Manny Machado stinks. Do you pass on him for hot starters? Should we keep the faith with batting practice machine Marco Estrada? Is Jake Arrieta being overlooked? Is Corey Dickerson worth an add? What is the keeper value of Oscar Taveras? What should you make with power hitting phenom Joey Gallo?
Each Wednesday I'll answer your questions which you can send to me at @BaseballGuys on Twitter.
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I wrote all about Machado in the Tuesday Oracle Report. Let's just say I'm no more of a fan now than I was during the offseason when I warned everyone about Machado. Long term this 21 year old kid still has immense upside. But right now he's a punk, he's a bit overwhelmed, and he's just not performing. Therefore, if I'm in a re-draft league, it's pretty tough to tell anyone to go Machado over Chisenhall. Just look at the numbers.
Machado: .222-4-11-19-2 with a .602 OPS in 144 ABs
Chisenhall: .388-7-32-30-2 with a 1.049 OPS in 165 ABs
Don't forget that while Chisenhall may not be as talented as Machado, or come with as much glitz, that he too was a prospect of some repute (see his Player Profile). I'm not dropping Chisenhall to add Machado. You can add Manny though, probably smart to do so, just not at this cost.
– I know its early still, but as far as Marco Estrada is concerned are you thinking I should start looking on the waiver wire in a 10 team league?
It a 10 team league, not that I would ever do one, but if I did, I would have dropped Estrada a month ago. There simply are too many talented players out there to turn to in a league this shallow. Yes his 1.22 WHIP is solid, and who doesn’t like the better than eight strikeouts per nine innings? But he's only 5-3, has a 4.56 ERA, and is in serious danger of losing his rotation spot thanks to a preposterous 20 homers allowed in 13 starts leading to a 2.28 HR/9 mark. His fly ball rate is about four percent above his career mark, and his HR/F rate is more than five points up, and though neither will likely continue at that pace things are so bad right now he might lose his spot in the rotation with the Brewers. If you're in a 15 team mixed league maybe you hold, but not in a 10 teamer.
– What's with the radio silence on Jake Arrieta?
Well, let's fix that.
Jake Arrieta has made seven starts this year and has an excellent 2.50 ERA to go along with a 8.75 K/9 mark. He's also sporting a 51 percent ground ball rate that has led to an impressive 2.04 GB/FB ratio. All of that is excellent work. On the downside he's won only one game. His walk rate is worse than the league average (3.25 per nine). His WHIP is 1.42, well of the league average but spot on his career 1.43 mark. He's also been extremely fortunate with his 0.25 HR/9 mark that is less than a quarter of his career 1.13 mark. Speaking of that, and the previously mentioned ground ball rate, can Arrieta sustain his current pace? His career ground ball rate was 43 percent before the season which throws into question the validity of his current 51 percent mark. He's also posted a GB/FB of 1.35 or less his first four seasons. Right now that mark is 2.04. Arrieta has pitched decently, especially recently, but in totality he's still nothing more than a streaming option in mixed leagues.
– Hold Marcel Ozuna for upside power or just go with Corey Dickerson?
There is no doubt Ozuna has more power. However, that doesn't mean that Dickerson isn't the better fantasy player. Quite simply, if both guys play every day you want Dickerson on your squad. In limited work this season he's hit .333 with a 1.018 OPS, numbers that dwarf those of Ozuna (.268 and .753). Moreover, Dickerson has eight homers and four steals. He also plays in Colorado. Then there is this. Michael Cuddyer is likely to miss two months and Carlos Gonzalez could also be out for an extended period of time do to his hand surgery. That should lead to daily work for Dickerson who could be Shin-Soo Choo like at the top end of his game. Meanwhile Ozuna could be compared to someone like Jay Bruce in a best case example. I'd take a shot on the all-around talent of Dickerson and hope he keeps playing every day.
– Thoughts on Joey Gallo?
Joey Gallo is one of the biggest power bats in baseball. Gallo hit 38 homers in a mere 106 games last season in Single-A ball. A huge negative? Try a massive 165 Ks in 392 at-bats. That's, in all seriousness, as embarrassing a number as I've ever typed. This season he's been better, understatement, hitting .323 with 21 homers and 50 RBIs in 58 games at High-A ball (he still had 64 Ks in 58 games). Promoted to Double-A he hit a homer and drove in four runs in his first game. Let's be clearly though with the 20 year old who has hit 85 homers with a 1.056 OPS over 230 professional games. His power is immense. However, think Pedro Alvarez. Gallo has 317 Ks in 230 games. “Obviously, I shouldn’t be in Arlington right now,” Gallo said. “Maybe some time next year.” I agree. He's not worth a look in re-draft leagues, likely not in keeper leagues either, but in dynasty leagues it sure sounds like he could stick at third base and be the second coming of Mr. Alvarez.
– Is Oscar Taveras worth giving a next year 7th round for? 12 teams, five keepers.
The simple answer is no.
