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The first week of the season is in our rearview mirror, Pearl Jam, and I’m seeing overreactions everywhere I turn around, Bonnie Tyler. Ask yourself this: If a fantasy player has a bad week in an otherwise good year, does it matter? The first week of the season is nearly as meaningless as Spring Training and the only takeaway I’m, um, taking away from it is whether a player is injured and that the Rays are going to win the World Series. Just because a player hit several home runs in the first week doesn’t mean he will keep hitting them. It also doesn’t mean that he won’t keep hitting them. The first week is too small a sample to discern any real meaning because there are too many variables at play, like which pitchers the hitter faced, the ballparks he’s been in, the impact of the wind, whether he’s been sick, and so on. There could even be something crazy that we do know about, like Brandon Moss having a kid (well, his wife anyway), or something we don’t know about. What I’m trying to say is that I won’t change my expectations for a specific player just yet. Although it’s never too early to take advantage of people in your leagues who are overreacting and pull the trigger on a potential buy low or sell high opportunity. Anyway, here are a few players who have had unexpected starts that I’m interested in:

Mike Trout – I somehow haven’t talked about him enough, but that’s partially because I’ve felt bombarded by talk of him by everybody else. His slow start doesn’t have me worried at all and I fully expect him to post similar numbers to last year. I kept hearing the “fact” that he would regress because he was “lucky” to an extent, but I don’t think that’s a given. Regression is never inevitable and any deviation from an expected baseline can’t simply be dismissed as luck. Additionally, most of the arguments I’ve heard about why he will regress could be turned around the other way. For example, if you are worried that pitchers are going to better adjust to him, then you could also be excited because he could better adjust to pitchers. I’ll end this mini-rant by saying that you should give your studs the benefit of the doubt for the first month (or two).

Carlos Quentin – Why is he available in so many leagues? Please pick him up for me. It’s not like he’s injured… yet. The Padres are benching him a little initially, but he appears to be healthy, so his playing time should become more frequent in the near future. In February, I said, “A .250/.350/.490 line should be attainable when healthy.” I still think that’s his baseline, which might represent the best OPS guy you can find on waivers in most leagues.

Shin-Soo Choo – I’ve been high on Choo (which is legal in my state) since his move to the Reds and his hot start is encouraging. Especially because he appears to be taking full advantage of his home ballpark, with an elevated fly ball rate. I expect to see a career high in home runs and runs. He feels like one of the safest players to me, even if Dusty decides to bat him ninth at some point.

Norichika Aoki – He’s a player who I believed would repeat his performance from last season but, the more I think about it, the more I think he’s going to show slight improvement. Maybe the nicest thing so far is his increased walk rate, which could lead to an uptick in steals, if he can sustain a higher OBP.

Brandon Moss – Don’t drop him yet! He may get benched against some tough lefties throughout the season, but that should only help his production. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him post a .250/.340/.500 line.

Jed Lowrie – I’ve always thought he had the upside for an .800 OPS, but his current .500/.567/1.000 line is video game worthy. I’m thinking that he could post a higher than expected slugging on the year with some of that magic Billy Beane spread across his team last year. I expect him to continue to contribute when healthy, but sadly don’t expect a full season.

Giancarlo Stanton – Yes, he’s got a bad team around him, but I don’t think they’re causing his power drought unless they regularly heckle him from the dugout. But who would dare do that to him, considering that Ted Lilly isn’t on the Marlins? I really wouldn’t be concerned with him unless he hasn’t hit a handful of home runs by midseason. The power is yours, Giancarlo.

90 Responses

  1. Ryan says:
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    Thoughts on RA Dickey? Would I try to steal him or are u concerned about his start?
    Thinking of offering R Soriano for him….guy needs saves

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Ryan: I’m not concerned about Dickey and I would absolutely make that deal. He might be the only elite pitcher who has struggled early that is actually attainable as a buy low opportunity because of the whole knuckleball thing.

  2. Anthony says:
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    @Tom JAcks: When will the streamonator and player rater be active ???

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Anthony: Hopefully this week. I know Rudy’s been spending a lot of time working on it.

