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Today, I listened to a podcast. In that podcast, the two hosts pontificated sharply about how Kris Medlen isn’t for real and that his success last year was merely a result of a few lucky match-ups. His success this year? Unsustainable. The name of that podcast? There Is No Such Thing as a Pitching Podcast — a pun from the old baseball adage “there is no such thing as a pitching prospect”, meaning that young pitchers are too unreliable, disappoint too much, surprise too much, need Tommy John too much, die too much. What they fail to realize, though, is that sometimes we’ve thrown all our coins into Mike Moustakas and are now left in squallor on the street corner getting moosed by strangers just for a quick buck, and our only hopes of redemption are guys just like Medlen. Sometimes, we don’t have our hands on the next Wil Myers or Jurickson Profar, or even a Leonys Martin, but, HAHAHA!, we do have our hands on sexy beast Matt Harvey. Harvey, of course, is seen by many as a better keeper candidate than even Profar, so that old adage can go get moosed by Old Buck in the alley, not us. Anyway, to save ourselves the moosing — which pitchers are worth targeting as keepers going into this year’s playoff push and 2014?

Tony Cingrani (Doesn’t matter what his ADP is/was/will be, you don’t want him)

Deceivingly so, this list starts with a guy who you do not want to keep. After his first few starts spurred some oh-my-god-that-fastball-is-so-deceiving talk, Cingrani’s current role in the bullpen is where he’s going to end up in the future unless that new slider he developed is actually effective. For once, Dusty Baker, star of The Assassination of Mark Prior by the Coward Dusty Baker, actually has a clue what he’s doing with a pitcher.

You can’t get Major League outs consistently via tossing your fastball 82% of the time, especially when it usually grooves around 94 MPH. You just can’t, just believe me. Don’t give me some crazy delivery explanation because it’s not true. It’s moosecrap. Guess where pitchers end up when they have one dominant pitch and a few threes and fours rounding out their arsenal? Exactly where Cingrani is now.

Don’t hold on to hopes that he’ll make the transition into the rotation starting in 2014.

Hisashi Iwakuma (260 ADP, will be in 80s next year)

You paid crap for Hisashi, and Hisashi is my favorite player on this list. You want Hisashi. Hisashi is friend.

Iwakuma’s increased the rate at which hitters chase his pitches out of the zone by 4.6% compared to last year, has them swinging 1.9% less at pitches inside the zone, has them making less contact outside the zone, and, just to finish it off, has them making less contact inside the zone. In other words, hitters are chasing more bad pitches and have hit all of Hisashi’s pitches at a worse rate. Yes, they have a worse BAbip despite an identical 19% LD-rate, but they’re hitting fewer groundballs.

Last year, Iwakuma had 1.12 GB/FB ratio. This year? 0.86. What’s that mean? A lower BAbip — ground-balls goes for hits more often than fly-balls.

And how’s he doing this? According to Fan Graphs’ PITCHf/x, Iwakuma’s increased his regular-fastball (four-seamers, two-seamers) frequency in exchange for his splitter, a pitch that obviously and intentionally induces grounders. And rightfully so: Hisashi calls Safeco Field his home. F bringing in the walls. And lastly, he’s actually getting double-plays at a higher rate than he did last year, which implies that his splitter reduction has increased its effectiveness.

He’s had two rough starts in a row, so try and make a play for him from a potentially-spooked owner. You love him. You need him. And you’ll love me when you’re paying zilch for an ace-caliber pitcher next season, brosef.

Jarrod Parker (170 ADP to start 2013, will be in 130s in 2014)

Parker is tricky. Listen to the song and come back when you’re done.

Okay. There is a moose-ton of talk about how this “new” Jarrod Parker, the one since his last non-Quality Start (May 6), is the real Parker. Through his first 23.1 innings, Parker had an 8.10 ERA and 2.143 WHIP. He was 0-4 and had 13 walks to go with his 14 strikeouts.

Every Parker defender cites the .402 BAbip-against as the sole reason for this, and they might be right, but what those same defenders don’t admit now is that in his last nine starts, Parker’s BAbip-against is down at .189. In those starts he has a 2.59 ERA and an improved strike rate. So, just like how the beginning of the season wasn’t the “real” Parker, this recent hot streak isn’t the “real” Parker either. Who is the “real” Parker? Well, somewhere in the middle, of course. He’s not the #3 SP, which he is on ESPN’s Player Rater in the last 30 days, and he isn’t a guy who only throws 54 first-pitch-strikes in 117 at-bats, like he did in those initial 23.1 innings.

