Roster doctor- 3/23/09

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We’ve received plenty of emails from you guys, and while we’ll be featuring a roster analysis multiple times a week, we unfortunately won’t be able to get to every single one. Hopefully though, in each roster discussion, we’ll be able to provide some sort of insight to a player you may be targeting or questioning, or give you new ideas in how to handle your own team. So please don’t be discouraged, and continue e-mailing us your rosters—your’s might be featured in the next edition!

For today’s edition, let’s take a look at Leo’s team:

Player pool: Mixed
No. of teams: 12
Categories: Traditional 5×5 (Yahoo public)
C – Chris Iannetta
1B – Chris Davis
2B – Robinson Cano
3B – David Wright
SS – Hanley Ramirez
OF – Alfonso Soriano
OF – Carlos Lee
OF – Shin-Soo Choo
Util – Joey Votto
BN – Pablo Sandoval
BN – Willy Taveras

SP – Roy Halladay
SP – Adam Wainwright
RP – Brian Fuentes
RP – Heath Bell
P – Trevor Hoffman
P – Kevin Gregg
P – Scott Baker
BN – Kevin Slowey
BN – Hiroki Kuroda
BN – Josh Johnson

I definitely like the amount of power in this lineup, as six of the nine players in the starting lineup project to hit over 25 home runs. I also like the potential at the catcher position, with Iannetta. He should have more plate appearances in 2009, which should increase his overall numbers. Another added plus is that in 2008, his home BABIP of .276 was below average, and so we have another reason to think that his overall numbers will be a little better in 2009. So he could provide an extra boost to a lineup that should produce numbers good enough to finish near the top in all batting categories.

I do think that Soriano is an injury-risk though, as he is 33 years old and has not played more than 135 games since 2006. The various projection systems seem to take this into account, and the Bill James projection of 140 games and 576 at-bats is the most generous. You could look to trade him for someone a little more durable and reliable, like Josh Hamilton. While there might be a decrease in stolen bases, I think a drop-off is worth it considering the risk in missed playing time. If Soriano were to miss any significant time, it would be difficult to replace the power numbers he provides. So having a more reliable player, like Hamilton, would provide stability. Another option is to package Soriano with one of the bench players, and try to upgrade an outfield position with a 2-for-1 deal. While that might be difficult to do, I think its still worth a try.

The pitching staff is pretty solid, and Halladay is definitely a great anchor. I like the potential with Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey and Josh Johnson, as I believe they will all improve upon last season’s numbers. But an immediate concern of mine is a lack of strikeouts. Outside of Johnson, none of the starters are power pitchers. Halladay struck out 206 batters last year, but that was over 246 innings, and the 7.54 K/9 rate was his best in seven seasons as a full-time starter. Drop that rate closer to his career average, and you’ll get a number closer to 170 in the same number of innings.

There are various things you can do here:

1) You can try trading for pitchers who may have similar ERA and WHIP, but who carry better strikeout potential. An example of this might be Baker for Zach Greinke.

2) You can wait and hit the waiver wire. Every year, there are pitchers who go undrafted, get called-up during the season or simply get dropped by an impatient owner, who end up providing a ton of value for next to nothing, especially in these Yahoo public leagues. This is definitely a viable option considering the context.

3) And because this is a Yahoo public league, two-for-one deals, where you are consolidating to a single player, are much more likely to work. In this situation, I would put together a deal where I am trading a starter and a closer. There are always closer controversies at nearly every point of every season, and so I view closers as somewhat expendable in this regard. So in this situation, I might try trading Slowey and Heath Bell for Chad Billingsley, or even Halladay and Brian Fuentes for C.C. Sabathia. Those specifically may not work, but there are lots of combinations and options here.

The last thing I can suggest is keeping an eye on the Chicago Cubs closer situation. Carlos Marmol is currently listed as the closer on the depth chart, and it looks like both he and Kevin Gregg are having good springs. If Gregg stays in the setup role, his value will decrease tremendously, and I would use that opportunity to find a high-upside guy to stash.

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  1. Jacob Rothberg said...

    Yeah – that stood out to me as well. I’d certainly liked to know whether that happened in the draft or through trades.

  2. Marco Fujimoto said...

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for reading and visiting THT.

    Leo was able to acquire Hanley Ramirez by trading Matt Kemp and Derek Jeter (with some gripe from several league managers, I believe). I should have noted this in the article. Sorry about that.

  3. Jacob Rothberg said...

    well, as a veteran of many yahoo public leagues, i can only say that a trade like that is neither surprising nor rare. I just wish those softballs would get tossed to me once in a while.

  4. Kevin said...

    Wow, I wish I was slotted into this league!
    How does one end up with 2 1st round picks (Ramirez and Wright) and 2 2nd round picks (Soriano and Lee) on the same team?

  5. Leo said...

    Here were my first few picks and (draft position).  I wanted my first pick to be 3B and was hoping for Cabrera, and couldn’t believe Wright was available.  I was then offered Hanley for Kemp straight up (!) but threw in Jeter to avert a veto – it must have passed by one vote…

    1. (7) David Wright
    2. (18) Alfonso Soriano
    3. (31) Carlos Lee
    4. (42) Matt Kemp
    5. (55) Roy Halladay
    6. (66) Chris Davis
    7. (79) Derek Jeter

  6. Leo said...

    Good question, BobbyRoberto.  Mainly to keep my marriage intact!  This was autopicked – see my comment in today’s “Is auto-pick evil?” article.

  7. BobbyRoberto said...

    Seriously, why play in a league like that?  Sure, it’s nice to win but a little competition seems like it would be more fun.

  8. Ben said...

    Did he seriously say Hamilton was less injury prone?  Less injury prone than who?  The guy has had a ton of injuries:

    2002: “Hamilton only played 45 games in the 2001 season… before his season came to an end due to lingering toe and neck injuries.”

    2003-2006 (Lost to drugs)

    2007: “On May 22, the Reds placed Hamilton on the 15-day disabled list with gastroenteritis …  Hamilton went back on the DL on July 12 with a sprained wrist.”

    So Hamilton is not injury prone because he’s played… one pro season without getting injured?

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