It's just a fantasy, but with Derek Carty it's always a good one.
Derek Carty: Welcome, everyone, to my second ever BP Chat! I'm excited to be here, and I see that we have a pile up of questions already. I'm going to get to as many as I can, so ask away.
Andrew (Las Vegas): Is there any real way to try to improve in the wins category?
Derek Carty: Well, analysts often preach "don't chase wins," which may seem to make sense when you consider how volatile the category is. Still, as long as you understand that there is a lot of variance in the wins category and are ok with that, you're going to be more successful in the long-run by accounting for them in your analysis of a pitcher as opposed to ignoring them completely, as some suggest. If you read my article from a couple weeks ago where I talk about Tim Stauffer (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14190), you'll see a good way of figuring out a pitcher's expected win total. This is actually a pretty good topic, and I think I'll form an article around it for Thursday.
Rob S. (NYC): Dealing with Pujols injury here. Picked up Carlos Pena for the short term, but would you trade Pineda for Dunn and bank on a bounce back second half? I have Verlander and Weaver, so staff should be fine.
Derek Carty: While I think Dunn will ultimately be ok, I don't think I'd trade Pineda for him, even with a good pitching staff and even with an innings limit probably looming. That's not to say I'm against acquiring Dunn or trading Pineda (who I do really like), but that deal doesn't do it for me. Dunn's power isn't the same as it was last year, not just in terms of total home runs but in terms of how far he's hitting them and where he's hitting them. Most of his homers this year have been to shallow right, and he hasn't cracked the 450 foot deep barrier yet (http://hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2011_25&type=hitter). Also, if you have the positional flexibility and he's available, I like Mark Reynolds more than Pena. That ship may have sailed, though, as he's been heating up of late.
LoyalRoyal (Daddy Daycare): What are your thoughts on Colby Lewis. 19 longballs allowed already. Should I be concerned and try to move him or wait this out? Thanks...
Derek Carty: I loved Lewis coming into the year, and he was on my short list to talk about this week, but I think I'll go over wins instead, as a result of Question #1 today. I don't love him as much as I did at the beginning of the year, but I still like him. The 19 HR are the result of both an unlucky HR/FB and a drop in FB%, which could be more legit. His pitch movement looks about the same, though, aside from his change-up getting a bit less vertical movement (though he only throws it 10% of the time). The FB% would be my biggest concern with him right now, and that's something that needs deeper analysis, though even if it remains the same, he's still allowing a few too many homers. A good thought for a future article.
The other thing that's a little worrisome is the drop in velocity, which I discussed at length at The Hardball Times shortly before coming to BP (http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/fantasy/article/velocity-strikeouts-and-colby-lewiss-rough-start/). His strikeout has done pretty much what I said to expect then, which is drop a little but not a lot. In his last start, Lewis had his best velocity of the season, averaging just a bit under 90 MPH, so that's even more encouraging.
Lewis is a guy that's rosterable in all AL-only and most mixed leagues, but he's looking like a different pitcher than the one I expected to be a surprise staff anchor this year.
Jerry (Bass Boat): Alcides Escobar is showing that there is some production in his bat. Can he keep up being not terrible on offense for a good part of his career?
Derek Carty: A guy like that is always tough to project long-term. He's a classic high-speed, low-walk guy. Some of these guys get lots of chances to play regularly (like Juan Pierre). Others don't (like Joey Gathright). Lucky for Escobar, he is a plus defender at a premium position, so I would wager between that, his speed, his youth, and his ability to hit for a decent enough batting average that he'll get his fair share of chances. As long as he plays, he'll be a fantasy asset, especially if a team lets him leadoff.
DS (LA): Thanks for the chat, Derek. Do you think Mike Leake is worth trading a solid pitching prospect like Christian Friedrich for in a dynasty league? (The only pitching categories are IP and runs allowed.) How do you think Leake will fare the next few years?
Derek Carty: It depends a bit on the specifics of your league and how keeping players works. Also, how risk-averse you are. In a vacuum, I'm probably doing that deal. I like Leake a lot, even if he'll likely never be a true ace. Still, I really like his stuff and what he brings to the table. He's a guy who will strikeout an above average number of batters with good control and lots of groundballs. Think maybe a Brandon Webb (in terms of final numbers, not necessarily stuff) with fewer groundballs, so maybe a mid-3.00s ERA instead of a low-3.00s ERA. That's valuable, and probably something I would trade a guy like Friedrich for. He's far from a sure thing.
jamin67038 (Wichita, KS): In a mixed 16-team keeper league, we only have 5 combined bench/DL spots, and I have Hughes, Strasburg, and Bailey all out at the moment. Should I hold all 3, or deal one for someone who can help immediately?
