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While watching the New York Football Giants leave the New England Patriots crying like a bunch of little girls who just learned that the American Girl store closes at 9 and not at 9:30 like their fathers assured them, I received a keeper question from Herb Urban, humorist and man with an unhealthy obsession with John Oates. (Being a baseball blog, you might think I’m talking about John Oates, the second rate catcher from the 1976-82ish era. You’d be wrong. Herb’s crackers over the short, mustachioed member of Hall and Oates.) Anyway, check out Herb’s site for yourself. Now onto the Andy LaRoche/Josh Fields’ keeper question.

Grey,

Sorry to keep asking for your input on young players. I took over a team in an indefinite keeper that was an utter mess and I’ve been trying to rebuild for the future all off-season. The previous owner only had Morneau, Cano, Mauer, Mariano Rivera and nothing else. I was able to turn those guys into Ian Kinsler, Rickie Weeks, Delmon Young, Nick Swisher, Brad Hawpe, Rich Hill, John Maine, Joe Nathan, Clay Buchholz, Joba Chamberlain, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Josh Fields, Jered Weaver and Andy LaRoche. So I’m trying to decide whether Fields, Weaver or LaRoche are worth keeping in a 12-team league. I have the first pick in the draft with all eyes on Billy Butler, unless I can trade for him.

Fields came to me with Nathan for Rivera, and strikes me as a very interesting guy to watch. Your thoughts on him will be greatly appreciated. I look forward to reading them, and promise to stop bugging you with questions about my team.

Thanks,
Herb

Herb,

First, that’s a Musharraf-type coup getting the players you did for what you had. Since this is an indefinite keeper league, you’re looking at hitting (LaRoche or Fields) over pitching (Weaver). I’d agree with that. If you can also keep Weaver, I’d consider it, but I don’t know what’s out there or how many players you can keep. At this point, you already seem to be keeping a lot. So I’m going to assume this is a battle between Andy LaRoche and Josh Fields. Let’s look at some projections.

Josh Fields
— Rotowire projects 76/27/86/7/.267 with a .345 OBP. Our in-house statistician, Rudy Gamble, predicts Fields will have a season on par with Edwin Encarncion. Personally, I like Encarncion more than Fields for ‘08. Let’s assume Crede is traded to the Giants, which seems to be a deal that will happen. So Fields is starting and hitting some bombs with an average that will hurt you. Okay, now Andy LaRoche.

Andy LaRoche — Coincidentally, LaRoche places just about even with Fields on the preseason Rotowire charts. In a little more than a half season, Rotowire predicts LaRoche will be 66/12/51/1/.269 with a .385 OBP. In house, Rudy Gamble predicts a season no better than Brandon Inge. Personally, I really love LaRoche. He’s done all he can do in the minors, Nomar’s on his way out and his OBP is excellent. I see his numbers closer to 60/22/75/5/.310. My numbers are optimistic for ‘08, but this is a keeper league and he’s a top ten 3rd basemen as early as two years from now. Whereas, Fields makes me balk and I’m not sure he’ll ever be anything but a poor man’s Troy Glaus. I say go with LaRoche; he’s a maneater.

Yours,
Grey

1 Response

  1. Herb Urban says:
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    For the record, I was a fan of Johnny Oates when he was a backup backstop for the Phils in the seventies. If he and Mel Hall every cut a record together it would go gold.

    Thanks for detailed feedback. It seems the youngest LaRoche has stud potential. Ideally, I would love to keep him and Jered Weaver, who is entering his third year. It is a 12 team/12 keeper league, so I might be able to grab all thee guys in the draft if I don;t have room for them. As of now, Kevin Kouzmanoff is my last keeper. He is the oldest of my 3B, but has a good chance yo breakout batting 3rd this year at age 27.

    I’m intrugued by Fields power/speed combination, but his SB totals in the minors are very uneven.

    Thanks again your analysis. I’ll be camped out here as draft days approach. I love your site.

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