Let the water cool before the deadline, which it will, if you want to grab him for next year. If you wait until next year, he’ll be higher. I think he’s a 3.30-ERA, 1.10-WHIP, 170-K guy, which is what you want out of a young pitcher.

Matt Harvey

Or bust. I’m all in. Empty your pockets. Unfortunately, so is everyone else.

Drew Smyly (Undrafted, 135 ADP next year)

I interviewed Drew back in the days when he was at high-A Lakeland and I was an intern at Fox Sports and, frankly, he was an asshole. “Hi Mr. Smyly can I ask you a few questions?! I’m new at this! :)” “Beat it, kid”. But that doesn’t mean Drew isn’t a good pitcher.

Just like how Cingrani won’t be a starter in the long-run, Smyly indubitably and unequivocally will be, even if not for the Tigers.

Smyly plays with three different fastballs to keep his walk-rate minimal, yet still strikes out 25.1% of the batters he faces — a K/9 of 8.9, but K/9 is stupid and you should never use it and should really only use K%. If a guy strikes out 27 hitters in a game but walks 27 hitters, what’s his K/9? 27 (Amazing). What’s his K%? 50%.

Compared to another young stud, the arbitrarily selected Madison Bumgarner, Smyly actually gets more people to chase outside the zone than his counterpart.

He’s reduced his four-seamer by 13.6% while increasing his two-seamer by 16.3% and cutter by 15.5%. It’s resulted in the aforementioned reduced walk-rate, a microscopic ERA, and a reduced WHIP. The scary thing? His FIP is even a low 2.19. Sure, he’s doing this in small outings at a time but, for the record, in each of his extended bullpen outings, Smyly’s owned hitters just as much as in his 1-IP outings.

He’s being stifled by stupid Leyland, but you want Smyly for next year. Obviously, you don’t want to go stash him now and waste a roster slot on a middle-reliever, but get him before your season’s end. Come next year he’ll in someone’s starting rotation and will be a whole lot of people’s super-sleeper.

Follow Terse on Twitta @TerseRazzball and ask him questions because he contemplates pouring the hot coffee pots on his face when he gets bored at work.

From Around The Web

  1. Grey's Goatee says:
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    Hey Terse,

    No love for Jo-Fer?

    It seems that he can be had relatively cheap, yet his upside is tremendous.

    Unfortunately, he does play for the Marlins but pitching at Crayola Canyon may be of benefit to him.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Grey’s Goatee: Hi Hair,

      If you can indeed get him cheap, his upside is indeed tremendous. He’s awesome and he doesn’t seem to understand what a learning curve is. I actually had a heading on him but wanted some more data before I wrote about him.

  2. Psychedelic says:
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    I was trying to aquire Harvey, but the guy wanted Machado in return.. Is it risky trading a guy like Machado who could be a superstar for 12 years+ for a pitcher? I really like Harvey but pitchers careers/ stretches of dominance are a lot shorter then position players, and Machado is one of the best. Thoughts?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Psychedelic: Machado 100% FTW

      • Psychedelic says:
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        @Terse: that’s what I was thinking, if I was guna do it I’d need some more back with Harvey right ? It’s a dynasty so I have Machado for forever, which is a good feeling lol

        • Terse

          Terse says:
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          @Psychedelic: most definitely. If I were you, I wouldn’t push Machado unless I was getting Harper or Trout

          • Psychedelic says:
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            @Terse: ok thanks, and ya the guy in my division has Harper and Trout, so having Machado is almost necessary to have any chance at winning my division the next 15 years…

      • Psychedelic says:
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        @Terse: btw love your articles, good to see something knew and not the same info regurgitated over and over.

        • Terse

          Terse says:
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          @Psychedelic: thanks a lot man! much appreciated

  3. Kevin says:
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    Send Cliff Lee and Moreland for Kershaw if Moreland is logjammed behind Gold/Pujols/et.al? 10 team redraft.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Kevin: I’d probably try and trade Pujols for pitching

      • Kevin says:
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        @Terse:

        Eesh. Who could I target with Pujols? I’d have to change my team name of Albertacos too.. Thanks

        • Terse

          Terse says:
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          @Kevin: It’s just a suggestion. If you don’t want to get rid of him then try to trade Moreland and someone else for a decent pitcher. The difference b/w Lee and Kersh isn’t Moreland, even if More is trapped on the bench. I’d package More with another guy for a pitching upgrade