Derek Carty: Uggh, I hate leagues with no DL-only spots. My biggest pet peeve in all of fantasy baseball. It really depends on how your keeper system works. Can you keep as many guys as you want? A certain number? Is it a salary system? Also extremely important is whether you think you have a legitimate chance of competing for a championship this year. If you're playing catchup and you can realistically keep all three next year, it's probably not worth mortgaging the future for.
Eric Hosmer (KC): Speaking generally, am I worthy of one of five keeper spots in a twelve-team mixer with no limit on number of years a player can be kept?
Derek Carty: Only if the team has a below-average crop of other options to be kept. In a 12-team mixed league, that's shallow enough where Hosmer isn't going to be a guy to carry a team for at least a couple years, and like all young players, is not a sure thing to ever do that. Further contributing is the fact that the league is shallow-ish and Hosmer plays perhaps the deepest position in the game. If you have more established options who are better players right now, even if they're a little older, I'd go with them. I'm unimpressed with Hosmer's power in the majors thus far, though it's still early and he obviously has a lot of potential.
DanDaMan (SeaCliff): Been a little disappointed in Latos this year. What do you think of him going forward?
Derek Carty: Well, I guess the 4.06 ERA is a little disappointing, but hopefully you weren't expecting a repeat 2.92 ERA from a guy who hadn't pitched above Single-A coming into last season. I think his PECOTA is too optimistic and while I'm the last person who will argue in favor of the Verducci Effect, Latos did have an enormous jump in innings/pitches/etc last year, which is at least a bit worrisome. Still, he has terrific stuff, so an ERA in the mid-3.00s seems reasonable if he can maintain decent control.
Andrew (Las Vegas): In leagues with salary caps, does every trade need to be evaluated based on both value and salary?
Derek Carty: Definitely, especially if you're talking about a keeper league. Salary plays a big part in what the player's true value actually is.
DanDaMan (Citi Field): Derek, What's the chance David Wirght is able to turn around his disappointing season? I haven't been able to get anything of value for him in a trade. Thanks, Dan
Derek Carty: I'm not sure I'd be all that disappointed in him thus far, aside from the DL time and the low BA. They're saying he'll be back sometime around the All-Star Break, and given that most fantasy-owners are a bit short-sighted, I can see why trade attempts have failed. If you're not getting anything worthwhile from him, you'll have to wait it out. Once he comes back, though, he should help you out. He was stealing bases on the highest rate of his career before injury, and his power was in line with last season. He was striking out a bit more and had a low BABIP, but I think that should correct itself. He has a .321 xBABIP this year. Expect Wright-esque normal power and speed numbers with a .275-ish BA.
Omar (Oregan): Keeper league, Stanton for Cargon? Who wins the deal?
Derek Carty: Different skill sets, but I really like them both. I'd probably go with CarGo, though if you already have keepers with speed, Stanton's power is very enticing.
Henry (Houston): is Wandy rodriguez a good sell high candidate?
Derek Carty: If owners in your league will buy him based on the 2.88 ERA, sure. If they're savvier than that, then probably not. Wandy is a good pitcher who's performing at the level we would have expected coming in (maybe a little worse but still pretty good), just with some added good luck with his surface stats. It all depends what you can get for him.
sdoron (Jerusalem, Israel): 10 tm NL only, Drop Coghlan for Belt? Is Ike Davis still rosterable in NL only?
Derek Carty: Tough question, lots of complicating factors. Brandon Belt is better, but is still probably 3 weeks away from getting back to the bigs, and at that, the Giants weren't committing to him as an everyday player before the injury. Things are crazy in Florida right now, and a lot of Chris Coghlan's value is going to come down to McKeon's opinion of him. He's been bad so far, but he just announced that he was playing through injury, which might make them more willing to give him another chance. There's no right call here unless you can see into the minds of these managers, but I might go with Belt, if forced to pick.
