I get questions all day from folks. Many of them come from people who are panicked about the struggling the players they own, while some come from folks who overestimate the value of the players on their roster leading them to think they've got the championship in the bags. In the following piece I'll give my thoughts on a series of players and let you know whether you should be buying or selling in the fantasy baseball game.
I'M NOT WORRIED – BUY
Matt Cain – People have lost their minds. Giving up on Cain. Why? It's AMAZING to me how much people panic with a guy like Cain who has been so rock solid impressive the past four years. It's like nothing I ever say gets through to some people. Sure his ERA is 6.59, but I could care less. His 8.16 K/9 mark would be a seven year best. His 1.88 BB/9 would be a career best. Pretty sure his HR/9 isn't going to stay at 1.88 as his career mark is a mere 0.78. And then there is this. His current 3.82 xFIP mark is exactly the same as it was last year, and 0.04 above his 2011 mark. His ERA's in those two years were 2.88 and 2.79.
Ike Davis – He's hitting .164 with three homers and six RBIs. Last April he hit .185 with three homers and eight RBIs. He ended 2012 with 32 homers and 90 RBIs. I'm not saying he's a lock to get there against this season, but I'm just pointing out that he started out extremely slowly last year and by the end of the year he was a productive power force.
J.J. Putz – The majors leader in blown saves with three. The issue, as it often is, revolves around location. He's walking five guys per nine innings right now. That will come down. The last two years he hasn't even walked 1.90 batters per nine. The other issue is homers. He gave up four taters in 2010, four in 2011 and four in 2012. He's already allowed two in nine innings this season. For 7-straight years his HR/9 mark has been under 0.80 (it's been under 0.68 the last four seasons). Pretty sure that number isn't going to stay at hia current 2.00 level. Putz also has 12 Ks in nine innings.
Giancarlo Stanton – He's hitting .200 with zero homers. Last season in April he hit .247 with one homer. He ended the year with 37 big flies in a mere 123 games. I told you all, repeatedly, that he was not a .300 hitter. I also told you I was worried about his team situation and mental health. Can't say I didn't warn you as I was emphatic about saying I wasn't going to take Stanton in the top-20 this season. At the same time, you're nuts if you're selling this talent for .80 cents on the dollar. You should be trying to add this power monster, not deal him away.
I'M WORRIED – SELL
Tony Cingrani – Through two starts he has a 2.25 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 17 Ks in 12 innings. Wow is right. Still, he's no lock to even be in the rotation in three weeks as Johnny Cueto rounds into shape. Plus, Tony's still throwing his fastball 81 percent of the time through two starts. That's a huge number. Once teams start to pick up on his motion and the movement on his fastball the results will change, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to be able to hold onto his 64 percent ground ball rate either.
Bartolo Colon – He's 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. He's walked one batter in 26 innings. Come on now, has he turned into Greg Maddux? Colon is striking out less than six per nine and the last time he threw 165 innings in a season was 2005.
Chris Davis – Finally fell under .400 at .382. Here are the facts. (1) He has one homer in his last 11 games. (2) He has three RBIs in his last 11 games. (3) His walk rate is double the last two years. It's highly unlikely he sustains that growth. (4) His K-rate is 33 percent of what it has been the five years. Pretty tough to think he maintains at that level. (5) His .413 BABIP is light years ahead of his career .339 mark. Career bests in homers, RBIs and average are certainly possible given his hot start, but there is nowhere to go but down.
Ross Detwiler – Wow has he been good. Through four starts he owns a 1.38 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He's also sporting a horrific 4.50 K/9 mark. If he throws 180 innings this seasons that's 90 Ks folks. Ninety. From a starting pitcher. He's also lopped off a batter from his BB/9 mark from the last two years, and he's not going to hold onto all of that. His HR/9 mark has dipped more than 50 percent from his career rate (down to 0.35). He's not holding on to that either. Oh, and his 88.2 left on base percentage is unsustainable. Heed the warning of his xFIP (4.20). See his Player Profile.
Paul Maholm – Someone sent me a note on Twitter that they were happy to be able to deal Stanton to get Maholm. I'm serious. From his Player Profile. “Maholm will never be elite. He’ll never be someone to build a staff around... he’s not someone to reach for on draft day, ever. Still, if you’ve got five or six solid arms in the rotation in a mixed league, and it’s the 25th round, you could do worse than calling out Maholm’s name on draft day.” Seems like most aren't heeding my advice here either. The two biggest things that stand out: (1) His .212 BABIP is nearly .100 points below his career .304 mark. Since 2006 that number has been between .281 and .327 every year. (2) His 8.54 K/9 rate is THREE batters above his career mark which is an unsustainable pace. He's only had one season with the mark over six the past four years.
Jose Valverde – He'll be called up and given a chance to close for the Tigers. Here are three of my Tweets about him from last night.
Have none of you seen Valverde pitch lately? '12 = career WORST K/9 (6.26) & K/BB (1.78) hint at scary times ahead.
Valverde '12 = LUCKY 3.3 HR/F ratio 1/3 of career. 0.77 GB/FB 2nd worst of 9 yrs. XFIP 5.01.
Jose Valverde K/9 last SEVEN years: 12.59, 10.91, 10.38, 9.33, 9.00, 8.59, 6.26.
To see how others are evaluating players don’t forget to go to Fleaflicker.com where you can check out the owned percentages of all your favorite players.
By Ray Flowers
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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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