Jose Fernandez or Wandy Rodriguez
Nava preferred 2-1
PVH: On ability you might think Fernandez but in this case Wandy plays for the better team. Plus Fernandez will be capped at 150-170 innings this year.
BW: Again, I will go with the talent. Even with an innings cap, Fernandez's results should be solid.
TH: I'd rather control Fernandez's upside than Wandy's reliability, because you can find more people like Wandy in mixed leagues. Fernandez could be outstanding for the majority of a season. Wandy doesn't have that base.
NM: Which one earns more from here on out? Both are probably going to experience occasional disasters. I don't think Wandy's strikeouts are coming back, so Fernandez makes up some of the edge in projected W's you could attach to Rodriguez. I don't think this one is easy, either. PNC Park's dimensions could mean a 0.5, 0.6 or 0.7 HR/9 for Rodriguez. I tend to opt for K's, though, so I'd probably take Fernandez.
LM: I love Fernandez, but this year, gotta be Wandy.
RC: Fernandez's raw ability is very enticing, and for me I would rather take a chance on getting in on the upside than playing it safe with Rodriguez. Wandy has been stellar to stat the year, but remember, he's never been much of a road warrior. This week's tilt in Philadelphia could illustrate that frustrating point in spades.
TZ: This is the exact scenario that has me flummoxed as a player. My usual answer would mirror Perry and Lawr, but I am warming to the notion that sometimes you need to bet on the come, regardless of what the probabilities and history suggests. To that end, while ultimately the decision is contextual, I'll take Fernandez.
WINNER: Fernandez 5-2
Vernon Wells or Daniel Nava
PVH: Wells might have straightened out his swing, but what happens when Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira come back? I think he goes to part time and I will take Nava.
BW: I will take option C.
TH: I believe in the changes made by the seasoned Wells more than the 30-year-old Nava's statistical run, but both have dodgy mixed value as is due to the moving lineup pieces for both squads.
NM: I'd take Wells. I know some of the info given for his turnaround. He's a good athlete, a talented baseball player in a pretty good environment for fantasy production. Nava is in a decent run environment, but he's cooled tremendously after previous hot streaks. The PT opportunities will be there for both, perhaps unpredictably and intermittently, but the health or age of players ahead of them (or soon to be ahead of them) is always a little in doubt. I've seen Wells have MVP-caliber seasons and believe, at 34, he still has a great enough portion of that ability in there to be a contributor whenever he gets his. I can't say that about an overachiever like Nava.
LM: Nava - Wells is hot. But, like it or not, he is simply not that good. He just seemed it.
RC: I think this one comes down to need. In the short-term, if I am looking for a little more pop, than I am going with Wells. If I want a more balanced player who won't hurt my batting average, then I like Nava. I am not sure either player is a long-term answer, but I think Nava has a better chance to stay in the lineup close to full time all year long than Wells does.
TZ: The real question is which player has a better chance of full time, or at least platoon at bats. Nava is on the good side of a platoon so that's a plus. He's also a better defender than Jonny Gomes and I'm not convinced David Ortiz is back for good which clears DH time for Gomes. On the other hand, Wells will sit once Granderson is back and may see some time at DH, but so long as Travis Hafner is healthy, Wells will only see spotty time when a tough lefty is on the hill. With the caveat that Hafner is not a bastion of health, I'll take Nava on the speculation he plays more going forward.
WINNER: Nava 4-2-1
Lord Zola's Wrap-Up
As suggested, each choice had an underlying decision as well as simply comparing the players.
Gattis versus Buck was a matter of playing time as well as deciding which player had the better chance of keeping up his hot start: a grizzled veteran or an up-and-comer. The prevailing opinion was to go with the youth. Buck is what he is (though Tim may disagree).
Bailey versus Mujica involved looking at the team's situations along with the relative skills. While in general I adhere to the mantra coined by colleague Ron Shandler -- draft skills not roles -- there are times where I make an exception for a closer.
Fernandez versus Rodriguez is the classic battle of up-and-coming versus tried-and-true. Though the composition of the bulk of the staff is integral to the decision, I am warming to the notion that there are times you need to choose the upside, even if the odds are less than 50/50 it manifests.
Nava versus Wells is just a matter of reading tea leaves, something we all have to do on occasion. This was an interesting comparison since the difference could very well be the fact Nava is a switch hitter and Wells is a righty.
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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