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Advice from the Fantasy Baseball King: April 22 Mailbag

michael pineda fantasy baseball

Editor’s Note: Every week during the fantasy baseball season, Fantasy Baseball Dugout is proud to provide leading fantasy baseball advice from Brian Smith, aka the “Fantasy Baseball King.” You can find him freely giving advice on some of the leading fantasy baseball forums and on his blog, Fantasy Baseball King (a Blogspot blog). If you have any questions for the king or for the editors of Fantasy Baseball Dugout, please email fantasybaseballdugout [at] gmail [dot] com. Now, on to this week’s advice, starting with a comparison of Zach Britton and Michael Pineda.

Fantasy Baseball Question 1:

I’m in a standard Yahoo 12 team H2H, non-keeper league. Categories: R,HR,RBI,SB,AVG,W,S,SO,ERA,WHIP. Players I’m looking at picking up: C.Santana, A.Torres, Rayburn, Hughes, Matusz, Britton, Pineda. Anyone from this list I should try for? I have a waiver claim on Santana for Moreland. I’m looking at Pineda and Britton, but I’m not sure who to drop. Any thoughts on the moves and/or the team in general? Thanks for the help.

My team is as follows:

C: Russell Martin
1B: Mitch Moreland
2B: Ian Kinsler
3B: Edwin Encarnación
SS: Stephen Drew
OF: Álex Ríos
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Jayson Werth
Util: Kelly Johnson
Util: Adam Jones
Bench: Pedro Alvarez, Adam LaRoche, Alicedes Escobar
DL: Rajai Davis

SP: Félix Hernández, CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Gio Gonzalez, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Madison Bumgarner
RP: José Valverde, Huston Street, Joe Nathan

The Fantasy Baseball King’s Response:
Carlos Santana is on the WW? Sounds like one of your league mates may have made a move after one too many drinks! Regardless, definitely a smart move in trying to get him. Moreland won’t provide anything that LaRoche can’t, so you aren’t losing anything by dropping him. As for the other players available… 

Considering your OF is strong, I don’t think adding Torres would be of any particular help. Perhaps if Adam Jones continues to struggle, you could swap them, but Jones has more potential, so ride him for now and see what happens.

Rayburn’s position flexibility is definitely enticing, and after starting the year poorly, he’s really picked it up as of late. I’d consider him a definite add on offense as well.

Personally, I’m never a fan of having two catchers on a standard league team, so I would consider shopping Martin now when his stock is at its highest. If you are able to get Santana, he becomes easily expendable.

Although Hughes is struggling now, he’s a good pitcher, but suffers from hot and cold streaks. Matusz, Britton, and Pineda are all young pitchers, top prospects, and as such, hot adds but also hot risks. Matusz is the most advanced, and was projected by some to reach #2 starter status this season. Pineda may have the most potential, but at his age, it’s so hard to gauge what will happen. Your staff is actually very good, and the only 3 pitchers you should even consider swapping out are Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, and Madison Bumgarner.

Of the 3, Rodriguez is performing the worst, sporting an unsightly ERA of 5.48 through 3 starts. Still, his SO/BB ratio is the second-best of his career, 3.00 (which is decent, but not great in reality). Having only walked 6 batters all season, it’s certainly not his ratios that are hurting him. He’s simply being hit, and hit HARD (29 hits over 23 IP).

Although Brett Myers’ K-rate is bizarrely low for his career (sitting at 4.8, compared to 7.4 for career), you can’t drop him simply because he’s been otherwise dominant.

That leaves Madison Bumgarner. I take back my comment about Rodriguez performing the worst. This crown may need to be placed on Madison’s head instead. But lucky for him, he’s had one less start by which to be judged, so it’s comparing ripe apples to on-the-tree apples. Given that Bumgarner is a rising star, and is able to hide amongst the giants of the Giants rotation (heh, heh), I’d give him another shot or 2…or even 5 before giving up on him.

