Glenn Colton

Week That Was

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Marquis, Karstens Not Devine

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A look at pitching injuries, pitchers to ignore and more in this week's Week That Was.

Jason Marquis: Jason Marquis was, well, Jason Marquis last night. The Nat righty allowed five runs and 11 baserunners in just four innings. To jump right to the end: Sell! Sell while Marquis has a pretty 5-1 record. Sell while his ERA is 4.08 not 5+ (which wouldn't surprise this writer). Just do it. What, you want more than my say so. Odd, but ok, here goes. He has never struck out more than 138 in a season (and has topped 100 in only 3 of 12 major league seasons), has posted an ERA under 4.50 only once in the last 5 years, and has only posted a WHIP under 1.40 once in the last 5 years. The bottom line is that Jason is a guy to own only in bottom of the ocean deep NL leagues. That the Nats paid big bucks is no reason for you to do so too.

Jeff Karstens: Sticking with pitchers to avoid, Jeff Karstens tossed six innings of one-run, three hit ball Friday giving owners the perfect opportunity to sell high. Yes, Karstens has a 3.32 ERA and 33/11 K/BB over 43 1/3 innings thus far. However, he is 28 and has provided no reason to believe this is going to hold. His three year averages for 08-10 were 4.98 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and a strikeout rate under 5 per 9. Yes, my view is colored by watching him soft toss for the Yankees and getting batted around but the last three years hardly provide reason for optimism. You have been warned.

Mark Trumbo: Ok, some good news. Angel 1B Mark Trumbo went 3-4 with his 7th tater of the year last night. With Kendrys Morales out for the year, Trumbo is here to stay. Last year in AAA, he hit .301 with 36 jacks. Yes, it was the hitter friendly PCL, but those are some gaudy stats. This year in the show, he is hitting a respectable .262 with 21 RBI and 3 SB to go with those 7 HR. Hold on to Mark and by the end of the year, you should have 22-25 HR, 80 RBI and 8-10 SB. Not too shabby for the buck or two he should have cost in March. Hold.

Vladimir Guerrero: Vladimir Guerrero continues to hit. Last night VGu went 2-5, raising his average to .306. Yes, I know he never walks and has not even seen a pitchout he doesn't like. However, there are some guys who can produce without walking. Over the last three years, Vlad has averaged only 35 BB a season (or less than 6 per month), yet he has also averaged 24 HR, 85 RBI and a .300 batting average. So, the moral of the story is simple. If there is a Vlad owner in your league reading the "he can't walk" stuff, stoke that fear and get a solid bat at a cheap price.

Anibal Sanchez: Anibal Sanchez continues to pitch well. Last night the Fish hurler struck out six over seven innings in win over the f/k/a Devil Rays. Thus far this year, Sanchez has posted a 3.02 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. Yes, he can throw the occasional stinker, but all signs point to his arrival as a rotation stalwart. He has had an ERA under 4.00 each of the last two years and looks to be headed toward gaudy 3.50 or lower territory. At 27, Anibal is here to stay. Buy now if you still can.

Travis Hafner: The oblique epidemic has claimed Travis Hafner, who will be out at least 3-4 weeks. Tough break for the Tribe, for Pronk and for the Pronk owners. Yes, he is always hurt, but he seemed to be back on track this year, with his.345 average. If you own Hafner, you had to expect DL time, so do not whine. If you are thinking that you should go out and grab Shelly Duncan, well that is a great idea if your team needs a hitter who cannot hit righties. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Joey Devine: From hurt to surprisingly not hurt. The Athletics called up Joey Devine to help fortify their beleaguered staff (see below). Devine is a great buying opportunity for those in deep AL leagues. So far in AAA, he has been lights out, throwing 12+ scoreless innings with 17 K and only 1 BB. At just 27 with major league success under his belt and nasty stuff when healthy, Devine could be just that.

Brandon McCarthy: Brandon McCarthy landed on the DL with right shoulder woes. Tough break for Brandon and the A's as he was finally showing why he was so highly touted. Thus far this year, McCarthy was taking advantage of the A's cavernous home park with a 3.39 ERA and 37/10 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts. Replacement options discussed below.

Tyson Ross: Joining McCarthy on the shelf will be teammate Tyson Ross, who succumbed to the dreaded oblique strain. The A's have to feel snake bit. Ross was also humming this year, by posting a 2.75 ERA over his first 36 innings this season. So, what to do now? The three names being bandied about are Josh Outman, Bobby Cramer and Guillermo Moscoso. Outman has been bad this year in AAA (4.78 ERA). However, Outman did post a 3.49 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 67 innings with the A's last year, so there are hopeful signs. Cramer is already 31 and has only 27 major league innings under his belt. That does not speak to hidden talent. Finally, Moscoso has struggled in the minors over the last couple of years. Bottom line, there is not much gold to mine in the replacements for McCarthy, Braden and Ross other than a flyer on Outman (though I would reserve him first if I could).