  4. Peter Nincompoop says:
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    Great article. I’m a big Iwakuma fan, but maybe that’s because I’m in MLB purgatory in rooting for the M’s and Padres. Nonetheless, I’m currently sitting in first place in a H2H keeper league. Not worried about hitting, but looking to parlay my current SP success into grabbing a long-term keeper pitcher off a playoff hopeful team. Here’s my current staff:

    Zimmerman
    Gonzalez
    Minor
    Lynn
    Weaver
    Liriano
    Ryu
    Cashner
    *Price

    Rivera
    Jansen
    Romo
    Perkins

    That being said, what would be a reasonable/enticing package to offer up for Clayton Kershaw? Any insight would be appreciated.

  5. Alex says:
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    This is really good writing, thanks

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Alex: thanks man!

  6. The Guru

    The Guru says:
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    Good stuff, Terse. Sorry to hear about your Smyly “interview”. I once tried to interview Aaron Hernandez and he shot me in the face. #oneupsmanship

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @The Guru: hahaha jesus. I’m sorry, Odin.

    • Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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      @The Guru: yeah, but you tried to interview him while he was dumping a body, so it’s kinda you’re fault.

  7. The Guru

    The Guru says:
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    Good stuff, Terse. Sorry to hear about your Smyly “interview”. I once tried to interview Aaron Hernandez and he shot me in the face. #oneupsmanship

  8. Nate says:
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    I’d love to see more interaction between different Razzball writers in the comments section. I read Dan’s pitcher profile on Cingrani, where he essentially accused anyone who calls Tony a one pitch pitcher of not actually watching his games… he send he mixes speed and movement so that it’s more like 4 pitches in one.

    So it’s tough getting conflicting reports from a site you trust.

    • Nate says:
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      @Nate: sorry, was typing on an iPhone… send=said… and excuse the above punctuation.

      • Terse

        Terse says:
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        @Nate: A lot of pitchers vary speeds with their fastballs and dramatize the bite on their pitches.

        • Terse

          Terse says:
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          @Terse: Also, every guy’s voice is his own and we all have our own opinions. We merely present them in an interesting and fun way and support our own opinions with the facts that we personally trust.

          It’s just like if you were to read breaking news — you’d be better off reading articles from a number of publications rather than just from CNN. It’s best to get as much information as possible from as many sources as possible and forming a decision from all of that info.

          Dan’s awesome and really well-versed in fantasy — I really love reading his stuff — but that doesn’t mean I’m going to agree with him on everything.

          • Nate says:
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            @Terse: I agree entirely, and appreciate both opinions… all I was saying is that it would be advantageous, as well as enjoyable to see some chatter back and forth between the writers when opinions differ over certain players. (And we have seen it to an extent… mostly over Dickey… I just mean “more is better”)

            • Terse

              Terse says:
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              @Nate: haha I hear ya, especially when Guru is making Aaron Hernandez jokes. More is better for sure. In everything.

  9. Paul says:
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    Nothing about the great Shelby Miller!?

    He seems comparable to Cingrani with his two-pitch approach. Do you have doubts about his career potential?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Paul: I like Miller and think he’s legitimate but I don’t think he’s worth the price you’d probably have to pay in a keeper league right now

  10. Jason says:
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    please more of these before the trade deadline. If possible provide auction value projections. Thank you!

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Jason: More keeper stuff overall, or more pitcher keeper stuff? and you’re welcome, J.

      • Jason says:
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        @Terse: Keeper stuff. You don’t have to go into too much detail. Like do your focus guys hen list out like 10 more targets?

        • Terse

          Terse says:
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          @Jason: I hear ya. Don’t know if you’ve read my past couple articles, but my author page has my thoughts on some more guys: http://razzball.com/author/terse/

          thanks for reading! and I like your idea of adding some extra guys at the end

  11. Doubleheaders says:
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    Excellent and very informative post, thanks a million!

  12. Dan says:
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    Hey Terse, great stuff. I was particularly glad to see a vouch for Smyly as I’ve been holding him recently but wasn’t sure if he was worth the spot.

    I’m in a 10 team keeper, H2H points league. To give you an idea of what players are “worth”, my best pitcher is JZ with 370 points on the season while my best hitter is Segura with 297. I definitely want to add Machado but not sure if it’s worth it to give up a Zimmermann or Moore.