Yes. Davis is absolutely still rosterable in NL-only.
buddons42 (Detroit): Hey Derek, in a 10 team mixed league how crazy would I be to cut Oswalt to pick up someone like Dempster, Collmenter or Bumgarner? Oswalt's lack of performance and lousy peripherals scare me and trading him won't be an option in this league.
Derek Carty: Dempster's the only one I would consider. It's tough to drop a guy with the history of Oswalt, especially when his supporting offense is so much better than Dempster's, so it would be a really tough call for me. I'd probably hold out a little longer with Oswalt, but if you feel that you really need to take a risk, then go for it.
dianagram (NYC): Asdrubal Cabrera ... playing way over his head, or did we vastly underestimate him?
Derek Carty: He might be the biggest surprise of 2011, in my book. The K% and BABIP are the same as last yera, and the added power is driving up his BA. I want to say that it's a complete fluke, but I don't think it is. He's hitting his home runs to all fields with more distance than last year. I don't know if he'll maintain this pace, but he looks like a different hitter in terms of power this year then in years past. And the speed isn't that far out of line with our expectations coming in. He'll start getting caught a little bit, but another 10 steals the rest of the way isn't unreasonable.
JT (Exhibition Stadium): How high could I aim in a dynasty by offering Oswalt/Kipnis for a single SP?
Derek Carty: As long as owners don't get so offended that it puts them off to trading with you in the future, don't worry about starting a little high and seeing what happens. I might try for Zack Greinke first, especially if his owner is worried. Otherwise, assuming you don't like Oswalt or his age makes him less valuable with how your league is formatted, after that I might turn to Greinke's teammates Marcum and Gallardo.
LoyalRoyal (LV, KS): Will the Dodgers ever let Trayvon Robinson have his shot at their revolving door OF spot and if so, when??? Thanks...
Derek Carty: Yes, I think so. This year, and it's possible we could see him before the All-Star Break if Tony Gwynn, Marcus Thames, and crew don't perform. And let's be honest, it's pretty likely they won't. Trayvon is absolutely destroying Triple-A right now, so I'd think we'll see him sooner rather than later.
Bill Simmons (LA): Thoughts on Grantland.com?
Derek Carty: Good to see you hear, Bill :) To be honest with you, I wasn't familiar with Grantland until now. After seeing your question queued up, I read through some of the Hollywood Prospectus articles before the chat started and enjoyed them (I'm a big Game of Thrones fan), so I'll have to make my way over to the sports section later today.
Tony (Albuquerque): I have three closers and can only start two. Who's the best combo; Soria, Bailey and Santos?
Derek Carty: Tough call, but I'm probably going Soria and Bailey now that Bailey can pitch on back-to-back days. If you can only start two, seeing if you can trade one of the three (any of them) for help elsewhere would probably be wise (though if everyone can only start two, you might not find any takers).
jhardman (Apex, NC): Is Michael Cuddyer playing over his head because it is a contract year, or is he one of those players who benefits from playing different positions?
Derek Carty: Well, I've yet to see a study that shows contract years to have a real impact on performance, but I don't think playing different positions really helps a guy either. That said, I don't Cuddyer's performance is all that unsustainable. Maybe a tick too much power and a bit too much speed, but that's about it. Watch what happens as the trade deadline approaches, though. I wouldn't be surprised to see Cuddyer traded, potentially opening up more playing time for a guy like Ben Revere. That could actually benefit Cuddyer's value, though, moving out of the lowest-scoring offense in the league, out of that park, and potentially to the easier league.
Jay (Madison): Does Jesus Montero get his shot this year (pre September)? If not, is the Yankees starting DH in April of 2012?
Derek Carty: If he does, it's going to be because he starts hitting and forces the issue a bit. He's not hitting very well at the moment, and the Yankees aren't going to force Jorge Posada out to make room for a guy who struggling unless he is absolutely terrible himself. Also, keep Jorge Vazquez on the radar if the Yankees do ultimately decide they need a new DH. He's hit 20 HRs so far at Triple-A this year. More likely we see Montero in 2012.
