The Fantasy Baseball Mailbag, Presented By RotoExperts
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Would you keep Kris Medlen or Max Scherzer?
I think most people have Medlen ranked ahead of Scherzer but I do not. I am higher on Scherzer than most. After his poor start last season, I stuck with him and urged people to buy low after his horrific April and it paid off. After one month in 2012, Scherzer had a 7.77 ERA and 2.05 WHIP. He just kept getting better the rest of the way and finished with good numbers considering the hole he dug for himself. He went 16-7 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 11.08 K/9, 2.88 BB/9 and a 3.23 xFIP. He struck out 231 in 187 2/3 innings. After April, he posted ERAs of 4.04, 3.86, 3.62, 2.25, and 1.91. Scherzer went 15-4 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and an 11.2 K/9 in his final 27 starts and it shows how dominant he can be.
The concern is the lack of consistency, some nagging injuries he had at the end of last season… and he has yet to throw 200 innings. That will change this season. He’s 27 and Scherzer is healthy in the spring. A pitcher thatstruck out 29.4 percent of the batters he faced last season is very appealing. He led all starters with an 11.08 K/9 and while that number is difficult to continue, he has a career K/9 of 9.27. Scherzer will take another step forward in 2013 and he’s a pitcher you want to own. I like Medlen as well although he is being overvalued in some drafts because he was so dominant last season in 12 starts. In 83 2/3 inningsas a starter, Medlen had a 0.97 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 9.04 K/9, and a 1.08 BB/9. Of course, Medlen won’t bethat dominant again. He’s a very good pitcher, but I like Scherzer more.
Do I keep Austin Jackson in the eighth round or Martin Prado in the 16th round? Prado isonly eligible at third base and outfield.
I like both players, but Prado is the pick here. Prado is a better value and will see a boost in stats now that he’s in Arizona. Prado isn’t a flashy player and doesn’t dominate any category. He is solid across theboard and can be a nice asset for a team. Prado is a career .295 hitter and has batted .301 in every season except one since 2008. He has hit at least 10 home runs in four consecutive seasons. He might be able to eclipse hit career-high of 15 home runs, which he did in 2010. Don’t expect a major boost in power just because of the move to an excellent hitters park in Arizona because Prado doesn’t hit enough fly balls with a career 32.8 fly ball percentage. Prado scored 81 runs and had 70 RBIs last season with the Braves.Those numbers should increase in a solid lineup. Prado will likely bat second behind Adam Eaton and in front of Aaron Hill, Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Jason Kubel. The biggest question mark for Prado is the steals. He stole 17 bases in 21 attempts last season. He was just 13-for-28 before last season.
Jackson put up similar numbers to Prado last season. He batted .300 with 103 runs, 16 homeruns, 66 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and an .856 OPS. Jackson has really improved his approach at the platesince he came to the majors with the Tigers in 2010. After having a strikeout rate over 25 percent in hisfirst two seasons, he sliced it to 21.7 percent last year. He worked the count more and increased his walkrate almost four percent since 2010 to 10.9 percent in 2012. The key for Jackson are the steals. He went 27of 33 in 2010, 22 of 27 in 2011 and just 12 of 21 last year. He has the speed to get 30 stolen bases, but withsuch potent bats behind Jackson, he can’t get caught stealing if he gets the green light.
I’m in a 14-team 5×5 head-to-head keeper league using contracts. I’m in need of another outfielder and the other team needs pitching. They have offered me Desmond Jennings for Tommy Hanson, who are both on one-year contracts.
I can’t believe you were offered this deal. I’d run to accept this and have your league mate get checked bya psychiatrist. Jennings got many excited with 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 247 at-bats in 2011. Considering the high expectations for him last season, he disappointed. He batted .246 with 85 runs, 13 home runs, 47 RBIs and 31 stolen bases in 33 attempts. Jennings had strikeout rates of higher than 20 percent in both seasons, so he won’t have a high average. Jennings is capable of 15 home runs and 35 stolen bases.
As for Hanson, I want no part of him in 2013. He’s very risky. The Braves, who once thoughthe was the foundation of their pitching for years, essentially gave him away for Jordan Walden. That’s a red flag as the Braves are an organization that knows what they are doing. Hanson has an ERA of 4.95 since the All-Star break of 2011. Injuries are a major issue for him and he’s already had triceps sorenessin the spring. Hanson has tweaked his mechanics because of shoulder injuries. Hanson has pitched 200 innings once in four seasons and his velocity dipped last season. This is an absolute steal.
Could you give me your view on Mat Latos?
I am a fan of Latos and he will have another good season for the Reds. Many were worried about Latosmaking the transition from a terrific pitchers park in San Diego to the complete opposite in Cincinnati.After a 0.78 HR/9 and 0.74 HR/9 in 2010 and 2011 in San Diego, respectively, he had a 1.07 HR/9pitching with the Reds. This was no surprise, but it didn’t have a major impact on the numbers. Latoswent 14-4 and threw a career-high 209 1/3 innings with a 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.95 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9. I expect the K/9 to improve since Latos has an 8.42 K/9 and he always produces good WHIPs and solidERAs. He’s a player I am targeting.