Mailbag: June 21, 2011
Here are the answers to some of the questions that I recently received at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.
If you had to pick one would you choose Chris Carpenter or Tim Hudson? – @we3kings00
Carpenter has frustrated everyone who owns him. Four times in his past 10 starts he has allowed at least 10 hits, and five times in that stretch at least four earned runs have crossed the plate leading to a 4.47 ERA and 1.39 WHIP on the year. However, I still see positives here, and I was writing about them all the way back on May 12th in Buy or Sell – NL Version. Here is why I'm still bullish on Carpenter.
(1) His K/9 rate is 7.11. That would be a five year high.
(2) His fastball velocity is 92.3 mph, higher than the 91.4 from 2010 and better than his career 91.6 mph mark. It doesn't seem like he is injured.
(3) His BB/9 rate is 2.19, nearly a half a batter below his career 2.59 mark. As a result, his K/BB ratio is 3.25 which would be his second best mark in five years.
(4) His HR/9 mark is 0.91 and his HR/F mark 10.1. His career rates are 0.92 and 10.3.
(5) His xFIP is 3.34 and his career mark is 3.41.
So why is he struggling? He's currently allowing his fewest grounders since 2002 leading to a 1.44 GB/FB ratio that is well below his 1.78 career mark. He's also been battered to the tune of a 23.4 percent line drive rate and a .327 BABIP. Given that Carpenter owns a 19.1 career line drive rate and a .297 BABIP, it would seem like he's probably due some regression. Also, his current left on base percentage of 67.5 percent would be his first time under 71.7 percent since 2000 (minus his six inning 2007 season).
Hudson twirled a gem Monday to even his record at 6-6. People get so fixated on one thing at times, and with Hudson it was his 4.08 ERA heading into the outing. With eight shutout innings that mark has now dipped to 3.73. Hudson also has a superb 1.09 WHIP. Is that surprising? Hardly, not when you consider that Hudson has a 3.43 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in his career. If we remove his 2009 season when he hurled only 42.1 innings because of injury, here is what we find.
Hudson has won at least 11 games in each of his 11 full seasons.
Hudson has posted an ERA over 4.00 just twice in 11 years. Nine times that mark has been under 3.65.
Hudson has posted a WHIP below 1.27 eight times.
Hudson is as consistent as any hurler in the game over the past decade plus, and his only real failing is that he doesn't strike batters out (he's punched out more than six batters per nine only once in seven years).
Both pitchers are solid veteran arms that should have plenty of value the rest of the way. Hudson might be the “safer” option, but I'd still choose Carpenter who offers more upside in the strikeout category, not to mention that I think his ratios also have a good shot at improving the ROTW.
Should I deal Stephen Drew and Jordan Walden to get Hanley Ramirez? – @noneedforreason
What do you do with an injured player? It's a question that is at the fore of everyone's minds. Think of it. Of the top-25 players coming into the year, here are the guys who have been on the DL: Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Chase Utley, Carl Crawford, David Wright, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman and Hanley Ramirez. It's been simply amazing.
Ramirez is back for the Marlins, but he's still not playing day games after night games because of his wonky back, and he's also been dropped to sixth in the batting order. It really does no good to analyze his work to this point since it's so clearly been inferior to his career levels in pretty much every conceivable way. With his continued struggles to get healthy, it's a fair question to ask if he will be able to flash his elite skills this season, and even if he does, how long will it take him to get there?
I dislike making deals in which I give away the “best” player in the group. I also dislike making deals in which I give up an elite player. However, at this point, I wouldn't look down my nose at someone who took Drew and Walden for Hanley, especially if that club could use help in the bullpen. I'd like to see if I could get more because HanRam is still an elite talent, but I would understand why someone would make a move. Given that, I'd probably end up withdrawing this offer leaving Hanley on the other squad.
Jon Jay looks like he's gonna play every, so Jay or Angel Pagan as 4th outfielder until Albert Pujols gets back? – @metsthoughts
Jay has hit .304 with eight homer, 41 RBI, 64 runs scored and seven steals in 450 big league at-bats. Clearly he has the bat to garner significant work in the big leagues. However, he's never been a big homer bat, his high was 12 in 2008, and that will not change if he continues to operate with a 1.97 GB/FB ratio which is his career mark (that number is through the roof this season at 3.21). While he will steal the odd base, Jay's not likely to challenge Vince Coleman's team records for thefts.
Pagan snuck into the top-50 overall last year with a wonderful 5x5 line of .290-11-69-80-37. He's not going to match those totals this season after a slow, injury filled start, but he's cranked things up in June hitting .297 with 11 RBI and five steals, production that mirrors his level from last season. He's done a great job controlling the strike zone with three more walks than punchouts, and he only figures to see his totals improve when the Mets get back David Wright and Ike Davis from injury.
I'd take Pagan. Neither player will kill you in average, and neither has more than moderate power either, but Pagan has the wheels to easily outdistance himself from Jay.
Everyone in those 10 team mixed leagues with three starting OFs and no MI or CI are killing me. – @BaseballGuys
Obviously this isn't a question, and I'm quoting myself (how narcissistic is that?). Still, I just had to vent a bit. I get questions about 15 team leagues, dynasty leagues, NL-only leagues that also use the AL central (that's not made up) etc. However, the one that really gets me is when people are asking for advice for their 10 team mixed league that starts only three outfielders and does not use middle or corner infielders. I addressed this situation recently in Player Pools where I tried to explain why 10 team mixed leagues are just too shallow.
And finally, I know it's not a question, but I thought you would all enjoy the sentiment from @justintime56 who had an interesting take on the Albert Pujols injury...
I blame La Russa for Pujols' injury. Should have played him @ 3B... he only needed one more start at third for eligibility.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 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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