Fantasy sports w/Brendan Roberts
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Brendan Roberts (3:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone! I'm finishing a much better week in my calls (thankfully), so I'm brimming with confidence as I head into this week. Let's get to the questions ...
Anthony (Smithtown, NY)
Hey Brendan, what's your take on James Shields? He's often ranked as a top 20 SP but I see him as better 'real life' pitcher than he is in fantasy. Not a lot of k's, avg peripherals...What do you think?
Brendan Roberts (3:04 PM)
Your point is a good one, but he's a pretty good fantasy pitcher, too. First of all, he pitches deep into games (a skill often undervalued), and for a good team, so he puts himself in line for plenty of wins. And he has 47 K's in 67 innings, hardly a detriment. And he has very durable, with no hints of injuries. Yeah, I think he's a Top 20 pitcher.
Bryce, Fort Worth
Ouch Brendan! I just lost a 1-9 week with Sizemore, B. Upton and Kinsler doing just about nothing. I am growing impatient with Sizemore and Upton. What do you suggest, it ain't early any more!
Brendan Roberts (3:06 PM)
Well, unfortunately, there's not much you can do with them. You paid handsomely to get 'em, and they have plenty of upside, trading them now certainly wouldn't help you. For Sizemore, I'd hang on to him. There are hints he'll break out soon, if for no other reason than Grady himself has been admitting his embarrassment and says he's working hard to break out. As for Upton, all those K's make it appear he's either still hurting or the book is out on him. I'd wait for a decent hot streak (of 10-14 days), and then deal him. I really don't think he'll approach even last year's numbers.
Gifford Ocean NJ
Hey, are you worried about Beltran and Ryes? Also, do you think Soriano gets second base eligibility?
Brendan Roberts (3:10 PM)
Depends on what your plateau is for Alf. Soriano. He hasn't even played a single game at 2B this season, and I doubt he'll get many games there, if any. Maybe 5-10 games total, but likely not more, and who knows how long it'll take him to get those 5-10. If he reaches 2B plateau for you (in a non-keeper league) in September, that doesn't help you much. ... Beltran, not worried. Just a little routine soreness, and he has been able to play through it. But Reyes, I believe, is headed for a DL stint. That said, I see him returning when his 15 days are up, and still having a good season. It's just a muscle strain, after all. Don't sell him off now because he won't produce much the next two weeks; there are another 18 or so weeks for him to produce.
Bill - Columbia
Thoughts on who closes for Tampa bay with the Izzy implosion last night. Dan Wheeler???????
Brendan Roberts (3:13 PM)
Trust me, I've been trying to stay on top of this as much as anyone, if for no other reason than I really need saves in many leagues. I think it's Wheeler. He had 13 saves last year, and he's the one most equipped for the job. So why did Nelson get the save chances before? Because when it comes to spot saves, managers like to shake up one guy rather than the whole bullpen. Now a bullpen shakeup is necessary, and Nelson, with all his walks, doesn't deserve it over Wheeler. Neither did Izzy, in my mind, who yes, does have closing experience, but was awful last year with the Cards. I think Wheeler is definitely the lead dog, and I think he'll get a good 70 percent of the chances (not much less than the typical closer, who sometimes needs days off too).
Liriano is frustrating to own. Did you see enough of a silver lining in his last start (7 Ks, 0 walks, 0 homers) to give him a few more shots? He looked really hittable. Thanks, B-rob.
Brendan Roberts (3:15 PM)
The Red Sox have a way of making every pitcher look hittable. And the versus-lefties-tough Yankees before that ... Yeah, I'm thinking he'll crank it up once the weather does. He's a warm-weather pitcher (even though he pitches in a dome at home), and he is Pitcher-of-the-Month streaky. Definitely hang on to him, and keep the faith.
I am thinking of BENCHING C.DAVIS and starting REYNOLDS until Davis breaksout. Your thoughts? Thanks
Brendan Roberts (3:18 PM)
I'm all for it. Just saw last night that Davis is down to .200 (or below it?). Ya know, really this guy has given us half a season of good hitting and has shown he can swing the bat hard, but really nothing else. And it's not like he runs ... I think you bench him, for sure, and if the Rangers toss him into a platoon, you might even have to cut him if yours is a shallow league.
If Matt Capps needs to go on the DL who get the save opportunities for the Pirates? And when do you see Zumaya or Bailey getting a chance to close?
Brendan Roberts (3:20 PM)
You're in PA, got anything for us? Ha, ha. I was looking at that, and so far, the Pirates are not even saying Capps is indeed out. It sounds like he is nothing more than day-to-day. But in a deep league, I picked up Jesse Sanchez, then went and grabbed John Grabow instead. I think it's Grabow. The Pirates have some other lefties (including Gorzy) in the pen now to work as the lefty specialists or setup men, and Grabow is the best fit for the role. He'd be the guy, but again, it might not even be necessary.
David (Long Island)
Lester. Was picked by some of your colleagues as the cy young winner to be, and the best pitcher of 2009. He's killing my ERA and WHIP. Is it just a phase? Or is this what he will be for the year? Sell? Hold? HELP!