Oscar Taveras is an elite talent, something I noted in his Player Profile. At the same time Taveras has 10 games of big league experience. That simply isn't enough to protect him if you're only keeping five players next season. Furthermore, trading a 7th round pick for him also seems overly aggressive. It's one thing if you can protect Taveras with a 23rd round value attached, but the situation here is simply too risky. Right now, anyone that tells you Taveras is a top-60 player for 2014, which is in essence what you are saying if you keep him (12 teams, five keepers) is bonkers. Four months from now maybe we will feel different, but remember these cautionary tales. Twelve months ago here are some players that you might have been advised to keep, but where are they now? The names: Jurickson Profar, Wil Myers, Dylan Bundy, Jose Fernandez, Travis d'Arnaud, Archie Bradley etc. Taveras just isn't worth being named a keeper at this point of his development. Ask again in four months.
Matt Green – You're welcome. I do my best. Did you read my article about H2H in the Draft Guide? I laid out many of my thoughts in that. No one can argue that it's better in my mind. Just can't. I've heard all the arguments. Just don't buy them. I wouldn't change how I draft. I might actually wait on pitching even more to be honest. Two start pitchers are so huge, no real reason to go out and add pitchers early. You evaluate players the same no matter the format. Can be forced to give less rope to guys to struggling guys though. Simply can't lose 4-straight weeks cause your guys are slumping. Forces you to make moves to add inferior players.
michael mccunniff - Great staff. I keep fighting this with Cain. Is this the "new" Cain we have to live with you ask. Well --- 7.1 K/9, 1.18 WHIP, 1.20 GB/FB. Career = 7.5, 1.17, 0.87. He's not that far off. Just a cuole of homers really, and a few too many walks. I would rank him over Kennedy, but you jusrt can't drop Kennedy with the way he's pitching. So is life in 10 tm lgs.
Thanks for responding to my tweets and questions all the time. I wanted to mention something to long for twitter though. It's about head to head and roto. I know you hate head to head but there are many of us who prefer it. I will not debate it's merits too much with you. Although, contrary to what you say I think head to head is more realistic. In real baseball you win when your players are hot and lose when they are not. In the stretch and playoffs if your players are hurt or cold you will lose. This is well represented in H2H but not Roto.Also I hate that in roto you can draft all power and closers and then take a huge lead in HR and Saves, then trade those guys for speed and average which those players are usually worth less so you can get a haul. Regardless, the real reason I mention all this is because I am not sure if you play h2h at all. Being in a deep league I get crushed by hot guys who we know will regress. Meanwhile if I wait too long for guys like Allen Craig, Panda and Jennings I can be in deep trouble. (Glad I waited for Panda as he is bouncing back nicely) So the question I have is would you handle things differently in a H2H league than a Roto league. Would you hang on to guys like Hughes, Keuchal, Dozier, Chisenhall as long as you can and get the most out of them? Would you still look to sell and wait on guys we know will be good to bounce back? Thanks again for all your help.
Adam - Always glad to help. No one is right all the time. I thought it was a good discussion last night though. I admit I'm not always right. IF you listen, you will notice I'm one of the few who will admit when he is wrong (most don't). Try to let the data drive you... thanks for the support.
Ray: Matt Cain just hit waivers in a 10 team league. my rotation is: grienke/shields/lester/wilson/kluber/kennedy/homer bailey. my worst offensive player is briann mccan (platooning him with gattis) and ozuna. should i grab matt cain or is this the new matt cain we can expect from here on out
Thanks for the answer, and for the shout out on The Drive last night (referencing my question anyways). I think that Kyle has it right- your data driven conclusions are going to be right 90% of the time, and the 10% of players that are doing better/worse than their track records is probably the result of unmeasureable changes - conditioning, coaching, home life, finally "getting it" at the dish, etc. I try to play fantasy baseball the same way - meaningful data sets win out. Thanks!
Adam - Of course they matter. Of course, everyone said the same thing about Liriano after last year, and he's stunk this year. They said the same thing about Volquez after April. No one is saying that now. As for Hughes, better park for sure. Still, makes no sense that mechanical tweaks can drop 1.7 walks off a guys BB/9 mark - just too much. Homers? Park helps, but a 50% decrease? not likely. Hughes has been great, but 180 outings of blah still overwhelms 12 starts of really good.
Matthew Baumer - Buxton not likely to do anything this year. With injuries, he may not start next season with club either. Fine to go with Bryant, especially since you don't have a 3B on your listed roster.
I can stash one minor leaguer for free in 11 team, five keeper 7x7 ops. If you had bautista, cano, freeman and j up (and polanco as extra free keeper), would you stash bryant or buxton to keep over ortiz, lester, homer or alex gordon next year? Thank you!
Ray - another beauty by Phil Hughes today (no walks yet again). I know your thoughts on him, and how this shouldn't be possible, but do you ever give credit to the effect of a new pitching coach and team environment (as opposed to simply the ballpark dimensions) when trying to account for improvements by middling "established" players? Just curious since I haven't heard you mention pitching coach/mechanical tweaks while listening to The Drive. Thanks!
Hello Ray, thank you in advance. In a 5x5 15 team dynasty, in first, would you trade A Jax for Ozuna?
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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.
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