“Ryan Zimmerman Or Chase Headley?” And Other Burning Fantasy Baseball Questions

Do you want the chance to get your question featured in this article? All you need to do is sign up for RotoExperts.com email advice to get instantaneous help. This week’s fantasy mailbag is below.

I’m in a 12-team keeper league and scoring is head-to-head. We use on-base percentage instead of batting average. Would you keep Ryan Zimmerman or Chase Headley?

I am very skeptical of Headley repeating his breakout season of 2012. I am stunned at how many people are drafting him in the first three rounds and essentially paying for his 2012 stats. I know Headley was a big prospect that had a lot of potential. He didn’t spend much time in the minor leagues and made his first appearance in the majors with the Padres at age 22. He didn’t do much in his first four seasons in the majors. His best average going into 2012 was .289, the highest home run total was 12, the most runs he’d scored was 77, the highest RBI total was 64 and the best stolen base total in a season was 17.

He obliterated most of those stats last season. He batted .286 with 95 runs, 31 home runs, 115 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and an .875 OPS. Headley hit 27 home runs combined from 2009-2011 and he hit more in 2012. Headley hit a career high home runs in a season in which he had his worst fly ball rate of 32.1 percent. Headley had a 21.4 percent fly ball rate, which is way above his average of 10.2 percent. Headley is more of a 20-80 guy to me and that’s not bad, but not someone to draft in the first three rounds. The stolen bases are nice at third base and he is a career .273 hitter. Headley also draws walks so he is good in this format.

While Headley will steal more bases than Zimmerman and have a slightly higher on-base percentage, I believe Zimmermann will be better in the other three categories. He played through a bad shoulder and batted .282 with 93 runs, 25 home runs, 95 RBIs, five stolen bases and a .346 on-base percentage in 145 games. Zimmerman has hit many fly balls the last two seasons and I think the shoulder has impacted him driving the ball. The Nationals lineup is very good and if he’s healthy, I could see 30 home runs. Zimmerman is the guy to keep.

In almost every mock draft I’ve seen so far, Howie Kendrick is getting skipped over. Am I missing something?

I don’t think you are missing anything. I believe the others are. Kendrick was hyped early in his career. After batting .369 at Triple-A in 2006, there was talk he would win a batting title one day in the majors. After being in the majors since 2008, it is clear Kendrick won’t win a batting title. He’s making less contact, he doesn’t walk and even with high BABIPs, he’s a career .292 hitter. Due to this, people are beginning to look at Kendrick as a failure and he’s not. Take Kendrick for what he is and it could help your Fantasy team.

Is Kendrick a player you target? No. If you miss out on the elite second basemen and wait, Kendrick is a viable option. He’s not going to kill your Fantasy team and sometimes players like that aren’t bad. Kendrick is going to hit for a solid average and won’t hit for much power because he hits most of his balls on the ground, but he’s capable of double-digit home runs. The Angels lineup is very good and he can drive in 70-75 runs. There is some talk he could hit second at times and when he doesn’t he will likely bat sixth behind Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo. Kendrick has stolen 14 bases in three consecutive seasons.

Everyone wants that star player and the player that contributes solidly across the board, like Kendrick, can get overlooked. I recently took him as the 12th second basemen off the board in round 12 of the RotoExperts mixed league mock draft. Many are probably looking at the eight home runs last season and passing. If you need power when your pick comes up then Kendrick doesn’t fit your team. In my case, I had power and was looking for a solid contributor to fill second base and Kendrick fit the bill.

I’m in a 12-team mixed league. We can keep nine players. One note is that we use on-base percentage instead of batting average. I’m keeping Carlos Santana, Robinson Cano, Chase Headley, Elvis Andrus, Mike Trout, Gio Gonzalez, Cole Hamels, and Jason Motte. For the ninth (and final) spot, I’m wrestling with the injured Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo or upcoming pitcher Shelby Miller. Any insight on who to keep would be appreciated. If Granderson were healthy, I feel like it would be a no-brainer. Now I’m not so sure.

The good news for Granderson is the injury occurred early in the spring and the estimated time he will miss is 10 weeks. That puts him on schedule to return in early May. Still, it could be longer and how will the broken forearm impact his power initially? The good thing is Granderson will come at a discount now in drafts, although all it takes is one optimistic person to change that. Granderson needs to hit for power to be a Fantasy force. He only stole 10 bases last season and he’s batted .249, .247, .262 and .232 the last four seasons. The .232 mark in 2012 was a result of a career-high 28.5 percent strikeout rate. Granderson isn’t much better in an on-base percentage with a .319 mark in 2012.

On the other hand, Choo is going to be excellent in an on-base percentage format. Since he came to the majors in 2008, his on-base percentages were .397, .394, .401, .344 and .373. He is a career .289 hitter with a career on-base of .381. Moving to the Reds and hitting lead off, he should score a lot of runs, potentially get back to 20 home runs in a much better hitters’ ballpark and get 20 stolen bases. I would keep Choo since you might be able to get Granderson back at a discount in the draft. Miller is still battling for a starting rotation spot and he will also be cheap in the draft.

I’m in a 6×6 league that includes a category of saves plus holds and quality starts. I’m wondering if it makes sense to skip closers almost entirely and go for lower end guys like Sean Marshall, Jake McGee, Ernesto Frieri, Vinnie Pestano, David Robertson, Joel Peralta, and Mike Adams. Should I try to pick up guys who are almost guaranteed holds and then could move into closer jobs and get some saves too? Thoughts?

I understand your strategy and thinking. I don’t go into any draft with the idea of punting a category or position unless it’s a head-to-head category league where it makes more sense. I know you will say that you’re not since holds are a part of the category, but you still want to try and get a closer or two. It doesn’t mean take a closer early, but if there is some value in a closer in rounds 13-16, don’t pass on one. I do like the plan you presented because I draft these types of relievers in deeper mixed leagues with the hope they will take over as closer. There is so much turnover at the position the last few seasons that you are bound to hit on at least one or two taking over the ninth-inning role.

For more in-depth player analysis, projections and a complete draft kit and full in-season coverage all at one great price, check out the RotoExperts.com Xclusive Edge Fantasy Baseball package now.

Photo via