  3. Buzzdainer says:
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    I’m stuck with Halladay in a deep 20-team league. Is it worth trying to get pennies on the dollar for him? I’m not ready to cut him yet, since it’s such a deep league.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Buzzdainer: No, I wouldn’t trade him for pennies or cut him yet. He gets the Marlins in his next start, so I’m expecting a better outing.

  4. Fratstar says:
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    Both Mike Minor and Scherzer are on waivers right now. I’m 5th on the waiver order in a 10 team, mixed league, weekly set league. Minor has 2 starts next week ,but Max is the overall better player I think….

    Who should I lay a claim on? I doubt I can snag both of them

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Fratstar: Go for Scherzer, but I’d also make a lower priority claim for Minor, if you can, in case you don’t get Scherzer.

      • Fratstar says:
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        @Tom Jacks:

        Also, JJ Putz just got put on waivers. I was going to place my third claim on him. Currently I have Trevor Rosenthol in that spot. Worth trying for?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Fratstar: Yeah, I’d do that as your third claim.

  5. Rags says:
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    OPS and K/9 league.

    I took over for a team that has decent pitching but no hitting.

    Someone offered me Fowler, Howard, and Hughes for Dickey and Samardizja. The Shark is more or less untouchable i think, but would you do Dickey for Fowler and Howard?

    • Rags says:
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      @Rags: And another offer of Headley and a closer (my auto-drafting predecessor has literally six) for Alex Gordon and one of Dom Brown, Garret Jones, or Jason Werth.

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @Rags: I’d take Gordon and Brown for Headley and a closer.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Rags: How deep is the league? In a shallow league, I wouldn’t do that, since I still believe in Dickey.

      • Rags says:
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        @Tom Jacks: 12 team mixed, but with six man benches and 3 DL spots. Parra, Bradley Jr and David Murphy are on the wire for OF, but Mayberry, Helton and the Atlanta platoon are the best corner guys available.

        My big issue is that I literally have six closers, and no bench bats. I feel like I just can’t drop the closers, but hardly anybody will trade for them.

        • Rags says:
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          @Rags: If you meant in terms of replacing dickey, there are some ok starters on the wire for ratios, but nobody with a half decent k/9. but for my pitching i have samardzija, greinke, niese, miley, hudson and harrison.

          • Tom Jacks

            Tom Jacks says:
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            @Rags: Then I’d try to get more for Dickey since you’d be taking a big hit.

            • Rags says:
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              @Tom Jacks: What about Dickey and Harrison for Howard, Fowler, and Estrada.

              • Tom Jacks

                Tom Jacks says:
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                @Rags: I like it, especially considering you need offense. Good luck!

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Rags: Alright. I’d definitely do the Headley trade, but I’d still want more for Dickey.

  6. steviek says:
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    I’m a little concernd with Encarnacion’s start. Not sure how sustainable last year was, but I drafted him for30+ hr & about a .270 avg. Power hitters are notriously streaky, and there’s the whole adapting to the DH thing, but is there enough of a track record that this doesn’t scream bust?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @steviek: I wasn’t that high on him this year, but his power won’t disappear – I just wasn’t expecting a repeat of last year. Your expectation of 30+ hr and .270 avg is reasonable. Give him a few more weeks.

      • steviek says:
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        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking… until I looked up his contact rates. Yeesh.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @steviek: True. Still very early though.

        • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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          @steviek: I took him in several leagues expecting 32/100/.267. Hold on to him.

  7. Charles says:
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    Tom, in a keeper league where Dickey was drafted 5th round and Teheran 20th round, would you trade Teheran for Dickey straight up?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Charles: Yes, I would definitely trade Teheran for Dickey. I don’t expect much from Teheran this year and maybe next, while I still believe in Dickey.

      • Charles says:
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        @Tom Jacks:

        This is a keeper league where you get to keep two and lose the corresponding draft pick but my team is pretty loaded. Rosario (13), Goldschmidt (5), Zobrist (4), Asdrubal (7), Wright (2), Trout (1), JUp (3), Choo (8), Hosmer (11), Alex Gordon (9), Taveras (21), Simmons (23). I can’t see myself keeping Teheran (19) over any of the above even though you lose the round associated with the pick. So with all that said, would you feel comfortable about doing the deal? I’m just worried Teheran is going to turn into a mini Pedro.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Charles: Yeah, Teheran is easily behind many of those guys in my mind, even considering the round picked. I think Teheran could be a solid mid-rotation pitcher down the road, but don’t see him as an ace. I’d feel comfortable with doing the deal.

