MLB Mailbag - Week 23

Posted on 2017-09-08 08:30 by Ray Flowers




Are Billy Hamilton or Miguel Sano worth anything at this point? Who is the better play at the moment: Howie Kendrick or Ian Happ? What about Eddie Rosario or Matt Olson? Who is Tyler Beede and will he matter in 2018? What to do in an NL-only league with Jose Martinez, Brandon Nimmo, J.P. Crawford and Victor Robles? Who is the better add for saves: Kyle Barraclough or Tyler Lyons? Ray answers all these questions in his weekly Friday Mailbag. 

The 2017 September Rankings from Guru Elite are available, and free to all.

Billy Hamilton going to be able to help in fantasy playoffs? I expect to be in the finals in 3 weeks due to #EliteMafia

I used to say Billy Hamilton can’t hit. Now I have to say that Billy Hamilton can’t bunt. Hamilton was hit by a pitch while trying to bunt, and the result was a fractured left thumb that has pushed him to the disabled list. Though this is his fifth big-league season, the guy is always hurt in September, as he’s appeared in just 36 games. Will he return this season? Maybe. “He'll be in the splint for 10 days and then be reassessed,” manager Bryan Price said. “This is not necessarily a season-ending injury. This isn't something that's gonna sit in a cast for four to six weeks to heal. It will be about 10 days ... we'll get the splint off and reassess." Given that he really still can’t hit, I think it’s extremely unlikely that Hamilton will be a valuable player the rest of the way – even if he makes it back. You never know, but he’s not someone to count on, especially since there’s no way to know how many bases anyone will steal in one week’s time.

Miguel Sano, great season but his injury is hurting my playoffs... healing slow. Safe to drop for hot bat or hold off? Have Freeman for third base.

First off, I have no idea who you can add so that’s always tough, but in this case, I think you should seriously consider making a move.

As for Sano, it doesn’t sound like he’s going to be “himself” the rest of the way, and there are no serious concerns about when he will be able to return from the stress reaction in his left shin. Thursday, Sano suffered a “minor setback” while doing some light running. As of now, he’s only hitting off a tee; he hopes to take batting practice Friday, but if he can’t run, well, you know. Note that Sano has hit a mere .243 with a .775 OPS in the second half anyway.

Drop Howie Kendrick for Ian Happ?

Sample sizes and team need, that’s what matters.

We’re at the point of the season where people want to “time” the sample size (i.e. performance). You can’t. You cannot know how Player A or Player B will perform over less than four weeks with an extremely high degree of certainty. We’re just guessing when we speak of such a small timeframe, but here’s the recent work since August 30th: Kendrick (.174-0-1-4-2) and Happ (.393-2-8-5-0).

Let’s talk need by simply looking at the players.



















What do you need? Pretty clear which direction to go if you need AVG/SB or HR/RBI/Runs.

Kendrick qualifies at second and in the outfield.

Happ qualifies at second and in the outfield.

Make the player choice based on what your team needs.

Eddie Rosario or Matt Olson rest of the way Ray?

Both guys are doing some things.

Rosario has gone .285-20-60-65-7 over 499 plate appearances. He’s finally hit his stride and performed admirably for the Twins. He has a mere .709 OPS versus lefties; the mark is .852 against righties. He’s been dreadful on the road (.636) and masterful at home (.970). He’s hit well since the start of August, going .277-9-26-23 with a .346 wOBA in 35 games.

Olson is a big-time power bat, one with obvious holes in his game. The Athletics 1B/OF has been jerked around this season, up and down, but when up, he’s ripped it up wherever he’s been. He has a massive 30 percent K-rate, that’s 45 punchouts in 135 at-bats, and that’s the reason his .259 batting average is “earned.” But oh, that power bat. After hitting 23 homers in just 79 games at Triple-A, Olson has hit 15 homers in 135 big league at-bats. That’s 38 homers in 429 at-bats in 2017. Wow is right. Olson has a .600 SLG and a .933 OPS in the majors, and over the last nine outings, few have been better: .324-7-13-8 with a .498 wOBA.