Brendan Roberts (3:22 PM)
Hold. Just a bout of wildness is all. I've been watching him closely, and I still the velocity and nasty breaking stuff. In fact, I've seen more dink hits off him than I remember in years past (although I don't have the BIPA numbers handy). Hang with him, my bro.
Vladamir (Newark, NJ)
What do you think about Alexei Ramirez? Hot streak or coming back after this weekend? And I have Ethier and Holliday...both of which aren't doing much at all....will either these guys put up good numbers?
Brendan Roberts (3:25 PM)
I think Alexei's recent surge is the start of something big. I think he's roaring back to fantasy relevance, because we've been expecting him to for weeks now. ... Ethier's will remain about No. 2 or 3 mixed outfielder productive, while Holliday, I think, eventually will settle back into a borderline No. 1 OF. Let's not forget he's good trade bait, and just about any situation is better for him than Oakland fantasy-wise.
Is Garret Atkins worth owning? he is being dropped now, if he gets traded does he have any value at all?
Brendan Roberts (3:26 PM)
I say you (gasp!) drop him in a standard league. The fact that he was still playing through it made him bench material previously, but like Chris Young in AZ, now that he has been sharing time, he becomes droppable. I realize the spot is his when he starts hitting, but it'll be tough for him to start hitting when he's not playing everyday, and he hasn't been.
Will Furcal turn it around this year? I've already benched him for F. Lopez but I could really use a power option at SS because I am loaded with stolen bases. Can I drop Furcal for the intriguing Ben Zobrist?? Especially, now with Iwamura out?
Brendan Roberts (3:28 PM)
Boy, that is very tempting, and a look at the numbers might seem to warrant it. But I wouldn't do that. Furcal is a steady veteran performer, and if he were hurting, he'd been sitting more (I realize he missed a game over the weekend because of a sore back). I can't imagine Furcal doesn't end up with typical (good) numbers still, and I think he'll definitely be more productive than Zobrist from here on out, which is really what matters.
Big Joe (Hamilton, NJ)
What are your thoughts on Josh Outman? I picked him up and he's been very good. But, I want to add Wheeler. Do you think it's worth cutting Outman to pick up Wheeler? Don't know why I'm having such a tough time with this question but I am!
Brendan Roberts (3:32 PM)
Boy, the A's do have some intriguing young pitching, and it has held up better than I expected. Even more noteworthy is that a few of the youngsters don't have K potential, but have shown plenty of savvy. Outman, though, does have K potential (despite his last start), and he has been getting better and better. That said, I worry about any rookie who has begun the season in the rotation in the second half. I think some bumpy days are ahead for Outman. Here's what I'd say: Make sure there is at least some indication Wheeler is the closer before doing this. If you can't wait that long and really need the saves, then go for it (or drop someone else). There's no way Outman can maintain what he has been doing for a full season.
Lester's BABIP is a ridiculously high .386. Now a question of my own, if I may: Are you on the Beltre, "he's a 2nd half player", bandwagon?
Brendan Roberts (3:34 PM)
Good stuff, Doug. There ya have it. ... I wouldn't say I'm on any bandwagon that's pro-Beltre. The M's just look very light on offense in general, which is definitely a factor here (he could have a good second half, but his team won't help him). I still think he will pick it up and hit well enough to help mixed owners in the second half, but expecting a huge bounce-back is foolish, in my mind. If he were a struggling hitter in a good lineup, then maybe. But that's not Beltre.
Does Zumaya get a chance to close anytime soon?
Brendan Roberts (3:37 PM)
I think he might. Not only is J.Z. (like that!?) have his stuff back, but he's also throwing a ton of strikes, which is important for that closers role. But Jim Leyland is one of those who believes a pitcher has to lose his closer spot before another can gain it, and Rodney hasn't lost it yet. But his leash is getting a little shorter, and I think Zumaya gets his chance at some point this season. Probably not soon, but maybe some point in late June or July.
By the way, is Ricky Nolasco, and his even higher .402 BABIP, worth a bench spot until his eventual call-up?
Brendan Roberts (3:39 PM)
Oh, a good one, and a question a few of you have already asked (I just happened to pick Doug's). I think he is if you have a bench of say, 5 or more in a standard mixed league. But he really should be the last guy. As in, I wouldn't drop a pitcher I'm streaming just for the possibility that Nolasco might turn it around this season. I for one serioulsy doubt he will, but I like to keep that last spot on my squad for a wild card (such as Chris Ray, before cutting him just this week), and Nolasco fits in that class.
MJ (Grand Island, NE)
I respect your opinion on Furcal/Zobrist, Brendan, but I'm calling you out on this one with Iwamura's recent development. PUT IT ON THE BOARD!!!!!!! ;-)
Brendan Roberts (3:40 PM)
Ha, ha. Little disagreements like this is what make this game great! We shall see, but thanks for stepping forward!
Soto... About to turn it around? ends w/ 20+ HRs???