          • Charles says:
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            @Tom Jacks:

            Ok, thanks. Interesting choice of words. Do you see Dickey as an ace? I don’t think he comes close to replicating last year. However, I don’t see him as being this bad. So, I guess I see him as 2 at best and maybe a 3. So, since that’s essentially a mid rotation starter, would I be gaining much by getting Dickey? Or do you view Teheran as a mid rotation guy eventually and just a back end now?

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Charles: I’m probably higher on Dickey than most and believe he will come close to last year. I don’t think a guy can be that dominate and just lose it, in most circumstances. I see him as a 1/2.

              I see Teheran as a back end guy now who could be a mid rotation guy in a couple years.

              • Charlie says:
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                @Tom Jacks:

                Ok, thanks so much!

                • Tom Jacks

                  Tom Jacks says:
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                  @Charlie: No problem!

  8. Chris says:
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    Hello Tom,
    Thanks for the post.
    For today, better match up – Brandon Belt or Adam Laroche? Both struggling.

    thanks,
    Chris

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Chris: Thanks! I’d go with LaRoche. I don’t like starting Belt against lefties.

      • Chris says:
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        @Tom Jacks: thanks tom but Belt is against righty Juan nicasio from colorado. Please advice. Thanks

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Chris: Sorry – I accidentally looked at tomorrow’s matchup. I’d still go with LaRoche tonight.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Chris: Hopefully you were able to go with LaRoche…

  9. Wallpaper Paterson says:
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    Carlos Santana dropped in a 10-team league. Should I put in a waiver claim on him?

  10. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Nice article Tom. I have Aoki this year and am excited to have his consistency in my lineup every day. With the likes of Giancarlo and Kinsler, Aoki will be a nice BA neutralizer. The dude never strikes out!

    So I’m trying to capitalize on Trout’s slow start in my keeper league, but I’m also thinking I can compete this year for the top spot. Who do you like rest of season: Andrew McCutchen or Mike Trout. What about for the next 3-4 years (for keeper league purposes)?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: Thanks! Yeah, Aoki is a nice, stress-free player to own. I’d take Trout ahead of McCutchen this year and for the next few years.

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @Tom Jacks: Thanks for the reply!

        Stress free player, I like that.

        So say you had McCutchen and were trying to get Trout. How much above and beyond McCutchen would you trade to get Trout in a keeper league? McCutchen and a closer? McCutchen and a young stud pitcher (Jose Fernandez or Matt Harvey)?

        Just trying to get idea of how much is too much. Like I said, I like my team, but would be willing to give up a little extra for someone like Trout, especially in a keeper league. But obviously, I can live with McCutchen.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Shake N Bacon: No problem. I’d start with McCutch + a closer and see what the guy says.

          If that doesn’t work, then I’d try an intriguing pitcher, but the exact guy would depend on your league size.

          • Shake N Bacon says:
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            @Tom Jacks: 12-team league. SP is deep and streaming is definitely doable, so SP’s are a little less desirable unless you throw someone like Kershaw out there. Closers are difficult to come by in the league. People hoard them and their backups and the backup’s backup. Deep benches allow this. I will see what I can do. Thanks for your thoughts.

            • Tom Jacks

              Tom Jacks says:
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              @Shake N Bacon: Ok, then it sounds like a closer is your best bet. Feel free to throw in a non-elite starter too, if that gets it done, but start with the closer and work from there.

  11. c0wfunk says:
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    Heya.. Nice list, this is helpful. I was surprised to see Quentin is indeed available in my league.. Grey has him pretty low and ESPN only projects 379 ab.. Expecting injury? He’s only 30 and seems a reasonable bounceback candidate.

    Do you like him more than marte? He’s certainly more proven. I realize they bring different things but my team is fairly balanced (not fair and balanced) so, in PvP which would you take, all other things equal. Talking 12 team head to head with tb and obp counted

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @c0wfunk: Thanks! I’d take Quentin there. He should be solid in TB and OBP.

