Fantasy baseball mailbag

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Martin Prado vs. Howie Kendrick -- how close is it?-- @kevingilmore3

I love this question. It's kind of like asking -- Kim Kardashian or Sofia Vergara? You really can't go wrong either way. In fact, let's be honest, you'd take either one home to meet mama and feel pretty good about it.


M. Prado: Qualifies at 2B, 3B and OFKendrick: Qualifies at 2B. In most leagues he is also 1B eligible, and possibly OF (he's played six games there this season).

Career Numbers

M. Prado: .305/.354/.454Kendrick: .296/.331/.431

Pretty darn close, eh?

Career Numbers (per 500 ABs)

M. Prado: .305-11-60-76-3Kendrick: .296-9-61-66-12

Pretty darn close yet again.

2011 Numbers

M. Prado: .305-6-27-28-1Kendrick: .310-6-17-29-4

I know I'm supposed to be the expert and have all the answers, but in this case there may not be a definitive answer. Like I said, how do you choose between Kardashian and Vergara?

Ah hell, give me Vergara and Kendrick.

Jed Lowrie or Mike Aviles? Looking for a David Wright replacement.-- @itsthejohnes

I bet it would surprise a lot of people out there to learn that Aviles has more homers (five to three), RBI (26 to 18) and steals (eight to zero) than Lowrie. Don't overlook how significant that difference in the steals department is either; it makes up for the massive gap in their batting average right now (.243 to .320).

Lowrie hit .368 in April. He is hitting .259 in May.Lowrie had a .389 OBP in April. That mark is .317 in May.Lowrie had a .574 SLG in April. That mark is .407 in May.Lowrie had a K-rate of 16 percent in April. That mark is 28 percent in May.

You get the point.

A middle infield option who is hitting .320 is a fine addition to any squad, but what if that same player hits 12 homers and doesn't steal a single base? That's the pace that Lowrie is on for those of you who haven't been keeping track.

Aviles owns a career .292 average, so where did those extra .050 points go? His BABIP is .253, only .067 points below his career level, as he has struggled to hit the ball on the screws. Aviles has posted line drive rates of 20.2, 18.9 and 18.8 percent the past three years, which strongly suggests that he won't continue to struggle along at 11.6 percent. The problem right now is that he has jacked up his fly ball rate by 13 percent. Aviles would do well to remember that he is a 12-15 homer bat. If he continues to hit 50 percent of his balls skyward success could elude him.

Lowrie is second base and shortstop eligible while Aviles is second base as well as third base eligible in almost every league, so there is no advantage there for either player. Given that Aviles is the only one who runs, and that he owns a .292 career average (Lowrie is at .266), I'm going with Aviles if I have to choose one.

Is it time to cash in on Curtis Granderson's hot start?-- @rickyhelsel

If it weren't for the ridiculously hot Jose Bautista, Granderson would be leading baseball in home runs with 14 through 39 games, a pace that would obliterate his career best mark of 30 long balls. Granderson is already roughly 40 percent to his career best of 74 RBI with 31. Toss in a .993 OPS, .080 points clear of anything he has ever done before, and you should be considering selling high on the Yankees' outfielder.

Granderson also is posting a career-high 53 percent fly ball rate and a 25 percent HR/F mark. Can we reasonably expect both of those trends to continue? Not in my world.

All of the extra fly balls also influence the batting average. After hitting .249 and .247 the past two years, the inclination when you consider his .280 mark this year is that he has figured things out. However, the data doesn't support that position. Granderson is within a percentage point of his career walk rate, and his current K-rate of 25.9 percent would be a five-year worst. He's also posting a career-worst 15.1 percent line drive rate. Putting all of that together would seem to suggest that Granderson will have a hard time hitting .280 this season unless he changes his approach.

So would I trade him? I'd trade anyone on my roster if the right offer came along, so I'm certainly not going to say you should hold on to a guy who it would seem is in line for a reduction in production the rest of the way.

Mark Reynolds or Brett Wallace the rest of the way?-- @gregory671

On the surface this seems like a preposterous question since Wallace is hitting .323 and Reynolds .191, but when you look a bit deeper, it's a fair question -- and no, I'm not faded from pulling back four Mai Tai's this morning. Look at the other four fantasy categories.

Wallace: two homers, 12 RBI, 20 Runs, one stealReynolds: five homers, 19 RBI, 17 runs, one steal

You're probably still skeptical. How about we look at how each guy has done in the month of May.

Wallace: .200-1-3-5 with a .600 OPSReynolds: .229-3-5-7 with a .800 OPS

Still not convinced, right? Does history mean anything to you? Obviously you can't directly compare Reynolds to Wallace in that respect since Wallace has never played a full season, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't mean something when it comes to Reynolds. Yes, he is a dreadful option the batting average category, perhaps a debilitating one, but don't forget these facts.

1. Reynolds has produced an average of 35 homers, 95 RBI and 88 runs the past three years. All told he was first among third basemen in homers, fourth in RBI and second in runs from 2008-10.

2. Reynolds has hit 37 homers with 104 RBI and 96 runs since the start of the 2010 season. Those numbers place him second among third basemen in homers, sixth in RBI and sixth in runs scored.

Do you take a chance on a guy who seems destined to hit 30 homers while struggling to hit .240?

As I warned back on April 28 in 2011 Player Profile: Justin Smoak and Brett Wallace, I'd be wary of overestimating the hot start of Wallace. That doesn't mean he is waiver-wire fodder, but to this point of the season Wallace has really been nothing other than an empty batting average producer. If I needed batting average on my squad I'd take Wallace, but if I was looking at rostering the player who will have the most fantasy value from this point forward, give me Reynolds.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive, 5-8 PM Eastern, on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at