Fantasy baseball mailbag
Well, I can't really dispute that Lee no longer owns a body that would make a professional athlete jealous, though come to think of it I don't remember ever thinking "beefcake" when I saw Lee come to the dish. And as far as the "old" designation, it's a fair question to ask in relation to his work on the field in the early going, but he doesn't actually turn 34 until June.
Lee has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball since his second season way back in 2000. Since that time he has hit at least 24 homers each year. He and
Will the return of Berkman help Lee, and for that matter,
Hurrah. The Red Sox finally placed Ellsbury on the DL after waiting a week and a half because of his rib cage injury. It sounds like the team is hopeful that he will return early next week, but at least you can make a move to shore up your team until then now that he is officially on the DL.
So which of these injury replacements should you add to your squad?
In San Francisco,
In Boston, the aforementioned Ellsbury and
So which player do you roster? Given the skill set of each, and the fact that both seem to be short-term fixes, I would go with Velez for two reasons. (1) He has dual position eligibility at second and the outfield, and (2) Velez can make a difference in the theft department. Hermida may be the better hitter, but even with full-time employment I just don't have faith that he will ever really figure it out.
The last two years there have been few second basemen in baseball who have been more productive that Lopez. His total of 42 homers was fourth among second sackers, his 185 RBI was second only to
What about Mr. Weeks? I have a crush on him -- platonically speaking of course. I don't know how any one could look at the skills and not feel the same way. And this isn't just a case of a guy with skills who doesn't produce, Weeks has been very effective in his career with a 162 game average of 20 homers, 63 RBI, 113 runs scored and 27 steals. Sure he owns a career .249 batting average, but that really matters little when you look at the other four categories of the fantasy game since we are talking about a potential 20/20, 100-run threat from second base. Of course, an astute fantasy owner will realize that I said "per 162 games" and not per season, because Weeks has never appeared in more than 129 games in a campaign, and three times in five years he hasn't even made it out on the field for 100 games. Coming back from his second wrist surgery -- one on each -- worries about his long-term durability were louder than ever this offseason, though he has certainly quieted those skeptics somewhat in the early going with his performance (.333-2-9-11-1).
Talking all that into consideration, I think you have to hold on to Lopez. Weeks is certainly more dynamic, and I think you would be hard pressed not to acquiesce to the view that he has a higher upside, but the risk with him is also great because of his
Braden has been one of the better starting pitchers in the American League so far, going 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and superb 5.33 K/BB mark. At the same time you would be wise to remind yourself we are only talking about 20 innings, including an outing against the sad sack Orioles. What everyone wants to know is if this hot start is legit or a fluke-based on sample size. I'd vote the latter. Braden owns a 2.01 K/BB mark in 300.2 big league innings, so it makes no sense to see him raise that mark over 150 percent this season. You also have to account for his current .198 BABIP, only .113 points below his career level. Braden was solid last season with a 3.89 ERA and 1.36 WHIP before an ankle injury slowed him down, but those ratios are more reflective of his overall skill set than the work we are seeing from him currently.
The Mariners are down two starters with
Neither one will be an "ace" of any kind this season, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Fister on many a waiver-wire in a month or two. Braden has more staying power and could end up being a decent depth arm in mixed leagues, but know that this is as good as it gets and that the road back to "decent" might be a bumpy ride.