Fantasy baseball Roundtable: Is Harvey the best pitcher in baseball?
I may be enjoying my victory lap, but if anyone offered me a slow-starting pitcher on the order of Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander or David Price for Harvey in a redraft league, I'd accept that trade in a heartbeat. I don't know where you stand, but I think I even prefer Shelby Miller to Harvey for the rest of the year. That might be a roundtable topic for next week.
Pitchers just don't dominate like this in their first full season in the major leagues, particularly in the second half. I have to agree with Beller -- blech! -- Harvey is a must-have over Shields and Gallardo, but I don't think owners should trade Wainwright for him. Wainwright is still more likely to dominate late in the season.
Other pitchers I find more intriguing than Harvey: Verlander, Strasburg, Price, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels and Matt Cain. Chris Sale, Cliff Lee and Jon Lester may even qualify for that group, while Zack Greinke and Jered Weaver can try to make a case when they return from (non-throwing) arm injuries. So, Harvey is a top 15 pitcher now, but until he proves capable of going beyond 200 innings year-in and year-out, we cannot put him in that elite class.
Right now, he's on pace for around 240 innings, so the non-contending Mets would be wise to manage him late in the season. There is no reason to push him in September when they are going to be 20 games behind the Nationals and Braves in the NL East. Harvey has a huge future, and the Mets need to protect it. Fantasy owners will want to keep this in mind when dealing with Harvey's value in non-keeper leagues.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said this week's "Super Two" status would not be a factor in the decision to call up Wheeler. Many believed that delaying his arbitration clock one more year would keep the Mets from calling him up until mid-June. The Mets are behaving like a money-conscious organization right now, but they don't have to be. They will bring up Wheeler when he is ready to help the team, and that time is coming very soon. After missing his next start due to the clavicle exam in New York, Wheeler might just need to prove healthy and effective in one more start before he gets a different kind of look in New York.
I have a hunch that Wheeler makes his first start for the Mets before June 1, assuming he averts disaster with his current shoulder issue.
I dubbed Hamilton one of the biggest busts of the early rounds of fantasy baseball this season, so I'm not surprised. Free agents in the first year with a new team usually struggle. But Hamilton is still too good to perform like he has until recently. He is not a viable buy-low candidate if someone is selling him as damaged goods.
As bad as Trout started, he's still the fourth-highest scoring hitter in fantasy in a standard league. He hit his seventh homer and stole his seventh base Tuesday night. Braun has just one more homer and a batting average about .030 higher (.315 to .286), but otherwise Trout wins the other standard rotisseries categories: RBI (27 to 26), runs (25 to 21) and steals (7 to 2).
Trout is still better than Braun through what seems like his low-water mark. If you drafted for a rotisserie league today, you still should be selecting Trout over Braun. Only Cabrera can make a case to go higher.
Segura's surprising power will subside and an extended cold streak should push his average below .300, making his primary fantasy asset his 40-plus steals. Note that I predict 40-plus steals, as opposed to 50- or 60-plus, which suggests he will slow down there, too, as he wears down in his first full season in the major leagues. Jacoby Ellsbury, a free-agent-to-be, is still the most likely to lead the league in steals once he finally gets hot.
It was a recurring theme here in the Roundtable this week: Even one-quarter of the season is just too small of a sample size to make assumptions for the entire season.