Glenn Colton

Week That Was

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Don't Ride the D Train

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Another double feature this week -- Week That Was by Glenn Colton and Potential Trade Candidates by Bobby Colton (plus, of course the wisdom that Schultz says).

Dontrelle Willis: Dontrelle Willis looked like, well Dontrelle Willis this week, issuing 6 BB in a loss to Atlanta. Let me put this simply – the D Train is a road to ruin. Yes, lefties who move from the AL to the NL often meet success. However, those lefties did not spend a good chunk of their career in the NL before and they throw strikes. Thursday, Willis threw less than half of his pitches for strikes. Over the last three years, his best WHIP was 1.60. You get the point. Pass.

Jonathon Niese: Jon Niese was great Thursday in his return to action. Niese hurled a complete game shutout, giving up just one hit, no walks and registering 6 K's. In his last 8 starts, Niese has given up 2 or fewer runs six times and 1 or fewer runs five times. If he can just stay healthy, he can become something special. Call up the Niese owner in your league and talk about the artificially bloated 1.4+ WHIP and grab Niese. With a 3.61 ERA and a 45/19 K/BB, the real indicators show great things to come. If you need more proof, just consider that he is a lefty pitching in the NL in a serious pitcher's park. Buy!

Luke Hochevar: Luke Hochevar got burned by interleague play yesterday when he the Royals decided to pinch hit for him after only 4 innings. No, he was not great last night as he had given up 4 runs in those 4 innings, however, he had struck out 3, walked none and had tossed only 68 pitches. Throw this odd outing out as it is indicative of nothing. At the age of 26, this former number one is finally showing signs of why he was a number one. In his last 5 starts, Hochevar sports a 31/6 K/BB ratio and a 3.00 ERA. The only downside here is that the Royals are, well, not good. So, even if he pitches to Cy Young caliber, the wins will be hard to come by. (see Greinke, Zach 2009).

Carlos Santana: Carlos Santana made his major league debut for the Tribe last night. The bad news – he took the collar, going 0-3. The good news, he gunned down speedster Njyer Morgan on a steal attempt. (Note – you care about defense because it will keep him in the lineup). Look for Santana to catch about 5 days a week for the rest of the year. What should you expect stat wise? Well, he has hit at every level: .322 and .352 in two single A stops in 08, .290 at AA in 09 and now .316 in AAA in 2010. The Indians are not good and will probably sell off what little offensive talent they have in the next six weeks. However, Santana will be one of the better AL offensive catchers from here on. Buy.

R.A. Dickey: R.A. Dickey continues defying all odds. Last night the knuckler tossed seven solid innings to beat the O's. Shockingly, R.A. has a 2.78 ERA over his first five starts. Ok, this one is super simple – SELL HIGH! Frankly, I really should not have to even demonstrate why, but I will. Only once in 8 big league seasons has Dickey posted a WHIP under a whopping 1.50 (and that was 1.489) or an ERA under 5.00 (and that was 4.63). Add in the fact that in 08-09, Dickey's K/BB ratio was a hideously ugly 100/81. So far this is a good story, but it is sure to have a bad ending. Sell.

Nate McLouth: Slumping Nate McLouth landed on the DL this week with what is being termed "concussion symptoms." This is bad news for those counting on Nate, but good news for one of my personal favorites, Melky Cabrera. Look for the Melkman to play CF practically everyday and to provide solid value to those in NL leagues. Melky's overall numbers are deflated by a horrific April average of .195. However, since the calendar turned to May, Melky has posted a .290 average. Ok, I can hear it now – Melky is not a big power hitter and does not steal a ton of bases. Both statements are true. However, he is a clutch hitter and precisely the non-flashy solid type that can help both real and fantasy teams win. (see, Yankees, New York 2009). Melky is just 25, yet he has 4 full big league seasons under his belt. If the Braves leave him alone and let him play everyday, he will reward them (and you too if you go get him).