      I expect him to miss time at some point, but he’s healthy now so I’m going to keep starting him until that happens (and crossing my fingers that it doesn’t happen).

      • c0wfunk says:
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        @Tom Jacks: thanks for the reply.. Another thought I’m considering is dropping Neil walker who has been hideous and I literally drafted on accident while looking at his stats. I’ve got gyorko who’s been serviceable and rutledge who is rapidly gaining 2b eligibility.. So I’m thinking keep maarte, drop walker, and grab Quentin. Thoughts?

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @c0wfunk: No problem. That move makes sense to me.

  12. c0wfunk says:
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    One more.. I know the mantra is give your studs time, but how about borderline, relatively unproven studs like cespedes? I’m gonna let him go against Wilson tonight hoping a few days off will get him going, but if he 0fers again id consider benching him tomorrow. Thanks!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @c0wfunk: I wouldn’t consider benching him unless it was against somebody like Felix. I still think he should be great. Yes, he’s more of a question mark, but I believe in him based upon what he’s done so far.

  13. Jason says:
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    are we supposed to be picking up Benoit right now?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Jason: It can’t hurt if you have the space, but it’s a crazy tossup at this point.

  14. Natural Born Champs says:
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    h2h keepers league:

    Trout or Frazier and King Felix?

  15. Mike says:
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    What do ou think of Morse’s good start and Halladay’s bad start? A sell high and a buy low?

    Thanks!

    Mike.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Mike: My thoughts exactly.

      • Mike says:
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        @Tom Jacks: so you would trade Morse for Halladay if the other team is a taker?

        Thanks!

        Mike.

        • Mike says:
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          @Mike: I did get one team to trde me CC Sabathia for Morse – I thought that was a good deal.

          • Tom Jacks

            Tom Jacks says:
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            @Mike: I’d trade him for Sabathia though.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Mike: I actually wouldn’t do that deal.

  16. Mike says:
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    Second question – I have Halladay and Dickey was thrown to the wire. Do I drop the first for the second? I also have Lester, Harvey, Minor, Lincecum, and Burnett as possible drop options.

    Thanks …

    Mike.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Mike: Yes, I’d drop Halladay for Dickey.

  17. Rossy says:
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    who would you prefer, lorenzo cain or dominic brown?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Rossy: Brown

  18. Robby D says:
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    who would you start from the following today:

    Jay Bruce
    Allen Craig
    Beltran
    Cespedes
    Aoki
    Morales

    Currently leaving Craig and Beltran out so I can have Sal Perez and Wilin Rosario in at the same time. I could drop Rosario or Perez out also, but I almost have too many offensive options.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Robby D: I’d leave out Perez for Beltran or Craig. Leaning towards Beltran against Arroyo, but either could have a good night.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Robby D: I wouldn’t want to bench any of that Bruce through Morales list you have there.

      • Robby D says:
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        @Tom Jacks: unfortunately someone has to sit. I have the following team:

        C Perez
        1B Pujols
        2B Zobrist
        SS Tulowitzki
        3B Frazier
        2b/SS Gyorko
        1B/3B Craig
        OF Cespedes
        OF Bruce
        OF Beltran
        OF Cargo
        OF Stanton
        UT Morales

        Bench
        C Rosario
        2b/ss Rutledge
        OF Aoki

        I have a lot of flexibility with Zobrist and Craig both qualifying in the OF, and once Gyoko qualifies at 3B he’ll be more valuable also, so I can cover almost anything with those three, but they are all so taltented it’s hard to leave anyone out. Left out rutledge today for Gyorko and it’s already paying off.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Robby D: I’d play that lineup as you have it there for today.

        • jason batteiger says:
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          @Robby D: it’s weird because yahoo has gyorko as a 3rd base because he started year as that and has 2/5 of his starts towards 2b.

  19. gbaked says:
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    Someone dropped m. Joyce in my 5×5 roto keeper league.

    I can drop cowgill for him. Or Chris Johnson.

    I am #1 waiver and can get him on that. Worth doing and giving up that top spot? It’s a very deep league.

