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Friday, June 05, 2009
Sorry to hijack "Buy on the Rumor" for a minute, but for those readers who missed it on THT Live, Heater Magazine is now publishing LIPS statistics in every issue. Click here to learn more about Heater.
We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.
Posted by David Gassko at 5:42pm (0) Comments
The Marlins have promoted SP Ricky Nolasco, who needs to be added in all but the shallowest leagues if his owner dropped him. It's tough to be as unlucky as he has appeared to be in 2009 without something being wrong, but his peripherals are all strong and he is well worth stashing in case this really is just really, really bad luck (which is absolutely a possibility). If I'm putting my money on it, I think Nolasco will turn it around and have a nice June through September.
Posted by Derek Carty at 1:14pm (0) Comments
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.
Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 12
Categories: Traditional 5x5
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
Other Notes: First year of dynasty league; Seven minor league slots; "Awesome league"
C - Matt Wieters
1B - Billy Butler
2B - Brian Roberts
3B - Evan Longoria
SS - Stephen Drew
OF - Nick Markakis
OF - Jason Bay
OF - Gerardo Parra
U - Luke Scott
P - Jonathan Broxton
P - Mariano Rivera
P - Josh Johnson
P - Javier Vazquez
P - Ryan Dempster
P - J.A. Happ
P - Jeff Niemann
BN - Manny Ramirez
BN - Russell Branyan
BN - Kelvim Escobar
BN - Gil Meche
BN - Franklin Morales
BN - Ricky Romero
BN - Jose Valverde
DL - John Smoltz
DL - Tim Hudson
ML - Aaron Hicks
ML - Michael Stanton
ML - Madison Bumgarner
ML - Clay Buchholz
ML - Jake Arrieta
ML - Jordan Walden
ML - Martin Perez
Well, your catcher spot is locked up for the next twenty years; congratulations. With Longoria, third base will not be a concern for quite some time as well.
Billy Butler is a relatively weak starting first baseman right now, but he is young enough (23), has a good minor league track record, and has performed well enough in the majors for me to be excited about his future. Roberts is one of my favorite palyers and is playing great this year, but in the next couple of years you will probably see his stolen base totals—the main source of his value along with his batting average—decrease dramatically, severely limiting his value. His average will probably suffer a bit also, but I can see it hanging around the .280 mark a few years past that.
Stephen Drew entering his prime at age 26 had a great season last year but cannot seem to do anything right this year. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on his own bobblehead day! However, now would be the worst time to trade him since his value is probably the lowest it will be. He still has the skill set to have some good seasons in the near future, but I do not think he will ever develop into the All-Star player people once thought he could become.
His strikeout tendencies will prevent him from posting an average above the .290s and he has never displayed exceptional power or baserunning ability, so his ceiling is somewhat limited. Still, I can see him stringing together some solid seasons similar to his 2008 one in his late 20s, not that you are interested in three years down the road right now. Right now you should be happy Drew is showing some signs of life with his current seven-game hitting streak and just hold onto him.
Markakis and Bay are two great hitters, no reason to mess with them. And Parra is a solid, young fill-in until Manny's glorious return. Luke Scott's numbers are not as fluky as you might expect. Besides his home run totals, everything else is reasonable and he should play solidly the rest of the season at about a .285 average, 25 home run pace.
There is not much I would change about your hitting right now; if later in the season you decide to make a championship push this season, Scott, Drew, and Butler are three guys you can try to upgrade.
Your pitching is very top-heavy with the two big guns of Johnson and Vazquez heading your rotation, but after that there is a severe drop off. Although Meche and Demspter are seasoned veterans, they are not pitching that way and I would not start Dempster right now. Meche has been unlucky so far with a .344 BABIP so I can see him turning it around.
I like how you are taking the risk on young, high-upside guys like Happ, Romero, and Morales; any one or all of them could be a valuable asset in a few years. Niemann is not on the level of the others and would be the guy I cut if you want to free a roster spot for Smoltz or Hudson.
Overall, the best course of action is to sit tight with this team now. Near the trading deadline (if there is one) you should make the decision to either push for this year or wait another year. If you are still in the top three later in the year and do decide to make that push, sacrificing possible future production from a guy like Butler for a better player now is a necessary sacrifice to make because winning the championship just once makes it all worth it.
Posted by Paul Singman at 1:47am
American League by Rob McQuown
Gordon Beckham | Chicago | INF
YTD: .299/.366/.497 (Double-A)
True Talent: .233/.293/.368
Next Week Forecast: N/A
In AL keeper leagues, it's probably right to blow your entire FA budget on this guy if he is available. As a hitter, Beckham has already been compared to Paul Molitor and Ryne Sandberg. He hit in Spring Training. He hit in the minors. And the Sox have a clear opening for him at 3B (and they aren't getting much from 2B, either), so he doesn't have to pull a Longoria to keep his roster spot. In AL re-draft leagues, he's worth gambling on, but not exciting.