In closing, my advice is as follows:

  1. Drop Mitch Moreland for Carlos Santana.
  2. If you can, package Russell Martin with Edwin Encarnacion to obtain an upgrade at 3B. Check out my pre-season 3B rankings, and target somebody in the 5-10 range. I realize how high I was on Alvarez then, but may have jumped the gun a year too early.
  3. Should the above trade go through, you’ll have an empty roster spot. Add Ryan Rayburn.
  4. Drop Wandy Rodriguez and grab whichever young starter you like the most. I see Matusz as the most mature, while Pineda is the most naturally gifted. Pineda also has been dominant through two starts. That being said, Zach Britton has been even BETTER. The nice thing about Britton, also, is that he plays for the same team as Matusz. Therefore…
  5. If your DL can support it, drop Wandy, add Matusz. Place Matusz on the DL and also add Britton. This way, even if Britton gets sent down when Matusz returns, you have a young, talented starter in your rotation either way.
  6. It’s always good to have a couple of extra relief pitchers on staff to boost your ratios and buff out your K’s. Keep that in mind and, if you only have one DL spot available, dedicate it to Matusz, drop Davis, and add a top-flight setup man. Either that or stick with a 6-man starting rotation (you currently have 7).

Overall, I think your team is very solid, and could definitely contend. Make the above adjustments and your team will become that much more competitive, especially if you actually can get Santana. Upgrading at 3B would be the coup de grace.

Let me know how it proceeds, and good luck!

The Fantasy Baseball King

Fantasy Baseball Question 2:

In a Yahoo head to head……r-h-rbi-walks-k-avg-doubles-triples-hr-sb…..w-l-walks-k-era-whip-saves- I’m not high on keeping Liriano. Should I drop him and get one of these guys: Britton, Pineda, Matusz, Wandy Rodriguez? Or maybe package Kendrick and Martin for IF utlity?

Here is my roster……thanks for your help!

C: Mike Napoli
1B: Joey Votto
2B: Dustin Pedroia
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Michael Young
UT: Russell Martin
UT: Howie Kendrick
OF: Matt Holliday, Jacoby Ellsbury, Seth Smith, Chris Young, Drew Stubbs

SP: CC Sabbathia, Clayton Kershaw, Francisco Liriano, Travis Wood, H Kuroda, Colby Lewis, Dan Hudson, Matt Harrison
RP: Joakim Soria, Jordan Walden

The Fantasy Baseball King’s Answer:
Don’t give up on Liriano, I implore you. Yes, Liriano is having is issues now, especially with high walk totals. While he may never be a control artist, he did a decent job of getting close in 2010, posting a nice 2.72 BB/9. In 2011, however, this number has exploded all the way to a crazy 6.10! While his K-rate is an not-horrible 6.1/9, it’s nowhere near his career rate of 9.2/9, so obviously something isn’t right. But much like his predecessor Johan Santana, Liriano is a notoriously slow starter. Check out his career ERA’s by month:

April- 5.23
May- 4.75
June- 3.27
July- 2.92
August- 3.54
September- 4.95
October- 0.00

So that in mind, I’m still a fervent believer. He’s going to end the year with near-ace numbers. If you need to sit him now to keep your ratios under control, by all means do so. But whatever you do, don’t give up on him. He’ll pitch MUCH better as the months grow warmer, and I would bet the house that he’ll end up with around 15 wins, an ERA in the low-to-mid 3’s, and close to 200 K’s. Stick with Francisco Liriano; I promise you won’t regret it.

Good luck!

The Fantasy Baseball King

Fantasy Baseball Question 3:

Was stuck with Desmond at SS, dropped him for Lowrie, and now am being offered Jeter for Lowrie. Do you take Jeter’s pedigree and trust him to turn it around or do you trust Lowries bat to keep him in the lineup. I’m of the mindset Lowrie will outproduce Jeter if given the ABs.

The Fantasy Baseball King’s Answer:
While I’d love to be sentimental and say to go get Jeter, the truth is that he’s in a major decline. Last year was ugly, and this year has been even worse. His BABIP is .260 (compared to actual BAVG of .241) so while he’s been a tad unlucky, it’s not like he’s been robbed of hitting .300.

Now, obviously Lowrie isn’t going to hit .462 all season, but he was a big sleeper entering 2011 for a reason. In his now 608 career at-bats, Lowrie’s been able to put together a very respectable .263/.344/.436 with 14 homers with 86 RBI’s and 76 runs scored. Lowrie is the future, and while he’ll never be close to what Derek Jeter was, he should make a push at .280/.365/.470 with 20ish homers for several years. I like him…A LOT. He packs a lot of punch for a middle infielder, making him extra valuable, and slotted into the loaded Boston Red Sox lineup makes Lowrie even more dangerous.

If it helps to have anther’s opinion on the matter, check out ZiPs Updated Predictions for both:

DJ: .274/.340/.372
JL: .282/.359/.462
Derek Jeter has had a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, but every good thing eventually comes to an end. And with Jeter’s 2010 performance carrying into 2011, it’s looking more and more like that end has arrived.

The Fantasy Baseball King

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