL) with 9 HR/6 SB
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: n/a
That whoooosh you hear is the sound of International League pitchers exhaling. Nolan Reimold is called up! The Orioles had said that they wouldn't promote Reimold until they were ready to make him a starter, and he seems likely to supplant Pie when all the O’s are healthy again. Despite the hot start, Reimold is no superstar, so don’t break the bank in a keeper league, but he should be able to match Luke Scott's production, with a few SB thrown in. It's his time.
Brandon Wood | Los Angeles | 3B/SS
YTD: .351/.439/.877 (PCL) with 8 HR in 57 AB
True Talent: n/a
Next Week Forecast: (minors)
Back in 1993, Lou Piniella “doghoused” a young 2B named Bret Boone—benching him, demoting him, and finally running him out of town, all because Boone wouldn't change his approach at the plate. Manager Mike Scioscia has not been quite so dramatic with Brandon Wood, but it’s clear that something needs to change in Wood’s fortunes, but who knows whether it will, or when? Grab Wood if you have “mad money” that you don’t care if you ever see it again.
National League by Michael Street
Chris Coghlan | Florida Marlins | OF
True Talent: .251/.324/.373
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .244 BA, 0.8 SB
The beneficiary of Cameron Maybin’s demotion, Coghlan is playing in the OF now, but he may eventually qualify at 2B and 3B, too. He has been a solid minor-league hitter, with an excellent batting eye (1.05 BB/K) and an outstanding 80% SB success rate. Expect doubles power and decent stolen bases, even if True Talent isn’t optimistic about his BA and power just yet. Good keeper pick-up.
Jorge de la Rosa | Colorado Rockies | SP
YTD: 8.8 K/9, 2.2 K/BB, 3.53 ERA
True Talent: 7.8 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.68 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.3 wins, 5 K, 4.69 ERA
De la Rosa has had mixed luck this year. His BABIP is a low .269 (vs. a career .319), yet he’s winless. And his ERA is 4.34 at home and 2.65 on the road, even though his home K/BB is 4.2 and 1.3 everywhere else. He's going to win some games and deliver some strikeouts, but ultimately that True Talent K/BB of 1.9, with half his starts coming at Coors, caps his upside.
Jerry Hairston | Cincinnati Reds | UT
True Talent: .265/.325/.408
Next Week Forecast: 0.3 HR, 2 R, 2 RBI, .263 BA, 0.4 SB
In most leagues, Hairston qualifies at several positions, including several infield spots, where his current batting line plays very well. What has been strange so far are his platoon splits, as he is hitting .194/.242/.419 against LHP, after nearly nonexistent splits heretofore. That deviation should normalize, especially since he plays nearly every game and has been smoking the ball. Be ready for him to cool off, but enjoy the hot hand on top of his versatility.
Nick Johnson | Washington Nationals | 1B
True Talent: .281/.410/.461
Next Week Forecast: 1.1 HR, 5 R, 4 RBI, .288 BA, 0.3 SB
Nobody doubted Johnson’s talent, but injuries have kept him down. Thus far in 2009, he has dodged the DL and is producing at a rate almost identical to last year’s hot pre-injury start—the difference this year is the BA, as he’s turning walks into hits. True Talent says that will not last, but as long as he’s healthy, he’s someone you want. Grab him if you can, but have a back-up plan in case the DL bug bites again.
Kyle Lohse | St. Louis Cardinals | SP
YTD: 5.7 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.25 ERA
True Talent: 5.7 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.31 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.3 wins, 4 K, 4.61 ERA
In his first four starts, Lohse was 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA, and he was a hot pick-up. And then he gave up 13 runs in 10.1 IP in his last two starts. HEATER readers saw it coming, as these latter starts pushed his stat line right to his True Talent predictions. Now, Lohse is complaining of back pain, after knee and elbow issues earlier this season. We're staying far away, as his low-K ways don't offset the downside in most leagues.
Shairon Martis | Washington Nationals | SP
YTD: 4.5 K/9, 1.2 K/BB, 4.10 ERA
True Talent: 6.3 K/9, 1.5 K/BB, 5.09 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.1 IP, 0.6 wins, 8 K, 5.05 ERA
Martis’ 5-0 record gives him almost half of the Nats’ 11 wins. Even more impressive is that he has racked up these Ws while underperforming his projected peripherals. His True Talent is discouraging, but the young fireballer has sharply improved his groundball rate (41.8 GB% vs. 33.3% in 2008), and he has room to raise his strikeouts. He could be a lightning-in-a-bottle sort for the season.
Juan Pierre | Los Angeles Dodgers | OF
True Talent: .294/.337/.365
Next Week Forecast: 0.1 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .295 BA, 1.9 SB
With Manny now a spectator, Pierre is finally earning his paycheck and hitting out of his shoes. True Talent tells you that he’s going to start hitting more like the guy who has averaged 150 games of .286/.329/.359 over the past four years. Pierre will keep giving you steals (who couldn’t use 2 SB next week?), but don't convince yourself that he has discovered the Fountain of Youth.
Eric Stults | Los Angeles Dodgers | SP
YTD: 5.5 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 3.58 ERA
True Talent: 6.5 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.63 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.2 IP, 0.3 wins, 4 K, 4.86 ERA
After pitching a CG shutout against the Giants, Stults is showing up on everyone’s roster. But that was the first start this year without a walk, and he struck out only five. Even with those numbers, he is underperforming his projected K/BB because his other starts were so bad (overall 1.1 K/BB, 4.94 ERA). He's just not on track. Hiroki Kuroda should push Stults back to the bullpen when he returns, and whatever marginal value Stults has will evaporate then.
True Talent and Next Week Forecasts courtesy of Heater Magazine.