With the state of the pitching landscape, moments like last Thursday night, when Twins’ prospect Jose Berrios finally flourished in the major leagues force all fantasy owners turn a very watchful eye north to Minnesota, with a club that has situated itself atop the AL Central heading into Sunday’s action.

After two starts, Berrios has 15.1 innings of work under his belt with 15 strikeouts and two walks. Good for a sub 1.00 ERA and a FIP, that isn’t as good as Kenley Jansen’s -0.95, but will be buoyed by the advanced control always touted as a strength. How much of his current line is indicative of what we should actually expect is more of a puzzle after how dominant he was at home against the Rockies. Tampering expectations might come because his matchup was the second of a double header, and despite the Rockies hold on the NL West, their WRC+ in both home and road games is sub 90, suggesting they might be playing a bit over their heads.

Now that I’ve gotten the two most obvious points to calm us down from Ian Desmond’s comment that Berrios’ stuff looked like Jose Fernandez, I still can’t get over the fact that Berrios had 20 swinging strikes, seven on his curveball, 12 on his fourseamer, and a lone whiff to his sinker. This was basically double the amount of whiffs he had on his fastball and curveball independently, at any point in his major league career. Needless to say, this was a glimpse at the peak of the Berrios mountain. Watching this start, it was painfully obvious that the Rockies had no chance on his curveball, which he threw near 35% of the time and generated about 20% swinging strikes on.

Thursday was a game of firsts for Berrios, but as with any player that storms onto the scene, taking a step back to look at what is actually possible moving forward is extremely important.

Keep in mind, on Mother’s Day we saw Berrios go into Progressive Field and dismantle an Indians club in a very different way. In that start, Berrios relied much more on his fastball (60%+ usage), mixing in his changeup at a higher rate compared to his curve. The result in both cases was success, and more notably 7+ innings of work, but if his Mother’s Day outing is the mix of pitches that Berrios would tend to favor more, we’re looking at a strikeout rate lower than his 28%, or more reliably near 8 K/9. That suggests more balls in play, less dependable outcomes, and a starter at the end of the day is probably a lot less appealing than the Aaron Nola or Rich Hill route of high curveball usage that can juice up one’s swinging strikes depending on how good of a pitch it is.

At the moment, we’re stuck wondering just where to put Berrios projections because of this very point. If Thursday was an indicator the increased curveball usage is the new path, I would be irrationally excited, but if it’s not, we’re getting what Amir Garrett did three starts into his major league career when he punched out 12 Orioles over seven strong innings. An encouraging  start for Garrett at the time, but one that comes at the front end of a sample instead of mixed into other results and going unnoticed. For comparison to a few great starts at the back end of a sample, take Jeff Samardzija, who has struck out 41 batters and walked only one over his last five outings, and somehow is still owned in less than 70% of ESPN leagues. Yes, that’s a 41/1 K:BB, which is about as must-add as you can ever get. The simple fact is owners are much less convinced when it comes after five outings of a 4.55 FIP and and the inability to strand runners, than pushed to the forefront like we’ve seen with Berrios and another arm I’ve recently become interested in, Mike Clevinger.

Let’s get into some rest of season numbers for Berrios and where it stacks up in the league.

Berrios’ next start is in Camden, versus an Orioles team that has been swinging well over the last two weeks (125 WRC+), and the glorious Streamonator isn’t looking at that with too much confidence. Rest of season, Razzball’s projections are giving Berrios a 4.38 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP, good for a barely positive dollar value ($0.7) and 96 Ks over 103 innings, which is more positive than my guess he edges more towards the 8 K/9 baseline as doesn’t eclipse 30% curveball usage. My projection would probably be something more along the lines of a 3.8-4.0 ERA with a 1.20 WHIP and lower K numbers, say 90 Ks over 103 innings. I’m not buying the 9 K/9 potential this season, but think he’ll be able to display good enough control to have a shot at below a 1.20 WHIP. That’s not bad, but from sifting around our projections here and elsewhere, Berrios is more like a starter you play matchups with than a must start option.

