Each Wednesday I'll answer your questions which you can send to me at @BaseballGuys on Twitter.

B.J. Upton or Curtis Granderson?

As of this writing B.J. Upton has 12 strikeouts in eight at-bats. Well something like that. I'm on record, and a couple of games aren't going to change that opinion, that I want Upton on my team this season. Bench him? Fine with me. Drop/give up on him? Not behind that call. However, as I've also said all offseason I'd rather have Granderson on my team. Playing on the Mets isn't exciting, and his home park doesn't figure to do him any favors, but keep these facts in mind. (1) Granderson is 33 years old so he should still have the power stroke. (2) His last two healthy seasons he went deep 40 times with 100 RBIs and 100 runs. He was the only man in baseball to reach all three marks in 2011-12. Won't happen this year, but should still be a solid power hitter and run producer.

– Points keeper league – Justin Smoak or Ryan Howard?

Go with Ryan Howard. I know that Smoak has 32 RBIs in two games, but look at his track record. It's awful. In four years he's never hit .240. He's only had one season with a .325 OBP. He's only had one season with a .400 SLG. Smoak looks good now, but don't forget he also has to deal with Corey Hart and Logan Morrison would could take away at-bats if he struggles. Best case scenario for Smoak is likely the worst case scenario for Howard – as long as the big fella stays healthy. Even the last two seasons when Howard was beat up he still had 25 homers and 99 RBIs in 151 games. No chance Smoak reaches all three of those three numbers.

– I know it's only two games in but for rest of year who will have a better season, Justin Smoak or Chris Carter?

I really to be flippant here, snarky perhaps, but I'll be an adult (for once). Yes it's only two games. Yes, it's early. Yes, you don't want to change your opinion on any player this quickly. I gave my thoughts on Smoak above, so here are my thoughts on Carter. (1) He has 30 homer power. (2) He should be a good bet for 80+ RBIs. (3) He might strike out 200 times. (4) His batting average will be terrible. He's still the correct hold over Smoak. Smoak is a .228 career hitter, that sucks ass by the way, and he's never hit more than 20 homers or driven in even 60 runs. Carter should play pretty much every day, match the career average of Smoak, and blow past the other two numbers.

– Trade offer of Anthony Rizzo and Andrelton Simmons for Prince Fielder. Which side?

Fielder is the best player in the deal. Period. Rizzo has the talent to go 30-100, numbers that should be right on the numbers of Fielder. I would still expect Fielder to produce the better average, and my confidence factor in Prince is an A+. For Rizzo? C+. I'm not talking talent, I'm just talking comfort with what the expectations should be this year and the chance that the player will reach those expectations. Simmons likely won't improve on the 17 homers he hit last year but the average should improve (see his Player Profile). The answer comes down to need. If I own Fielder and need SS help, I could do this. If I owned the duo and would have to turn to Zack Cozart at shortstop I wouldn't do it. End of the day, I want the Fielder side.

– Is Erasmo Ramirez the real deal or that was only a good day?

I've been pushing Erasmo since January of 2013. Ask around. People will let you know. I'm a fan. Is he elite? No? Is he a difference maker? Don't think so. Is he someone who could help a fantasy squad? You bet your rear-end he can do that. I had him listed at 74 at the starting pitcher position in my final 2014 Draft Guide Rankings. That means in a 12 team league I'm looking at him to be my 6/7 starter. If you value him there than he could return a decent profit.

– They are offering Omar Infante, Yordano Ventura, & Ryan Ludwick for Jed Lowrie. Go for it?

Here's the problem with any lopsided deal in general. What has to be done to equalize the rosters?

The team giving up the three players here to get Lowrie ends up with two open roster spots to fill. Who do you add with those spots? Is it Evan Gattis cause you're in a 10 team league? Is it Alex Presley cause you're in a deep league? Can you get quality from the two open roster spots? If you can add two quality players that you could very easily win this deal when the rosters are balanced and the trade, in essence, becomes a 3-for-3 deal.

If you are the team giving up Lowrie who do you have to drop in order to balance your roster? Remember, if you're only giving up one player but getting three back that means you will have to drop two players. How does your roster look after doing that?

The deal here certainly looks like a win for the three person side. However, the true answer cannot be rendered without a better understanding of the other moves that need to be completed to win the deal.  


