From The Fantasy Oracle Wins Bonus: Earn FREE Cash! 

Oracle Report: Buy Or Sell?

It's early but that doesn't mean that Ray Flowers isn't here to help you decide which players you should hold on to or move on from in 2014.

Slide 1 of 2 Oracle Report: Buy or Sell? | Slide - 1

It's early but we all know that two weeks of action, for some people, is an eternity that has allowed us to crystallize our opinions on players for the entirety of the 2014 campaign, right? Hopefully you said no to that. I'll give my thoughts on six situations to help you feel better about your judgment with players. Hopefully.


Alexei Ramirez is hitting a robust .420 through two weeks. People seem to think, and I'm not talking about one person I'm talking about tons, that a breakout campaign for Alexei is looming. Sorry, totally wrong there folks. The data.

(1) He's already 32 years old. How often to players break out at 32? Answer is pretty much never.

(2) He already has six full seasons of big league work under his belt. It's not often that players wait until year seven to break out.

(3) Though he's a career .279 hitter he's failed to hit .270 in two of the past three seasons. Pretty sure that his current .409 BABIP, which is literally .100 points higher than he has ever had in a full season, is going to regress. Also pretty strange to see that he's hitting .420 given that his current 17 percent line drive rate would be a five year low. There's also this. The guy has a 0.43 BB/K ratio for his career. You really think he's holding on to his current mark of 1.33? Come on now.

(4) In 2010 he had 18 homers. In the three seasons since he's at 15, nine and six. He simply doesn't hit enough fly balls or convert enough of those fly balls into homers to have any chance to better 15 homers, tops.

Could Ramirez be a top-10 shortstop this season? Sure. Is he going 20/20? No chance. 15/20? Possible but not a great bet. Is he going to hit .300? The last time he hit .285 was back in 2008. Ride the wave but realize that his bat is bound to slow.


I don't get it. Well I do get it. Odd thing though is that no matter how many times I tell people not to panic, no matter how many times I say it in email, in a tweet, on the radio... folks just never listen. As Kyle Seager's Player Profile pointed out this offseason – the last two years an average Seager season has led to a fantasy line of .260-21-78-71-11. “Do you know how many third basemen hit 21 homers with 78 RBIs, 71 runs scored and 11 steals in 2013, the average of Seager's work the past two years? The answer is zero. Not a single third baseman reached all four of those marks (Seager was close with 69 RBIs and nine steals).” Good but not great.

So he's hitting .121 over 10 games. Who cares. Bench him for now sure, but you're really gonna give up on him after 33 at-bats? I say it all the time. If you manage your baseball team like this you will never win. Patience. Again, toss someone else in your lineup until Seager kicks things into gear, but making rash decisions is only advisable if it's a Friday night at a bar – wait, that's the worst time to do that isn't it?


You already know what I'm going to say about Carlos Santana, right? Were you thinking something like – he'll still be a top-5 catcher this season, just exercise some patience? You win the smiley face of the day award. The good. (1) Santana has walked 14 times in 13 games and that is excellent. (2) In addition to jacking up the walks he's also struck out only seven times in 13 games, the lowest K-rate of his career. (3) The last two seasons he's posted excellent BB/K ratios of 0.90 and 0.85. You do that and you're gonna be a very effective hitter. Right now, despite a .186 batting average and no homers, Santana is sporting an unheard of 2.00 BB/K ratio. (4) His career line drive rate is 19 percent. This season that mark is 19.4 percent. His swing is a bit off, his 1.90 GB/FB ratio is insanely high (1.13 for his career), but as the at-bats pile up that will revert to normal and the hits will start coming – in bunches.


The stuff is tremendous, and when locked in there isn't a more dominating force on the bump than Danny Salazar. So far this season it's been more rough than smooth sailing for the young righty though. By now you know, though it's still fun to note, that in his last start he became the first hurler since 1900 to strike out 10 batters in a game in which he failed to complete the fourth inning. So this is what we take away from his two starts.

For the gazillionth time – it's only two starts.

He has 14 Ks in 9.1 innings. He's averaging 11.59 K/9 over his 12 big league starts.

His control has been off, especially in his last outing, and he will have to do a better job of avoiding the free pass if he wants to work deep into games. He's currently sporting a 3.95 BB/9 mark for his career.

His BABIP through two starts is a laughable .476. The mark was .298 last year.

His HR/F ratio is 25 percent. Last year that mark was slightly under 14 percent.

There are still questions about how many innings he will be allowed to throw, and if he's going to be able to reign in the free passes, but you just cannot teach arm talent like this. Stay the course if you own Salazar, and if someone is being a nervous Nancy then swoop in an add Salazar. How nervous was “Nancy” that a whole saying was built up around her? Do you think her family is proud of the fact that their relative has been immortalized? I wonder...

Slide 2 of 2 Oracle Report: Buy or Sell? | Slide - 2


Mat Latos had knee and elbow surgery this offseason. Everyone said he would be fine for Opening Day. He wasn't. He's had yet another setback with his arm – most recently an MRI showed that he had a flexor mass strain in his elbow – and the result is that he has been shut down for 10-14 days. April is gone, and it's a real question as to how much of May he will miss, even under a base case scenario. His stock is plummeting.

Alfredo Simon has been tasked with holding down the spot in the starting rotation until Latos returns. Who is Simon and should you care in a mixed league?
Simon is no youngster. He's already 32 years old and he's one huge man who stands 6'6” and 265 lbs. If you're starting a rugby team up, he's your man.

Simon threw his first big league pitch back in 2008. You might recall that he had 17 saves for the Orioles in 2010. You also might not since he's had only two saves since then.

Simon made 36 appearances in 2012 and 63 in 2013 for the Reds. Every one of those 99 outings was out of the bullpen. Only 21 of his 179 big league appearances have been as a starter.

Simon owns a 6.62 K/9 mark for his career. The BB/9 mark is 3.00. The HR/9 mark is 1.16. The GB/FB ratio is 1.35. His career ERA is 3.98. His career WHIP is 1.33.

You can't teach 95 mph, and Simon certainly has a useful arm, but this guy is the definition of replacement level. He's nothing more than a streaming option in mixed leagues when the matchup is favorable.


Joey Votto is batting second Monday, the third straight game that the Reds have shifted their best hitter up from the third spot to second. In theory it makes sense. You want to get your best hitters as many plate appearances as possible. It's also pretty darn important to get guys on base for the run producers on your club and with Billy Hamilton looking an awful lot like a man who should be at Triple-A, getting Votto on base for the likes of Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier makes sense.

What does this mean for Votto? First off, we don't know if it will stick – the move up to the second spot in the order. Second, he's gonna hit .300 with a .400 OBP wherever he bats. Third, he's a 20-25 homer bat. None of that is going to change based on his spot in the order. The difference would show up in the counting numbers. He would likely score a few more runs while potentially seeing a significant dip in his RBI total – especially if Hamilton keeps sucking the wind out of the offense by failing to get on base.

All of this would seem to make Votto an excellent buy because I'm sure some folks out there that own him are certainly panicking.

Don't forget to listen to my show Monday through Friday from 7-10 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear me hosting my own show Sunday nights in the same time slot, 7-10 PM EDT.


  • 64x64

    Ray Flowers 14 Apr 16:14 / Reply

    Jeff - The Oracle Report is part of the Assistant GM Product: You have to be a premium member to read this report. There are plenty of other articles that are still free.

  • 64x64

    Jeff 14 Apr 14:50 / Reply

    Hey Ray- Just curious, are these articles not free anymore? I'm not seeing this article anywhere

Leave a Comment