I looked at the American League this afternoon. Now it’s time for the National League.
Brad Lidge | HOU | CL – Brad Lidge went on the Disabled a few days ago, shortly after being handed the closer’s role. It’s possible he won’t get the job back, but the Astros seem to (rightfully) want him there, so if his owner drops him, pick him up and stash him away. He’s hoping to return after the All-Star break.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues.
Dan Wheeler | HOU | CL – With Lidge on the DL, Wheeler will play closer until the All-Star break. He should be owned until then, and in leagues where relievers have value he should continue to be owned afterwards.
Recommendation – Should be owned in all leagues while he has the closer’s job.
Jeff Francis | COL | SP – Mediocre K rate (6.16 K/9), but his control is improved this year (2.45 BB/9). As long as this keeps up, Francis has value in many leagues.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues.
Chad Billingsley | LAD | SP – Pitching out of the bullpen to start the year, Billingsley put up pretty good numbers. The Dodgers noticed and have moved him back into the rotation. His control is a little iffy, and if it gets much higher as a starter Billingsley will be a tough guy to own, but if he can put up a line like this (7.5 K/9 | 3.75 BB/9 | 45% GB) he’ll be a decent pickup. If he reverts to last year’s numbers, however, he’ll be useless in most all leagues. I’d take Francis over him.
Recommendation – Should be considered in 12 and owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.
Carlos Marmol | CHC | RP – Marmol’s name was the first mentioned in conjunction with the closer’s role when Ryan Dempster first announced he could move to the rotation. Angel Guzman then became the supposed next-in-line, but with him on the DL and Marmol’s impressive numbers, it could be Marmol that ends up closing for the Cubs. His 11.72 K/9 is astounding and his 3.06 BB/9 is good, but his 26% Ground ball rate makes him homer prone. His 4.8% HR/FB won’t last. For those speculating on saves, Marmol is a guy that should be watched/owned.
Recommendation – Should be watched in all leagues. Should be owned in 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.
Rob Bowen | CHC | C – With Michael Barrett shipped out of town (which I’ll discuss tomorrow) and Bowen coming in, he seems to be the new starting catcher. His 15% Walk and 20% Line Drive rates are good, but a 65% Contact rate will prevent him from hitting for much better than .235-.240. While his 44% Fly ball rate is good, he doesn’t hit the ball with much authority, making his power contributions pretty poor. He shouldn’t hit more than 10 HRs, and he might not get to 6 or 7 if his FB% drops to its career level of 35%.
Recommendation – Should be avoided in all single catcher leagues. Should be considered in two-catcher 14-team mixed leagues. Should be strongly considered in 8 and owned in 10, 12, and 14-team two-catcher NL-only leagues.
Mike Maroth | STL | SP – Traded to the Cards today, Maroth is now eligible in NL-only leagues. His low K rate and sub-2.00 K/BB makes him a poor option in all but the deepest leagues.
Recommendation – Should only be owned in the deepest leagues.
Edgar Gonzalez | ARZ | SP – Might have his next turn skipped, but Gonzalez is better than the surface numbers indicate. Being switched between rotation and bullpen can’t be good for his health, but while in the rotation he has value. His (7.11 K/9 | 2.13 BB/9 | 3.33 K/BB | 47% GB) line so far is quite good, and he’s been getting a little bit unlucky. Gonzalez is a better pickup than many people would give him credit for. His control has been great this year and last, so Gonzalez doesn’t have too much blow-up potential. Billingsley might have more upside, but Gonzalez is safer (ignoring the fact that he doesn’t have a guaranteed starting job). When Randy Johnson returns, there’s a good chance Gonzalez — deserving or not — will be moved back to the bullpen.
Recommendation – Should be owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues while in the rotation. Should be owned in all NL-only leagues while in the rotation.
Mike Lamb | HOU | 1B/3B – 4 of 6 HRs have gone past 400 true feet, according to HitTracker. Last year 9 of 12 cleared 400. He should actually be on a better pace than he is. His contact skills are also quite good, with an 83% Contact rate, 11% Walk rate, and 21% Line Drive rate. He could hit .290 with 25-30 HRs if he ever started a full year. Still has value when he does play, which has been more and more of late.
Recommendation – Should be considered in deep 10 and owned in 12 and 14-team mixed leagues. Should be owned in all but shallow NL-only leagues.