Friday, May 19, 2006

Fantasy Baseball Mailbag, May 19

MAILBAG – Week 7
Contributed By: Ray Flowers of

I have a trade offer of Furcal and Zito for Ordonez and Glavine. I currently have Peralta at SS but the back of my rotation is a bit spotty (Bush, Juan Cruz and the injured Bartolo Colon). My OF consists of Ordonez, Crawford, Hawpe and Rios. Would you make this trade under these circumstances?
--Phillip, Poland

I wrote about my thoughts regarding Furcal last week, and he has really turned things on of late with 13 hits in his last 40 ABs for a .325 average. The other player on this side of the trade is Barry Zito, and while he is 3-3, he still has a 3.27 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Zito has held batters to a .214 batting average, good for second in the AL, continuing a career long trend of dominating hitters (.227 BAA for his career). Even more impressive about his start this year is the fact that Zito followed a career-long trend of April struggles (5.93 ERA, 1.24 WHIP this year, compared to his career numbers of 5.04 ERA, 1.39 WHIP), only to pull an amazing rebound in May: 0.65 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 4 starts.

Magglio Ordonez (.298-10-26-23) has had a great rebound to an injury filled past two years. Despite all his injuries, Ordonez performance on the field in 2004-05 was still pretty solid except for a bit of a downturn in his power: .298-17-83-70 in 507 ABs. How quickly people have forgotten that from 1999-2002 Ordonez hit at least 30 HR with 110 RBIs each year. Combine that power with the fact that Ordonez owns a career .306 average, and you a hell of a player if healthy. Glavine (6-2, 2.43 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 47 K in 59.1 IP) has been out of his mind so far this season. Glavine has 8 quality starts (6 IP, 3 ER or less) in 9 trips to the hill, but even more impressive is his 7.1 K per 9 IP ratio. Why is this impressive? Well, Glavine has a career K per 9 IP mark of 5.4 and hasn’t had a ratio over 7 since 1994. Glavine is also holding batters to a .210 average, he hasn’t held batters to less than a .240 average since 1998, so he’s pitching as if he is 29-years-old. Bottom line is that 39-year-olds that throw 84 mph can’t be this good, so a fall is imminent, especially when you compare his performance thus far to what he has done the past three years.

I agree with you that your rotation could use some help, but because you already have Peralta at SS and the fact that your OF depth is minimal and would be greatly compromised with the loss of Ordonez, I think in your case it would be wise to turn this trade offer down even though in a vacuum I would rather have Furcal and Zito.

I’m in a 10-team league. Do you think Hanley Ramirez can keep up is run production? If so, is it worth dropping Bobby Crosby to pick him up?
-- Scott, Washington, IN

To tell you the truth, I’m shocked he has held on this long. The fact that he is still on waivers proves the point that others in your league are rightly concerned as well. There was a lot of talk in the offseason that Ramirez (.331-2-16-35-11) might earn a spot in Boston’s lineup before he was traded to Florida, but most of the talk focused on his glove and not his bat. Ramirez, only 22-years-old, does own a career .302 minor league average, but he hit only .271-6-52-66-26 in AA last season, hardly numbers that would lead you to think he would be the second best fantasy SS in the NL at this point (behind Felipe Lopez). Ramirez is currently on pace to hit .333-9-72-153-45, a season that no SS in history has ever attained, so no, he will absolutely not continue to keep up his current level of production (the only player ever to reach all of those numbers in one year was Hugh Duffy in 1894). That being said he will continue to have value because of his SB potential, but his batting average could take a huge tumble, and those runs will dry up as well, meaning that he is a huge gamble the rest of the way.

As for Crosby (.228-5-15-16-1), he has traditionally been a bit of a slow starter with a career average of .240 in April and May before heating up in June to hit .337, his best total in any month. Crosby has struggled with injuries yet again this year, so its difficult to know what to expect long-term. In 2005 he did improve in AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS over his rookie year, so it would appear that he is heading in the right direction. At this point I wouldn’t dump the struggling Crosby to pick up Ramirez, especially since Ramirez performance will likely decline with his recently injured shoulder.

My OF is Chad Tracy, Xavier Nady and Gary Sheffield. Now with Sheffield on the DL I really need a big bat. I received on offer in which I give up A-rod and get back Troy Glaus and Carlos Lee would you do the trade?
-- Judah, Toronto Ontario

Well these sure are some “big bats.” Traditional wisdom would say you don’t trade the best fantasy performer of the past 10 years, especially when he plays 3B. However, this is an intriguing offer worthy of consideration.

As if I need to mention numbers with Arod (.273-9-29-33-4) I will mention just this one fact: over the last 8 years he has hit at least 36 HR with 106 RBIs and 110 Runs every year. Troy Glaus (.265-12-32-34-1), the power-hitting 3B of the Blue Jays, does provide big power when healthy (he was hit on the elbow and removed from the game on Tuesday). Glaus has had at least 29 HR and 79 RBI every year he has had 500 or more ABs, but Glaus has never had a single season of 36 HR, 106 RBI and 110 Runs, while Arod has done it 8 straight years. Throw in the fact that Glaus has a career average of .254 and the fact that he has played fewer than 100 games in two of the last three seasons and you can see you would be losing a tremendous amount at 3B.

But this is a two-player offer, and that second played, Carlos Lee, is a fantastic hitter in his own right. Lee (.297-15-33-30-3) has hit at least 24 HR with 80 RBIs the past six seasons and has upped those numbers with three straight seasons of at least 31 HR and 99 RBIs heading into 2006. Over the last three years he has also averaged 14 SBs per season as well, marking him as one of the top 10-15 OFs as far as all-around fantasy impact.

Would I make this trade? No. Is it a horrible move to make if you were to accept it? No.

My brother and I differ in our opinions of Scott Kazmir, specifically as to when, and not if, he will perform at a Cy Young type level. His walks are down this year, and only his control has held him previously. I think he can give Johan Santana a run for #1 SP in the AL this year, what do you think?
-- Brandon Tampa, FL

As much as I like Kazmir (6-2, 2.73 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) he belongs nowhere near Santana unless they happen to be standing next to one another on the outfield warning track while they are running windsprints prior to a game. Kazmir has indeed done a better job of keeping his balls over the plate, but he still has 20 BB in 56 IP (3.2 per 9 IP) and is allowing batters to hit .264 off him this year (compared to a .250 average coming into the season). On the plus side Kazmir has 56 K in 56 IP to give him strikeout per inning to go give him a solid 2.8 K:BB ratio.

To compare, Santana has a 4.6 K:BB ratio the past 3 years (he has upped the mark to 5.4 this year), well beyond what Kazmir is doing. Kazmir does have a light chance to rival Santana in K per 9 IP (9.0 for Kazmir, 10.3 for Santana), but while Santana has a career WHIP of 1.13, Kazmir has but a single month in his two plus seasons in which he has bettered that number (he has a 1.12 mark in three starts in May). Kazmir is 13-4 since the all-star break last year, Santana is 13-6, so there is a definite chance that we are witnessing Kazmir turn the proverbial corner, but I need more than 4 months to think he can even hold Santana’s jock. Check back with me in October, I will bet the answer to your question will be clear then, and it will be wait until next year.

Ray Flowers, a member of SABR and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association can be reached with comments/questions or suggestions at: Also don’t forget to listen to his fantasy baseball radio show at, where you can call in for live advice, on Friday’s from 2-3 PM EST.