David (DC): Would you give up Uggla for Morse? Espinosa would become my regular 2b (he kinda is already) and Morse would bump Markakis out of an OF spot
Derek Carty: I was on board until you said that it would move Markakis to the bench. Morse can't play CI for you? I might take it and then explore trading Markakis or another OF for help at another week spot, because Markakis is better than a bench player unless your league is shallow. I am buying into Morse, though, almost completely. At worst, this deal gives you a short-term upgrade to Markakis and a player more easily tradedable than Uggla, who I imagine few owners are really banging on your door about at this point.
Paul (Pennsylvania): Your rest of the season Dodgers saves leader is ________ with ________ saves.
Derek Carty: Yikes. Ok, Jonathan Broxton with 15 saves.
JT (Michigan): If I got can-canned already on Oswalt/Kipnis for Greinke, would Price do?
Derek Carty: I'd be tempted to say I like Marcum more, but Price would do, yes. If you could get Marcum and something else of value, I might take that over just Price. Otherwise, go with Price since it's a dynasty league and he still has a little upside left.
Ralph (Arlington): Rank em please: Brantly, Markakis, Pagan, Torres
Derek Carty: I think you've got the order right there. Michael Brantley, Nick Markakis, Angel Pagan, Andres Torres. Brantley and Markakis are close, but I'd probably go Brantley first.
dianagram (NYC): If there is such a thing as a SB slump, Brett Gardner has it. Have pitchers caught on to his tendencies on the basepaths? Is he having trouble reading them (why this year, and not 2010?). Thoughts?
Derek Carty: Well, I haven't had the opportunity to see him, but given how unstable SB success rate is, I wouldn't give up on him yet. He still attempting them at a high rate (more attempts already this month than in April or May) and is merely getting caught a little too much, which can turn around quickly enough. Absent other information, I'm not too worried.
Yetti (Reno): Will Angel Pagan be a solid source of SB's for the rest of the season? Pagan or Gardner?
Derek Carty: Yes, he will. Tough call, but I'd probably take Gardner.
Yatchisin (Santa Barbara): Do you think Brian Matusz will get right this year? Opens on DL, comes off, pitches mediocre at best, tweaks hammy.... I had high hopes for him, and now am at the point of cutting him for free agent Bud Norris.
Derek Carty: I wouldn't give up on Matusz, but if you can drop him for Norris, I'd definitely do it.
David (DC): We don't have CI spots, but we do have one DH spot. I normally go Pujols/Wright/Konerko at 1/3/dh, but injuries have forced adjustment. Konerko is now my 1B, Chipper my 3b and I rotate (daily lineups) Brantly, Markakis, Pagan, Smith, and Torres through two OF spots (Cruz = everyday RF) and DH. Long term once Pujols and Wright are back I would envision Morse in LF almost every day, and a Brantly/Pagan/Torres matchups play in CF, with Smith kept around for those tasty home starts. Markakis becomes totally expendible as my 4th corner OF, and I'd probably want to move whichever CF I could get a better deal for.
Derek Carty: Gotcha. Yeah, I think I'd make the deal, but with all that outfield depth I might move some for help at catcher, middle infield, or pitching, wherever you're weak.
LoyalRoyal (LV, KS): Hi Derek. Callups such as Moustakas and Ackley have recently deposed primary starters for teams. Which other current players do you see as short-timers in their starting line-up? One specific Q: Johnny Gia for Getz anytime soon? Thanks...
Derek Carty: I think we'll see Johnny Giavotella this season, but the Royals may look to extract some value via trade out of a guy like Getz beforehand. Other guys to look for in the near-term include Trayvon Robinson, Jason Kipnis, and Dayan Viciedo. There's talk Wily Mo Pena will get the call this week to DH and could force himself into the OF picture in Arizona if he hits.
jmercan (Jersey): Can I count on the resurgence of Ichiro going forward, or should I take advantage of his improved numbers to trade him?
Derek Carty: All depends what you can get. He hasn't hit a single HR this year, and even if he usually only hits a handful, his owners do miss them. His speed has been in decline the past few years but he's still stealing a good amount of bags, and his .300 BABIP is lower than his .327 xBABIP, which would bring his average closer to .300. He's not a guy you need to ditch, but if you can get something good out of him, go for it.
TOny (Albuquerque): Rumor is Wily Mo got called up today and the Royals called up Dyson instead Giavotella today (stupid move). Is Wily Mo worth a look?
Derek Carty: Yup, definitely, especially in NL-only. Worth a pickups in mixed leagues too, at least to play this week against some relatively weak pitching. If he hits, he may find some more PT after interleague play ends.