    Here’s my team:

    C Salvador Perez
    1B Freddie Freeman
    2B Jason Kipnis
    3B Pablo Sandoval
    SS Jean Segura
    OF Bryce Harper
    OF Giancarlo Stanton
    OF Yasiel Puig
    UTL Jason Heyward
    UTL Justin Upton
    UTL Todd Frazier
    B Anthony Rendon
    B Nolan Arenado
    B Oscar Taveras
    B Jorge Soler
    B Mike Zunino
    B Javier Baez

    SP Matt Moore
    SP Jordan Zimmermann
    SP Jose Fernandez
    SP Julio Teheran
    SP Andrew Cashner
    SP Corey Kluber
    SP Hector Santiago
    RP Drew Smyly
    RP Trevor Rosenthal
    B Dylan Bundy
    B Danny Hultzen
    B Jameson Taillon
    B Michael Wacha
    B Kevin Gausman
    B Chris Archer
    B Rick Porcello
    B Erasmo Ramirez
    B Noah Syndergaard

    Is it worth giving up another ace for Machado? (Traded Scherzer for Giancarlo earlier this year) I’d love to have him join the rest of my young studs and I’ve heard Zimmermann has wonky mechanics which worries me going forward. Also, any other thoughts or comments on my team? Thanks so much!

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Dan: Hey Dan, thanks for the love. I like those young gunners you have stashed down there — Hultzen, Erasmo, Syndergaard. Considering pitching is weighed rather heavily in your league, I don’t think you can spin a JZimm trade for profit.

      I’m in on Jzimm and don’t think he’s really an injury risk, plus he’s still very young.

      Personally, I’d try and flip Giancarlo for two studs — 1 pitcher, 1 hitter. Machado is filth, pure filth, and I love him and think he’s awesome, but I don’t think your pitching is deep enough, especially if you want to contend this year.

      • Dan says:
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        @Terse: thanks for the feedback, look forward to reading your future stuff!

  13. harkrider says:
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    What order Ryu, minor, Tillman ROS.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @harkrider: just like how you have it. Tillman a distant 3rd

  14. Bret says:
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    I have three 3rd baseman, but have to drop one. Could you rank them in order ROS. Donaldson, Alvarez, or Frasier?
    Also, Nolasco or Kluber ROS.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Bret: I say Alvarez, Donaldson, Frazier. Kluber.

  15. Trace says:
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    How would you rank porcello, cashner and Cobb in a keeper similar to what was described in this article?

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Trace: cobb, cashner, porcello

  16. Birdog says:
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    Really enjoyed this article. Looking forward to your next one.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Birdog: thanks for the love birdog

  17. nightpandas says:
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    Hey Terse, going nowhere this season so going to try and grab some more picks in my 15 teamer.

    Which 9 would you keep from this group?

    Bats:
    Zunino, Konerko, Kinsler, Segura, Aramis, Rendon, Braun, L Martin, Fowler, Choo, Yelich, Dom Brown, R Martin, Rollins, Maybin

    Pitchers:
    Scherzer, Dickey, H Bailey, Medlen, Erasmo, Wacha, Luebke, Milone

    I am leaning:
    Kinsler, Segura, Braun, Brown, Choo, Yelich, Rendon, Scherzer, and another pitcher or pounce on either Singleton or A Bradley when they hit the wire (in yahoo).

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @nightpandas: Segura, Braun, Yelich, L Martin, Zunino, Scherzer, Fowler, Dom, Singleton

  18. supra says:
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    Terse, great article. Your first that I’ve read, will def be looking for more.

    I asked something like this yesterday, but you seem to the perfect guy to ask again.
    I’ve got:
    Goldschmidt – rd 17

    Guy offered me Grienke/Grandy which i rejected. If I were open to trading Goldy (I have Rizzo(21)/AGon(4)), what should I be asking for? I need a bit of help on both Off/Def.
    12 team keeper – He’s also got:
    Harper – rd 1
    Strasberg – 7
    Harvey – 21
    Heyward – 7
    Myers – 24
    Greinke – 5
    Everth Cab – 21

    Is something like Harper/Harvey good? realistic? Not good, cause Harper locked forever in rd 1?
    Thanks dude!

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @supra: Thanks! I’ve written a few keeper articles in the past month and will continue to have stuff posted every Thursday.

      Goldy at round 17 is freaking AWESOME. If I were to trade I’d require Myers and Harvey and maybe even Cab. Goldschmidt is the real damn deal, better than anyone there except Harper, and Harper is too expensive, obviously.

      Keep Goldy.