Brendan Roberts (3:42 PM)
I think he is in the midst of a turnaround. The Cubs said his shoulder would take several weeks to be even normal again. Well, several weeks later now, Soto is driving the ball again and catching up to fastballs. I don't think that's coincidental. The fact that he had the injury (and might still have it) takes him out of the top 5 catchers, but I'd put him right close to there for the second half. I think a turn-around has just begun.
One of your colleagues states that Greinke is a "Sell high". What type bat could I get for him? Markakis? Pena? V.Martinez?
Brendan Roberts (3:45 PM)
I'd say you definitely shoot for more of the Markakis level, with V-Mart and Pena being fallbacks (with maybe a throw-in with 'em?). Problem here is that Greinke still doesn't have elite name value yet, and he's battling the "Royals pitcher Syndrome" to do that. He has gotten a lot of attention this season, but when it comes to trading elite players, owners will worry about his potential lack of wins (from here on out) and that he is currently on pace for almost 240 innings. Don't sell for anything less than top talent, though, because he should continue to give you fantastic starts. He is that good.
Mr. Roberts, do you see Jay Bruce as ever being a .300/30/100/15 guy like he was hyped? He's still way young, and learning.
Brendan Roberts (3:47 PM)
Ever? Maybe, but he something is going to have to change in his plate discipline for him to hit .300. Personally, I don't see it. Seeing what I'm seeing now, and even following the typical development of a young player, I think he tops out at maybe a .290 hitter, which might be splitting hairs. But 30 homers? Yes, and maybe this season. 15 steals? Yes, although probably not more than that. Really, it's just a matter of how much you can endure a .250s/.260s batting average. He's a homer-RBI guy, but he'll bring down your aggregate. You'll have to account for that with other players.
Soto follow-up...I assume you'd take him over Bengie (who seems to wear down in the 2nd half) or Weiters (who maybe called up in early June) for the rest of 2009, yes? Thanks!
Brendan Roberts (3:48 PM)
Yes, it's much closer than maybe you make it seem, especially with Bengie, but when push came to shove, I'd want Soto more than those two from here on out.
Jose Lopez is on my WW. What can we expect from today forward?
Brendan Roberts (3:51 PM)
Again, same question as Beltre, in my mind. Lopez is better than what he has done, and he'll get better, but he's not a homer hitter or base-runner, meaning you're counting on BA, RBIs and Rs. The M's are last in the majors in runs scored, and I just don't see that jumping up much, leaving Lopez as just a moderate BA guy. That's not enough; leave him on your wire.
You see analysts talk about how many innings a pitcher pitches all the time, but isn't pitch count more important? An inning of someone like Greinke, who is more economical, compared to an inning of Verlander (who I love but am just using for comparison's sake) is a very different thing.
Brendan Roberts (3:54 PM)
This is a very good point, and I love arguments like this. But the fact that Greinke is striking out more (over a batter an inning) means his pitches have remained up there. In fact, his pitches per plate appearance were just the same as his 2008 mark, and he's thrown six more pitches per game (which accounts for the extra innings). So he's still working harder per outing. Plus, he's still just 25.
Dan (Philadelphia, PA)
Is anyone even close to competing with Johan and Greinke for the Cy Young?
Brendan Roberts (3:55 PM)
What say you, 8 ball: "My sources say no."
Can you comment on whether or not Sheffield is starter-worthy?
Brendan Roberts (3:56 PM)
I can, and with Delgado out, I think he is, even in mixed leagues. He is playing nearly everyday, and the fact that he still gets on base at such a high clip in a potentially potent lineup means he's a good bet for runs. And I'm tellin' you, he can still run, too. I think he makes for a great pickup if he's still available in your league.
Cole (Newport, CA)
With Abreu not hitting many (any) Home runs, is Lilly sufficient return if you're looking to upgrade a disappointing pitching corps?
Brendan Roberts (3:57 PM)
My first inclination would be no, but after dissecting Abreu's homers in my last Hit Parade and then seeing what Lilly has done really for the past 8 months of baseball, I'd probably say, yes, in your situation, that's a worthwhile deal.
At what point do you look to trade someone like Dan Haren, who has faded in the second half?
Brendan Roberts (4:00 PM)
I probably don't, and here's why: 1) His second-half slide is pretty common knowledge in all but casual leagues by now, so you're unlikely to get him for "sell-high" value; and 2) His "slide" still isn't that bad. In 2008, he went 8-3 with a 4.19 ERA and 94 K's in 90 innings in the second half. That's pretty darned good. It just seems he slides more because he's so brilliant in the first half, but he's still worth starting. It's not like he tanks. So I'd keep him. One more ...
Who do you think has more value in a keeper league: BJ Upton or Adam Jones?
Brendan Roberts (4:01 PM)
Oh, a tough one to finish out ... Hmm, most would say Jones, but I still think Upton has the most long-term 5x5 value, honestly. Take that!
Brendan Roberts (4:02 PM)
And that does it! Thanks for being patient through my slow-computer problems, and thanks as always for the nice banter. See ya again next week at this time!
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