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Mailbag: Liriano, Nolasco, Ortiz, Rays Pen

Digging through the ol' mailbag...

After yet another bad showing by Francisco Liriano, would you drop him? He has lost pretty much all trade value, but I just do not want to jump the gun considering Liriano, Jon Lester and Scott Baker (dropped earlier this week) were supposed to be my anchors. I feel Lester will bounce back; Baker appears to be a lost cause but I cannot figure Liriano out. - Kevin

I wouldn't have dropped Lester or Baker.  Lester has a 3.88 xFIP, while Baker has a 3.5 K/BB ratio.  As for cutting Liriano, well, it depends on who you'd pick up.  But yes, I would seriously consider it.  At this point Liriano is no better than, say, Jorge De La Rosa.  Lefties with control problems are a dime a dozen, but at least De La Rosa has velocity and a 9.4 K/9.

Tim, what is your take on the struggles of Ricky Nolasco and David Ortiz?  - Michael

I didn't see it coming in either case.  It's easy to keep repeating that Nolasco's peripherals are strong, but a 9.07 ERA is a 9.07 ERA and that is brutal on a fantasy team.  On the other hand, a .395 BABIP is not something that is going to last.  For those with 150 IP, the highest BABIP last year was Ian Snell at .360.  And Snell's BABIP is a normal .305 in 2009.  It would not surprise me to see Nolasco take a few minor league starts and come back strong.  He's on many waiver wires right now...the cost of stashing him is minimal.

My guess is that Big Papi has a DL stint in his future.  He's been so awful this year that a complete 180 is hard to envision.  Again, dropping him depends on who you are picking up, but I would not be starting Ortiz.

Just wondering if any of the players in the mix of the Rays closing situation are worth picking up? I'm on the wavier wire for a closer and am contemplating dropping Rafael Soriano...is it worth it? - Joliet Jake

I would hold on to Soriano rather than dive into the Tampa Bay mess.  Mike Gonzalez's job is safe, but Soriano is the better pitcher right now and he is also racking up Ks.  You never know, Gonzalez could get hurt.  In the Rays pen, you have to wonder if J.P. Howell could get a look.  He's a southpaw, but he's actually pitching poorly against lefties and well against righties.  Longer-term I expect the Rays to trade for someone, so follow the rumors.

So what exactly can we infer from BABIP? - Tom

What I am trying to do with the BABIP posts is determine which starting pitchers have been lucky or unlucky.  I know it's not ALL luck or random, but abnormal BABIPs tend to get back into the .290-.310 range.  The current top 3 in BABIP: Lester at .375, Tim Lincecum at .358, and Kevin Slowey at .354.  I take that to mean that all three will see their WHIPs come down (via fewer hits), if they keep pitching at the same level.  On the flip side, the WHIPs of Yovani Gallardo (.231), Matt Garza (.233), and Brian Tallet (.236) will increase to some extent.  (I'm not saying to sell on Gallardo...a 1.07 WHIP might be 1.19 from here on out, something like that). 


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