Randy Choate | Tampa Bay | RP
YTD: 12.0 K/9, inf. K/BB, 3.00 ERA
True Talent: 7.1 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.31 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 0.0 saves, 4.35 ERA
Saves on consecutive days?? Woo hoo! Randy Choate and his sub-90 fastball are the latest “find” of the clever Ball Street geniuses in Tampa. For his career, Choate has walked a guy every 2 IP, and he hasn't destroyed LHB as a LOOGY should, but his low SLG Allowed against both sides makes him useful. The Saves were sort of accidental, totaling just 1.0 IP combined. He won't hurt a team in an AL-only league.
Ben Francisco | Cleveland | OF
True Talent: .265/.331/.434
Next Week Forecast: 0.8 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, .267 BA, 0.7 SB
Ben Francisco isn't a particularly good ballplayer, but sometimes “opportunity” is the most important thing. That, and “speed,” turn an ordinary player into someone who should be grabbed in most formats. With Sizemore possibly missing extensive time, Francisco should stay in the line-up and easily tally another 12-HR/12-SB (or more) the remainder of the year. And even without Grady, there are opportunities for Runs and RBI in this line-up.
Travis Hafner | Cleveland | DH
True Talent: .260/.375/.473
Next Week Forecast: N/A
The guy who led the league in slugging in 2006 (.659 SLG) has been MIA since. The question is how much of that batter remains in 2009. Hafner is not old (just 32), and he has a big contract. The “safe” road is to assume that even the True Talent projection is too optimistic and to stay away; after all, he's not even rated at a position. But for a team in dire need of power, he has a puncher's chance of being good.
Josh Outman | Oakland | SP
YTD: 7.0 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 3.02 ERA
True Talent: 6.1 K/9, 1.2 K/BB, 5.03 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 11.2 IP, 0.7 wins, 8 K, 4.65 ERA
One can almost hear Billy Beane last year saying “This guy is better than Blanton ALREADY!” as he lands Outman as a supposed throw-in with Adrian Cardenas. Outman throws 95 and plays in a pitcher's park for a team with a great defense. Four of his starts have been against the lightweight offenses of Chicago, KC, and Seattle, so expect some ERA inflation, and for sure his team doesn't score a lot. But Outman will be much better than the prediction. Could be spotted even in shallow mixed leagues.
Clayton Richard | Chicago | SP
YTD: 6.8 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 3.97 ERA
True Talent: 5.8 K/9, 1.8 K/BB, 4.30 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 12.1 IP, 0.7 wins, 8 K, 4.37 ERA
Richard doesn't throw as hard as Outman, but he induces more ground balls. Overall, though, Richard is quite a bit riskier because of his home park. When Carlos Quentin returns, the Sox should score for Richard, but he is still only good enough to start against Oakland in a shallow mixed league, as both KC and Seattle hit LHP better than RHP. Richard should be a reliable innings-eater (but little more) in deeper leagues for many years.
Sean Rodriguez | Los Angeles | INF
YTD: .279/.364/.637 (Triple-A)
True Talent: .241/.312/.408
Next Week Forecast: N/A
We have seen how badly a swing-from-the-heels approach works for Angels prospects (see: Brandon Wood). “S-Rod” is slugging over .630 in Triple-A again, but his Ct% has dropped to 72% as he has whiffed 58 times in 209 AB. A former shortstop, Rodriguez is expected to be a fine defensive second baseman, but until he is traded out of L.A., he faces an almost insurmountable challenge between his skill set and Scioscia's preferences.
Luke Scott | Baltimore | OF/DH
True Talent: .277/.360/.517
Next Week Forecast: 1.1 HR, 3 R, 3 RBI, .272 BA, 0.1 SB
In his career, Luke Scott has hit LHP as well as almost any lefty power hitter, and he sports a ridiculous .906 SLG against them this season. Sadly, he suffers from Trembley's lack of imagination—Scott didn't even start against Bedard, who has always been more vulnerable to lefties. Scott's reduced playing time dilutes his fantasy value, but the O's good offense makes him a decent option in shallow mixed leagues, and a great one in anything bigger.
National League by Michael Street
Clint Barmes | COL | MIF
True Talent: .262/.311/.425
Next Week Forecast: 0.6 HR, 4 R, 3 RBI, .254 BA, 0.6 SB
Barmes has been sharing time at 2B, but now that Tulowitzki’s injury looks worse than expected, he could shift to SS. The dual qualification increases his value, even if True Talent isn't terribly impressed. Barmes is a good play at home, where his OPS is .920 (versus .650 away), and against lefties, where it’s 1.041 (versus .678 against righties). Play him situationally or ride his recent hot streak, but he’s best suited for NL-only leagues or 14-team or deeper mixed leagues.
