Fantasy Mailbag: Liriano's woes, Markakis/Jones debate
Each week, I'll answer a handful of the most pertinent questions I've received during the week in my attempt, weak as it might be, to bring insightful fantasy analysis to the fore (my email address is listed at the bottom of the piece if you wish to drop me a line).
Byrd hasn't pitched for anyone this season, this after going 11-12 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP in 30 starts last year for the Indians and Red Sox. To compare,
Is Byrd worth a flier? If you can store him for a few weeks, sure. Penny has struggled,
Off the top, expectations were far too high for Liriano heading into the season. The truth is that Liriano likely will never again be the man he was in 2006 (2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.71 K/9). Honestly, Liriano never had a chance to succeed in most people's eyes with the bar set at that level. However, I'm not going to sit here and say that he has pitched well -- he hasn't. Liriano is 4-11 with a 5.63 ERA and 1.54 WHIP, numbers more closely associated with a guy like
First, Liriano's arm has never bounced back to pre-
At this point, Liriano isn't operating at a level that surpasses that of an average major league hurler (save the strikeouts). He may return to prominence, but it doesn't appear likely to happen in 2009.
Good news for you Chris, it appears certain that Masterson will be in the Indians' starting rotation the rest of the way after the club moved Carl Pavano to the Twins on Friday (you can read about the deal in
Masterson has been in a swing role with the Red Sox this season with a 4.59 ERA in six starts covering 35.1 innings versus his work out of the pen that has produced a 4.08 ERA in 39.2 innings. Though the numbers are pretty close this season, Masterson has been somewhat effective as a starter in his brief two year career (15 starts).
Those numbers certainly don't jump off the page though they are decent for an AL hurler, but that K/BB is well below where I would like to see it. On the plus side, Masterson has a 18 percent line-drive rate, a number which isn't really reflected in his .323 BABIP mark, so perhaps he is due for a bit o' luck moving forward.
Given his fairly pronounced groundball tendencies, he owns a strong 1.77 G/F rate in his career, Masterson figures to have a chance to be an effective starter this season once he is able to build up the required arm strength to go deep into games.
Symmetry is a wonderful thing isn't it? About 45 minutes after I posted
Someone has some serious hometown love eh Brad? Usually that's a bad thing as people tend to overvalue "their guys," but in this case we certainly have two fine players to consider.
Jones is hitting .300 with 19 bombs, 64 RBI, 70 runs and nine steals in what is shaping up to be a terrific all-around season. Long thought of as a potential 20/20 option, Jones continues to struggle a bit to make contact (21 percent K-rate) while at the same time rarely taking a walk leading to a 0.33 BB/K rate. It's pretty impressive that he is hitting .300 given that number, and to tell you the truth his .339 BBAIP really isn't supported by his 19 percent line drive rate, so perhaps some regression is indeed in the cards in batting average. One also has to think that his current HR/F rate of 21 percent is a bit fluky, which when combined with a mere 29 percent fly ball rate seems to rule out a run to 30 homers this season, as well as moving forward.
Markakis is clearly the more established player. After back-to-back seasons hitting at least .306 with 20 homers, 87 RBI and 97 runs, Markakis is certainly poised to extend that run to 3-straight years as he is hitting .298-13-76 with 65 runs. The homers are down a bit, though that would appear to be easily explainable as a mere artifact of variation considering his current HR/F mark of nine percent is well below his 12.1 percent rate the past two years. Markakis owns a 0.65 K/BB mark in his career, not a great number but nearly double the mark posted by Jones, and that, combined with a BABIP mark that hasn't dipped below .334 (his current number) in three years, paints him as a solid option in the batting average category moving forward.
So who should you keep? Jones is the more athletic player, and the one who can legitimately lay claim to a potential 20/20 offering. However, Markakis has a better approach at the dish, will almost certainly hit for a higher average, and is working on three straight years of strong performance. In my mind, that makes Nick the choice to hold on to here.