I’ll again qualify this by saying I want to keep a close eye on the curveball usage. That was the reason Ian Desmond was quick to compare Berrios to Fernandez, as it’s inarguably a great pitch. I would venture to guess all the upside we want is hidden in the eventual disclosure of how he wants to attack hitters, and the greater scheme won’t be unearthed for a few more starts. If you have an owner in your league willing to pay top 40 starter value for Berrios, I wouldn’t have a problem pulling the trigger. I’ll be watching his start in Camden closely to see where the trend of pitch usage is heading.

Feel free to relay all your Berrios questions below and make sure to follow me on Twitter.

 
  1. NickfromtheRoc says:
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    Very timely article for me. So I shouldn’t feel bad pulling the trigger on the Berrios for Springer trade I was offered yesterday?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @NickfromtheRoc:
      Oh God yes.

      Please hit accept.

      Now.

      Quick!!!

      • NickfromtheRoc says:
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        @Lance: Hahaha… I swear I was planning to do so. I just worked a double in the restaurant yesterday. I also like to run things by the Fantasy Master’s here at Razzball.

        Done and done. And I mean done.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @NickfromtheRoc:
          No prob at all boss.

          Good stuff, and we’re always here for ya!

    • jason batteiger says:
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      @NickfromtheRoc: sweet jebus in ANY kind of non-pitcher biased points league this is a slam dunk in a value vacuum. and if somebody did need SP springer should net somebody with better than 2 good starts anyway, my guess is this was in a dynasty, where at least i could see somebody doing it, but still silly.

      • Lance

        Lance says:
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        @jason batteiger:
        Even dynasty it’s pretty ludicrous to me hahaha

  2. LadyScorpio says:
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    Oh wow! Can’t believe that I’m 1st!?! That’s literally a 1st! Anyway, great article. I’ve just traded for Berrios and was interested in getting your feedback on my rest of the season chances. I’m in a 12 team, roto, mixed, 6×6 league…the ONLY female competing. I keep teetering between 1st place and 3rd. Below is my squad.

    C – Hedges
    1B – Thames
    2B – Cano
    3B – Seager
    SS – Lindor
    CI – Castellanos
    MI – Gregorious
    OF – Trout, Yelich, Reddick & Zobrist
    U – Happ & Harrison
    BN – Pham, Pederson, Dahl (DL) & Brinson (NA)
    SP – Berrios, McCullers, Fulmer, Leake, Karns, Godley & Cahill (DL)
    RP – Norris, Kintzler & Law

    Your thoughts would be MOST welcome!

    Thanks,
    LadyScorpio

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @LadyScorpio:
      Thanks for the read!

      Great to hear you’re in first, that’s awesome. This team is pretty dam stacked from an offensive standpoint, I’m going to guess that you’re leading a good amount of the hitting cats? Any team with Trout I just immediately fall in love with, but like a lot about this team honestly. I secretly like Pederson on your bench cause I really don’t think he is this bad, Pham is going to lose playing time with Piscotty back, but still viable to see what happens with Grichuk, and he’s worth a look in coors this weekend (not sure if you’re daily lock or not). Dahl is such a wild card with the COL OF, not sure where he fits in, but overall, I’m really nit picking.

      The pitching is a little wary to me though if I’m being critical, I think you have a few regression candidates and Karns/Godley going forward I don’t know if I’m going to start unless really intrigued by a matchup. A lot of people are going to tell you “This team would look great with an ace!” Well, duh, every team would, but I think you can make a smarter move to get another Fulmer/McCullers esque arm to make a little trio.

      If you’re daily lock, I would encourage some reliever streaming to get your ratios down cause if you’re going to fall out of the top three, that is probably going to be why. Otherwise, hope that McCullers/Fulmer can carry ya, try to speculate on a few closers that could take over, and don’t do a lot of the bold, stupid stuff I do (haha).

      You have a high floor here because of the stacked offense, so I think you can definitely contend. I’d be surprised if this team is out of the top half at the end of the year.

      Lemme know some of the bodies on the waiver and let’s see if we can remake that pitching staff a little!

      • LadyScorpio says:
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        @Lance: Hey Lance!
        Thanks for your reply! It’s MUCH appreciated! I also appreciate your offer to aid me in upgrading my pitching squad. I am currently in 2nd place and did lead in MOST of the offensive cats until Thames slowed down. Meanwhile, I do need to improve my SPs. Godley was merely a streaming option for today. He’s not a permanent arm for my squad.

