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RotoExperts Fantasy Baseball Xpert Mailbag: Time To Believe In Mitch Moreland

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Can you tell me the value for Mitch Moreland the rest of the way?
Moreland is a player that not many talked about before the season. Outside of AL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues, Moreland wasn’t a name people were targeting. He missed some time last season with a hamstring injury and only had 46 at-bats against lefthanders and batted .239 with three home runs, nine RBIs and a .737 OPS. There likely was concern that he might not get full-time at-bats. Moreland batted .275 with 41 runs, 15 home runs, 50 RBI and a .789 OPS in 327 at-bats. Moreland is getting full-time at-bats this season and thriving. He is batting .289 with 20 runs, 10 home runs, 24 RBI and a .905 OPS in 159 at-bats. The positive thing is Moreland isn’t inept against lefthanders, batting .274 with one home run, seven RBIs and a .775 OPS in 62 at-bats. It’s no surprise Moreland is hitting better at home, but he has five home runs at home and five on the road. At home, he is batting .338 with a 1.012 OPS compared to .253 and a .823 OPS on the road. Moreland is hitting more fly balls and hitting them farther. If I had Moreland, I would keep him because I think he’s legit and will continue to hit for power.

In a 12-team head-to-head points league, would you drop Wade Miley, Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Hammel or A.J. Griffin for Jeremy Hellickson?
Hellickson has struggled so far in 2013. After outperforming his peripherals the last two seasons, the peripherals are good now and the actual stats aren’t. Hellickson’s strikeout percentage has increased from 16.7 percent to 19.3 percent and it is backed up by a swinging strike percentage of 10.4 percent. The walk rate has improved slightly and is good at 2.54 BB/9. Despite these good things, Hellickson has a 5.37 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. After high strand rates of at least 82 percent the last two seasons, it is 63.9 percent so far. A HR/9 of 1.55 hasn’t helped. There’s still some hope for Hellickson and I would take him over Guthrie. Since this is a points league, strikeouts are important and Guthrie will not help in that category. He has a 4.85 K/9 and while he has a 3.49 ERA, that will continue to rise. He has been very lucky with a 91 percent strand rate and that will not continue. He has allowed 13 home runs in 59 1/3 innings. Guthrie has allowed 19 hits, six walks and 11 earned runs in 12 innings over his last two starts.

I have Alexi Ogando and Santiago Casilla on the disabled list. Need advice on if I should wait for them or go after available free agents Scott Feldman, Wandy Rodriguez, Francisco Liriano, Tommy Milone, or Justin Wilson.
I am not sure why you own Casilla unless this is a league that counts holds. Casilla can be dropped. The one to add is Liriano. He has been a frustrating pitcher to own the last two seasons with the Twins as he produced ERAs of over five in both years. Much of it could be attributed to poor control as he walked over 12 percent of the hitters he faced in each season. Liriano has looked very good so far in his three starts. In 18 innings, he is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and a 25:6 K:BB ratio. The starts have come against the Cubs, Mets and Brewers, but he clearly has talent, although he has been erratic throughout his career. Liriano has the highest ceiling of the pitchers you mentioned and the move to the National League certainly helps. Add Liriano and drop Casilla.

I’m in a 12 team 5×5 league, looking at a few guys on the wire. I’m considering dropping Andy Dirks for Evan Gattis or Yan Gomes. Does Dirks have staying power? Even if I don’t drop him, are the other guys worth stashing?
I would definitely keep Dirks. He has some power and can steal bases. Dirks might sit against lefthanders, but he has shown in his career that he can hit against them. The Tigers have only given Dirks 19 at-bats against lefthanders in 2013. He is off to a solid start with a .267 average with 19 runs, five home runs, 15 RBIs and five stolen bases. After a slow start in April, Dirks has turned it up in May, batting .280 with 13 runs, four home runs, 10 RBIs, and three stolen bases. The offense is good and that will help his counting stats. While Gattis has 10 home runs, 27 RBIs and is eligible at catcher, the playing time has diminished in a major way since the Braves are fully healthy. Since May 15, Gattis has just seven at-bats. Brian McCann is hitting well since coming back off a shoulder injury and will get most of the time at catcher giving Gattis maybe two games per week at catcher. Gattis will rarely get a start in the outfield. The same applies with Gomes. While he is hitting well right now, it will take an injury for him to get consistent playing time. Dirks will get the most playing time of the three and is a good player. Keep him.

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