'Adam Wainwright Delivers' photo (c) 2008, Brian Bennett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

People ask me questions every day, and I do my best to give a thoughtful, and hopefully well reasoned, answer to each of them. In what follows I'm going to answer some of the questions that were posted in the COMMENTS section of the Around the Horn, July 21st article.

What the outlook on Adam Wainwright for next year? Is he worthy on a keeper position in a 12 league (10 keepers)? Or would Jair Jurrjens or is Max Scherzer be a safer bet? – Josh

It sounds like Wainwright is ahead of schedule in his return from Tommy John surgery. All reports point to him being full healthy and ready to go by Opening Day 2012 (in fact, there are rumors floating that he might even be able to help the Cardinals this year if they make the playoffs). Wainwright had 39 wins in 2009-10, the second best total in baseball (one behind CC Sabathia). He also worked 463.1 innings, 6th in the game. You can't expect him to go out there and toss 230 innings in his first year back, but with 2-straight years with an ERA under 2.65, and back-to-back 200 K seasons, it would be pretty tough not to protect him given that you keep 10 guys. Scherzer is healthier, of course, but his upside at the moment may not be the levels that Wainwright reached the last two years. Jurrjens has been spectacular, but as I continue to say, he just doesn't have the skills to keep this up long term. I'd keep Wainwright.

Ray… what do u think of this trade Travis Hafner, Desmond Jennings, Rickie Weeks and Michael Young for Prince Fielder, Roy Halladay and Nick Markakis. 5 x 5 12 team roto. I don’t know if I'm just jealous the person didn’t trade with me or the trade was lopsided. – Brian

I say it all the time, I don't like deals that are this big – there are just too many parts to get a great read on the situation.

Hafner is locked into the UT spot, and for all his good with the stick, he just can't stay healthy. Jennings has elite speed, and has shown more pop than expected in Triple-A this year, but he continues to be dogged by injuries. When will he be up? We all thought he would have been a month and a half ago. Weeks is an elite second baseman. Young is a solid hitter, .300 is always a reasonable expectation, and he qualifies at multiple spots.

Prince Fielder is a total beast, ditto Roy Halladay, and Nick Markakis it hitting .319 over his last 69 games. If this is a re-draft league I totally agree with you. This deal is completely unfair, obnoxiously so actually.

Evan Longoria is nursing an injury in his leg. Would you be worried he gets shut down early this year? Are you scared this injury could hurt him significantly in future years. Would you be scared if you owned him in a keeper league? Do you think Eric Hosmer has Ryan Braun/Joey Votto/Justin Morneau upside in a few years? – Thomas

I don't worry about Longoria being shut down unless he's going to do long-term danger to himself. Of course, I'm not a doctor, and I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn last night, so I really don't know. I'm certainly not concerned about injuries being a long-term issue.

As for Hosmer, he could hit .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBI, the numbers of Morneau over his last 509 at-bats. However, I'm not going to sit here and say he's gonna hit .320 with 35 homers like Braun and Votto as that would be unfair to Hosmer if he settles in as a .300-25 guy. Could Hosmer get to that upper level? Sure, but remember, you can count on one hand, two at the most, the guys that could go .320-35 year after year. I's a very small group.

I need ERA, WHIP, K’s – my staff is Michael Pineda, Jeremy Hellickson, Yovani Gallardo, Johnny Cueto and Max Scherzer. I am scared of both Pineda and Hellickson inning limits so thinking of offering Hellickson, Howie Kendrick, Eric Hosmer for Cole Hamels, Alexi Casilla, Travis Snider…good move? – Scott

Pineda could have his innings limited. In fact he likely will according to the Mariners. Hellickson, not so worried about him and the innings, but he could have his workload curtailed.

Kendrick is a .300 hitter with some pop, speed, and qualification at positions all over the field. Hosmer is a solid bat, but in a non-keeper league he isn't close to being a top flight first baseman option. Hamels is elite. No reason to expect a drop-off moving forward. Casilla is hitting only .247 with a .290 OBP and two steals the last month. Snider is killing it, .326 with two homers and 14 RBI the past two weeks.

You're giving up a ton of talent to get an ace. However, this move would fit your need, though I'd be reluctant to do it.

I was just wondering your opinion on two players. I recently got Melky Cabrera and Mark Trumbo on my team thru trade and free agency, respectively. What do you think about these players? Can they keep up their numbers the rest of the way? I think Melky is real interesting because before I got him I didn’t realize how young he was as it seemed like he’s been playing forever, all those years with the Yankees. Now he’s putting up great 5 cat numbers. Is he just coming into his own? And Trumbo, will he hit a wall soon? – Jackson

Melky is on pace to produce a 5x5 line of .294-19-89-100-23. Every one of those numbers would be a career best. He's doing tall that despite a career worst walk rate an a career high strikeout rate. He's also bettered his career OBP by a mere .002 points (it's a league average .331). His GB/FB ratio is 1.55, an exact match for his career level. Oh, his HR/F ratio is 11.1 percent, a massive increase on his career rate (6.8). Cabrera isn't as good as he has looked. He's basically doing what he always does, with never before seen power that I doubt will continue. He's also a trade option, and I could see him getting dealt to a team where he plays four out of five days which would diminish his value. He's not a 20 homer bat, he's not a 20 steal runner, and he's not a .300 hitter despite what we've seen to this point.

Trumbo is having a nice season. With 18 homers and 44 RBI in 320 at-bats, he's on pace to end the year with 29 homers and 72 RBI which would be wonderful numbers for a rookie. There's no reason to expect him to hit a wall simply because the calendar is ready to move to August in a week and a half. He's done a decent job with a strikeout per 4.32 at-bats, though he isn't drawing many walks (5.2 BB-rate). He's not likely to see his batting average increase much (.259) given that, but he should continue to pound the long ball.


By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

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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