You can follow Ray Flowers and send him your thoughts on Twitter @BaseballGuys. For up to the minute baseball reports on trades, injuries, lineups etc. see @FantasyAlarm.


Alan Thomas Kensek 

Ray, I know it is not encouraged to trade two players for the same two position players in return, but I had made this offer at the beginning of the year, it was rejected. Now they're offering me the same deal! I give up Ellsbury and Shelby Miller for Verlander and Alex Rios. I am in a 5x5 keeper league, currently in first place. With Ellsbury's injury history and the jury out on Miller, I thought this would be a good trade. Now I am not so sure! Please advise. Thanks, Al

Mark Lathrop 

Trade offer: A. Gonzalez - Cuddyer - D. Brown for J. Upton - Kemp. Currently first in steals but way behind in power numbers. 12-team roto.

Clueless in Seattle 

Which side? Option 1: D. Wright & Wil Myers vs. MigCab & E. Young Option 2: Pujols, Wil Myers & J. Uribe vs. MigCab & E. Young


Chasing saves as a losing proposition, but since I pay little for closers in our auction, it has paid for me to chase... Gregerson, Doolittle or H. Rondon? Thanks.

Hector Rivera 

Ray, looking for someone I slide in between my 5th OF/bench slots in a 15 team mixed roto. Your thoughts on: AJ Pollack, Cody Ross, and Jason Kubel. I'm intrigued by Kubel's comeback potential, but AJ is higher in my rankings, Ross is coming back and I'm not sure of either's foreseeable playing time. Will Ross be platooning? Thanks in advance.

Ray Flowers 

Hector Rivera - Order you had them listed in: KRod, Lindstrom, Qualls.

Hector Rivera 

Sorry about that Ray. These are the available free agent closers in my league, please rank short/long term: KRod, Lindstrom, and Qualls. Thnx.

Ray Flowers 

Hector Rivera - Nice of you to say my friend, thank you. Unfortunately, you didn't list any closers with your question. Might want to see - http://www.fantasyalarm.com/articles/flowers/18315/oracle-report-bullpen-disaster/

Hector Rivera 

Love your radio show and website. Need advice. Plz rank the following closers' short/long term potential this year. I lost Casey Janssen and have no back up. Thnx.

Ray Flowers 

Järpen - Honestly don't know what to think. I say if you can deal for 90% you can do. If someone is offering you Will Venable types for Braun, pass.


Here we go again: Ray, what do you make of Braun's thumb? Trade him now or take a chance on a quick recovery? His thumb has a history, I read.

Ray Flowers 

Nicholas Simone - Raburn likely to have most long term value, but none is a difference maker, so if you don't need Raburn for 2B, go Colabello. Add him, trade him. Would be best move.

Nicholas Simone 

AL only league... Colabello, Raburn, Flaherty or Presley? Thanks

Ray Flowers 

Järpen - When on he is very good. When off totally blah. Not enough Ks to be anything other than a streaming option for me. Toss him in the Wood, Leake, Arroyo camp = solid but nothing to get excited about.

Ray Flowers 

zebeck - out of that motley crew, go Strop.

Ray Flowers 

mike perella - Cause he is old? In my final rankings Burnett is listed at #24 at SP. Strong SP3, and you can pretty much draft him there in every draft.


Ray, how do you feel about Charlie Morton this year? 15-team mix.


Ray, 14-team mix. Would you rather pick up Strop, O'Day, Crain or Familia?

mike perella 

Hi Ray, Congrats on new gig. Don't see a player profile on AJ Burnett, why is going under appreciated. Understand he is a hitters park but wow did he fall in drafts. Thoughts Thx Mike

Ray Flowers 

Zbeck - Kluber is a strong get at $7. Good add. I downgraded him, what, two spots? He's fine. Just some slight tweaking.


Hi Ray and happy belated birthday to you! Kluber: You recommended -- I got him ($7 14-team mix). Recently you've downgraded him a bit, any reasons?

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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

Happy Holidays - https://t.co/Z5aIilTDwu

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congrats amigo RT @unicornbrian: tried to call in earlier to say THANK YOU to Ray and the rest of the FS guys. I won my title with ease