        The following SPs are currently available in my league…
        Clevinger, Morton, Griffin, McCarthy, De La Rosa, Wheeler & Foltynewicz

        I may have to offer up a bat or 2 to get an ace. Suggestions?

        Thanks,
        LadyScorpio

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @LadyScorpio:
          Anytime!

          Good to know on Godley haha

          I like Morton a lot still, and McCarthy too. Those two jump out to me, with some interest in Clevinger. Getting those two on the squad in place of Cahill (assuming he isn’t in a DL spot? if Cahill is in a DL spot, Karns is probably teetering on the fringes for me) and Godley would be nice.

          Start poking around to see what the value is. I’d try to combo an arm and bat for an SP. With how you’re doing, I don’t think I’d be too inclined to go and get a starter (inherently riskier asset) at the expense of how good your offense is (ie giving up two, likely good bats, for an arm).

          • LadyScorpio says:
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            @Lance: Hey Lance!
            Back again with some revisions to my team…

            Revised Squad
            C – Hedges
            1B – Thames
            2B – Cano
            3B – Seager
            SS – Lindor
            CI – Castellanos
            MI – Gregorious
            OF – Trout, Yelich, Reddick & Zobrist
            U – Happ & Maybin
            BN – Harrison, Pederson, Dahl (DL) & Brinson (NA)
            SP – Berrios, McCullers, Fulmer, Leake, Morton, McCarthy & Cahill (DL)
            RP – Norris, Kintzler & Hand

            If I do trade for an Ace, whom would you recommend I trade for and trade away?

            • Lance

              Lance says:
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              @LadyScorpio:
              Ahhh haha always willing to help, but never a fan of explicitly making trades for people from scratch.

              Gotta give me something to work with, do you have a few SPs you want in mind?

              • LadyScorpio says:
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                @Lance: Sorry about that, Lance. Well, Kershaw comes to mind. The guy that has him is in last place in our 12 team roto league and he hasn’t done much with his team ALL season! Would also be interested in trading for Kluber, Darvish or Stroman. Please advise.

                • Lance

                  Lance says:
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                  @LadyScorpio:
                  No worries! Just want to make sure I’m getting you the bet advice I can instead of just running your team for ya! Haha

                  Kershaw would be unbelievable, id give up a solid package, Cano + Thames and maybe one more, but keep in mind if not Trout it’s gonna be quantity based and that means you need to replace those spots.

                  Darvish would fetch a little less, so take off Thames.

                  Stroman even less, maybe not even Thames for me.

                  Best advice would be to send a feeler over and wait for a counter if they’re at all interested.

  3. LadyScorpio says:
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    Oh wow! Can’t believe that I’m 1st!?! That’s literally a 1st! Anyway, great article. I’ve just traded for Berrios and was interested in getting your feedback on my rest of the season chances. I’m in a 12 team, roto, mixed, 6×6 league…the ONLY female competing. I keep teetering between 1st place and 3rd. Was behind in Ks and K/BB. Traded for McCullers and Berrios to aid me in those categories. Below is my squad.

    C – Hedges
    1B – Thames
    2B – Cano
    3B – Seager
    SS – Lindor
    CI – Castellanos
    MI – Gregorious
    OF – Trout, Yelich, Reddick & Zobrist
    U – Happ & Harrison
    BN – Pham, Pederson, Dahl (DL) & Brinson (NA)
    SP – Berrios, McCullers, Fulmer, Leake, Karns, Godley & Cahill (DL)
    RP – Norris, Kintzler & Law

    Your thoughts would be MOST welcome!

    Thanks,
    LadyScorpio

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @LadyScorpio:
      See above! (double posted haha)

  4. BayOfPuigs says:
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    So in a 12 team H2H points league with a 7 start limit, I’ve somehow accumulated more pitching than I need and am trying to deal to consolidate talent. Who (whom) do you think is (are) a prime candidate to move and what holes in my lineup need work? That being said, I’m currently sitting in first at 7-0 so I’m doing well, just not trying to drop any of these pitchers as I see them as easy waiver wire adds for other teams.

