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RotoExperts Fantasy Mailbag: Corey Kluber Set For A Good Second Half

Corey Kluber

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Need to pick up a pitcher from Corey Kluber, Dillon Gee, Edwin Jackson and Carlos Villanueva. Which one do I add?

Corey Kluber has struck out 23.9 percent of batters faced. Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Corey Kluber has struck out 23.9 percent of batters faced. Photo Credit: Keith Allison
Each of these players has a chance to help Fantasy teams in the second half. All have showed some signs of picking things up recently. The player I like most if Kluber. He is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, which doesn’t seem great, but there are some good signs he will be better. He will get a lot of strikeouts considering his 23.9 strikeout percentage and 10.9 swinging strike percentage, and he averages 93 miles per hour on his fastball. Kluber has excellent control, walking just 5.6 percent of the batters he has faced. The main concern is he allows too many home runs considering he doesn’t allow many fly balls. He has a 28 percent fly ball percentage yet he’s allowing 1.04 HR/9. Kluber has a 47.4 percent groundball percentage. Kluber has also had success against some good offenses. While he had a bad start against the Orioles on June 27, Kluber has pitched well against the Tigers, Red Sox and Rangers.

I am considering trading Matt Carpenter for Nate McLouth and Mat Latos. I could use a starting pitcher and stolen bases. I consider McLouth a slight drop off from Carpenter based on the first half. What is your opinion on the trade and will McLouth and Latos maintain their current performance in the second half?

There’s no need to debate this trade. It makes sense based on your team needs and that’s what the focus should be when making trades at this point of the season. McLouth has always had good walk rates and continues to this season, walking 9.6 percent of the time. McLouth has improved his contact rate and is striking out just 12.4 percent of the time. McLouth is not going to return to his 20-homer days, but that’s not what you need. He will provide a solid average, score runs in an excellent lineup and steal bases. McLouth has 24 stolen bases in 28 attempts. Latos has been excellent and I expect that to continue. He is 8-3 with a 3.53 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Latos has struck out 24.9 percent of the batters he has faced and walked just 7.1 percent. Latos has a swinging strike percentage of 12.1 percent. A 2.89 FIP indicates Latos should have a better ERA. Carpenter should continue to produce, but he will not give you stolen bases and that is a need for you. Carpenter will provide average, runs and a good number of RBI for a leadoff hitter.

I have Howie Kendrick as my second baseman but I can pick up either Jedd Gyorko or Nick Franklin off waivers, but would have to drop Kendrick. I am currently first in my league and this seems to be my weakest position. What should I do? Who would be the best player for the rest of the season?

If Kendrick is your weakest option, you have few worries. Kendrick was one of my value targets at second base this season since in many eyes, he has disappointed. A lot of people had lofty expectations for Kendrick and some even projected Kendrick to win a batting title someday. I looked at Kendrick as someone to provide a good average and to hit double-digit home runs, get double-digit steals and have good counting stats in a good lineup. The best part was the cheap price. He often went in double-digit rounds. Kendrick is batting .310 with 41 runs, 11 home runs, 40 RBI and six stolen bases. Out of these three, I would keep Kendrick. He will provide the best numbers the rest of the way. Sometimes, there are situations where you don’t need to make moves. This is one of them.

In a 12-team 5×5 roto league, I have Josh Willingham. I was counting on him for power and that hasn’t happened this year. Currently he is taking my single disabled list spot. I was wondering if I should drop him for Adam Lind, Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, Mitch Moreland, Michael Morse or Evan Gattis.

If he is taking up your only disabled list spot and there is no one else on the roster that is on the disabled list, there’s no need to drop him because he’s not taking up a roster spot. If you want to put someone else in the DL spot to free up a spot to add some power, then you can drop Willingham. All the guys mentioned have power, but all have some limitations also, whether it is a poor batting average, playing in a platoon or a playing time issue. The player from this group to add is Moreland. He has slowed down recently but he is going to get the most at-bats of the players listed since he plays every day. Moreland is batting .263 with 31 runs, 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 274 at-bats. In his home ballpark in the summer heat, he could go on home run tear any time. His isolated power is a career-best .219.

All statistics entering July 19.

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