Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mailbag time; weekend update

Fantasy Mailbag:

What do you think about this trade? I'm offered Kazuno Matsui for Radhames Liz. It's a 5x5 keeper league and you can keep as many players as you want. Any thoughts?
- Andrew M., Hickory

Ahhh yes, the rarely-seen Kaz for Liz offer.

This is an interesting proposal.

But before I answer this, I couldn't help but think how remarkable it wouldbe if you could use either one of these players name when you're stuck witha 'Z' at the end of a Scrabble game. But that's not important right now.

Most readers may have never heard of Radhames Liz. Or if they have, they can't remember who he plays for.

It's the Baltimore Orioles and Liz got a cup of coffee last year, posting the forgettable ERA/WHIP numbers of 6.93/1.95 in 24 2/3 innings. Liz does, however, have some real talent.

The Dominican Republic product signed as a free agent in 2003 and in three minor league seasons, he's posted a 3.34 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP with a sick 11 K/9 inning rate. But he's still a prospect.

And he averages a walk every other inning, which is reason for concern.

And, pitching prospects have a way of taking a long time to figure everything out, not to mention the inevitable arm problems you see every time you turn around.

In Matsui, you're helping yourself with a 3-category guy (runs, SB, avg.) and you know he's going to be playing almost every day, after the Astros signed him to a 3-year, $16.5 million deal.

Although Matsui has been sidelined, recovering from a painful-to-think-about anal fissure surgery.

There's so many jokes here, but this is a family show, after all. If you're really that curious about the procedure, click here.

Matsui goes from hitting in one of the best lineup spots, ahead of Matt Holliday/Todd Helton/Garrett Atkins, to perhaps an even better spot - in front of Lance Berkman/Carlos Lee/Miguel Tejada. The runs will be flowing in and he stole 32 times in 410 at-bats.

It's possible, on a run-happy, green-light Astros team, Matsui racks up 40SB/100 runs and as a bonus, he will likely be activated Tuesday (go sniff your wire, if you need some speed).

Bottom line philosophy when it comes to comparing prospects to current fantasy contributors: unless it's a can't-miss David Wright/TimLincecum type, go with the proven commodity.

Gimme Kaz over Liz.

And, hey, that's a double-word score, and I'm out.

  • Tigers SP Dontrelle Willis hyperextended his knee on the 6th pitch of Saturday's Detroit-Chicago game. He was put on the DL before most of the Tigers had hit Mike Ditka's Steakhouse.
  • White Sox SP Gavin Floyd had a no-hitter broken up in the 8th inning with a lazy single to right by Edgar Renteria. Floyd, unowned in our very skimpy AL-only league, was probably widely available in about 95 percent of leagues before Saturday afternoon. There's still time to take a flyer on Floyd, who coach Ozzie Guillen says has 1-2 pitcher stuff. He's probably more of an AL-only pickup right now.
  • The Royals moved DH Billy Butler and his .385 average to cleanup yesterday, which is only relevant if you're A) a Butler owner, B) a distant relative or C) you live in the Kansas City metro area. Either way, it could mean 10 more ribbies.
  • Batting 5th against lefties, Braves OF Jeff Francoeur racked up 2 HR and a career-high 7 RBI Saturday against the Nationals. Anyone else smelling a breakout season for this 24-year-old? His price tag is only getting higher, so act now if you're interested.
  • Rays 1B Carlos Pena hit his 6th HR Saturday, a day after he belted 2 jacks for 6 RBI. If anyone has both Pena and Francoeur, I'm expecting to see RBIs on eBay this afternoon.
  • Speaking of Rays, Evan Longoria made his pro debut and went 1-for-3 with an RBI single to left and a walk. Naturally, he said he was nervous. And as expected, Manager Joe Maddon praised him like a prospect that should've made the Opening Day roster. He's probably dangling in a few mixed leagues still, if you wanna hop on the bandwagon. There won't be good seats long.
  • Even more Rays news, SP Scott Kazmir played catch a day after throwing a 46-pitch practice session and is scheduled to throw two extended spring training games on Tuesday. At this rate, he should be activated by Labor Day. OK, it just seems that long.
  • Boof Bonzer is kinda like your game of golf. So many times you're frustrated with it, but every once in awhile you see a glimmer of hope that keeps you coming back. That inspiration was Saturday's 6 innings of 3-hit shutout ball ... aka a beautiful 4-iron from 190 out that rolls 3 feet from the pin.
  • Twins SP Francisco Liriano is pitching his season debut today, so consider activating him for the 2:10 start. I only say consider because Liriano had mixed results in rehab and the extra weight he's carrying has messed up his slider some. And after getting shutout Saturday, the K.C. bats aren't likely to be quiet again today. Go ahead and slide him to an active spot, if you feel lucky. Just don't say I didn't warn you.
  • Who woke up Raul Ibanez? That's 3 HR in 2 nights and triple what the Mariners OF hit in all of April and May of 2007. I'm still setting the over/under at 24 HR.
  • Angels SP John Lackey threw a fastball-only bullpen session and Mike Sciosca was predictably thrilled. On the ubersophisticated rehab scale, this is slightly better than throwing on flat ground but not quite as good as throwing BP. But for Lackey owners, news of a possibly early-May return has to give hope to that last-place 1.48 WHIP right now.
  • The news on Athletics SP Rich Harden just keeps getting worse and his shoulder injury could keep him out longer than expected. He's firmly planted in the DL garden. Is there anyone who hits his insurance deductible quicker every year? As a Harden owner, I'm hoping for the best, but when your own manager says he's not holding his breath, it's time to quit holding yours.
  • Cubs SP Rich Hill, who was throwing more like Rich Little on Wednesday, has been temporarily assigned to the bullpen for this weekend's Philly series, which is sort of like punishing your kid until he proves he's really sorry and then he can go out and play again. You'll probably see Hill today and if he throws the ball to coach Lou Piniella's liking, he'll start Thursday. Otherwise, it might be time to invest in a little Jon Lieber stock. If they still sell it.
  • Can someone get OnStar installed on the bill of  Fausto Carmona's hat? The Indians SP needed sever turn-by-turn navigation on his pitches Saturday night against Oakland, walking 8 batters in a 3 1/3-inning outing that made Dontrelle Willis look like he was Tom Glavine, circa 1995.


Anonymous said...

Nice to see some love towards White Sox pitching. Although I'm still waiting for you to admit Jenks is a better pick than Wood to close out games.