Contributed By: Ray Flowers
I'm in a 16-team keeper league in which each team keeps 5 players. I need help deciding on which 5 out of the following to keep: Albert Pujols, Jose Reyes, Carlos Lee, Grady Sizemore, Chad Tracy, Jon Papelbon, Ervin Santana, Jason Schmidt, and Brandon Webb. Any suggestions?
-- Ross, Chicago, IL
Here are the players in order that I would protect them.
1- Albert Pujols (.332-35-93-88-5). No reason need be given.
2- Jose Reyes (.299-14-59-98-49). Could end up the top fantasy earner this season because of the steals.
3- Grady Sizemore (.303-18-55-97-18). In a down year for the Tribe, Sizemore has not disappointed improving his AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS.
4- Carlos Lee (.294-30-89-77-14). Seven straight years of at least 24 HR and 80 RBIs, Lee has recorded at least 99 RBI the past three years.
Chad Tracy is a fine hitter (.280-15-64-69-4), but he will only qualify at 3B next year, and he certainly hasn’t taken the next step this season. Papelbon (0.90 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 31 SV) has been spectacular but the possibility of his returning to the starting rotation coupled with his relative lack of experience would lead me to shy away. E. Santana is intriguing but his career ERA is still 4.49, and it doesn’t figure to be helped by the American League. Jason Schmidt has had a very solid bounce-back season in San Francisco (3.00 ERA,1.18 WHIP, 140 K), but he is a free-agent rumored to be heading to Seattle this offseason, and I don’t generally think the AL is a good place to be for a SP. That leaves us with Brandon Webb, the man I would protect as the 5th guy on your keeper list. Webb has been great all year going 13-4 with a 2.77 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and a stupendous 4.17 K/BB ratio. In fact, Webb has 31 BB in 24 starts this year and other than a rough month of June (0-3, 5.08 ERA, 1.51 WHIP) has been “the man” all year in Arizona. That power sinker can be flat out dominating, and that’s what you want in a keeper.
I’m an need of runs and RBIs and in order to find that I’m looking to deal Carlos Delgado and Coco Crisp for Ichiro (I have Adrian Gonzalez at 1B). I would probably drop a spot or two in HRs, but think I could make up for it in SBs and maybe runs with this deal. What do you think?
First things first, I would be very happy to obtain Ichiro (.324-6-37-79-34) in any deal. Second, you might be able to pull off this deal if you point out the fact that Ichiro has been horrific in August (.194-0-2 in 14 games). Perhaps his owner will panic and want to move him. Funny thing with Ichiro is that he also “struggled” in April, maybe he hates months that start with “A”, hitting .287. This means that from May-July he hit .360, and there is no reason to think he couldn’t match that number the rest of the way. Plus, that speed would likely help you move up in the SB category as you suggested.
As far as giving up Delgado you certainly are in good shape at 1B since Gonzalez has come on so unbelievably strong of late. Since June 1st, in 65 games, Gonzalez has hit .332-15-40, numbers that surpass what Delgado has done since the same date (.245-11-40). Of course, with 26 HR and 74 RBI this season Delgado is very close to his 10th straight season of 30 HR and 90 RBIs, so you would be giving up a consistent power source, but I wouldn’t have a problem with this part of the trade at this point of the season.
The other player you would be giving up is Coco Crisp (.277-6-24-48-16). Crisp has played well since the all-star break hitting .291 with 8 SBs, but really, he is nothing more than a 3rd of 4th OF whereas Ichiro is a fantasy stud. With Gonzalez to cover Delgado, and Ichiro to replace Crisp, this trade makes total sense to me.
I'm in a keeper league and my friend sent me an offer: he is offering me C. Quentin, L. Berkman and E. Bedard for my G. Sizemore. Is this the deal of the century or should I keep Sizemore due to the keeper league status?
--J-K, Orange, CA
This IS the deal of the century. I spoke of Sizemore above, and while I love that guy for what he has done as well as the potential he still has to fulfill, let’s get serious for a minute here. Quentin, a first round draft pick in 2003, is a potential stud who is playing very well in his first exposure to the majors (.250-4-17-91- in 24 games). He has played so well in fact that there are rumors that the D’Backs are still interested in moving Shawn Green through the waiver-wire process to open up a full-time spot for Quentin. He may not be an all-star in the near future, but Quentin will definitely be a quality major league OF. The other OF you would be getting is Lance Berkman who, besides qualifying at OF and 1B for next season, is challenging for the NL MVP this year (.319-32-100-67-1). Sure he doesn’t have the speed of Sizemore, but his average will match the Cleveland outfielders and his power numbers will absolutely dwarf Grady’s.
Bedard has solid overall numbers on the season (12-8, 3.81 ERA, 125 K, 1.31 WHIP), but as we have discussed here previously in this column, he has been superb of late going 7-4 with a 2.55 ERA, 89 K an a 1.06 WHIP in his last 88.1 IP. Quentin and Berkman would be enough for me to deal Sizemore at this point. Considering the fact that Bedard is being thrown in you should immediately accept this offer and hope your league doesn’t veto the deal.
If you needed to fill an OF position and these were the best free agent guys available, who would you choose: E. Byrnes, C. Blake, J. Jones, S. Green, M. Thames, M. DeRosa?
Well, let’s go through them.
Byrnes (.281-19-50-63-17) has been a great 5x5 performer this year as a late round grab, but he has started to really flail in August hitting .218 though he does have 4 HR in 13 games. During his career, from August 1st on, Byrnes has hit .233-13-54-82-19 in 587 ABs. While those SBs are nice that batting average is not.
Blake has had a bounce-back season of his own (.310-16-51-45-6), though he has now been injured multiple times. Currently on the DL cause of an ankle injury, Blake is out for a couple of more weeks. Combine that with the recent play of Ryan Garko (.333-2-8 in 9 games) and Shin-Soo Choo (.317-2-15-7) and Blake’s playing time could be limited even when he returns.
Jacque Jones has solid overall numbers (.277-20-59-49-6) but his play of late has been lacking to say the least since he has produced merely a .204 batting average in 30 games since the all-star break.
Shawn Green is losing some playing time to Carlos Quentin (as mentioned above), and while Green has decent numbers (.281-10-49-56-4), his power has virtually disappeared with only 2 HR in his last 37 games.
Marcus Thames has totally fallen off the map since the all-star break hitting just .176 in 22 games.
All this leaves us with the obvious choice here, Mark DeRosa, who has turned out to be this year’s super-sub (DeRosa has played in 49 games as an OF, 26 as a 2B, 6 as a SS and 1 as a 1B). If that flexibility isn’t enough of an endorsement, how about his offensive numbers of .331-12-61-64-3. It is unfathomable to me how DeRosa is a free-agent in any league at this point of the season, especially after his 15 RBI week last week. Since the all-star break DeRosa has hit .331-8-32 in 31 games, so he is a must pickup if he is still available.
Ray Flowers, a member of SABR and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also don’t forget to listen to his fantasy baseball radio show at www.fantasybaseball.com, where you can call in for live advice, on Friday’s from 2-3 PM EST.