July 05, 2012

I'm Ray Flowers, co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (you can read about show times, etc., below). Each week I'll be answer some of the questions I've received at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.

My Pablo Sandoval and Desmond Jennings for Joey Votto? Have Brett Lawrie at 3B, so Panda sits on my bench or in utility spot.-- @Youksbeard

All of this fuss Sandoval being named the starter over David Wright for the All-Star Game has obscured the fact that Sandoval is performing very well. Yes, he's only been on the field for 47 games, but if we push things out to 150, at his current pace, we'd be looking at a guy hitting .313 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs (those numbers are nearly identical to his career marks per 162 games: .308-23-87). Those aren't stupendous numbers, but they are darn good. If you're "stuck" with that as your utility option many will wish they could be you.

Jennings was a victim of his own hype. As I stated to everyone that would listen all offseason, Jennings wasn't going to be a 25-homer hitter this season, and those who thought he was a 20/40 option were always going to be disappointed. He's stolen 15 bags in 59 games, including three in his last four games, so apparently his knee is finally healthy. However, he's hitting .231 as his walk rate has gone down from his rookie season, leading to a below league average 0.40 BB/K mark. He'd also be smart to hit a few more balls on the ground to take advantage of his speed. The talent is still here for a huge second half, but there's not a lot going on right now to suggest he's going to realize that potential in the second half this season.

As for Votto, do I need to waste time/space saying he is elite? As long as his body holds up there is little reason to think that he won't end the year the way he was drafted -- as a top-10 overall performer.

You have Lawrie at third so you don't need Pablo around, but Sandoval is still a great utility option. Jennings is a borderline elite talent, even if his production has been far from that level this year. Most people will tell you that getting the best player in the deal often means you win. You're never going to be wrong adding Votto to your club, but if you're team is lacking depth, holding on to Pablo and Desmond might still end up being the best move.

Is Anibal Sanchez worth dropping in a 12-team roto league?He has been killing me for over month.-- @lmfriedrich

On June 9, Sanchez had a 3.19 ERA. Now that mark stands exactly one run higher at 4.19. Obviously, he's had a brutal stretch (it's even worse as his ERA was 2.56 on June 4). So what should be done with a guy who has a 7.34 ERA and 1.69 ERA over his last six starts? The answer comes down to who is available to add. If you're in a league where people have itchy trigger fingers maybe there are guys such as Derek Holland or an improving Ubaldo Jimenez on the wire, and in those cases you could consider moving on from Sanchez. Personally, I'm stubborn. If my pitching wasn't a mess, if I could afford to give him some time, I'd bench Sanchez and give him a few more starts to see if he can right the ship. Still, we're talking about a guy with some rather impressive numbers overall this season, including a 8.20 K/9 mark, a 2.97 K/BB ratio and a 1.46 GB/FB rate. Chances are pretty good that if he holds on to all three of those numbers for the duration of the year that he's going to have a good deal of success in the second half.

I don't need a 2B, but should I drop Carlos Quentin for Alexi Amarista? Quentin is tickin me off.-- @BigDaddyLowery

Amarista has been killing it the past two weeks, hitting .424 with four homers and 15 RBIs (that includes all four homers, and 13 of those RBIs, in his last seven games). Point blank, he's one of the hottest hitters in the game. Still, let's not go overboard here. Amarista is 5-8 and weighs about a buck-fifty. He's no power hitter. Just look at his minor league totals by year.

2008: 2 HR, 21 RBI2009: 4 HR, 49 RBI2010: 5 HR, 68 RBI2011: 4 HR, 55 RBI

He does have a .312 minor league average, and he owns some speed, but this is a guy at this point that profiles as an NL-only option, and not a mixed league force. If you don't need a second baseman, he's not someone you should be picking up to start in your utility spot.

Quentin was insanely hot when he returned from his knee issue with five homers with nine RBIs in his first six games. Everyone thought he was Babe Ruth. But over his last 14 games he has one homer and three RBIs. Now everyone thinks he is Willie Bloomquist. He is neither,of course, and this brings up the shortsightedness that so many people have in the fantasy game (Bloomquist by the way, is hitting .333 over his last 78 at-bats). Still, there is a lot to like about Quentin. He is hitting .289 this season, .035 points better than his career mark. Quentin has a .430 OBP, .080 points better than his career rate. Quentin has a .577 SLG, .083 points better than his career rate. Taken in total, Quentin is working on a 29-game pace that would equate to 35 homers, 75 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS over the course of a full season. Are you really going to complain about that? Of course you wouldn't.

Baseball is a long season. If you don't have the patience to wait out players' slumps you'll likely miss the good that they have to offer. So next time you think about dropping a guy who has had a rough three weeks for someone who's name you didn't even know two weeks ago because that unknown player has been hot, take a deep breath, logically analyze the situation, and make sure you aren't making a snap decision that will cost you later.

Yasmani Grandal or J.P. Arencibia, who I've have held onto begrudgingly the last two months in a 16-team points league?-- @lilnas2000

Grandal has burst on the scene by swatting four homers in just 20 at-bats for the Padres. A borderline elite prospect at the catcher's position, he's already flashed the plus power he possesses. However, he's yet to translate that pop into consistent power production in the minors, and Petco isn't likely to do him any favors. Also, let's not forget that the Padres still have Nick Hundley and his 3-year deal trying to find his swing in the minors, so it isn't likely that he's going to spend a tremendous amount of time down on the farm if he starts hitting.

As for JPA, what were you expecting? Just like the case with Quentin above, Arencibia has his strengths and his faults. Just like Quentin he has long stretches of ineffectiveness. Just like Quentin he's a power bat and the results often come in bunches. Sure J.P. hit a mere .189 with eight RBIs in June, but let's take that holistic approach again. JPA has 239 at-bats right now. If we give him 443, the same total as last season, what do we get?

2011: .219-23-78-472012: .222-20-70-54 (pace)

That's right. He's on pace to almost much replicate his production from last season, so is being disappointed in his production really fair?

I'd stick with Arencibia, though if you are worried about the batting average, taking a shot on Grandal is fine since the duo profiles as similarly productive fantasy options the rest of the way.

Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.

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