MLB Mailbag - Week 7

Posted on 2017-05-19 16:50 by Ray Flowers


RAY FLOWERS         


It's Friday, so let's answer some of your questions. Should you roster Alonso or Smoak if you lost Freeman? Speaking of first baseman, what's the deal with this Bell guy from the Pirates? Bellinger has struggled of late. Would you be trading him? How much do this year's numbers matter? What's the deal with Peraza? Is it time to give up on the Reds' infielder? Castillo or Gattis behind the dish? Has Walked tamed the long ball even though he's pitching in the heat of the desert?

 Justin Smoak & Yonder Alonso are commonly suggested as Freeman replacements. Whose resurgence do you feel is more sustainable?

First off, neither is offering a resurgence. That would imply that they were at one point fantasy relevant. They never have been in mixed leagues.

Smoak was supposed to be the next Mark Teixeira. So much for that. Smoak has blasted three homers in four games and four homers in seven outings to get people excited. He’s also driven in 10 runs in that time. Problem is, after eight years in the bigs, we know who Smoak is. He’s just a guy. He’s hit 20 homers once. The last time he had 300 at-bats was 2013. He’s never hit lefties one lick (.230/.297/.383) or righties either for that matter (.225/.316/.406). In more than 3,000 plate appearances in the big leagues he’s never been anything other than a league average performer, if that (usually he hasn’t been). A week doesn’t change that at all in my mind.

I wrote about Alonso on May 8th in Believe it or Not? Here’s a sampling. “I just can’t be sold at the current level of production. I don’t know how you can be sold either. Is it really that easy to become an All-Star over night by merely changing your swing? The answer is obviously no. Maybe I’m wrong with Alonso, but history tells me I’m right to say exercise extreme caution.” In the nine games since that article he’s gone deep three times. He’s hit a mere .143 with a .333 OBP. He’s also dealing with a bit of a knee issue, though it sounds relatively minor as of this writing.

I would favor Alonso over Smoak, though I don’t have huge faith in either fella.

Nomar Mazara or Cody Bellinger rest of the season?

Compare the ratios.

















They all favor Bellinger. Cody is also the more talented player. He likely qualifies at first base and the outfield in virtually all leagues. You have to choose Bellinger here. With Adrian Gonzalez back in the fold, Bellinger will likely play daily in the outfield since Andrew Toles is out for the year with his knee injury. This is not to suggest that Bellinger is going to keep up his current pace, it’s extremely doubtful he will (his OPS is just .654 his last six games as he’s struck out a whopping nine times in 20 at-bats), but he has so much excitement around him that he has to bring back more than Mazara in a deal. A lot more.

Guy in my league said he only focuses on this year's numbers. Thoughts on this strategy?

That is one of the dumbest positions anyone could possibly take. By that logic a .379 hitting Justin Turner blows doors on .224 hitting Anthony Rizzo. It also removes, oh I don’t know, perspective maybe? Seven weeks doesn’t tell the story on any player. If that’s all someone is looking at, well, then you don’t have to worry about that fella winning a league any time soon.

Is it ok to drop Jose Peraza? I have to activate Logan Forsythe. Only other options to cut are Jackie Bradley, Kole Calhoun. H2H Pts

Peraza has been a downer this season. No way around it. No homers, 10 RBI, a .250 batting average and .283 OBP speak to a guy who is struggling a ton. That said, dropping Peraza would be a big mistake. First off, he’s on pace for 32 steals, even with all his suckitude. That number likely goes up when he starts getting on base more, even if it’s just to his .321 career mark in OBP. Second, he’s a much better hitter than he’s shown. Don’t forget he was a top-75 prospect in all of baseball last season, and he’s a career .299 hitter in the minors who has hit .289 in 415 big league at-bats in the majors. Third, he qualifies at second base and shortstop in all leagues, and as an outfielder in some.

Honestly, the player I would cut would be Forsythe. Logan is a nice player, but he doesn’t move the needle much in any category and basically just helps you to tread water at second base. Can’t hurt to try a 2-for-1 deal either if you can pull something off.

Welington Castillo or Evan Gattis?

I think people focus on the wrong thing at times. The reason people are disappointed with Gattis is that he’s hit three homers to this point putting him on pace for a 12 homer season. The man has posted a HR/FB ratio of at least 16.0 percent the last four seasons. This year the mark is just 8.1 percent. That’s half of normal (fancy math). He’s hitting more balls in the air than ever before with a 51 percent fly ball rate (career 42 percent). Homers are coming, and in bunches most likely.

Second, let’s focus on the positive with Gattis. His walk rate is a career best. His strikeout rate is a career best – by a lot (it’s 15.0 percent this season and his career mark is 22.1 percent). He’s sporting a .360 OBP (career .305). Even without the homers his OPS is .797. His career mark is .787.

Castillo is a really good option, and likely to have a better batting average, but I’ll take Gattis.

Is Josh Bell a must add? If so would you consider dropping Keon Broxton or better to drop Koda Glover or James Pazos. 

So funny. I did a Player Profile on Bell this spring, and I didn’t get one comment on it. None. The last 24 hours I’ve probably been asked about Bell 25 times.

Bell is on my Tout Wars team, so I’ve been following his work this season closely. He’s really gone nuts of late with four homers and nine RBI his last six games, and over the last 20 outings he’s posted a .347 OBP and a .606 SLG. Alas, he’s also hit .258 during that “hot streak” and he’s hitting just .248 on the season. So, who is he really? He’s not the guy we’re seeing now. Bell is way more Brandon Belt than Carlos Santana. Bell profiles as a guy with a strong OBP, a solid batting average, and moderate power. He does not profile as a 30-homer bat, and there’s very little chance that he will maintain his current slugging ways that include a .520 SLG and 29 percent HR/FB ratio. No harm in adding any player on a heater like this though.

Drop Broxton though? The guy is on pace for 15 homers, 35 steals and 90 runs. Can’t drop that.

You know me, I always say never drop a closer. As you can see in the updated Closer Chart, it seems like both Glover and Pazos are currently closers, wink/wink, though both men are listed in the Danger Zone. If you need a corner infield option I guess you can drop Pazos and just look at it like it was a 1 for 1 trade.

Guy who has Freddie Freeman offered me Taijuan Walker for Josh Bell. Go for it?

Walker has made eight outings and been decent. He’s struck out 43 batters in 46 innings. He’s only allowed four homers, quieting the concerns a bit that were raised by his massive 1.81 HR/9 rate from last season. His walk rate is a bit up at 2.93 per nine, but he’s still sporting a nearly 3:1 K/BB ratio, and that’s plenty good enough for him to have success. Also have to think his .314 BABIP pulls back a bit and that his 68.5 percent left on base rate should go up a bit. He’s a nice young arm.

There is a fervor for Bell all of a sudden so it doesn’t hurt at all to ask for more from the Freeman owner, or even a better hurler, but the deal is fine to do.


Ray Flowers can be heard Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, 7 PM EDT, Wednesday 8 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).