Fantasy baseball mailbag: Every player has his price, even Trout
I know what I would do here, but apparently my position on the matter is the exact opposite of what everyone else on Twitter seems to think.
Trout has been phenomenal. He's currently hitting .343 with 24 homers, 70 RBIs, 97 runs scored and 39 steals in a mere 101 games. Still, as I've written time after time, Trout can't possibly perform at this level year after year. I know, I know, no one agrees with me, in fact people vehemently disagree with me and think he is going to hit .333 with 30 homers and 50 steals every year, but I'm not changing my point of view on the matter. Let's talk again a year from now. Regardless, Trout will go for three times that $15 cost in many, if not all leagues next year, so he is an amazing value for 2013 at just $15.
Still, I'd take the other side.
Wilson has slumped of late, but he is well on his way to a third straight solid season and the $11 cost for him is reasonable. He'll go for more than $11 in many mixed leagues next year.
Rasmus has certain holes in his game, and he's about as inconsistent as they come, but he's still already posted 20 homers and 66 RBIs this season, and for $8 he's a solid value who will likely go for twice as much on draft day 2013.
Holliday at $30 is a wee bit steep for some (not this scribe), that is until you look at his production. On pace for another .300-30-100-100 effort, Holliday is about as stable a top level option as there is in the game. He's a rock. Building around him at $30, there is nothing wrong with that at all.
A-Rod at $33 -- no way you keep him for that. I wouldn't even keep him for $23. At this point, I may not even keep him at half the cost of his keeper value. Drop A-Rod after the deal is completed.
Seager for $6 is a nice deal, too. He's only appeared in 14 games at second this year, but that might give him second base eligibility in some leagues. Regardless, he has 13 homers and 68 RBIs in his first full season in the big leagues. He's a sneaky play that could return twice his draft day cost in value.
I'd do this deal provided that you don't have to keep Rodriguez (he'd be an anchor at $33), but I could certainly see why someone would want to hold on to Trout since he is a special value. As great a player as Trout is, the totality of the players you would be keeping, an at a solid cost, would give you a solid foundation to build around. Plus, the money that you would be saving on your keepers, since all but A-Rod come at a fair price, will afford you the ability to overspend a bit on draft day for a player or two.
Both these guys are rolling right now.
Medlen has won each of his last three starts, and the last two times he has taken the hill he hasn't allowed a single run. Going back a bit further, Medlen has allowed a total of three runs in his five starts for the Braves. Three. In those five outings Medlen has a 0.83 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, eight strikeouts per nine innings an a 5.80 K/BB ratio. That's about as good as you can pitch. Add in an impressive 1.94 GB/FB ratio on the season and you've got a fella who is (a) performing at optimal levels and (b) a rate that he can't possibly sustain.
Harvey has the bigger arm, and he likely has the brighter future. In six starts this season Harvey has 43 punchouts in 36 innings, and that has led to an impressive 10.75 K/9 mark. He's been walking a few too many batters, but with all those punchouts his 2.87 K/BB ratio is still solid. Harvey has also allowed just two runs while walking three batters and striking out 17 over his last two outings. There's nothing wrong with Harvey's performance to this point for the Mets, but there is this -- he's on an innings pitched count. The Mets have professed that they want to keep Harvey in the 165-70 range with innings this season. That makes sense given that he threw 135.1 innings last season, not to mention that the Mets have nothing to play for so there is no need to risk the future. By the way, Harvey has thrown 146 innings thus far.
I'd go with Medlen who is pitching better and doesn't have an innings pitched count to worry about.
As we get toward the end of the season, I've gotten a few questions like this one with people wanting me to give advice on short-term situations. Here's the truth everyone -- I have no idea. No one does. Simply put, the sample size is just too small. Take this example.
The last two weeks Todd Frazier is hitting .469 with five homers, 13 RBIs, 13 runs and two steals. If you were only looking at two weeks with numbers like that you would have to say he was a better option the next two weeks than Adrian Gonzalez who has really struggled a bit the past two weeks (.217-4-13-5). How many people would prefer Frazier over A-Gone, even in the short-term? Probably not many.
Or how about this. Which player would you rather have based on their August numbers?
.253-2-10 with a .719 OPS
.389-2-10 with a 1.012 OPS
You just chose to keep John Jay (player No. 2) over Andrew McCutchen.
Two weeks is just too small a time frame to accurately predict how a batter will perform. If you're going to try look at things like where will the games be played, how many games will the batter have, who are the hurlers on the hill that he will be facing, wow has the player performed the past few weeks and what is the players skill set?
Quickly, my thoughts on each guy.
Lucroy is hitting .325 with eight homers and 41 RBIs -- in 200 at-bats. That is about as impressive a pace as any catcher could ever hope for (think of it, only 400 at-bats would lead to a .325-16-82 line at that pace). He hasn't quite been that bad since he returned from injury; he's hit .279 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 21 games, but that's still solid production for a hitter who is clearly performing over his head.
Soto has six hits in his last four games. He's also picked up an RBI in 4-straight games. Still, he's hitting just .208 with a .643 OPS this season, and he hasn't been much better with the Rangers since he was dealt to the American League (.236 with a .682 OPS over 16 games).
Avila hit .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs last year, a simply tremendous effort for a backstop. This year, not so much. Avila is hitting just .250 with seven homers and 35 RBIs. He's obviously not reaching any of last year's benchmarks. Avila is hitting .294 with a .390 OBP in August, but he still has only one homer and 15 RBIs since the start of June (47 games).
Donaldson has been killing it with 12 hits in his last six outings as his average has shot up from .167 to .226. He is the definition of a hot player that is an intriguing add if you are looking for a quick boost. Could his addition lead to greatness for the next few weeks? Possibly. But as often happens, by the time you realize a guy is hot, like Donaldson, you've missed the best he has to offer. There's no way he gets 12 hits in his next six outings. Not just that, his overall performance this season has been poor, and that three walk, 31 K effort really makes me nervous.
The best catcher this season has been Lucroy. He'd be my choice to roll with out of this quartet.