    C – Sanchez
    1B – Bellinger
    2B – Matt Carpenter
    3B – Bryant
    SS – Trea Turner
    OF– Judge
    OF – Conforto
    OF – CarGo
    U – Crush Davis
    BN – Adam Jones, Yonder Alonso, Dahl (DL)
    SP – Rich Hill, McCullers, Severino, Pineda, , Nola, Duffy, Wacha & Maeda (DL)
    RP – Brach & Knebel

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @BayOfPuigs:
      My initial thought with a 7 start limit league would be to consolidate starters for a better one. Package two together and try to get a top 15-20 arm. I really don’t see any holes in your offense honestly, you can obviously go for better talent, but with what you have in place, we’re talking some of the top 30 bats and those are tough to acquire.

      I wouldn’t get too fancy with it man, you’re one of the 7-0 teams that I don’t think is much of a fluke (compared to a 7-0 team that won on E. Santana, Zimm, and Thames if you see my point).

      Try to upgrade the pitching a little and coast to the playoffs

  5. Andrewm says:
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    12 team roto
    Would you give Corey Dickerson and Anthony rendon for Eric Thames? Behave moose at 3rd and pollock and cespedes on DL Id play him @1B . I have Hanley and Albert

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Andrewm:
      This is close, I’ve surprisingly been asked a lot of Dickerson questions lately and tend not to come to a strict conclusion on many of them.

      Rest of season we’re basically looking at an 8-12 HR difference between Thames and Rendon to me, rest of the stats are gonna look pretty similar. Then you add in Dickerson, whose value is relative, low avg, decent HRs.

      With the base you have, I don’t mind pulling the trigger on it because I think you’ll get Pollock back and Cespedes, which would probably squeeze Dickerson out of some starts, Thames will be an everyday guy for ya.

      It’s close for me though

  6. Ted says:
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    I got offered Bellinger for Berrios in a 10 team redraft H2H. Should I pull the trigger…?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Ted:
      Yep, I’d do that. Bellinger side for me as long as you don’t desperately need pitching

      • Ted says:
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        @Lance: Thanks for the response! This is my team. Do you think I need Belinger and can lose Berrios?

        C: JT Realmuto
        1B: Edwin Encarnacion
        2B: Rougned Odor
        3B: Evan Longoria
        SS: Carlos Correa
        OF: Mookie Betts
        OF: Michael Conforto
        OF: Matt Kemp
        Util: Marcel Ozuna
        Util: Andrew Benintendi
        Util: Corey Dickerson
        BN: Wellington Castillo
        BN: Devon Travis
        BN: Cesar Hernandez
        BN: Kevin Pillar
        DL: AJ Pollock

        SP: Justin Verlander
        SP: Carlos Carrasco
        SP: Lance McCullers
        RP: Danny Duffy
        RP: EMPTY
        P: Carlos Martinez
        P: Jeff Samardzija
        P: Alex Wood
        P: John Lackey
        P: Jose Berrios
        BN: Charlie Morton
        BN: Jon Gray

        10 team H2H redraft.
        Thanks!

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @Ted:
          Your team is pretty stacked, I like it.

          Bellinger will probably slot in over Dickerson, your staff is deep enough, even in a 10 team league to ship Berrios, he’s probably the 8-9th best SP on your team honestly

          • Ted says:
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            @Lance: Thanks! I think I’ll pull the trigger. On a side note…I thought I loved my team, but so far after today, it’s sitting in 7th place…

            • Lance

              Lance says:
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              @Ted:
              I think you’ll be ok man.

              You have E5 and Odor not playing their best, Correa got going a little late, etc.

              It’s a team like this I would be confident in to make a run going forward.

  7. Left Coast Yankee says:
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    Drop Jacoby Ellsbury for Bradley Zimmer?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @Left Coast Yankee:
      I think I’d hold Ellsbury actually.

      Zimmer has a ton more upside, but he’s K’ing a lot

      Let me know format, but I’m leaning Ellsbury cause he is going to play everyday, and will kind of provide the profile Zimmer is displaying with more consistency and much less downside.

      Ellsbury the worst player on your team too?