Tough call, but I’d go Olson.

Craziest question of the day... does Tyler Beede hold any value for next year? Have him for $1 in a 12 team NL-only auction league.

This isn’t remotely close to the “craziest” question I get on any day, believe me.

A Giants farmhand, Beede entered the season as a top-90 prospect in all of baseball, according to Baseball America and The righty struggled to find any kind of consistency in 2017, though, with a 6-7 record, 5.61 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and just 6.9 strikeouts per nine over 19 Triple-A starts. However, he did seem to turn a bit of a corner his last five starts. Currently out with a groin injury, it’s likely the club will send him to the Arizona Fall League to build up his innings since his season is over.

The 2018 Giants rotation will be without Matt Cain and potentially (though not likely) Johnny CuetoMatt Moore has been terrible, and it’s not like Ty Blach/Chris Stratton are going to hold off the more talented Beede.

Give the $1 cost, I’d hold Beede. Even if he makes only half a season of starts last season, he’s worth that cost. Why the heck not?

5X5 NL. Best to replace Wilmer Flores @ UT spot: Jose Martinez, Brandon Nimmo, Victor Robles, J.P. Crawford, Rio Ruiz, Johan Camargo? Don’t need batting average.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about league specific setups over the past few weeks, and I have to admit to being a bit flummoxed by many of them. In an NL-only league, how are Martinez and Nimmo not in your daily lineup already? Martinez has a .310/.374/.557 slash line this season, and over his last nine games, he has three homers, six RBI, nine runs and a .595 wOBA. He’s startable in mixed leagues right now. Nimmo is batting .283 with a huge .416 OBP in 48 games. Again, both men are must starts in NL-only.

This leads me to the issue (if I had to guess). People think they are doing “deep leagues” by playing in a league specific setup, but they really aren’t. If you’re in an 8 or 10 team league specific setup that uses three outfielders and seven pitchers, it’s really not that deep. The standard setup for “only” leagues is 12-teams with 14 hitters and nine pitchers starting each week. In that setup, anyone who is playing 75 percent of the time is a must start. That means Martinez, Nimmo, Ruiz (primary 3B in ATL) and Crawford are all starters. Robles, I don’t know if he sees enough time to be a confident starter at this point, but he’s as elite a talent as you will find, and the Nationals outfield is all beat up.

If I had to choose one guy, it’s Martinez.

More saves ROS – Kyle Barraclough or Tyler Lyons? Thanks Ray!

Every Thursday I write the 2017 Closer Chart.

Here’s what I wrote about the Cardinals situation: “Seung-Hwan Oh is the current choice, by a hair, over Tyler Lyons. Both men have a save the last two weeks; Tyler also has two wins. In seven outings, Lyons has a 1.42 ERA while Oh hasn’t walked a batter or allowed a run in his four outings. It’s a big-time toss us up right now.” Oh pitched in the 7th inning Thursday and allowed a run. Perhaps I was wrong with what I wrote Thursday, and it’s Lyons by a hair over Oh. Bottom line is that no one really knows, and that’s concerning.

In Miami, there is no doubt that Barraclough has a better arm, and brighter future, than Brad Ziegler. Since returning to the majors from a shoulder injury on August 15th, Barraclough has thrown 13 innings with one walk, 20 strikeouts, a 1.38 ERA and 0.69 WHIP. The key is the walks. When he doesn’t issue them, batters have no chance. Meanwhile, Ziegler has blown his last two save chances, though, that makes him 9-for-11 since returning from his own injury on August 1st (2.30 ERA, 1.15 WHIP).

There’s really no way to know here. It’s a guess really. One would think that the Marlins would go with Barraclough; they have nothing to lose with giving him a shot to see if he can handle the 9th next season. With the Cards, it’s clear that manager Mike Matheny doesn’t trust Oh at this point. Given what happened the last 24 hours, I’d go Barraclough, but this is admittedly an extremely fluid situation.


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).