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More Fantasy Baseball King Advice: April 29 Mailbag

<strong><a target=Jonathan Papelbon fantasy baseball

Editor’s Note: The Fantasy Baseball King normally digs into our mailbag and provides some of the best fantasy baseball advice online each Wednesday. He had so many great questions this week, however, that Ballpark Bob and BeeZee felt a second post from the mailbag was in order. If you have any questions for the team at Fantasy Baseball Dugout or the King, please email fantasybaseballdugout [at] gmail [dot] com.

Fantasy Baseball Question 1:

I’m in talks with another league owner who would like a bat plus a closer for me to acquire Jonathan Papelbon. I currently have 6 closers and have been attempting to pull off a 2 for 1 deal in order to get safer, better option. He has Mariano Rivera for whom I offered Broxton + Axford, an offer which was promptly rejected. He has no desire to trade Mo.

Papelbon, meanwhile, has been Boston’s closer for awhile now, but Daniel Bard has the hype to take his position. The whole point of my wanting to trade two closers for one is to limit my risk. Broxton has looked awful so far, as has Axford. I have a feeling at least one of them is going to lose their job this season. I also picked up Mitchell Boggs today and am hoping he gets first crack at the job in St.e Louis.

My closer arsenal looks like this: Jonathan Broxton, John Axford, Joel Hanrahan, Frank Francisco, and David Aardsma, Mitchell Boggs. Francisco is supposed to take over the closer’s role once he is fully healthy (was just activated from the DL), and the same goes for Aardsma. Both of these guys are as unsafe as Francisco. Francisco has even lost the job in the past, and Aardsma is coming back from hip surgery. Thus, I explain my fear/concern.

So to cut to the chase, my question is: If I can trade Carlos Pena and John Axford for Jonathan Papelbon, would you advise I pull the trigger? T With a safer closer in my arsenal, I could then look to trade one of my other RP’s for SP help. (the answer and more fantasy baseball advice come AFTER the jump)

FYI: Chris Sale was just cut by his owner.

Here is my team (12 team ESPN league, H-to-H, standard cats)

The Fantasy Baseball King’s Response:

Well, my first thoughts revolve around this comment you made: “The whole point of my wanting to trade two closers for one is to limit my risk.”

How is trading 2 for 1 limiting your risk? The only I could see it doing so would be if you had Daniel Bard, which you don’t. Having 2 closers instead actually limits your risk because there is less a chance 1 would fail out of 2 than compared to 1 out of 1. Get what I’m saying? That being said, if Chris Sale or Drew Storen are out there, you could always grab them as well, because I feel they will end the year as their respective team’s full-time closers.

As for the actual trade…Carlos Pena is obviously off to an atrocious start, as is Axford. Pena is, however, a notoriously SLOW starter, whose career OPS doesn’t go above .751 until June, but the following months are pretty darn good: June- .924 , July – .815, August- .998, September- .831

As a seasoned-vet (wow, time flies!), he’s accumulated about a full season’s worth of at-bats for each of these months, so I think those numbers are pretty safe to go by. If you delve deeper into his current performance, you’ll actually find that while he’s striking out only marginally higher than his usual rate, his BB% is up significantly to 16.4%. This MAY be because he knows he can’t hit right now, so is doing whatever it takes to get on base. But it does at least show me that he’s an intelligent hitter and, judging by his historical trends, I doubt you’ll see him with 0 homers all year. He’ll most likely end up with his usual 30-40, but of course will do so while batting in Ron Deer territory.

All that being said, considering you already have Pujols at 1B, Butler at CI, and that Hafner is rocking it at UT, Pena is indeed excess and, as such, good trade material. So while my original thoughts regarding 2 closers being safer than 1 remains, I think the trade could make sense…Papelbon is actually pitching just fine. He’s managed to keep his ERA well under 3.00 (currently 2.16) despite the fact his opposing BABIP is .350. Now consider the following most important items:

  1. His career opposing BABIP is .271, so realize he could be doing even better than it looks right now.
  2. His K-rate is back this year, currently at 11.88
  3. Both his walk rate and HR rate are down significantly this year (2.16, no homers allowed thus far)

I highly doubt Papelbon loses his job. He’s actually on pace for his best season since probably 2007. Bard, meanwhile, has struggled (4.35 ERA and his lowest K-rate of his young career). Not to say he doesn’t still have a bright future, but I don’t see him taking the Sox closing job this season (barring a trade, of course).

ALL that being said, my suggestions are as follows:

  • Make the deal and trade Pena+Axford for Papelbon.
  • Grab Chris Sale off the WW before somebody else does. He’s had 2 bad outings, but otherwise has been great, and Matt Thorton is far from a sure-thing at closer.

Make use of Bloomquist’s hot start and trade him for a struggling outfielder. Target Travis Snider; depending on the trigger-pulling speed of his owner, you may just be able to capitalize on Willie’s nice stats.

Other than that, your team looks good, and should contend. I hope my advice helps, and most importantly, good luck!

Signed,
The Fantasy Baseball King

Fantasy Baseball Question 2:

King,
So I have been holding onto Dominic Brown since he was dropped when he went on the DL. Sands is available, and unlIke Brown, Zimmerman and Martinez he isn’t on the DL. I thus have a free spot open on my team. Which of these 2 (Domonic Brown versus Jerry Sands) is the higher impact power hitter, and which projects better over the next few seasons? I like Sands’ minor league numbers with his ridiculous contact rates and power displays, but is Brown a better player?

The Fantasy Baseball King’s Response:
You’ve chosen 2 VERY different players to compare, so this should be interesting. Let’s first take a look at what they did as minor leaguers:

  • Domonic Brown is the epitome of what scouts refer to as a “toolsy” guy, who’s career minor league dash line reads: .296/.373/.464/.836
  • Jerry Sands, on the other hand, is a big slugger who’s career minor league dash line reads: .294/.390/.584/.974

They’re really completely different players. Although Sands is 23 to Browns 22, they’re both 1987 kids, so the age difference isn’t tremendous. Brown’s advantage over Sands comes in the speed category, as he typically stole between 15-20 bases a year in the minors. Sands DID manage 18 in 2010, but compared to his other years, it seems to have been an anomaly.

In the short-term, definitely go with Sands. Besides the fact that he isn’t injured, he’s the type of guy who, at the very least, may hit a few out evne while struggling. Long-term if we’re talking keeper or dynasty league, it’s a different story and matter of need.

Their peaks should both should be good, but will look completely different. Perhaps something like this:

  • Brown: .290/.350/.500 with 25 HR and 25 SB (hello Bobby Abreu?)
  • Sands: .290/.375/.550 with 30 HR and 5-10 SB

As one final note, the TYPE of player Sands is , by nature, makes him safer…so if that is a concern, go for him. If defense matters, and if you aren’t afraid to take the risk, Brown could be your man. Personally, I’d lean towards Sands, but MANY would disagree with me. I’ve just had a bad history betting on toolsy guys (remembering back to the days of Lastings Milledge).

Remember, prospecting is neither luck nor skill….it’s just a thing that…is.

Hope that helped somewhat; Good luck!

Signed,
The Fantasy Baseball King

Be sure to check out the Fantasy Baseball King online at http://fantasybaseballking.blogspot.com/

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