Fantasy sports w/Brendan Roberts
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Brendan Roberts (2:59 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone! Back for another week of baseball talk. Let's get to the questions.
Are you going to sell me high or believe i'll keep this up?
Brendan Roberts (3:00 PM)
Well, I did my sell-high column last week in Hit Parade, pulling out seven big hitters ... and Ibanez wasn't one of them. Not sure he can maintain his current pace, but I think he'll be close, and even get votes for MVP. He's a perfect fit for the ballpark and league. Hang on to him, for sure.
Angela Sac, Ca
Is Rich Hill for real?
Brendan Roberts (3:03 PM)
Still not sure, but I'd be inclined to say no. He has had one favorable matchup, one unfavorable matchup and two neutral-leaning favorable matchups. Very predictably, he shut down the M's, didn't pitch well but limited scoring against the Royals and Nats, and got bombed by the Jays. I fear the starts he'll make against the Jays, Red Sox and Yanks in divisional games, and his control still looks off to me. So I'd lean toward him NOT being for real, and consider him more of a matchups pitcher. I'd still probably leave him be in a mixed league.
Jeff, Huntington WV
All time geeks questions...Would love your insight on the great Albert Pujols. Where do you think he ends up on the all-time list of great hitters? I could really see him going down as the greatest righty off all time!
Brendan Roberts (3:05 PM)
Sure, I'll step outside the box for a moment. Man, I don't know about greatest of all time. Best righty hitter now would probably have to be Mays, and Pujols is a better hitter, but not near the defender, at a less important position. We'll see how long he can maintain this incredible standard he has set. If he breaks a bunch of all-time records, and he could, he'll be tough to keep out of the Top 5 all-time.
Seriously BR, how much longer can Torre continue to bat Kemp so low in the order. He even batted him 8th on Saturday! Is Kemp in the doghouse or something. The TV announcers compared the Dodger lineup to the Yankee ones of old, but let's be realistic (Loretta? Blake? Struggling Martin and Ethier?)
Brendan Roberts (3:07 PM)
Yeah, not sure what Torre is doing, but I think it's only temporary. I mean, Kemp has a .385 OBP, so it's not like his numbers are empty. But I will say Torre often moves players down temporarily to get them going, and then puts them back up. I guess that's what happening here.
Dino (from the Bar & Grill)
So what should Liriano owners do? Sit him again and hope things get better?
Brendan Roberts (3:10 PM)
Tough to say, and depends on how impatient you are. Personally, and I am a Liriano owner, I keep trotting him out there. Until I see a major drop in velocity (he is down a few mph from his heydays, but nothing significant) or hear of an injury, I think, maybe foolishly, that his next start could be the one he breaks out. You have to know a hot streak is coming. I haven't liked many of the matchups he's had late, but Cleveland at home on Thursday ... he's starting for me.
Torii Hunter has gone berzerk this year. Can he keep it up? My heart says yes and that I should hold on to him. Do you feel otherwise?
Brendan Roberts (3:11 PM)
Unfortunately, I do feel otherwise, as I mentioned in last week's Hit Parade. Hunter is almost 33, and has consistently finished in the .270-.285 mark the past five seasons. I don't see that trend ending, and he's been known to have months or stretches like he has. Unfortunately, I think the law of averages wins out, making him a sell-high guy.
BR, Grady owner here. Was offered Holliday for Carpenter straight up. You do this if your staff can hold on.
Brendan Roberts (3:12 PM)
Yeah, I'd do that. I think Holliday is a good grab right now (so is Carpenter, but not sure he can stay healthy). I think Holliday could be traded, and to a good lineup and better ballpark. I factor that into his trade value.
What is the deal with Andre Ethier? Is he going to stay in this funk all the way till Manny comes back? He's had months where he batted well over .400 in his career, so would I be a fool to believe he is going to start to really rake and soon?
Brendan Roberts (3:14 PM)
He was incredibly hot, now is incredibly cold ... eventually it'll even up. Remember, Ethier owners, even if it takes Manny to get him well again, Manny will be back a month from now and have almost three months of play, so you kinda just have to ride it out with Ethier for now.
