Fantasy baseball mailbag: Rays' Hellickson, meeting expectations

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Over at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account I receive questions on a 24-hour basis. Here are some of those questions and my thoughts.

I have to keep two: Jeremy Hellickson, C.J. Wilson and Justin Masterson. Which two stay?-- @BradfordEra

Ah, gotta love those shallow leagues.

Hellickson has a 3.05 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in a rookie season that has been as good as advertised. Unlike other rookies, he is showing no signs of fading either as he has allowed two runs in his last two starts and three or fewer in each of his last eight outings. In fact, seven of those eight times on the hill have produced a "quality start." There is no reason to turn away from him at this point.

Wilson bounced back in his last outing with nine Ks and two earned runs allowed after getting lit up for 10 earned runs (13 total) in his previous two outings. He's been pretty uneven of late, permitting four or more earned runs four times in his last nine starts while in the other five he's allowed two or fewer. Still, he has 29 Ks in 29.1 innings over his last five starts, and despite the two shellings his ERA is a palatable 3.99 in that time.

Masterson has been on quite a roll as well. Over his last 10 starts he has lowered his ERA from 3.18 down to 2.63 and only once has he allowed more than four runs. Moreover, he's actually allowed as many as four earned runs only twice in those 10 starts. He's also been locked in when it comes to throwing strikes as he has walked a total of 11 batters in those 10 outings.

So who do you drop? None really. All are pitching well and all sport solid skills that speak to the ability of each to carry on the solid work they have offered to this point. If pressed to drop one I'd move on from Masterson, but as you can tell, I'm really not a fan of doing that.

I lost Chase Headley/Daniel Murphy/Adrian Beltre to injuries ... need a 3B ... Casey McGehee, Danny Valencia or David Freese?-- @IsabelTrent

That's about as bad a run of luck as anyone could possible fall in. Brutal.

Do you want to add Freese given your lack of luck? Freese is expected to return to the Cards lineup on Tuesday from a concussion that he suffered Thursday last week. He should be fine, but given your run of injuries, do you have the stomach to add Freese? If you do you would be adding a guy who is batting .320 this year and one who owns a .308 career mark in 465 at-bats. The guy can hit, even if his power reminds you more of Wade Boggs than Mike Schmidt.

Valencia quietly has been a solid run producer this season. He has 12 homers, just one less than Alex Rodriguez. He has 58 RBI, the same as Evan Longoria. He has 42 runs scored, the same total as Chase Headley. There are negatives with Valencia, chiefly his .242 average and .287 OBP, but he has been moving the arrow there as well of late. Since the start of July Valencia has hit .291 with a .319 OBP. OK, the OBP is awful, but the .291 average is much more like the rookie who hit .311 last year in Minnesota.

McGehee was great in two thirds of a season in 2009, and last year he posted 23 homers and 104 RBI. He was going in the top-10 at third base in almost all drafts this season. McG then proceeded to hit .218 in May and .177 in June and only one long ball in 51 games. However, he's waked up of late with 12 RBI in his last 10 games, and with that big three homer game on Aug. 3 he caught everyone's attention.

I would add Valencia here. However, if you don't mind rolling the dice when you could end up crapping out, Freese would be an intriguing add batting behind Berkman, Holliday and Pujols in St. Louis.

Is Jesus Montero worth grabbing for cheap in a league that keeps 10 players now?-- @Trevorpace24

The short answer is yes, add Montero. As for the reasons, there are a couple that really stand out ...

First, Montero will one day be a middle of the order bat on a championship level team. He has an elite stick, and scouts will tell you that the ball jumps off his bat. He's had some issues with concentration and focus this season, but the potential is there.

Second, the Yankees offense has a black hole right now at designated hitter. Jorge Posada has been filling the role for much of the season, but it's time to face facts -- he just hasn't gotten it done this year with a .231 average, a .309 OBP and a sickly .372 SLG How does that line compare to his career levels? Atrociously. Posada also has gone his 27 games without going deep, and during that time he has all of four RBI. He's also hitting a mere .103 against lefties on the year (58 at-bats), and he has looked totally lost on the road (.173/.254/.276 with two homers). If not for all the offensive fireworks going on around him this year in New York, his failings would be more front and center. Moreover, a report Monday in The Journal News says Posada's rope may have finally run out. "[Manager Joe Girardi] said he was going to put the best lineup on the field, and he doesn't know when I'm going to DH again," Posada said. "So right now I'm sitting on the bench."

The supposition is that Montero could be called up from the minors to take over the bulk of the designated hitter duties. Even if Montero doesn't play a major role this season, adding him in a league that protects 10 players is a good idea. Catcher-eligible players who can blast 25 homers are rare, and in a worst-case scenario Montero would have a lot of value if you wanted to trade him. After all, everyone loves rookies almost as much as they love those Yankees.

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