Brian Roberts: According to reports, Brian Roberts received another epidural injection in an attempt to alleviate problems in his lower back. Bottom line here is that Roberts is not due to take the field any time soon (if at all) this season. The fantasy lesson to be learned is simple. Be careful of rosy spring training injury news. It was widely reported that Roberts was suffering from a herniated disc in his back. Anyone who has lived with that knows it is very painful and can recur at any time. In March, those who want to win at fantasy baseball must avoid spending big money injury risks like this. If you spent big on Roberts this spring, well, shame on you.

Jeremy Hermida: The outfield woes continue in Boston as the Red Sox placed Jeremy Hermida on the DL with what I call "the Ellsbury" -- fractured ribs. On any given night in Fenway, you will not see anything that reminds you of Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Yaz, Williams, etc. Rather, you will see a rag tag collection like Bill Hall, Darnell McDonald, Josh Reddick, etc. To put an exclamation point on this, when one is waiting desperately to get Mike Cameron and his .230 average back, things are just bad. Look for the Sox to make an OF move and make it soon.

J.J. Hardy: Bad news continued this week for J.J. Hardy as he found himself back on the DL with a sore left wrist. Admittedly, I was high on Hardy and thought all systems were go for a bounce back year from a power hitting, in his prime, MI. However, wrist and hand injuries are tough. Any time you see a player with such an injury, you will likely see a player who has trouble driving the ball and who changes his approach to compensate. End results – bad. Unfortunately, Hardy simply cannot be counted on this year. Nick Punto should see even more time. While Nick is hardly a star, he could net you 10-15 SB the rest of the way. If you need speed in a deep AL league, Punto could help.

Jake Arrieta: Jake Arrieta looked solid in his major league debut this week, holding the Yankees to three earned runs over 6 innings. The O's are already done for this year, so why not run Arrieta, Tillman, Matusz, et al. out there every time to get seasoned. Arrieta has been solid at every minor league stop, so there is no reason to doubt him long term. For this year, the 24 year old will pitch like one – some up, some down. Keeper leaguers must grab him. Those in other leagues should spot start him where appropriate. However, keep in mind that there is a very good chance he gets shut down in September.

And now, as promised another two for one special:

Potential Trade Candidates
by Bobby Colton

Now that we are near the midpoint of June, we have hit the point where teams can realistically analyze their situation and see if they can make the playoffs this year. Below, you can find this writer's opinion of who might be on the move this summer.

Austin Kearns: All of a sudden this Nats castoff has blocked the path of Matt LaPorta. For now the Indians seem content to stick with Kearns and Russell Branyan at LaPorta's two positions, but that will almost certainly change by July 31st. Interested Teams: Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego.

Russell Branyan: He had a slow start to the year dealing with injuries, but he has come back to his powerful ways, sporting seven jacks in 40 games. He won't hit 31 again this year, but he does offer some pop. Interested Teams: Toronto, Texas (because it's time to admit Justin Smoak just can't hit yet), Los Angeles Angels.

Jeff Keppinger: Keppinger is silently hitting very nicely for the Astros. While talk of moving Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman fill the ears of Astro fans, the underrated infielder could be the only man on the move this summer. Keppinger could fill needs at third, short, or second and has 3 years of team control left. Interested Teams: Tampa, Minnesota, Oakland, LAA, San Diego.

Lance Berkman: Off to a slow start, plus he's injury prone, yet he could net the 'Stros a whole lot of prospects. Interested Teams: Toronto, Texas, Los Angeles Angels.

Roy Oswalt: What's there to say, he's incredible. Interested Teams: Everyone should be.

Paul Konerko: Having a power surge at 34 and could net the ChiSox a nice slew of prospects. Interested Teams: Toronto, Texas, Los Angeles Angels.

AJ Pierzynski: A welcome addition to any team in need of some catching help. Interested Teams: Boston, Texas, Detroit.

