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FantasyMLB

RotoExperts Mailbag: Jed Lowrie Producing At Weak Fantasy Positions


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In a 12-team head-to-head redraft league format, I currently have Josh Rutledge playing shortstop. On the waiver wire is Jed Lowrie, Zack Cozart, Alcides Escobar, Brandon Crawford, Brian Dozier, Marco Scutaro and Brad Miller are free agents. Stick with what I have or do you see a huge advantage with one of the others?

Dump Rutledge for Lowrie, who is better than the perception of many and is eligible at second base and shortstop in many leagues. The reason why Lowrie went late in drafts is due to poor health throughout his career and going to a big ballpark in Oakland. Lowrie has been healthy so far and there’s definite risk going forward of him playing the whole season based on his track record. Lowrie played a career-high 97 games last season and he is currently at 80 games. Lowrie is batting .301 with 37 runs, five home runs, 34 RBIs, one stolen base and a .374 on-base percentage. Lowrie makes good contact with an 87.7 percent rate and he walks 10 percent of the time. Lowrie has showed good power before this season with 16 home runs in 340 at-bats last season and nine in 171 at-bats with the Red Sox in 2010. Part of it is Lowrie’s drop in fly ball percentage with a 39.3 percent mark and that is below his career average of 47.3 percent. While his home park doesn’t help with just two home runs 146 at-bats, he hasn’t done it on the road either with just three home runs in 163 at-bats. With all that, it wouldn’t be surprising if he hit another 10 home runs the rest of the way, and the A’s lineup is good which will help his runs and RBIs. He has the highest ceiling of all the players available and he is the one to own. Rutledge had a good season last year. He started the season poorly, was sent to Triple-A, and called up when Troy Tulowitzki hit the disabled list. Tulowitzki is nearing a return and Rutledge will lose at-bats, especially since he is batting .169 in 53 at-bats since being called up.

I have one team that is in 11th place out of 12. I found on the waiver wire some players that I believe can help me. Leonys Martin, Rajai Davis, Josh Reddick and J.P. Arencibia are available. Who should I add?

Unfortunately, one player will not make a huge difference in catapulting you up the standings. While it is an arduous task getting up the standings from the bottom at this point of the season, it is possible if there are enough categories where you can move up and gain points. In some instances, it is very unlikely. It sounds like a trade might have to be made and when you’re at the bottom of the standings, take chances on underperforming players that come cheaply. What do you have to lose at this point? Of the players available, I would add Martin. He is getting better as the season goes on and he’s starting to get more playing time against lefthanders instead of being in a strict platoon. The biggest stat he will boost is stolen bases. He has 18 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He batted .250 over 48 at-bats in the first month, .317 in 64 at-bats in May and .299 with nine stolen bases in 77 at-bats in June. Martin is batting .209 against lefties in 43 at-bats and is batting .355 with 15 stolen bases at home compared to .217 with three stolen bases on the road. Martin is batting .291 with 33 runs, five home runs, 15 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. Since he hits at the bottom of the order, he won’t drive in many runs and he doesn’t have a lot of power. Davis, the feature of this article last week, will help in stolen bases also but he will lose playing time once Melky Cabrera comes off the disabled list. If you’re in dire need of power, Reddick is an option despite the slow start. Arencibia has power, but also strikes out a lot and will hurt you in average. Unless this is a two-catcher league where you have a weak second catcher, he’s not a great option.

Would you trade Buster Posey for Matt Wieters and Max Scherzer? What do you expect from Wieters the rest of the way?

This is definitely a good trade for you. Posey is better than Wieters, but not that big of a disparity that you reject a deal with Scherzer also coming your way. Wieters still hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations. He is batting .225 with 29 runs, 10 home runs and 40 RBIs. He hasn’t show he will hit for a high average. He is a career .255 hitter and his current .239 BABIP is under his career mark of .286 and that indicates the average could rise. Wieters could still finish with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs, which is what he did last season and that’s solid from a catcher. The expectations were higher and Wieters was expected to take a leap this season at age 27 but he hasn’t with a .674 OPS. The Orioles lineup is excellent offensively and that will help Wieters’ counting stats. Posey has 12 home runs and 48 RBI, so the big difference between him and Wieters is the average. The addition of Scherzer to your team makes this a slam dunk. Scherzer has been dominant and is a contender for the American League Cy Young award. Scherzer is 13-0 with a 3.09 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, a 31.1 strikeout percentage and he’s walked just 5.8 percent of batters faced. I have always like Scherzer a lot and figured he would have this type of season eventually. Make the trade.

Could use some power and some help in steals. On waivers are Norichika Aoki, Raul Ibanez and Paul Konerko. I would drop Marlon Byrd or a relief pitcher.

The best player overall is Aoki. He is batting .292 with 43 runs, four home runs, 18 RBIs and nine stolen bases and those numbers are disappointing. Aoki batted .288 with 81 runs, 10 home runs, 50 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 2012. Aoki has a 95 percent contact rate and will score runs hitting at the top of the Brewers’ lineup. He won’t hit for much power or drive in many runs. He will hit for average and should steal bases. The only concern is the lack of efficiency this season. After going 30-for-38 last season, he is just 9 of 17 this season. He has only attempted five steals since June 1, but he has the ability to help in that category. Ibanez is one of the most surprising players so far. He already has 21 home runs and 49 RBI in 241 at-bats. Ibanez wasn’t expected to play full-time with the Mariners. He didn’t hit more than 20 home runs in a season since 2009 and he surpassed that mark at age 41. Ibanez has a career worst strikeout rate at 24 percent, a career best 43 percent fly ball rate and a 27.3 percent home run/fly ball rate, which is above his career average of 13.5 percent. Expect him to decline in production going forward. Konerko is on the disabled list with a back injury, is 37 years old and struggled this season.

All statistics entering July 5.

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