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @gbaked: I would rather have Joyce than Cowgill. I don’t know how often people claim players off waivers in your league and I don’t know if O. Taveras is already on a team. Therefore, I cannot truly advise you as to whether or not it is a good idea to use the top waiver spot to get Joyce.

      If Taveras is already stashed and there is a ton of movement in your league, then make the claim.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @gbaked: I agree with Wallpaper.

  20. willclark says:
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    16 tm league. Jose Quintana or Roberto Hernandez?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @willclark: As crazy as it sounds, I prefer Hernandez. I trust the defense and park to help him stay decent.

  21. donmaggio says:
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    Are prospects for Ike Davis dwindling ? he just hit the waiver wire in my 10-team, H2H league. I am not really lacking in power and do not really love the high-K-no-BB exposure, but could definitely spare some batting avg risk and have high waiver priority…i am skeptical of low avg guys with high K rates that only hit right handed pitching (some times)….

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @donmaggio: I still believe in Davis and would take a chance on him if you can afford to. Worst case, you could always try to trade him after he has a hot streak.

  22. whitesox_22 says:
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    10team ESPN, I have Kershaw and a guy wants him pretty bad.. what should I expect back? 1st rd talent? He has wainwright an I like him since strong last year health wise, but surely not straight up

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @whitesox_22: Since he wants him badly, maybe you can land Wainwright and a top 20 hitter?

  23. ADK says:
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    After I read your article, I thought I would throw out a relatively crazy trade offer to see if I could get a Trout owner thinking, MadBum for Trout.

    He came back with Trout/Pineda/Volquez for Bumgarner/Heyward,
    I’m thinking I should at least try to get an upgrade somewhere else, maybe come back with
    Trout/Rollins/Volquez for Bumgarner/Heyward/Segura…but am I crazy if I think the deal he offered me isn’t bad?

    6×6 OPS/QS league, 9 Pitcher slots, no innings limits, weekly lineup set.

    C Lucroy, Jonathan
    1B Votto, Joey
    2B Pedroia, Dustin
    3B Sandoval, Pablo
    SS Segura, Jean
    MI Hill, Aaron
    CI LaRoche, Adam
    OF Ethier, Andre
    OF Heyward, Jason
    OF Upton, B.J.
    OF Young, Chris
    DH Machado, Manny
    Injured (OF) Granderson, Curtis

    P Bumgarner, Madison
    P Burnett, A.J.
    P Estrada, Marco
    P Grilli, Jason
    P Hammel, Jason
    P Harvey, Matt
    P Moore, Matt
    P Romo, Sergio
    P Tillman, Chris
    Bench (P) Bundy, Dylan
    Bench (P) Peralta, Wily
    P Beachy, Brandon

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @ADK: I agree that the deal he countered with isn’t bad, but I’d try for the Rollins deal you’re thinking first. I think any time you can land a healthy first round player without giving up your first rounder is a solid move.

  24. Eric R. says:
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    Considering 2 trade offers made to me in exchange for Dickey in a standard scoring league. I can get either Alex Rios or Alex Gordon. Which is better, or am I better off keeping Dickey?

    Thanks!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Eric R.: I’d rather keep Dickey, but the Gordon deal is the better of the two.

  25. Colin says:
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    I was offered Goldschmidt, Ethier and Gattis for Stanton and Belt. I almost pulled the trigger but let the fine readers and the Great Grey convince me not to. Thanks for nothing.

    Just kidding I still love you all.

    Speaking of Stanton just remember this…he hit 37 bombs last year. He also missed about 120 at bats aaaaaaaand *drum roll* he did not hit his first homer until April 29th. So technically he’s still on pace for about 40 homers!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Colin: Haha I agree. I love Stanton.

  26. oppo taco says:
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    I offered up Haren/Dom Brown for Alex Gordon/Phil Hughes. what side do you prefer? Not sure what to expect from Brown and Im worried about Haren

    Pitchers: MadBum,Shields,Harvey,Ogando,Haren,Fernandez

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @oppo taco: I’d slightly prefer the Gordon side. I’m not terribly worried about Haren yet, but I agree that Brown is still an unknown. I’m high on Gordon too.

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