Josh writes in:
“My main questions right now include (1) who should I pick up to fill an empty bench spot in FAAB (potential replacements noted below); (2) should Seth Smith and/or Everth Cabrera be starting in place of any of my current starters; (3) do I still have more SB than are probably necessary to get my 12 points in the category, and if so, what should I trade for now and who should I trade; (4) who are my potential keepers here? I paid at value for most everyone I think, but Maybin, Posey, and Nathan stand out as potential keepers.
Here are the league rules:
12-team mixed league, standard 5×5, 24-man starting roster. Hitters: C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, OFx5, Ux2. Pitchers: SP x 5, RP x 4, P x 1. Five bench spots, two DL spots. Five Keepers, salary increases by $5 to keep for next year. $265 salary. Must have between 135-175 Games Started. Weekly FAAB $100 for the year; I’ve got $65 left. Players picked up by FAAB have a salary of the winning FAAB bid.”
C AJ Pierzynski ($12) (price is high because of FAAB bid)
1B James Loney ($8)
2B Placido Polanco ($10)
3B Michael Young ($9)
SS Ryan Theriot ($3)
CI Martin Prado ($5)
MI Orlando Cabrera ($1)
OF Nyjer Morgan ($6)
OF Juan Pierre ($14)
OF Bobby Abreu ($11)
OF Alex Rios ($12)
OF Cameron Maybin ($3)
U Chris Coghlan ($6)
U Julio Borbon ($6)
SP Roy Halladay ($31)
SP Josh Beckett ($27)
SP Javier Vazquez ($11)
SP Ricky Nolasco ($17)
SP Jonathan Sanchez ($12)
RP Jonathan Papelbon ($14)
RP Chad Qualls ($8)
RP Jose Valverde ($7)
RP Octavio Dotel ($7)
P Bobby Jenks ($9)
B Hiroki Kuroda ($2)
B Buster Posey ($2)
B Everth Cabrera ($15) (price is high since I spent FAAB on him)
B Seth Smith ($1)
B EMPTY (due to recent trade, potential replacements for next week’s FAAB include: David DeJesus, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Sweeney, Jeremy Hermida, Orlando Hudson, Mark Teahen)
Welcome everyone to the first Roster Doctor of the season. We’re starting off the year with an interesting case from Josh. Josh has deliberately punted RBIs and home runs in favor of the other batting stats and, most importantly, pitching. This is a pretty darn bold approach to his league—rarely do owners choose to punt two categories in a 5×5 league.
First off, this strategy is much easier to pull off (initially) in an auction league. In a draft league, it’d be harder (but very possible) to amass that pitching staff.
Still the strategy is a tightrope. I think the team has a good chance to sweep the stolen base and average categories. Runs will be slightly tighter, but a high score should be fairly certain. The team is a dead lock to finish last in the punted categories. The problem as far as batting scores is that at least one or two of the teams that do well (say, finish in the top three) in home runs is likely to finish very high in runs. Sluggers score runs too. If they’re balanced in average and speed, then Josh’s team is going to have to make up at least five or six points and quite possibly as much as 10 in pitching to win.
Fortunately this team is very strong in pitching. I’d think it will do very well in strikeouts and saves. Wins are famously tough to game. I’m also guessing that the team is hurting in the ERA category right now—Halladay obviously helps, but Beckett and Vasquez haven’t pitched in yet. Obviously if they don’t come around, Josh is in some hot water. It doesn’t help that most or all of Josh’s closers aren’t going to lower his team’s ERA and WHIP by a lot.
I would recommend the following (answering some of Josh’s questions):
If you [Josh] judge your lead in stolen bases to be insurmountable, I would look to trade someone like Maybin, who might hurt you in batting average. But only do this if you find the right piece. One possible piece is a steady starting pitcher with less sex appeal who will help with the rate categories if necessary. I’m thinking someone in the Justin Duchscherer, Tim Hudson or Andy Pettitte mold, though given their relative productions I doubt you could pull off this trade for now. In any case, if Smith keeps some playing time, he might be worth starting over Maybin if the matchups are right.
I would take advantage of Prado’s MI eligibility and try to find a corner infielder on the market—a Ty Wigginton perhaps—and use the bench spot to sit Orlando Cabrera. Or you could drop Cabrera and use the bench spot to pick up either Dejesus or Teahen. I would go with them since Dejesus might be a nice replacement for Maybin if he struggles and you don’t have much depth at CI, so Teahen would help well there and fits in with your strategy.
I would also monitor your saves lead closely. If you’re doing well there, you might want to consider trading one of your shakier closers, like Dotel or Qualls, to a team desperate for saves and willing to overlook any pain they may cause to rate stats.
Sadly, I think it is too early to start worrying about keepers. Nathan may indeed be a potential value for next year, but I wouldn’t let that lead you to drop an important piece for this year if you need the DL spot. His keeper value depends on when you have to choose your keepers; you may not want to keep him if you have to make the choice in October, when there’s still likely to be a question mark over his comeback. As for Maybin and Posey, whatever data you get from this year is likely to play a large role in determining their value for next year, so it is way too early to let keeper considerations guide you too much.