Here are the answers to some of the questions that I have recently received at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Drop Jemile Weeks for Desmond Jennings ROTW?
Weeks has provided the A’s with a spark on offense. He’s hitting a strong .307 through his first 40 games, and he’s used his speed to swipe 10 bags. He has little power, he hasn’t gone deep once and his SLG is a poor .405, but he slaps the ball and runs. One part of his game that he hasn’t flashed yet is his patience at the dish as his current 4.6 walk rate is about a third of the number he posted at Triple-A this year. It would be nice to see him put a few more balls into the ground, his 40 percent ground ball rate isn’t great, but overall this has been a good start to his career.
Jennings is a better talent than Weeks as he can do a few more things on the offensive side of the field. Jennings, surprisingly, showed some power at Triple-A this year with 12 homers in 89 games, while flashing his elite speed. He has also done a solid job all throughout his minor league career at getting on base (his OBP in over 500 minor league games is .380). He’s up with the Rays, finally, and he has looked phenomenal in a couple of games. The real question at this point is can he stay healthy?
Many will argue that Weeks is the preferred option because of his position (second base). I’m still going in the other direction even though Jennings plays a position that’s filled with talent (outfield) because he is just so talented.
What’s your take on Alex Cobb. Is he just fill in or does he have long term value?
Cobb is part of a current six man rotation with the Rays. Personally I think the choice to go in that direction is a terrible one, but it’s the way it is in Florida right now. The biggest concern I have with Cobb is his catastrophic K/9 drop. Well over a K per inning guy at Double and Triple-A the past two years, he’s currently at 5.14 through seven big league starts. His BB/9 rate is also worse than the league average as well at 3.43. So how is he having success? It’s all in the grounders as 56 of the batted balls put in play off him have been rug burners. He’s much more Derek Lowe and Fausto Carmona than he is James Shields right now.
As for his long-term value Cobb, a 4th round draft pick in 2006, has risen through the minors on the Rays’ pitching plan, and as we’ve seen that often leads to a lot of success. Cobb was a strikeout per inning arm in the minors, but he’s failed to keep that up in the bigs. The hope is that he doesn’t turn into Wade Davis who has done the the same thing. As a big league starter he’s likely to settle into the #4 role on a good team meaning that he will be hard pressed to ever be a difference maker at the big league level.
What’s your take on Pedro Alvarez now that he’s back?
Alvarez, the second selection in the 2008 Draft, hit 16 homers with 64 RBI in 95 games with the Pirates last season. Heading into this year nearly every expert in the fantasy game had Alvarez in their top-10, and even those that didn’t were admitting that Alvarez clearly could reach that level. He simply hasn’t. Alvarez has hit .211, posted a .289 OBP and is sporting a sickly .305 SLG (his OBP last year was .326). Alvarez ended up injured and demoted, though he finally seemed to have found his stroke. In 18 games on the farm he hit .325 with a .439 OBP and .538 SLG leading to a recall with the Pirates.
Alvarez has the ability to hit 30 homers while driving in 100, a rate that he was basically performing at last season in the second half (13 homers, 53 RBI over his last 71 games). He’ll need to cut his K-rate down, its over 30 percent this year, to reach that level of success. With all the problems at third base this season, Alvarez is well worth taking a shot on in mixed leagues as there’s always a chance that he’ll recapture the success he had last season in the second half – he certainly has the talent to do it.
IF Heath Bell gets traded, do I drop any of these for Mike Adams – Izzy, Axford, Marmol, Perez, Santos?
Last week I broke down the outlook of Mike Adams in the July 19th Mailbag piece. Let me put it this way – his skills are superb, sublime, scintillating in fact. He deserves to be rostered in all but the smallest leagues right now, even as a setup man. If he ends up the closer for the Padres, his value would skyrocket. As for the other arms, here are some thoughts.
Jason Isringhausen: Give him credit for his comeback. The Mets appear intent to sit on him and let him mentor Bobby Parnell leaving Izzy as the Mets’ closer. Jason hasn’t thrown 40 innings since 2008, didn’t pitch in the majors last season, and is 39 years old. He also is giving up a huge 53 percent fly ball rate while his 1.88 K/BB ratio is terrible.
John Axford: Good for the Brewers in doing the right thing, i.e. leaving Axford in the 9th and using Francisco Rodriguez as the setup man. Axford continues to impress with a K.9 rate of 11.27, which when combined with a 54 percent ground ball rate results in him being ideally suited to long-term success in the 9th inning.
Carlos Marmol: The Cubs’ righty had a brutal week, but since then he’s back on track with four scoreless outings. Owner of a devastating arsenal, Marmol is striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings, and he is back as the closer. It’s a bumpy ride, but the results are usually solid. If his BABIP of .324 regresses back to career norms (.254), he would be in line for a strong finish.
Chris Perez: He has been struggling a bit all season despite converting 22 of 24 save chances. A K/9 per inning arm, Perez has seen that number dip to 5.80 this season, which when complimented but his 4.54 BB/9 mark makes him one risky option on the hill. That regression has been on full display the last two weeks as his ERA has gone from 2.23 to 3.03 over four outings.
Sergio Santos: He’s being used cautiously by Ozzie Guillen as Sergio has now appeared in 5-straight games in which he hasn’t lasted an inning despite allowing not a single hit and just one walk. He has been strong all year (3.07 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 12.07 K/9) and remains the arm to own in Chicago, even with the odd usage.
Would I drop any of these arms to add Adams if the deal goes down? I wouldn’t even wait that long. I’d make the move to add Adams right now at the expense if Isringhausen.
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