Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Week 21
Will Joc Pederson be promoted? What about young arms like Alvarez and Hahn – what does the future hold? How good is Gregory Polanco going to be? Which second sacker – Gyorko or Wong – is the better pl
Why won't the Dodgers call up Pederson? Is Crawford someone to roster from the Dodgers outfield? Which young second baseman - Gyorko or Wong - is the better play? Can Wada keep up his recent run. Which youngster - Alvarez or Hahn - is a better arm to own for next season? Is Gregory Polanco a keeper over an aging speedster? All this and more in the Mailbag piece.
– Why is Joc Pedersen not in LA while Ethier does basically nothing? He is clearly ready for MLB.
Easy answer. Money.
The Dodgers have a crap ton of cash, but they also can't be stupid.
Andre Ethier is being paid $15.5 million this year and then $53.5 million the next three years (he has another $17.5 million, or a $2.5 million buyout, in 2018).
Carl Crawford is being paid $20.25 million this year and then just about $62 million the next three years.
Matt Kemp is being paid $21.0 million this year. He's then scheduled to earn nearly $110 million the next five years.
Oh, and there is this guy named Yasiel Puig who you might heard of (he's do a mere $24 million the next four years).
And then there is Joc Pederson. Where the heck is he going to play? The Dodgers already have four outfielders that are being paid handsomely. Puig is batting .326 the last 24 games. Kemp is batting .310-7-19-15-3 in 27 games. Crawford is batting .290 the past month but he's killing it right now at .422 with six steals over his last 13 games. Ethier might stink, but are the Dodgers going to make him their 5th outfielder? No chance. Pederson has an extremely bright future, and he has KILLED it this year at Triple-A (.299-30-68-92-28 in 111 games), but there's no spot for him. There really isn't an opening for next year either, so someone will certainly have to be dealt before the start of the 2015 season to open up playing time.
I spoke to Crawford above. He has issues. (1) Injuries. (2) Lack of power. (3) Potential logjam with others in the Dodgers' outfield. But he is killing it right now, and there's still plenty of talent lurking in his body. Stubbs has to share the outfield with Michael Cuddyer, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon. When called upon this year Stubbs has been very effective hitting a robust (for him) .300 with 13 homers, 15 steals and 50 runs scored over just 303 at-bats. Still, he doesn't play every day, is batting only .221 on the road, and he strikes out an awful lot (that 0.21 BB/K is bad). Garcia has the most power of the group. Back from injury, he's batting .279 with two homers an a .819 OPS over 43 at-bats this season. Through 334 career at-bats he's hit .287 with nine homers an a .737 OPS.
What do you need? Garcia has the most power. Stubbs has the best power/speed combo though there are limitations. Crawford is the hottest and likely highest upside play IF he could stay healthy. I'd go Crawford.
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– What tier would Tsuyoshi Wada land in your rankings? Is roster worthy or just streamable?
The rankings come out the first of every month, so we're about 10 days away from the September 1st update which will be found here. As for Wada...
The lefty from the Dubs has been very successful through seven starts this year with a 3-1 record, 2.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. He's also done a good job limiting the free pass (2.29 walks per nine). Unfortunately the rest of his pitching line is rather moderate. His 7.55 K/9 is certainly solid but look at the rest of the league average numbers with him: 0.92 HR/9, BABIP .283, 21.7 percent line drive rate, 0.91 GB/FB. He's also been rather fortunate to have an unsustainable long term LOB percentage of 82.1 percent. Just take a look at SIERA (3.75) and xFIP (3.80) - they tell the true story. Wada is safe and stable, but he's not really the guy that that owns the current 2.77 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. More of a depth add, streamer type in traditional mixed leagues.
Davis is always on the cusp of losing playing time. A speedster, Davis is also a flawed offensive performer. Davis has swiped 31 bases, the 6th straight years he's stolen that many, but in those six years he's only received 450 at-bats one time. He's also the owner of a career slash line that doesn't do anything for anyone: .271/.318/.382. If it weren't for his speed he simply wouldn't be of much value as an offensive player.
The easy call here is to keep Polanco. He doesn't have the stolen base upside of Davis, but he's still a threat to swipe 25 bases (he has 12 in 61 games this season). He's a much better all around hitting option, and he's also going to play every day whereas Davis never will. Not just that, remove the steals and compare how each player has done this season and you will note that Polanco is right there.
R.Davis: six homers, 39 RBIs, 48 runs in 350 at-bats
Polanco: six HRs, 30 RBIs, 41 runs in 254 at-bats
The rookie has almost matched the veteran in 96 fewer at-bats. Go with the immense upside of Polanco.
– Going into next season, both with same salary, who would you protect: Henderson Alvarez or Jessie Hahn?
Alvarez has been fantastic this year with a 2.43 ERA over 23 starts. However, that's the only outstanding part of his game. I take that back, he gets a crazy amount of grounders, his 54.6 percent ground ball rate is 7th in baseball. But, from a fantasy perspective there's just not a lot to see. His 1.20 WHIP is solid, but it doesn't jump off the page. His 5.54 K/9 is abysmal. With 89 strikeouts on the year Alvarez has seven more strikeouts than Craig Kimbrel... even though he's thrown 94.2 more innings. Awful. Speaking of innings, Alvarez has never thrown 190 innings in a season either. He's also the owner of a career 24-28 record. Like Wada, check out his SIERA (3.65) and xFIP (3.52). Fact – Alvarez isn't as good as his ERA suggests.
Hahn was recently sent down to the minors by the Padres to help manage his innings this season. It had nothing to do with his performance that was fantastic. He walked too many, 3.73 per nine, but other than that he produced an excellent rookie campaign. That effort included strikeouts (8.36 per nine), grounders (49.7 percent), an ERA (2.96) and WHIP (1.13) on par with the better arms in baseball, and he pitches at Petco and that never hurt nobody.
Zero question – go Hahn.
Gyorko was horrible, hideous, embarrassing earlier in the year. However, since returning from his foot issues he has reminded everyone why he was an elite hitting prospect at the second base position. Over his last 77 at-bats he's hit .314 with four homers and 20 RBIs. Big time production is flying out of that bat right now. Wong brings an element Gyorko doesn't – speed (he has 17 steals). His bat has slowed a bit though in August as he's hit .243 with eight RBIs and just two thefts. Have a pretty hard time suggesting someone who has a .291 OBP since the start of July.
Tough call, but go with Gyorko.