Fantasy baseball Roundtable: Rookies Myers, Wheeler fantasy factors?
Are Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler here to stay? Is carrying bench bats wise in a head-to-head league? Is Matt Cain back to his old, dependable self? Our experts Michael Beller and Eric mack have some answers for curious owners.
Do you have a fantasy question you want our experts to answer? Leave it in the comments below or find Beller and Mack on Twitter. Check back every Wednesday to see if your question made the Roundtable cut.
1. Super-prospects Wil Myers and Zack Wheeler debuted Tuesday. What are your snap judgments on their fantasy worth moving forward?
Beller: Myers went 1-for-7 in the double header, but he's a hitter. I can't really offer a snap judgment on one day, so I'd focus a whole lot more on his .286/.356/.520, 14 homers and seven steals at Triple-A Durham. Regardless of what he did Tuesday, Myers should be universally owned.
As for Wheeler, I'll happily offer a snap judgment. And that is, "Why don't I own this guy?" Wheeler looked like a future ace against the Braves, tossing six shutout innings and striking out seven batters. He did issue five walks, but he allowed just four hits. Mets fans probably had the best day they'll have all season getting to watch Wheeler and Matt Harvey dominate the Braves in both ends of a doubleheader. Wheeler immediately becomes a matchup-proof starter in mixed leagues.
Mack: Wheeler's debut was far more surprising. He'd been mediocre in Triple-A to date. Sure, he was pitching in a hitter's park in Las Vegas and a hitter's league in the PCL, but he was giving up homers (nine in 13 starts). Tuesday, Wheeler held a solid Braves lineup at bay and the outing makes him a must-play two-start pitcher next week.
Myers, meanwhile, got off to a slow start, but perhaps we should have expected it. His numbers only recently improved at Triple-A, so we should expect a streaky hitter initially. He's worth owning in all leagues because of his upside, but he needs to prove himself before consistently earning fantasy starts.
2. How many bats are needed on my bench in a head-to-head redraft league?
Beller: I really am not a fan of carrying too many bench bats in head-to-head leagues, especially if you have daily transactions. You're not going to change your lineup that often, and you don't need to constantly second-guess yourself. Depending on the makeup of your roster, I'd recommend either one or two bench bats. You might want to play the hot hand from time to time, and you might not be strong at all your offensive positions, so I can understand having a couple bats on your bench. However, I wouldn't have any more than two. And I'll personally go with no bench bats in my head-to-head daily league if I'm confident in all my guys.
Mack: It depends on how many of your regular starters are injury-prone, really. Beller makes some good points here. Hitters generally are set-it-and-forget-it in fantasy, if you selected the right ones. Unless you are stashing some high-upside guys like Myers or benching some struggling early round picks like Hanley Ramirez, you don't even need a bench bat. The waiver wire can be your place to rotate hitters in and out of your lineup as injury requires. There are only two kinds of hitters to own in fantasy: the ones with high long-term upside and the ones who are hot. Matchups rarely matter with hitters, unlike pitchers.
3. Can you rank Matt Cain, Jon Lester and Matt Moore? Still top 30 starters for the rest of the season?
Beller: I wrote about Cain on Tuesday. I like him a lot for the rest of the year. He's been pounded twice in the last month, but those starts mark the only two out of eight since May in which he has allowed more than two runs. In his last two starts, he has given up just one run in 13.2 innings. Lester is trending in the opposite direction. He has surrendered at least four runs in five of his last six starts and has walked at least three batters in four of those outings. Given that I wasn't a fan of Lester's heading into the year, I'm starting to feel vindicated. I don't think Lester is in the top 30 for the rest of the year. Joining him outside the top 30 is Moore, who's walking nearly five batters per nine innings and has lost two miles per hour off his average fastball. That's a huge drop for anyone, especially a power pitcher. You have to like the strikeouts, and you're not going to get value for him now, but there are some real red flags here. My rankings go Cain, Moore, Lester.
Mack: I'm with Beller on the order: Cain, Moore, Lester -- but I'm a little higher on all three of them. Like hitters, pitchers go through slumps, so these three can be top 30 (if not top 20) starters the rest of the way if they emerge from their skids. As long as their arms are healthy, they should improve. Cain is a lot better than he pitched earlier in the year, while Moore and Lester are better than they are pitching right now. I wouldn't sell; in fact, I'd buy if their current owners are growing impatient.
4. I need to trade or cut one of these guys. Which one has to go: Billy Butler, Kendrys Morales, Mitch Moreland, Adam Lind, Eric Hosmer?
Beller: Honestly, I'd move the one who will net the biggest return. You're not going to notice the loss of any of them all that much, especially since the other four will still be on your roster. If I were ranking them for the rest of the season, I'd go Butler, Lind, Moreland, Morales, Hosmer, so take that for what it's worth. But this is all dependent on which one gets you the best profit.
Mack: You can cut Hosmer without missing him much. While he has potential, two homers and 25 RBI are hardly enough production for a fantasy shortstop, much less a first baseman. He's like Justin Smoak: He's got boundless potential, but he's going to take a while to trust, and there's simply too much depth at first base to justify waiting on Hosmer. I'd rank your options: Butler, Lind, Morales, Moreland, Hosmer. Cut Hosmer and don't bother shopping any of them. Those players aren't going to net anything useful in return.
5. How do you rate these second basemen in 5x5 roto, and why? Jurickson Profar (most upside?), Anthony Rendon and Nick Franklin.
Beller: For me, they're all pretty close in redraft leagues. Profar certainly has the most upside thanks to his pedigree, but my favorite for the rest of this year is Rendon. He was huge at Double-A Harrisburg, hitting .319/.461/.603 with six homers in 152 plate appearances. He has carried that right to the majors, where he's hitting .344/.417/.500 in 72 plate appearances. At some point, you have to believe what you see. Franklin, too, has had success in the minors and majors this year, slashing .324/.440/.474 at Triple-A Tacoma and .299/.382/.522 thus far with the Mariners. Ironically, the guy with the most upside has put up the worst numbers in 2013. For me, that's what's really going to tip the scales here. I rank these three Rendon, Franklin, Profar.
Mack: The Rangers' recent decision to keep Profar in the majors is intriguing. They are going to give him a week to 10 days to learn how to play left field and then he's a candidate to get regular at-bats again, even with Ian Kinsler off the DL. He is the only one of the three with a significant amount of fantasy potential the rest of the season. The other two are hitting better right now, but in a standard mixed league, their values are near replacement level. I just don't see either Franklin or Rendon performing like top 12 fantasy second basemen over the long haul this season. Profar can and he will have the added versatility of outfield eligibility.
* Editor's note: Tweets edited only for grammar and clarity.