Antonio Bastardo | PHI | SP
YTD: 7.5 K/9, 5.0 K/BB, 1.50 ERA
True Talent: 7.9 K/9, 1.4 K/BB, 5.47 ERA
Next Week Forecast: N/A
The Phillies brought up Bastardo, one of their top pitching prospects, to replace Brett Myers. A tired shoulder kept the 23-year-old from the majors last year, but his 2009 Triple-A line (9.6 K/9, 5.0 K/BB, 1.89 ERA) says it's time. That line is eerily similar to what he put up in his first MLB start. True Talent is skeptical because Bastardo offers so little to go on (only 114 IP above Single-A); you have to trust the scouts on this one. Bastardo will almost certainly stumble at some point, but he is still worth a pick-up in NL leagues and 12-team and deeper leagues.
Joe Blanton | PHI | SP
YTD: 8.2 K/9, 2.7 K/BB, 5.86 ERA
True Talent: 6.5 K/9, 2.3 K/BB, 4.74 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 5.2 IP, 0.3 wins, 4 K, 5.11 ERA
After Blanton won three straight, fantasy owners grabbed him up. Unlike with Bastardo, though, Blanton has a lot of recent innings, and they point to a "True" ERA of 4.50-5.00. In one of his recent wins, Blanton allowed 5 Runs but the Phils scored 12; in another, he recorded an uncharacteristic 11 K. His YTD ratios would be career highs if he managed to sustain them, but don't bet on it. Don’t follow the crowd: Let another owner take Blanton.
Jake Fox | CHI | 1B/OF
True Talent: .254/.311/.452
Next Week Forecast: 0.4 HR, 1 R, 1 RBI, .260 BA, 0.1 SB
Fox ripped up Triple-A with a .424/.503/.881 line before getting called up, and he has looked good since. Unfortunately, his MLB line consists of 8 appearances in 5 games. Fox is blocked at 1B and OF, so the Cubs would like to use him at 3B, a position that he has played only 5 times since 2005. Unless he can make that shift or earn regular PT elsewhere, he is just someone you’ll want to watch.
Paul Maholm | PIT | SP
YTD: 5.0 K/9, 1.7 K/BB, 3.82 ERA
True Talent: 5.7 K/9, 1.9 K/BB, 4.23 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.1 IP, 0.4 wins, 4 K, 4.20 ERA
Maholm is like that last band at the end of the party: No matter how good he is, nobody’s watching. Just like that band, Maholm will sometimes be really good, sometimes awful. And he'll always be backed by the anemic Pirate offense. Frankly, he ought to be 6-4, as he has put up six great starts (2 ER or less) and four awful starts (4+ ER). But even at his best, his True Talent rates are marginal, though he does tend to have a strong GB/FB. Not a bad flyer if you don't care about Wins.
Andrew McCutchen | PIT | OF
YTD: .303/.361/.493 (Triple-A)
True Talent: .262/.332/.381
Next Week Forecast: N/A
The latest arrival on the Prospect Train is Andrew McCutchen, someone whom you want on your team for his batting eye (career 0.64 K/BB, steadily improving to 0.78 K/BB last year) and his speed (34 SB last season, and 105 SB total). Like all prospects, the 22-year-old McCutchen will hit some bumps, and he might never display the power he once promised. But NL-only leagues, keeper leagues, and anyone who could use more steals had better take him.
Randy Wells | CHI | SP
YTD: 7.6 K/9, 3.86 K/BB, 1.69 ERA
True Talent: 7.1 K/9, 2.1 K/BB, 4.49 ERA
Next Week Forecast: 6.0 IP, 0.4 wins, 5 K, 4.33 ERA
Wells got pulses pounding this week when he carried a no-no into the seventh, but it wasn’t his only strong start in 2009. He got hard-luck losses in three of his first four starts, giving up 5 ER total against 9 runs of support. Wells could stick after Rich Harden returns, since True Talent likes his stuff. He’s a good short-term risk for owners in NL leagues or those deeper than 14 teams.
Chris Young | ARI | OF
True Talent: .234/.297/.427
Next Week Forecast: 0.8 HR, 3 R, 2 RBI, .234 BA, 0.6 SB
You could speculate on a rebound based on Young’s True Talent numbers, but even those are not all that robust. Young might recapture his speed and power someday, just not any time soon. He looks lost at the plate, and he can’t give you steals if he can’t get on base. The only reason that Young is playing now is because Conor Jackson is on the DL—when CoJack returns, Young is AAA-bound. In the near term, you don’t want any part of this guy.