Roster Doctor – 5/29/09

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.

I chose a deep league for today so this roster will not look like an All-Star ballot…

Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 16
Categories: Traditional 5×5 (except instead of stolen base totals, it is net stolen bases [NSB])
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
Roster:

C – John Baker
1B – Adrian Gonzalez
2B – Chase Utley
3B – Mark Teahen
SS – Stephen Drew
LF – Jayson Werth
CF – Carlos Beltran
RF – Matt Kemp
Util – Nelson Cruz
BN – Juan Pierre
BN – Adrian Beltre
BN – Matt LaPorta
BN – Mat Gamel
DL – Ryan Doumit

SP – Chad Billingsley
SP – Javier Vazquez
RP – Brian Fuentes
RP – Brad Ziegler
P – Yovani Gallardo
P – LaTroy Hawkins
P – Carl Pavano
BN – Andrew Bailey
DL – Kelvim Escobar

For a 16-team league, I think your hitting is overall, quite good. Your outfield is stacked like Scarlett, as is the right side of your infield. The left side of your infield however, manned by Drew and Teahen, needs to be reworked.

Actually, Teahen is a decent option at third, and he is the type of player that provides more value than he commands in a trade so I suggest keeping him as a role player. Drew, on the other hand, is the hitter on your team I would look to upgrade right away. He has been playing too terribly to be worthy of netting you anything valuable in a trade so the players you give up should either be outfielders or starting pitchers.

Luckily, Drew is not the only shortstop struggling right now and other shortstops that are struggling—such as Jimmy Rollins and J.J. Hardy—can be acquired relatively cheaply and are more likely to break out of their slumps. Both are discussed briefly in this article.

In a perfect world, you would be able to trade the players you feel are valuable yet somewhat expendable in return for players you deem more helpful to your team’s cause. However, sometimes it is important to trade the players that, even though are playing great for your team, have a higher perceived value than what they most likely will produce in the future. Adrian Gonzalez is a perfect example of this type of player.

Adrian is a great player, but right now he is perceived by some as a super-elite player and can haul quite the load of player(s) in a trade. His current 37.7 percent HR/FB rate is unsustainable and for the rest of the season, most likely, he will play like the .280/35/100 hitter he is; not the .280/63/120 player he currently is on pace for. Winning owners will recognize this and receive players in trades that will produce better numbers for the rest of the season than the players they are trading away. If you can acquire a “super-elite” player for Gonzalez, I would accept.

I feel Nelson Cruz’ production is pretty legitimate by the way. None of his indicator stats jump out at me so he is someone worth keeping if no one is biting on trade offers with him.

In your submission you note that you would like to bolster your pitching, and in my opinion, that is unnecessary. Billingsley is one of the best pitchers in the game right now—although I would like to see his BB/9 rate decrease, not increase as he supposedly matures. Right now he has given up 30 walks in 67 innings, good for a 4.03 walk rate per nine innings.

Still, he is one of the best pitchers in the game and when combined with Vazquez and Gallardo, the three make a formidable three-headed strikeout machine. A relief corps of Fuentes, Ziegler, and Bailey to back him up is solid—there is no reason to try and improve them by any means other than through free agency.

The rookies you have taken a stab on—LaPorta and Gamel—have yet to pay off but I would hold onto at least Gamel for now. My feeling is he could get hot at any moment, and can make a nice platoon player when facing righties. The implication is that LaPorta is expendable, and if a player in free agency catches your fancy, he would be the one to drop.

So what you should be doing immediately after reading this is to start attempting to acquire a new shortstop. I gave you my suggestions of who to target, but almost anyone will suffice over Drew. After that major upgrade, I would feel comfortable carrying this team throughout the rest of the season and into the playoffs. Yes, I do think you will make them.

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