Roster Doctor – 3/27/09

It is time again to put on our white lab coats and look at another roster. Today’s looks like this:

Player pool: Mixed
No. of teams: 16
Categories: Traditional 5×5
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
C – Mike Napoli
1B – Prince Fielder
2B – Kaz Matsui
SS – Jhonny Peralta
3B – Aubrey Huff
OF – Adam Dunn
OF – Carlos Lee
OF – Felipe Lopez
Util – Jim Thome
BN – Brandon Inge
BN – Marcus Thames
BN – Russell Branyan

SP – Brandon Webb
SP – Roy Oswalt
RP – Heath Bell
RP – Joel Hanrahan
P – Brandon Lyon
P – Mark Lowe
P – Erik Bedard
BN – Wandy Rodriguez
BN – Jonathan Sanchez
BN – Andrew Miller
BN – Joel Zumaya

For a 16-team league, this team has tremendous pitching, from top to bottom with both starters and relievers. Oswalt and Webb are a great elite duo and Bedard, Sanchez, and Miller are good strikeout pitchers at the very least to round out the bottom of your rotation.

To have three closers and one probable closer is also impressive, so most likely you won’t be dependent on scraping the bottom of the barrel for interim closers throughout the season, although you should always be on the lookout vulture saves.

It is apparent your pitching staff is one of the strongest in the league, but now let’s see how that investment in pitching left your hitting lineup.

Honestly, not bad. I can tell you focused on getting power and with Fielder, Thome, Napoli, Dunn, and Lee, your team should thrive in the home run and RBI categories, at the obvious expense of batting average and runs. With Lopez, Matsui, and Lee, who should get about 60 total stolen bases together, you team is capable of winning the steals category every now and then.

The one player I would like to see moved is Felipe Lopez from the outfield. I do not want to see him off your team, though, because you are at a critical level of steals where any upgrade translates into a lot more wins in the category. So the question is how can we upgrade your steals without doing too much damage to the areas you are strong in, namely pitching and power?

I believe the answer lies in trading Jhonny Peralta for an outfielder and accepting a pitching downgrade, depending on the quality of outfielder you are trading for. This would then allow you to slide in Lopez at shortstop, where he will have more “value.”

Some cheaper outfielders I would target who can still get steals while hitting for reasonable power are Elijah Dukes and Fred Lewis. If you traded for one of these two players, you should actually be the one getting the slight upgrade elsewhere since Peralta is the better player involved. If you want to acquire a better outfielder (knowing you might have to accept a pitching downgrade to make this happen) some players I would target are Andre Ethier, Corey Hart, Lastings Milledge, and Bobby Abreu.

With a trade like that complete, your steals should come out improved and your power weakened slightly if at all.

One last thing I would do is alter your bench hitters a little. All three players are basically the same guy—power hitters with low averages. Why not mix it up a little? Take a flier on a high-upside pitcher or find a player in free agency who can steal some bases. I do not like the homologous nature of your bench batters.

Other than those two things, I would not mess around with this roster too much until the season starts. Your team should take the pitching categories most weeks and at least two of the five hitting categories, leading to plenty of victories. Good work.

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