Jose Guillen: He's cooled down since a roaring April, but he's still got power for an AL team needing a bat who can't field. Interested Teams: Tampa, San Diego (if they'll play Matt Stairs in LF then Guillen is actually an upgrade).

Kelly Johnson: Kelly is having a memorable year, plus he's under team control next year. A team needing some talent at second could really use him. Interested Teams: Tampa, Detroit, New York Mets

Luke Scott: He can play first and left with a bit of pop. He can provide a contender with either a bench bat or a starting outfielder. He's also under team control for the next few years. Interested Teams: Tampa, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland

Chone Figgins: I'm sure Seattle would love to move their overpriced-now second baseman-speedster. I am hard pressed to believe any team would be willing to take on his contract in the midst of a miserable year. His name will pop up this offseason though.

Cliff Lee: See Oswalt. Only wrinkle is his impending free agency. Interested Teams: Yankees, Mets, Washington, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers

Carlos Silva: Having a resurgent season, but he's a bit costly. He also could regress into the Silva we all know and, err, well, not love. Interested Teams: Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Brett Meyers: He's enjoying a very productive season and is just another Astro who should pack his bags. Interested Teams: Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ted Lilly: Impending free agent with a good, veteran arm. He's a welcome addition to any team who would take him. Interested Teams: Yankees, Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Brandon Lyon: He picked up his first save of the year this week and there's no reason why he can't save more for another club. Interested Teams: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco.

Jeremy Guthrie: Solid pitcher with some years of control left. Interested Teams: Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kevin Millwood: Veteran who'll benefit significantly from a move away from the AL East. Interested Teams: Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jake Westbrook: He's a decent option for a team starving for pitching. Interested Teams: Mets, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kyle Farnsworth: Farnsworth didn't get to start like he wanted, but maybe by trying to be a starter he found a way to be an effective reliever. I can't imagine why the Royals wouldn't part with him. Interested Teams: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco

Aaron Heilman: It hurts me (and all Met fans) to say this, but Aaron has been throwing well this season. He could net the D-Backs a nice prospect for his services. Interested Teams: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco.

Will Ohman: He can't close, but he can pitch in a set-up capacity. Interested Teams: Minnesota, Philadelphia, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco.

And last, but not least, Schultz says: "Unless your league is one in which minor leaguers have been fair game all season, this week shapes up to one of the most important in terms of the waiver wire and free agent pickups. If you're reading this column, you are already well aware that this week marked the debut of Stephen Strasburg, Mike Stanton, Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta. As far as prospects go, these, along with Buster Posey, are likely to be the cream of the crop for the 2010 season. This now begs the question: what are you to do with this abundance of young talent?

Your gut reaction is likely going to be something akin to emptying your free agent budget to grab any or all of the above in the hopes of getting the proverbial quick fix. After watching Strasburg strike out 14 in his first outing, you probably think this is wise. Before you go overboard, just keep in mind that major league baseball owners and managers don't care much about your fantasy team. The Nationals, Marlins, Indians and Orioles aren't going to do damage to their future just because you need help winning your roto-title. Any of these rookies are going to help you but be wary about placing all of your chickens in these baskets. The hen house may close before you feel you've reaped all you wish to sow."

Response: Bobby provides a ton of food for thought for those watching the waiver wire and waiting for talent to arrive in their AL or NL leagues. Nice work! Schultz follows suit with solid analysis of the rookie risk. (though I am not sure I get the reaping and sowing in chicken baskets, but I digress).

Have a great weekend and enjoy some interleague baseball.

Glenn Colton is co-host of Colton and the Wolfman on SiriusXM Tuesdays 8-11pm ET and a long-time fantasy sports player, author of numerous print and electronic media fantasy sports articles, and a participant in expert leagues, including baseball's LABR league and football's FTSA experts league. Colton and Rick Wolf have won the AL LABR Championship three times and football's FTSA experts league four times. Colton joined Wolf in the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Hall of Fame in June of 2013. He can be found on Twitter .

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