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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 5x5 (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
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.