JT (Exhibition Stadium): I love Gordon Beckham. There it feels better to get that out there. Why do I draft him every year and own him in my dynasty? Why is not owning him unthinkable? Will he ever justify that love?
Derek Carty: Eventually he might, but he not a guy I've ever drafted. I need to see him actually do something before I own him. Too many other bargain MIs out there each year. He's just not a guy that does anything exceptionally well, but if he ever manages to hit .300 and go 15/15 he's going to have very good value as a 2B.
LoyalRoyal (LV, KS): Hey Derek, loved last week's "Players to Think About" piece. Articles, such as this, which give me a leg up on the comp are high on the list of why I subscribe to BP. Any chance of expanding on that list? Thanks for all the BP insights...
Derek Carty: Yup, plenty. Hopefully I've gone over some of them today (Morse, for example, I think is almost completely legit), but there will certainly be more in upcoming articles :)
JT (Exhibition Stadium): As a short term patch, Aybar or Hardy? Either worth playing over Hanley for the mo'?
Derek Carty: Do you need power or speed? In a vacuum, it's close, but I'd probably go Hardy, at least short-term. Long-term his injury risk puts Aybar ahead.
timber (KC ): Chris Getz has trade value???
Derek Carty: Haha, maybe. It's entirely possibly they simply promote Giavotella to take his spot, but I think it's more likely they wait a little longer.
Randy (Rochester): How big of a difference is there between Nelson Cruz and Angel Pagan? Does Pagan's Avg and SB close the gap?
Derek Carty: When both are healthy Cruz takes it by a decent bit. Considering Pagan now has some injury risk himself, though, I think Cruz still comes out ahead. Still, Cruz's K% has jumped dramatically this year, which is leading to the lower BA, and he's not running as much, so the gap is narrower than it was at the beginning of the season.
Dan (NY): Is Brennan Boesch likely to be a keeper in a 12-team, 10-keeper 5x5 league for next year, or would I do better to trade him to someone who can use him for his value this year?
Derek Carty: Depends who else you have and what you can get via trade, but I am a Boesch fan. I don't think he's in for too much of a decline from his current production.
Steve ((Oakland)): Please help out with a little keeper advice. 10 team mixed, can keep four, $3 inflation per year.
I want to start figuring out who to keep and who to trade for this year, as I have more than four. Who gets kept (this year's salary): Heyward ($21), Hosmer ($1), Smoak ($1), Brown ($2), Strasburg ($1), Pineda ($1), Bedard ($1), Norris ($1).
I'm thinking Hosmer, Brown, Strasburg, Pineda because they seem to be the most likely to be dominant in the next 2-5 years and still be worth the money they'd be paid with inflation. TIA.
Derek Carty: I think Pineda is a must and Strasburg is close to the same. Norris is a maybe, but you might not want to keep 3 pitchers. The rest I would look to trade, if possible. In a shallow 10-team mixed, I think you can do better at 1B than Hosmer or Smoak, but I imagine at $1 others may be willing to give something valuable for them. If pressed, I'd probably keep Smoak and Norris as my second two, but I'd definitely be exploring trade options for all of them. That could change, of course, if someone like Hosmer or Brown dominates the rest of the season, but I'm not convinced that will happen.
jhardman (Strat-O-Matic land): I have the following four catchers in a 16 team Strat-O-Matic league where you can keep a guy forever if you like. Which do you like long term: Chris Iannetta, Ryan Hanigan, Josh Thole, Jason Castro? I'd love to have a stronger catcher, but that's not a possibility until next year's draft.
Derek Carty: Unfortunately I haven't had the opportunity to play a strat-o-matic league before, so I'm not sure how all the specifics work, like how catcher defense is factored in. Hitting wise in regular roto terms, I like Iannetta the best.
Derek Carty: That's going to wrap it up for today guys. Thanks for coming out, and hopefully I was able to help you with some of your fantasy dilemmas. If you have any more questions, you can always get in touch with me via e-mail, Twitter, or Facebook.
Before I go, I wanted to point out that BP will be teaming up with FanDuel to provide a daily league contest especially for BP readers on Friday. You'll be competing against me, entrance is completely free, and you will have the chance to win cash! You can check out the specifics here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14313