'2ND' photo (c) 2010, Cathy T - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ It's Thursday, so it's time to answer the questions you've sent me at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.

Mike Stanton for Bryce Harper/Trevor Plouffe/Andre Ethier? @wekings007

Reality check everyone. As great as Stanton is and will one day be, he's merely an impressive power hitter right now. The best hitter on the planet in May, he's been pretty darn blah the other two months of the season. In the end he's on pace to hit .274 with 35 homers, 100 RBI and 90 runs. Those are impressive totals indeed, but they are not the jump off the page I'm going to win a fantasy championship because of them numbers. Did you listen when I told you to back down from expectations before the season started?

I know that Ethier injured his left oblique Wednesday, and that there is no clear cur answer as to how much time he  is going to miss throwing his value up in the air, but do you know what his current pace is for the Dodgers? How about 291 with 20 homers, 115 RBI and 75 runs. Is that really that far off of Stanton's pace? Harper has slowed a bit but he's still hitting .281 with a .841 OPS and a pace that would lead to a 20/20 season over a full slate of games.

Plouffe is the wild card. Over his last 10 games he has hit .243 with one homer, a far cry from the insane pace he set early in the month when he blasted nine homers with 16 RBI in 12 games. The power is legit, he's gone deep 25 times in 512 career at-bats, but he's also hit .232 with a mere .299 OBP – not exactly the stuff of legend. Still, he qualifies at shortstop and third in all league, and in most he's also eligible in the outfield and possibly even second base.

If Ethier was healthy this would be a killer deal. Even with him injured it's certainly not an awful haul, even though Stanton is the most exciting player in the group. I think the question becomes which two players would you need to drop since you're adding three players and only sending one away? Add in those two players and the deal likely won't make sense.

Where is Wil Myers going to play if KC promotes him? How long before promotion? @The_Real_Ray_D

I get this question all the time, and here is my standard answer.

Alex Gordon will be playing everyday in the outfield.

Jeff Francoeur, unless he is traded (the club is probably hoping they can move Frenchie), will be playing everyday in the outfield.

Lorenzo Cain, slated to start in CF this year before injuries struck (remember when he was killing it in the preseason leading to people drafting him as one of the potential breakout starts of 2012?), is closing in on a return to the big leagues as his rehab work (hip issue) was shifted to Triple-A this week.

Billy Butler is the DH and Eric Hosmer is the first baseman.

Where can Myers fit in there? He can't is the answer. The Royals will need to trade Francoeur, or Cain will have to stall out in his recovery to give the power hitting Myers a chance to play everyday in the bigs (Myers is killing it hitting .325 with 35 homers and 65 RBI in 75 minor league games this year). As I wrote last November in my AFL – 2011 Review column, the guy is gonna be a star – we're just going to have to wait a bit longer.

Any chance Logan Morrison will have a decent second half? @peterjpappas

After hitting 23 homers with 72 RBIs last year there was some hope that LoMo would take his game to the next level this season as a prime time run producing force. He hasn't. His average is down .020 points to .227 and his OBP has dropped to .305 (career .340). He's on pace for about 18 homers and 55 RBI. He's also walking less than he did in either of his two previous seasons. Toss in a sickly .241 BABIP, some .041 points below his career rate, and there really isn't much to get excited about here at all. I can't envision a player of his skill set being this bad all year long, but there's nothing going on here that screams to me that LoMo is going to be a significant player in the fantasy game the ROTW.

Jon Lester and Michael Bourn for Justin Verlander? @franksyanks23

Lester has a 5-5 record, 4.53 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. After years of upper echelon work those are terribly disappointing numbers. Still, he's tossed 5-straight “quality starts” as he slowly seems to be rounding into form. Oddly, Lester has lost more than a batter off his K/9 rate while also dropping a batter off his BB/9 rate. The result us a 2.93 K/BB ratio that would actually be a three year best if you can believe it. He's also produced a 1.76 GB/FB ratio that is better than his 1.44 career rate. The real issue is that his he's been getting hit hard. Currently his line drive rate is 23.3 percent, an unheard of level for a guy with a 19 percent career mark that has kept that mark under 21 percent each of the past four years. I'd expect his effort to continue to improve.

Bourn has been an elite performer --- just like I said he would be. Oddly though, he's accomplished it in a bit different way that was expected. After hitting seven homers the past three years he has gone deep seven times this season. Clearly this is one of those random things that just happens sometimes (don't expect him to go deep 15 times this year). However, after 3-straight years of at least 52 steals he has “only” 20 thefts this year. He's still on pace for a fifth straight effort of 40-steals, but it would be nice to see a few more stolen bases. Still, you can't complain when Bourn is hitting .309 with 50 runs scored in 74 games.

Verlander is as good as it gets. His ERA is up a tenth from last year to 2.52, his WHIP is up less than a tenth to 0.97, and his K/9 rate is down three tenths to 8.64. Wow, he's really fallen off. He's the pinnacle of the elite. Period.

The deal is pretty fair for both sides. Most people don't want to give up the “best player” in a deal, but the return here is significant – an elite outfielder and a solid hurler who is slowly rounding into form.

I was offered Chase Utley or Billy Butler for Derek Jeter? I have Jose Reyes to play SS and Allen Craig to play 2B. @NY_G123

Pull the breaks on the hype train. Utley returned to action, and homered in his first game, but there is NO way you can take him for Jeter straight up, even if you do have Reyes to fill in at shortstop. None. Utley missed nearly the first three months of the season with knee issues, this coming on the heels of seasons of 115 and 103 games played. You know the Phillies aren't going to play him every day the rest of the way either (he's resting Thursday). I'm all for taking a shot on Utley because I think he will still be an effective hitter when on the field, but you'd be better off pouring soap in your eye and trying to read a smutty novel than doing this deal.

The Butler offer does make sense. Though everyone always likes to put the guy down, or just flat out overlook him for some reason, Butler is a hell of a hitter. Not only is he hitting .297, he's hit at least .291 each of the past three years, he's also on pace for a career best in the homer category with 15 through 72 games (his previous best is 21 homers). I don't think he'll get to 30 homers, it's not likely that he'll be able to keep his 22.1 percent HR/F rate given that it's double his career rate of 11 percent, but that doesn't mean a .300-25-100 season can be ruled out for the Royals' hitter.

In this situation, with Reyes ready to take over at short, I'd take Butler in the deal. Jeter has solid all-around numbers (.305-7-25-40-6) but he's had only 12 RBI and hit a mere .269 over his last 50 games played after his tremendous start to the year.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday.




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own 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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