General strategy question: my team is adrift in an abyss of awfulness...I fell from 1st to 9th in a month. Davis, Tulo, Abreu, even Kinsler are all just killing me, but I don't know what to do? Stand put or take big gambles off the WW? Trading seems pointless as I'd be selling low on everyone. What's a girl to do?
Brendan Roberts (3:17 PM)
Good question, Sara. But I wouldn't panic. Hey, at least you had a good start, right? And those guys still have plenty of upside. I'd get what I could off the waiver-wire, but always think big-picture. Who do you expect to have a better last four months, Tulo or some WW pickup? In most cases, it's the guy you already have, and so you have to play with that hand. Fantasy ball sometimes is like five-card poker. If you get dealt crappy cards, trading 'em often can't fix 'em.
Ron Burgundy (San Diego)
I'm kind of a big deal, so please help. Is Lance Berkman hurt? Please tell me he's going to get better. I'm counting on you Brendan.
Brendan Roberts (3:19 PM)
Yeah, saw Berky got dropped to 5th in the lineup yesterday. Gulp! Nah, that doesn't make much difference, but it's another sign that Berkman just isn't right. Not sure if it's his wrist, or the balls aren't falling ... but he had some serious mojo last year (it was out of character compared with 2007), and he clearly doesn't have it now. I think we might be looking more at '07 Berkman, so I can't assure you he'll get much better.
I believe last year you wrote an article on Liriano. You stated that since he had his surgery he has had to change his arm location during his delivery. You said he used to throw at a 3/4 arm angle which was very deceiving to hitters and now he throws more over the top. You said he is doing this to try and avoid another injury since the 3/4 angle made him very injury prone. Could this be why he has never really come close to being what he once was? And if that is true could it also be true that Liriano will never be the same pitcher again?
Brendan Roberts (3:22 PM)
Good memory, Mike! Yeah, I had talked with a scout and watched him closely, and he was throwing more over the top, and less "slingy," probably in order to keep him healthy. But it took away some of his deception and bite on his slider. What is happening this year is consistent with that; he's not throwing his slider as much, and is going with a changeup more, which bites more when thrown over the top. So his struggles could well be as a result of the changes he made during rehab. That said, I haven't re-addressed this because he quickly figured out his new arm angle and was money last year. So he knows how to adjust. I think he's just having trouble finding his location with it. Once he does, I think he'll be great again. But his margin for error is smaller (because he's less deceptive), and he won't be as dominant as he was pre-surgery.
Steven (Pittsburgh, PA)
While you're answering that Liriano question how about a one worder. Liriano or Nolasco? I actually like Nolasco's chances because of his good command based on K/BB, but maybe I'm crazy.
Brendan Roberts (3:22 PM)
Five words: I think you're crazy. Liriano. (Hehe.)
Kevin (NY, NY)
Kelvim Escobar. Projections?
Brendan Roberts (3:25 PM)
About the toughest guy to project in all of baseball, and I won't even try. Instead, I'll predict that he either suffers another minor injury or wears down and ends up back in the bullpen. Honestly, I never saw Escobar as a guy who could stay healthy over the long haul as a starter. His mechanics are too "maximum-effort." I've always felt he was better in the bullpen. The Angels have been patient with him, and need him to start, but I can't see him putting up six innings every fifth day. Sorry. I think he makes for a fine setup man someday. I'm not going after him in any mixed leagues.
Stephen Drew- Does he come out of this coma?
Brendan Roberts (3:27 PM)
I think he does. In fact, I think he has something like a 7-game hitting streak and has hit .300-plus in his past 10 days. So it's already begun, and note that he hit .266 before the All-Star break in 2008 -- and .326 after it. Bingo!
Mark Reynolds 30+ HR and 15-20 SB. Crazy?
Brendan Roberts (3:29 PM)
Nah, I suppose that's not crazy, especially the 30-plus homers. And he's already almost there in steals. Problem is that average, and the D-backs aren't exactly setting the world afire offensively. So his RBI numbers might lag for a slugger (because he doesn't get as many two-out RBI singles, etc.), and his average might pull your aggregate down. So he's like a lesser version of Adam Dunn value-wise, for better or worse.