  19. Cory McDonald says:
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    So, given your love for Iwakuma, is it strong enough to offer this keeper league trade?:
    Give up: Matt Moore
    Adam Jones
    Recieve: Iwakuma
    Matt Kemp

    I’m in love with notPac-Man, but I’d really love to grab Hisashi whilst simultaneously ungrabbing Matt Moore

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Cory McDonald: Can’t justify doing that with Kemp ailing and, simply, not performing at the same level as Jones. Gotta hold tight, my friend.

  20. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Another good article Terse. I’m kind of against keeping pitchers, as I’m in a 6-player keeper league (only keep 6 players every year) and SP’s get hurt so often and pitching has been fairly deep the last few years.

    But these are definitely guys to look for early on in next year’s draft.

    So another Justin Upton question for you. In this keeper league, would you move him for Segura? I’ve got two other OF’s that are better than Upton that I would keep. We have three OF spots to fill. OF is deeper than SS obviously. I know I’d be buying high on Segura and selling low on Upton.

    Thoughts?

    I already tried trading Upton for Machado. No dice :'(

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: thanks a lot jive n meat. People’ve given up on Jupton so fast that’s it’s kind of nuts, but assuming Segura was drafted late in your draft and Jup very early, I like the trade. YOu’d indeed be buying high/selling low, but Segura’s got super upside and iis, like you said, at a shallower position.

      I’d pull the trigger

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Terse: Thanks for the reply Terse.

        Yeah I’ve had J-Up for the past 4 years. Been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I like him. But it seems like he just can’t seem to keep consistent. Maybe closer to a Jay Bruce than a Ryan Braun.

  21. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    eh terse, if a 16 teamer was really bad in rbi’s but top of league in wins and K’s, would you make one of these trades? if so, which is best. middle of league in homers, bad at avg also.
    1. my scherzer/cole (esp with knowledge he’ll get sent down likely) for fielder and 1 of garza/ryu
    2. scherzer for fielder straight up
    3. scherzer/cole and some other piece to be determined for fiedler/latos

  22. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Terse what are your views on Kipnis in a keeper league. He’s 26, a bit of a late bloomer. But plays at a primo position. He’s hotter than hot right now, would you try and flip him for an upgrade at keeper? Would Machado be an upgrade? The Machado owner wouldn’t give him up for J-up. I was thinking of playing the hot Kipnis card this time and maybe include Moustakas, as he’s heating up lately (homerun tonight too!). Or should I just hold onto Kipnis and hope his second half doesn’t fall off like last year and he continues to put up these types of numbers (15-20 hr and 30-35 steals) a year for the next 3-4 years.

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: I f’ing love Kipnis. The #1 2b for the next 5 years? Him. He’s hitting tougher pitches better and better and was a hyped prospect when he came up. http://razzball.com/fantasy-keepers-to-target-for-the-playoffs-and-for-2014/

      I like him a lot. Machado over Kipnis IS an upgrade, though. Machado is a 1-of-a-kind talent. Don’t buy into Moustakas. Actually, ignore Moustakas. If you can find it, get Machado, but if not, be happy with Kip.

      Be happy with Kippy, but

      • Terse

        Terse says:
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        @Terse: blah blah blah “be happy with kippy, but” covet Machado more

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Terse: Thanks Terse.

        I really would rather not trade Kipnis, but it may be my only play to get Machado. But you’re right, it’s a win-win situation whether or not that trade would go through.

  23. 3YearPlan says:
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    Hey Terse,
    I’m new to a long time dynasty league… HELP!
    18 team roto keeper 23 player roster + 12 player Farm reserve
    AVG,HR,RBI,R, SB & 123 (1B +(2Bx2) +(3Bx3)+ BB)
    W,Sv,ERA, IP, H/IP, K/BB….. $130 instead of $260
    Thoughts on this offer I’m thinking of making…
    Nelson Cruz $11 and Derek Holland $10
    for
    Medlen $7, Smyly $4 & Matt Adams $4
    Thanks!

    • Terse

      Terse says:
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      @3YearPlan: Hey bud, thanks for hopping on the dynasty wagon! 18-teamer, too. Nice.

      I really like Holland, but geting Medlen and Smyly for $1 more is a pretty good deal. Adams can mash and playing-time has to open up at some point for him in the future. Cruz is on his way down, so I like the trade for the future, but think it could hurt you this season. If you’re in 2013 contention, I’d wait a little bit before you get a clearer view of what’s going to happen. If in a few weeks from now you find yourself out, make the trade.

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