MLB Mailbag - Week 19

Posted on 2017-08-11 15:37 by Ray Flowers




Answer your questions is what Ray Flowers does every Friday. Ray breaks down the outlook of Rhys Hoskins and Dominic Smith. What is the outlook for the suddenly cold Sean Manaea? How should we be looking at Ryan Zimmerman right now? What is the value of Kershaw on the trade market? Is Nelson and Wood enough of a return? Speaking of Wood, does it make sense to trade him? Two Cardinals outfielders - Fowler and Pham - have been really strong performers. Which guy is the better hold? Are there any concerns with Berrios and his workload? What should folks do at catcher with Willson Contreras down?

Is Justin Bour droppable for Dominic Smith? No keepers.

Bour is on the shelf with an oblique issue. Reports suggest he’s a couple of weeks away from resuming baseball activity. That means he’s out of the mix until September. He had only one homer his last 11 outings when on the field, and now we have the injury to consider (we should also note his 25.6 HR/FB rate is very high and due for some regression).  

I wrote about Smith Thursday in Bruce, Bellinger, Judge.

I would go Smith at this point. It’s not that I’m huge on Smith, I’ll get to that in a second, but I’ll take the healthy player who is tearing it up at the dish over the guy who is hurt with the muddled outlook for the rest of the season.  

Drop Eric Thames or Domingo Santana for Domonic Smith to play UTIL spot?

I would not drop either guy. Here is why.

The expectations are WAY too high with Smith right now. There are sooooo many options at first base that are getting it done right now; what use is a guy who is, in a best-case scenario, going to hit like Yulieski Gurriel? What if he’s Joe Mauer right now? The point is that Smith, despite having an advanced hit tool, doesn’t have power, certainly not enough to be a traditional corner infield option in mixed leagues. He’s likely to be just a guy. Smith only profiles as a better option than the other two in the batting average category. Even that, as a rookie, is a dubious position to take.

Rhys Hoskins or Dominic Smith?

I wrote about Hoskins earlier this week in Hoskins, Lopez, Keuchel.

Yesterday I would have gone with Smith.

Today I’m going Hoskins.


Thirty hours ago it looked like Hoskins would play some outfield and first base, and then potentially lose playing time once Aaron Altherr was healthy. News broke yesterday that Altherr is weeks away from returning thanks to his hamstring issue. In fact, manager Pete Mackanin said that he thought Altherr would be back “sometime in September.” With Altherr apparently 3-4 weeks away (maybe more?), Hoskins appears to have been locked into a daily spot in the Phillies lineup.

Hoskins has more power than Smith. Getting the homers at this point of the season is going to have more of an impact on the standings than batting average, with so many at-bats piled up for your squad.

You want Hoskins.

Give Sean Manaea for Ryan Zimmerman?

Manaea has turned heel on his owners. He simply hasn’t looked right the last four times he’s taken the bump: 6.63 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, 5.21 K/9, 2.84 HR/9. He’s got a bright future, but the work over the last three weeks is extremely concerning.

Zimmerman has been an absolutely monster (.307-26-81-68). However, he’s been messy since the start of July with a .224/.292/.458 slash line. Going back further, to June 1st, we’re at 219 plate appearances with a .251/306/.462 slash line. That’s simply blah.

I don’t know your staff, or how healthy it is, but I would likely do the deal and add Zimmerman.

Trade Kershaw for Alex Wood & Jimmy Nelson? 12 tm H2h Cats with k/9, 4 weeks left in season. I'm on the playoff bubble.

I would deal Kershaw for Wood and Nelson. Yes. Why?

Kershaw, let’s say he make 6-7 starts the rest of the way. A total guess of course.

Wood should make 10 starts. Nelson should make 10 starts.

Even if Kershaw returns in a few weeks and is Clayton Kershaw, I don’t see how the duo can’t be taken now. Neither man is performing like Kershaw, OK fine, but come on. Can Kershaw be “Kershaw” after yet another issue with his back? Will the Dodgers let him go deep into games as they prep for the playoffs? The answers to those questions are unknown.

By the way...

Wood is 14-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 110.1 innings.

Nelson is 9-5 with a 3.24 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 141.2 innings.

Both guys are top-25 starting pitchers right now, and with the disastrous landscape of injured pitches, two top-25 guys are huge.

Need a bat & no bite with trades. Have Alex Wood/Robbie Ray/Jeff Samardzija/Jameson Taillon/Jacob Faria/Rick Porcello/Luis Castillo/Reynaldo Lopez. Can trade Wood with lineup or no way?

There is no deal here, so it’s always hard to give a definitive comment. That said...

I don’t think you can deal Wood. Here’s why.

Ray is out with the head issue (concussion). His last seven starts include a 4.21 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 5.70 BB/9, 1.98 HR/9. He was pitching terribly before the injury.

Samardzija is solid. That said, his last four outings: 5.35 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.45 K/9.

Taillon – my thoughts here in this Ray’s Ramblings report.

Faria has been impressive with a 2.81 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 67.1 innings. He’s also seen his walk rate increase dramatically his last six outings to 4.89 per nine, a scary level.

Porcello is terrible. No need to break him down.

Castillo has been impressive as a rookie with 59 strikeouts over 60.1 innings. Same time, he’s walked eight batters his last two outings to push his BB/9 rate up to 3.88, and over his last four starts, the strikeouts have disappeared (5.68 per nine).

Lopez thoughts can be found in Hoskins, Lopez, Keuchel.

Don’t deal Wood.

Tough call here... Tommy Pham or Dexter Fowler ROS. Fighting for playoff birth.

In four games since returning from yet another injury, Fowler has a homer, a steal, five RBI, seven runs and a .639 wOBA. His current level of production has been created in 85 games. Give him 140 games at his current level and he would produce the following fantasy line: .251-25-72-82-8. Fowler isn’t running like he has, but he’s already just two homers behind setting a career best (17). Fowler also owns a .348 wOBA this season, an exact match for his career mark.

Pham has been a tremendous, out of nowhere, star this season. Through 86 games, Pham has a .309-14-48-61-16 line. The games played, homers, RBI and runs are extremely similar for Pham and Fowler. However, Pham has a massive advantage in average (.058 points), steals (11) and wOBA (.036 points). I really like Fowler, and I’m continually surprised at how many leagues he’s available on waivers, but at this point I think you have to favor Pham.

Ray, in a 16-team 5x5, I have been offered Jose Berrios for my Evan Longoria. Fair, but I am worried about innings limits.

The tale of the tape. Here are the innings pitched marks for Berrios.
















He’s athletic and has a smooth, repeatable delivery. I see zero reason to be concerned about an innings cap with Berrios. He should easily be allowed to throw 180 innings this season with no concern. Moreover, I’d say 190 is easily within reach. I’d be more concerned about his recent performance than the innings (5.40 ERA, 1.49 WHIP with a 1.51 HR/9 rate and 7.56 K/9).

Losing Willson Contreras. Do I grab Alex Avila or is Welington Castillo?

If only people bookmarked this page so that they could easily find my work.

I wrote about this situation yesterday (Thursday) in Bruce, Bellinger, Judge. Answer is an obvious one for this scribe. Hopefully the link lays out why I feel that way I do, and you agree.



Ray Flowers can be heard Monday-Friday, 8-10 PM EDT on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87). You can also hear Ray Sunday nights at 8 PM EDT PM on the channel talking fantasy sports. Follow Ray’s work on Twitter (@baseballguys).