I get email questions all week. It’s a great way for me to interact with you, my faithful readers, and today I thought I would answer a couple of the questions that have come to me the past few days.
What are your thoughts on Brett Anderson the rest of the year? Is he a better pickup than someone like Chad Gaudin?
– Joe, Chrisman, IL
Kyle Elfrink and I talked about Anderson on our Fantasy Buffet podcast on Monday, a show that can be heard live every day, Monday – Friday from 8-9 AM PST. If you want to give it a listen, simply tune in to the show at the link above. I’ll restate what I basically said at the time.
Anderson was great the other day, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning, and over his last three starts he hasn’t allowed a single run while giving up only seven hits in 21 innings. That leaves him with solid AL ratios (4.25 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) though it would be nice to see a few more strikeouts (6.61 K/9 – it was over a batter per inning in his minor league career). He has done a good job throwing strikes, 2.36 BB/9, but he has needed to as he has allowed 1.23 home runs per nine innings. Still, I don’t see much that really stands out here. I’m also a bit concerned by the fact that he has permitted a line drive rate of just 15 percent yet he still has an ERA well above four, partly because of a very low left on base rate of 65.5 percent. If that line drive rate climbs toward the league average (20), his average BABIP (.297) could certainly rise, and if that occurs, without an increase in his LOB mark, well, that ERA could be closer to five than four by the end of the year. He is a solid AL-only option for sure, and one with mixed league relevance, though I certainly wouldn’t think we are looking at the next Mark Mulder based solely on a great 3-game run. Still, he is probably a better bet at this point than Chad Gaudin who despite the impressive K-totals (9.58 K/9), doesn’t throw enough strikes (4.95 BB/9), or flash near the consistency one looks for (in his last nine starts he has allowed two or fewer runs five times but five or more runs three times with a six and an eight run outing mixed in).
I’m in a 10 team league with 5 x 5 scoring. We start five OF, & have to keep two OF. As of now, my keepers are Ichiro & Hawpe. I am looking to pair Hawpe with maybe Chipper for an upgrade and am looking at Justin Upton, Holliday & Markakis. Markakis & Holliday are on the same team & can likely be had easier than Upton. Who should I go after of these three?
Keeper questions are always a bit difficult. Are there salaries involved? Is there a contract length for how long you can hold on to players? Etc. Without knowing the answer to those type of things, I’ll just answer with the belief that you can keep the guys for a couple of years, and that there is no salary concern.
(1) You have to keep Ichiro. Period. Not only does he hit .300+ every year, he does so in such a massive amount of at-bats that his production is even more valuable than you would think straight away (an extra 80 at-bats versus a “normal” everyday player with a .320 is huge to a team’s overall mark).
(2) Chipper Jones has little value in a keeper league at this point of his storied career, and he hasn’t looked anything like the hitter we have seen the past three seasons this year.
(3) Trying to parlay Chipper and Brad Hawpe for an upgrade seems like a fine idea. Remember, sell high. Hawpe is a solid 25 HR, 100 RBI guy, but his .324 batting average far exceeds his .288 career mark, and the man has no speed at all.
(4) Nick Markakis has averaged 22 homers, 100 RBI and 102 runs the past two years, and he owns a .298 career average. Unlike a lot of youngsters he also flashes solid strike zone control as evidenced by his .371 career OBP. I don’t think he should be looked at as a 20/20 guy like some hoped, or even a 15/15 guy, but at the same time I could see him hit .300-20-100-100-10 for about the next decade, and that is tremendous.
(5) Justin Upton won’t be 22 until August, and that guy has tons of talent. He is hitting nearly .300 with 13 steals, and the power should grow to the 30-HR level. I still see holes in that swing, and I worry about his brutal defense in the outfield, but he is already a great player, and one who could dominate for years.
(6) Matt Holliday has been awful for three months, and everyone has just forgotten about him. I’ve received a couple of emails the past few days asking me about his value. In fact, one of the emails said that a guy was trying really hard to get the suddenly hot Ryan Ludwick – and if he couldn’t he would try to get Holliday. What? Try to get Holliday as a fall back option? That sounds crazy. Seems to me that everyone has allowed three months of struggling to erase three years of superstar performance. I know he isn’t in Colorado anymore, but really, Ryan Ludwick? I don’t care if he ends up moving to another club or staying in Oakland. If the emails I have received recently are any indication of how Holliday is being viewed out there, I’m all over acquiring that guy at a major discount.
So what would I do? I would offer Hawpe and Chipper for Holliday and ??? – I’d ask for another part because as I stated, I bet Holliday’s current owner is so down on him that he would throw someone else in if it would mean ridding himself of the former Colorado great. If not, targeting Markakis or Upton would also make a lot of sense as they certainly possesses more fantasy upside than Hawpe ever will. Some might rank the guys Upton. Markakis, Holliday, but I have a lot of faith in Matt.
By Ray Flowers