Lord Zola's Fantasy Baseball Mailbag: Brian Roberts, Adam Dunn, more

by Todd Zola, MastersBall.com on July 18, 2011 @ 10:09:44 PDT


It is no longer "still early." Time for patience is running out. We are past the halfway point and it is time to make your move and we are here to help. All you have to do is send your question to lordzola@kffl.com, post it on the KFFL Baseball Facebook page or via Twitter by following @KFFL_Baseball.

I drafted Brian Roberts as my second baseman but he's been out for most of the year. Is it time to drop him and if yes, who should I try to replace him with? - Lee Melanson

Well Lee, hopefully you have been using someone in his stead as Roberts recovers from his concussion. The good news is the feisty second baseman has been cleared to resume baseball activities. The bad news is no timetable for his return has been set and the Baltimore Orioles are likely to be careful with Roberts as he is signed through 2013 at 10 million per year.

New York Mets RP Jason Isringhausen
Izzy the closer?

In theory, you can use that roster spot for any position, but I will suggest a few possible second basemen that could be available and useful. Carlos Guillen has returned for the Detroit Tigers. When healthy, Guillen is still a decent hitter, he just cannot stay on the field. But if you need a short term boost in power, he could provide it before he gets hurt again. Jeff Keppinger is a guy that has recently returned from a lengthy injury and is looking like he wants to make up for lost time. He will not hurt your average and will chip in with the occasional homer. The top of the Houston order is not that bad, but compared to some other clubs, his run production will be tempered. But if you need steady at bats with a solid average, check out Keppinger. Chris Getz is quietly having a nice season if you need a few steals. He has weathered the promotion of both Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas while Mike Aviles is toiling on the farm. Getz has no power, but has swiped 17 bags in 22 chances. Chances are he was picked up after his hot start in Colorado, but Mark Ellis has taken a liking to the Senior Circuit.

Will Adam Dunn ever be worth anything? I just dropped him and am hoping I didn't make a mistake. - Jeremy Gibbs

Readers of this space all season likely realize I am a numbers guy. I like to look at the underlying stats and use history as my guide to determine a range of possible performance outcomes and decide on what I feel is most likely. But sometimes you have to use the small test and the stench coming from Dunn is not at all pleasant.

History says Dunn will get hot and start knocking the ball out of the yard. But my eyes and gut tell there is something going on. Maybe Dunn came back too soon from his appendectomy or perhaps not playing the field has impacted him mentally. Regardless of the reason, Dunn looks completely out of sorts, especially against southpaws.

By the numbers, his walk rate is still very good but his already high strikeout rate is elevated. He is hitting more fly balls than usual, but his HR/FB has fallen off the table. And I just do not see signs of a turnaround.

Lord Zola, how do you think the bullpens for the Minnesota Twins, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers will flesh out? - Joe Richards

Ah, the chase for the cheap save. Here is my take, with the disclaimer that this is my personal reading of the tea leaves. Ultimately, your guess is as good as mine.

Joe Nathan looks to be the primary closer for the Twins with Glen Perkins, who is thriving in relief, assuming the eighth inning role. Keeping in mind Perkins is a lefty and Ron Gardenhire used him to clean up a couple of Matt Capps' messes, it would not shock me if Perkins picked up a handful of saves, including on nights following a lengthy outing by Nathan. If you use middle relievers primarily to protect your ratios, Perkins is a nice choice because he may also chip in with some vulture saves. If he remains healthy, I expect Nathan to hold the closer gig the rest of the season.

The situation with the Mets is a little curious as Bobby Parnell is clearly the future, but at least for now, Jason Isringhausen has called shotgun. Some feel the Mets are trying to build up his trade value, some feel they are trying to get him 7 more saves bringing his career total to 300 and some simply feel Terry Collins prefers a veteran to handle the pressure. While everyone else was snatching Parnell, I opted for Isringhausen though I suspect his reign will be short-lived but he came cheaper than Parnell and could pick up a handful of saves prior to being dealt. Parnell reminds me a little of Brian Wilson, David Aardsma, Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Hanrahan - you know, guys that walk too many to be successful closers, he says tongue firmly implanted in cheek.

To be fair, Joe sent his question in before the Brewers situation cleared up a little over the weekend. John Axford continued his usual ninth inning duties while the newly acquired Francisco Rodriguez set him up, vulturing a win along the way. This is how I expect things to unfold, even with the well-publicized waiving of the games finished clause in K-Rod's contract. Chances are Rodriguez will pick up a handful of saves, but the lion's share should remain Axford's.

When Todd is not trolling for saves, you can you can find him hanging out on the forum at Mastersball.

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About Todd Zola, MastersBall.com

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for fantasybaseball.com, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at MLB.com and SI.com, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums.

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