Domonic Brown: Domonic Brown has finally made the show in 2011. Brown returned from the DL just in time to swap places with Shane Victorino. DBrown was on fire in AAA, hitting .341. With Ibanez struggling and nearing 40, Victorino on the shelf and Ben Francisco skating toward the Mendoza line, there is huge opportunity for Brown. Buy.

And last, but not least, Schultz says: "With Interleague play upon us and Memorial Day around the corner, there's enough evidence to start a discussion on which sleepers have awakened and which others have remained in hibernation.

If someone were to tell you that at this time of the year, the Marlins leading hitter had 7 HR, 27 RBIs and was hitting .311, you would probably ask why they weren't telling you how many stolen bases Hanley Ramirez has. On a team where the breakout star of 2011 was supposed to be either Mike Stanton or Logan Morrison, first baseman Gaby Sanchez has emerged as the Marlins most dependable and productive hitter. In his rookie campaign, Sanchez put up solid numbers, getting his name thrown in the hat for Rookie of the Year, and in his sophomore season he seems to be avoiding the slump that besets many second year stars. With the mighty talent at 1B, Sanchez doesn't get discussed much. For that reason, he comes cheap and delivers well above his cost.

Does anyone remember that Cliff Lee spent the first half of last year in a Mariners' uniform? With all the Texas Rangers post-season hoopla, his spurning of the Yankees and becoming one of the Phillies' Four Horsemen, Lee's Seattle stay is but a distant memory. His time there is reaping benefits for the Mariners in form of Justin Smoak. Time and time again, I remind people to keep an eye on the centerpieces of high-profile trading deadline deals as they tend to be talented prospects. In Cleveland, the first place Indians are receiving substantial contributions from Michael Brantley, Matt LaPorta and Justin Masterson who were part of the return for CC Sabathia and Victor Martinez. In Seattle, after a year or so of struggling, Justin Smoak seems to be ready to break out as the switch-hitting Smoak monster no longer seems lost at the plate. His overall numbers aren't overly impressive right now but they should soon be on the rise. Temper expectations due to the lineup he's hitting amidst and like Cheech & Chong, be up with Smoak.

Another sleeper may be starting to stir in the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. With Jonathan Broxton out, Hong Chih-Kuo on a psychiatrist's coach and Vicente Padilla nursing a surgically repaired forearm, the stage is set for Kenley Jansen to emerge for these ashes and claim his rightful role as the Dodgers once and future closer. Ignore Jansen's ugly ERA and WHIP numbers for the time being as they are inflated by a couple poor outings at the beginning of the season. In his last 9 innings, Jansen has given up 3 hits and struck out 14. The only thing holding Jansen back are the number of walks he's issued but those haven't killed him. Over those last 9 innings, he hasn't let in a run and has notched up a win and a save. The future may be here soon for Jansen.

Swinging the pendulum in the other direction, I've never owned a pet but I'm imagining that having Chipper Jones on your rotisserie baseball team is analogous to having an aging dog on its last legs. When healthy, Jones is a solid source of production at 3B, he's frisky, playful, loyal and dependable. However, as anyone who has played this game with any seriousness knows, time with Chipper is usually short and you should enjoy the remaining time you have together. If you own Jones, his recent knee problems should not have come as any surprise to you and had you engaged in proper roto-fiscal planning, you should already have a substitute waiting in the wings. The main problem with Jones isn't his propensity for injury, its that they are usually minor issues that place him in the day-to-day category. For leagues with daily transactions, this ties to you to the computer every afternoon to ascertain whether he's active. For weekly leagues, you have to wager whether he can play a full week. With Chipper Jones, comes great responsibility . . . and you can't flush him down the toilet when you're done with him."

Response: Great points about the prospects at the center of trades but the "smoak monster" and chipper as old dog are a little odd. I agree that Jansen is the closer of the future but I think that there will be 5 Dodgers who get saves from now until October.

Final thought: I hear a lot about my Yankee fandom. Well, you are what you are. However, I have to say here and now, to be heard far and wide, that the Yankees need a real leadoff hitter. Someone who can get on base, steal a base and who will allow DJ to hit 2, Grandy to hit 6 or 7 and drive in runs and who will keep Gardner at 9. One cannot wait for the three run homer all the time! Brian – go get one!

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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