Johnson, Garza, Or Cueto?

Cesar writes in to ask:

Just looking at the 2009 season only (not future years) which of these three pitchers do you expect to post the better fantasy numbers?  Randy Johnson, Matt Garza, or Johnny Cueto?

If, for some reason, all three guys pitched exactly 200 innings, it'd be Johnson by a landslide (worth nearly twice as much as the other two).   But, I am currently operating with projections of 160 IP for Johnson, 185 IP for Garza, and 175 IP for Cueto.  The narrows the gap considerably, but I still have the Big Unit worth almost $5 more than Garza (who is pennies above Cueto).

Johnson figures to have the edge in ERA and especially WHIP, mainly because he's tougher to hit than Garza or Cueto.  Better control, too.  Johnson and Cueto should beat Garza in K/9.

So I prefer Johnson over the kids, but I like Cueto's chances of a further breakout over Garza's.  Cueto gets to pitch in the NL Central and whiffed almost a batter per inning in '08.  If his HR per flyball comes down to Earth and he hones his control, he could be a monster.

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McLouth, Victorino, and Hart

Several readers wrote in asking me to discuss three five-category outfielders who are drafted around the same time: Nate McLouth, Shane Victorino, and Corey Hart.

First, the issue of draft position.  Mock Draft Central has these ADPs: 60.44 for McLouth, 50.90 for Victorino, and 56.81 for Hart.  So these are all 5th/6th round types, with no one lasting past the 7th.

Dollar values using their 2008 numbers: McLouth at $25.54, Victorino at $20.29, and Hart at $14.08.  Based on '09 projections I have McLouth at $17.08, Victorino at $13.09, and Hart at $15.85.  McLouth would further separate himself if he makes good on his stated goal of 30-35 steals.

As far as consistency goes, I've seen McLouth's second-half decline used as a red flag.  But the guy hit well in July and September, so can we really identify a trend from that?  Victorino was similarly inconsistent, while Hart kept a fairly even keel until an awful September.  Maybe the career-high 157 games wore him down.

Here's my recommendation: forget these three and take Jayson Werth or Nelson Cruz in the 11th or 12th round.  Werth, at least, is no more risky than McLouth, Victorino, or Hart.  Another who fits the McLouth/Victorino/Hart mold is Curtis Granderson, who's going at 50.42.

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Hardball Times Mailbag

Here's this week's edition.  Hit up the Hardball Times/RotoAuthority mailbag at for next week, but please don't ask questions specific to your own team.

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Mailbag Questions

Hit me up at with questions for the Hardball Times mailbag.

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Hardball Times Mailbag

My mailbag is up at Hardball Times now.  It's more strategy-oriented than anything.  Feel free to email with more mailbag questions.

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Hardball Times Mailbag Questions

Last week's Hardball Times Fantasy Mailbag was a good time.  Hit me up at with your questions for consideration for this week's mailbag.

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Hardball Times Fantasy Mailbag

My first Hardball Times fantasy mailbag has been published; take a look.

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Mailbag Questions?

I am going to be doing weekly fantasy baseball mailbags for The Hardball Times in the near future.  As RotoAuthority readers, y'all get first crack at submitting questions.  Send 'em to  Please don't send questions specific to your own fantasy team; I can't answer those!

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