What is your take on Adam Jones? His power seems legit but the AVG has to fall and with that some of his counting stats. What level player would you target with him?
Brendan Roberts (3:32 PM)
Couple questions here for Adam Jones ... I wrote it was time to sell-high on Jones because of the BA drop last week, and was lambasted in Conversation. But I stood by it, and he has gone 3-for-16 with no RBIs since then. To me, it was two things: 1) The BABIP was going to come back to earth, and his lack of plate discipline would eventually catch up; and 2) His hammy was bothering him, and I worry about typical wear and tear with him. It's not often people consider that when maximum-effort guys (usually center fielders, SS, C, 2B) hit .380 with a high OBP, they put a lot of stress on their bodies, and are more prone to nicks ... I think Jones is a fine player, but I also think now is the time to deal him.
Hey BR! Keeping with the theme of struggling pitchers, any thoughts on Danks? He was dropped in my 10-team mixed H2H. Drop Escobar or Kuroda for him him? Nolasco is also on the wire.
Brendan Roberts (3:33 PM)
Yes, I still like Danks. Looking at his peripherals, and of course his performance last year, I like what he could do from here on out. The K's are still there ... I like him more than those other guys.
Do you see the Braves making room for Hanson in their crowded rotation this year? If so, how? Vazquez for a power OF bat (Ludwick?) in July?
Brendan Roberts (3:36 PM)
Not sure they'll do it by trade. I think they're going for it this year. As you noted, they're trying to make room for him in the rotation permanently, not for just a spot start. It's still all about Tom Glavine. They're keeping the fifth spot warm for him to try a comeback. If he succeeds in that, and the first four stay healthy, then we don't see Hanson till August. If he doesn't, which I think will be the case, then Hanson replaces Medlen there and becomes the full-time fifth starter. And even in that role, they're going to protect him with low pitch counts. I guess I'm saying I'm dicey as to how much value he has right now in non-keeper leagues.
I am powerless...help me figure out why
Brendan Roberts (3:38 PM)
Well, it's the home ballpark, for one. I've seen a couple of hits, at least, that would have left old Shea, but not Citi. That said, more than anything, Wright is a second-half hitter. His power numbers will come, along with everything else.
Could you tell me what you know on Josh Hamilton's injury?
Brendan Roberts (3:39 PM)
Unfortunately, I don't know anything more than anyone else here. The Rangers are waiting till he gets all his results before announcing it ... but I do know he won't start tonight. May pinch-hit, but not start.
Is your outlook for me more promising than your feelings on Adam Jones' eminent regression?
Brendan Roberts (3:41 PM)
Oh, great question. Very similar players, very similar upsides. I guess because I think his all-around game is slightly better, I like Jones SLIGHTLY better, but that's a testament to how hot Upton is. Jones is sliding down to that judgment, while Upton is moving up. He's definitely the real deal, but I don't think he hits for a good average either.
Will Fernando Martinez stick once Church comes back? What is his long range upside? Thanks
Brendan Roberts (3:43 PM)
F-Mart is still very raw. I don't see him sticking when Church comes back (although Pagan's injury does give him a chance to change that). His long-term upside? Good power, will hit for a decent average ... but he's 20. It'll be awhile before we see it, and he could be one of those guys who struggles for a full season just enough for us to forget about him, then posts a .300-28-100 season. But that won't be anytime soon, in my mind.
Jon (San Diego)
Is it just me or is Mike Lowell underrated? Despite his hip he is quietly putting together a top-10 3B performance this year, unlike, ahem, Chris Davis.
Brendan Roberts (3:45 PM)
Right on, Jon! Yes, he's underrated, although I'm seeing he's getting more attention of late in the fantasy community. Problem in many people's minds is he used to be a notorious hot starter/slow finisher, but he broke that mold a few years ago. I think he settles in and does much what he's doing now for a full season. Great corner infielder in a mixed league.
Better after June - Doumit or Soto AND why?
Brendan Roberts (3:46 PM)
Soto, because he's simply the better fantasy option thanks to his power, and he seems healthy again. Small sample size, but Doumit is hitting .244 this season, and I was never convinced he was a .300 hitter anyway. Assuming he'll do that again after major surgery I think is unwise.
