Week 6 Mailbag
Every Wednesday Ray Flowers takes your questions and gives you answers.
Each Wednesday I'll answer your questions which you can send to me at @BaseballGuys on Twitter. I'll try not to be snarky though I can't promise anything. I will at least try to inform and entertain. Hopefully.
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As I write this Lincecum is once again struggling against the Pirates and Henderson Alvarez is coming off a complete game shutout. Tim Heaney and I famously had a back and forth battle on Alvarez two years ago. I was anti-Alvarez. Am I still that way? The 2.62 ERA of Alvarez is shinny, but do his skills support that? He never strikes anyone out. His K/9 rate over his last 24 starts is about 5.5. Awful. He doesn't walk anyone though (2.3 per nine) so at least that helps a bit. He also doesn't allow homers, five in his last 24 starts, thanks to a bowling ball of a sinking fastball that fellas just can't lift (his career 2.25 GB/FB is impressive). But let's be honest here. Do you feel good about starting a guy on the Marlins for wins? I don't. He doesn't get saves (duh). He's never had 80 Ks in a season (note that he pitched 187.1 innings in 2012). Even this year with his success his WHIP is 1.30 – an exact match for his career mark (it's spot on the league average too). That means Alvarez is, at best, going to be league average. At best. Repeat, at best. I have no interest in a starting pitcher who has a 4.07 career ERA, 1.30 WHIP and will be lucky to get 110 strikeouts.
Hosmer – gave my thoughts about him a couple days back in Bullet Points: Batters. Rosenthal is 9-for-9 in saves, and he's punched out 20 batters in 15.1 innings. Fantastic. Unfortunately he's also sporting a 4.70 ERA, has walked 5.28 batters per nine innings and is currently sporting a mind bendingly terrible 0.44 GB/FB ratio. Sample size? That's likely the main culprit, but the lack of control and the explosion in his walk rate is a concern.
Fielder has, while still being universally bashed, produced a 7-game hitting streak. He's also scored five times in his last five games, and he's walked four times in his last three outings (he's now walked three more times than he's struck out). All good signs. He's only hitting .233 and has just two homers, but a breakout seems immanent.
If you have power covered on your offense I can sign off on this deal. I believe that Rosenthal should straighten out the walks and Hosmer could still be a top-10 first baseman from here out, even if Fielder is still the better option at first.
Wow, really? You're asking me if I want to drop one of my darlings in Kluber? You want to drop Kluber after 13 Ks and one run allowed in his last start? You want to drop Kluber, he of the 9.60 K/9 mark, 4.00 K/BB ratio, 1.49 GB/FB ratio? Why? For Colabello? Double why? Colabello has sucked the last 10 games. In that time he has three runs scored and six hits. He's also struck out 14 times. Oh, and he has only two RBIs. Currently sporting a .270 average, that number has gone down in 13-straight games. His OBP is .315 (awful). It was at .410 on April 17th. Point is the gravy train has run out. In my most recent May Rankings, Colabello didn't even make my top-25 at first base. This would be an absolutely horrible move to make.
I still love you DadofReilly.
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– What's your take on Chris Archer? Loved him but seems very mediocre so far.
Let's take a look at what I wrote in his Player Profile.
“Archer had a 7.06 K/9 mark in 2013. That’s slightly below the league average but a passable number for a starter.” His K/9 mark is up to 7.59.
“We need more data but the walks could go either way and they will be a huge key to how he performs in 2014.” He's walking two tenths fewer batters per nine (2.45).
“He had a 1.38 GB/FB ratio in 2013 and that’s certainly a solid number without being impressive.” He's improved that number this season (1.76).
“Chris was slightly above the league average with an 11.7 HR/F ratio, about two percent up...” The number is way down this year (5.9).
To review. His Ks are up. His walks are down. His GB/FB is improved. He's cut his homers allowed. What that means is – he is pitching better than he was last year. Further support for that:
2013: 3.88 SIERA, 3.91 xFIP
2014: 3.57 SIERA, 3.40 xFIP
Archer is a prime buy low guy, not a sell low guy.
I've been getting a ton of questions about dropping or trading Lucroy. First off, please do a league with two starting catchers. It's only been the “norm” for a decade now. Second, why does anyone want to drop Lucroy? The man is batting .298 with a .370 OBP and he's sporting a 0.93 BB/K ratio. OK so he's got one homer, but really, you want to drop a catcher who has averaged 15 homers the last two seasons while batting .296 over his last 272 games? I don't get that at all. I'm certainly not going to drop him for Ramos who has tons of talent but simply cannot stay healthy (he was activated off the DL today). Dropping Swisher for Ramos is a decent move, but as I noted, I'm still a bigger fan of Lucroy. Plus, in a one catcher league having a second catcher is merely a luxury and not something you have to have on your roster.
– Is Alex Gordon worth holding on to in 11 team league with 10 offense slots? Markakis is out there.
Gordon has at least 14 homers, 72 RBIs, 90 runs scored and 10 steals each of the past three years. How many outfielders have done that? The answer is one. Alex Gordon. In fact, he's the only guy in baseball, regardless of position, who has done that. I really like Markakis as a depth play, very stable/solid, but realize the following. The last time Markakis hit 14 homers was 2011. The last time he had 72 RBIs was 2011. The last time he scored 90 runs was 2009. He stole two bases the last two years. Even now, as he's has as successful start to his season, .304 average helps there, he has two homers, 11 RBIs and 15 runs scored. As bad as Gordon has been he still has a homer, 16 RBIs and 14 runs scored. Stick with Gordon. Markakis just doesn't do enough to be worth much, at all, in an 11 team league.