  8. DVas says:
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    I just saw they transferred Capps to the 60 day DL. I’ve been holding him hoping he comes back soon and becomes the closer. Should I continue to hold or is it time to drop him.

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @DVas:
      Will always depend on what you’re dropping him for, but at the moment pretty skeptical he provides any value this year, and even if he does come back, it’s the Padres and I don’t think they’re gonna be handing him a ton of save opps.

      May be more valuable to speculate on another closer are look at some ratio help (Think along the lines of Swarzak, etc). His stats are much more valuable that Capps’ dead weight

    • Beware the Shit Rope says:
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      @DVas: he’s dead to anybody except those that want to use a DL or worse-active slot on a guy who’s probably not useful till late july at the earliest. that being said if you aren’t trying to win in a saves/holds dynasty esp deep i’d still hold. i recently dropped him in numerous leagues, my most hesitant was a 16 team dynasty with those parameters (and k/9, k/BB) where i have all of kimbrel/j.smith/knebel/neris/rivero/baez and n.jones in DL slot still. it is arguable to have kept capps over n.jones.

  9. asdfasdf says:
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    Hi, would you start Kolten Wong or Logan Forsythe this week? Forsythe is just coming off the DL but Wong is dealing with some elbow discomfort. Thanks

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @asdfasdf:
      Little murky on what exactly is wrong with Wong, Matheny said everything came back clean but he didn’t play Sunday.

      There is more upside with Wong cause he goes to Coors, but if you want the guaranteed playing time, take Forsythe.

      I’d tend to go with the safer bet in this case and lean Forsythe

      • asdfasdf says:
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        @Lance: Oh all right, thanks Lance! I think you’re right, I will go with Forsythe.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @asdfasdf:
          Best of luck

  10. ROTO OVERLORD says:
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    Trade Berrios?!?! Great article, what do you think he fetches in a return? his fip being so low still makes him valuable, what is the streamer basing his mediocre ROS projections on? His last two seasons?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @ROTO OVERLORD:
      I think it’s basing it more off the first game, FIP usually doesn’t like balls in play too much, and Berrios only K’d 4 in that one.

      Keep in mind, we only have two games to work off of here, and one of them featured a pretty different approach as I talk about above. It’s really tough at the moment to look at any advanced metrics with Berrios for purely this season and assume anything moving forward because none of his peripherals are really stable yet. That is why think this start in BAL is going to have big implications for my expectations of him.

      He could fetch a range of things, as usual, it’s all about the buyer.

      Above in these comments somebody got Springer back. That’s a huge overpay by the individual who gave up Springer imo, I think he can fetch SP3 value, but a mroe tantilizing move may be to go after a DL’d pitcher and see if somebody will bite (Think along the lines of Paxton, Taillon – who seems to be progressing well, or recently activated Nola).

      • ROTO OVERLORD says:
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        @Lance: interesting…when do you thinkTailion returns and that springer trade is ridiculous….would you start him in BAL?

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @ROTO OVERLORD:
          I’m gonna sit Berrios in BAL, much more inclined to start if you’re in a H2H weekly format league though (points, cats)

          And that was a crazy one haha

          I didn’t think we’d see Taillon again this year, but it seems a little more optimistic. He’s definitely a long shot play compared to the others I mention, I probably came off as too strong on implying he’ll be back soon above, my apologies, especially with how many DL’d SPs everybody seems to have he’s probably one of fringe ‘hold on to’ kind of arms, but keep an eye on him. I’ll optimistically say July, but really no idea.

  11. MW says:
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    Thanks for the write up!! I felt pretty lucky to snag Berrios in my roto league, I may start shopping him as I could dearly use some power hitters…

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @MW:
      Go for it!

      That BAL start, as I mention will do a lot to swing his value one way or another, I’ll be watching closely.

      Good snag regardless, can’t be disappointed by that 11 K showing, always nice to get that from a waiver guy if you started him for it.

      • MW says:
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        @Lance: Yeah the BAL start will be huge for trade value… we’ll see! I did indeed start him v COL, was very pleased with that haha.