Greg (Ellicott City)
Need your expert opinion. I dealt Sizemore and players for Tex and players yesterday afternoon (after he was placed on DL). Today it comes out that Sizemore may need surgery and the deal gets vetoed soon after. I argue that because the deal was fair at the time it was accepted, the new information should not be used towards a veto. What are your thoughts on the matter?
Brendan Roberts (3:47 PM)
I think it's a fair deal. Now, if Sizemore blew out his elbow mid-game, and you pushed a trade thru quick without the other guy knowing that, maybe it's veto-able. But the fact that he was already on the DL and thus a risk at the time of the deal, his (new) owner has to assume the responsibility for that. Takes a lot to veto a trade, in my mind.
Crombrenner (Corona, CA)
Better stats at the end of the year Fowler or Tavares, and C. Davis or Luke Scott?
Brendan Roberts (3:50 PM)
Definitely Taveras. I actually worry about playing time a little for Fowler if he can't improve his BA a bit. Carlos Gonzalez is raking in Triple-A. Between the other two guys, most would say Davis, but I don't see Davis lifting his BA much. I think, pound-for-pound, Scott will outproduce him fantasy-wise.
You sticking with Abreu despite his power outage in a 10-team mixed? Or are there likely better options out there (Cuddyer, maybe)?
Brendan Roberts (3:51 PM)
I'm sticking with him. I took a statistical look a couple weeks in my Hit Parade as to why Abreu's power outage was predictable, and I think he is limited there. But the steals, and the runs and RBIs (esp. with Vlad) ... I think the power is only part of the equation, and he's still worth keeping.
No love for Marco Scutaro in anybody's rankings? Of course he's been a utility infielder in his career, but he just keeps doing his thing...Leads MLB in runs, seeing the ball very well, hitting for avg. throwing in a bomb or a steal every now and then...Also Ethier or Adam Jones?
Brendan Roberts (3:54 PM)
Probably Jones over Ethier ... yeah, Scutaro is an average mixed-league option, at best, who was caught up in the Jays' hot offensive surge to begin the season. He's scoring a lot of runs, but it's because he has a .408 OBP. Coming into this season, it was .337, and he was at .341 last year. He'll slide back down.
Chris (Saratoga, NY)
Soriano is ice-cold...hot streak coming or sell while I can?
Brendan Roberts (3:55 PM)
Well, now is not the time to sell him, for sure. This is an extended cold streak, and you have to wait for at least a semi-surge to deal him. But I can't assure you that he'll have much more than a semi-surge. By all accounts, that knee is hurting him, and he looks a bit "stiff" to me swinging. It either has to get better (and soon), or he could end up on the DL. At this point, I almost wish he would take two weeks off and come back and hit for us.
Does Cory Hart... a)go on tear soon b) get traded c)suck the rest of the year.
Brendan Roberts (3:58 PM)
Hart can be rather frustrating to own, I admit. He goes into extended slumps, then has a big game or a big set of games, and then goes right back to slumping. But I'm tellin' ya, the numbers will be there at the end of the season. Very similar to 2008. Whether it's for someone else, I don't know. When I heard the trade rumors, I quickly dismissed 'em, but a closer look made me realize they do make a little sense. Either way, I think he should be considered a good hitter from here on out.
Roddy (Los Angeles)
Brendan, Is Lackey still and ace or have injuries caught up with him?
Brendan Roberts (3:59 PM)
I think injuries have caught up to him. His curveball doesn't seem to have as much bite, which could be a sign of the missed time more than anything else. But he also might not 100 percent after the multiple arm injuries ... I'm not predicting a turnaround.
Howie Kendrick or Kelly Johnson for rest of season?
Brendan Roberts (4:00 PM)
Last one, guys. I'd have to say Johnson. I love Kendrick just like the next guy, but this talk about Sean Rodriguez getting called up and at least platooning with Kendrick at 2B scares me enough to think Johnson is the safer play.
Brendan Roberts (4:01 PM)
Annnnndddd sorry, guys, but I have to run. Another great batch of questions, and another great batch of questions I couldn't get to. I'm sorry about that. ... We'll see you back here again next week.
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