  12. DISRESPECT says:
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    I got this offer in a head to head 14 team dynasty points league. I send Cody Bellinger/Jason Groome/Reynaldo Lopez and get back Zack Greinke and a 2nd round pick. I am in the middle of the pack and trying to make a run up the rankings. Would you do this?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @DISRESPECT:
      Close, but I think I’d hold unless you’re extremely confident in Greinke being the difference between the middle of the pack and the top. By you saying that you’re in the middle of the pack and trying to make a run, I’m not convinced that you’ll contend this season, or mroe importantly, that Grienke alone will help you contend. Therefore I’m looking at 2018 value for this trade.

      Bellinger is a solid, and I think Lopez has a pretty decent floor, should provide a bit of value in 2018. Groome is a ways off, so he’s basically a lottery ticket.

      Essentially Bellinger/Lopez/Lotto for Grienke, and I think I’m gonna hold the bat and Lopez

  13. DISRESPECT says:
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    Thank you for taking the time to type out that response, it sure is helpful. If I could somehow get him to trade Bellinger and Lopez only, does that change things for you?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @DISRESPECT:
      Groome is a really big upside play here, long term, wouldn’t expect to see him until 2019 at the earliest, so his value, in or out of the trade, is really relative to the contention window.

      It would make me more inclined to do it, sure, just cause you get to hold the long term upside asset.

      Greinke also dealt last night, interested to see if that alters this owner’s value on him

  14. DISRESPECT says:
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    Thanks once again for the great response. Sadly, he turned it down, but sent his final offer. He sent his Greinke for my Berrios and Bellinger. This one seems like alot to me, but what do you think?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @DISRESPECT:
      Anytime man,

      If you ever need any opinions and have twitter, shoot me a follow @LanceBrozdow

      Berrios is definitely a tick up from Bellinger, would’ve preferred the other package you were giving up.

      Keep in mind again that I’m coming at this deal from the perspective of you having a fringe shot at contending. If you’re confident that Greinke is the move that can push you over the edge, I wouldn’t fault you for pulling the trigger. Often more fun in dynasty leagues to try and win now, than play for the future.

      Sorry if that’s confusing, but lot of deals in dynasty have two sides to the coin, where as with redraft it’s a lot more binary (good deal vs bad deal)

  15. KWreck says:
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    Any change in thoughs on Berrios after his good start in Baltimore? I’m in desperate need of a solid starter, having lost Paxton, Taillon, and Syndergaard to injuries. Put in a few offers for Berrios, including Eugenio Suarez, Travis Shaw, and Joey Gallo. But the other owner is insisting on Encarnacion.

    Encarnacion is the lowest ranked of my corner infielders, but has the best track record and seems to be bouncing back. Would you consider this trade? Am I crazy for thinking about it, given we’re only working with a three start sample size for Berrios?

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @KWreck:
      Yes, I think it is pretty insane to consider E5 for Berrios.

      It’s not close at all, E5 all the way. The only saying he’ll only take E5 is just stupid, I would entertain some of the other 3Bs you’re talking about if you really need the SP, but otherwise man, I’d want an ace for E5, Berrios isn’t an ace.

      I unfortunately didn’t get to watch the start as it was a day game, but want to check out the BrooksBaseball data when I get a chance to see some peripherals.

      He pitched well, which is very encouraging, the Ks were there, but I think a combo of this and the first start are what we’re going to get. Looks like he’ll be working deep into games, definitely has found his stride, I think 2016 majors stint was a complete anomaly, but I still just don’t trust the Ks to stay above 9 K/9 unless the curveball usage is high – and am interested to see what the mix was whenever BrooksBaseball gets the data up.

      If you want, shoot me a tweet or DM on Twitter tomorrow sometime and I can give my thoughts, but want to check the Brooks Baseball data before assuming anything!

      • KWreck says:
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        @Lance: Thanks for talking me off the ledge on this one! Super helpful.

        • Lance

          Lance says:
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          @KWreck:
          Anytime!

  16. MW says:
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    After the start @BAL today I sort of want to stick with Berrios now…

    • Lance

      Lance says:
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      @MW:
      No issue in riding him out!

      Trades with players like this, just starting to bud, are always tough to gauge.

      If you’re pulling the trigger, make sure you’re happy with the value back.

      • MW says:
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        @Lance: Thanks dude!

Comments are closed.