Today we're going to look at a series of players and ask the knights which they would prefer for the rest of the season. Sometimes it's as important to consider the reason as it is the result so the same line of thinking can be applied to similar situations later in the season.
Evan Gattis or John Buck
Fernandez: tantalizing ... enough?
Perry Van Hook: Before Travis d'Arnaud broke his foot I would have said Gattis, but now I would choose Buck as he will have at least two full months of playing time, maybe more, while Gattis will go to part time duty (but still play 2-3 games per week) when Brian McCann returns.
Brian Walton: Gattis since I will take talent over playing time. Plus, I think the Braves will find a way to keep getting Gattis in the lineup even after McCann's return.
Tim Heaney: Three starts a week, at some position, with Gattis' power at a second catcher spot should be gold, yet I think there's a sound chance that Buck keeps up a percentage of what he's doing, and his playing nearly every day tips the scales in his favor. We talk about late bloomers all the time at catcher, but when someone displays such a breakthrough, we typically write it off. And Buck has always carried pop. Sure, his HR/FB rate is sky-high and will come down, but the vet is displaying more patience (not necessarily via walks, but rate of swings). Plus, he hits well at Citi Field, where righty power has seen a renaissance since they redid the dimensions.
Nicholas Minnix: I might be content with Buck if I'm confident in the rest of my bats because he should hit another 10 or 13 bombs, even if he bats .225, in 350 ABs the rest of the way. I'm sure the Bravos will try to find ways to fit Gattis in there, but if they're healthy, where Gattis fits is in doubt. I'm not sure how good he is defensively elsewhere. Freddie Freeman and the outfielders are everyday players, for (mostly) better or (rarely) worse. I don't think this is an easy choice.
Lawr Michaels: I agree with Perry, Buck since playing time for Gattis is a question in the future.
Ryan Carey: Tough call here, but I am going to go with Gattis. We've likely seen the best Buck is going to give us this year and I'd rather take the chance that Gattis continues to emerge. Jason Heyward's surgery gives him another two weeks of consistent playing time, even after McCann returns.
Todd Zola: I'll take Gattis mostly on the speculation that McCann has another health issue at some point. Buck has had stretches like this before, as well as stints where he struggles.
WINNER: Buck 4-3
Andrew Bailey or Edward Mujica
PVH: Bailey. I don't really think Mujica can hold the job.
BW: Bailey: Although neither one gets my blood boiling.
TH: Bailey, though I'm developing more faith in Mujica than most have. Mujica's K/9, while not outstanding, remains above-average, and he's boasted pristine walk rates. However, I think Trevor Rosenthal is only a few adjustments away from sniping the role should Mujica stumble; he may not even have to lose the gig -- maybe they'll just shift preferences later in the year if Jason Motte remains shelved. The only thing keeping Bailey out of the role, in my opinion, even when Joel Hanrahan returns, is health, and though Bailey has a spotty history there and Boston has ample alternatives, you gotta run with the track record first if you can't own both.
NM: Bailey's skills are superior to Mujica's, so there isn't much question here for me. The Cardinals' situation smells far worse than Boston's. You're at the mercy of Bailey's health history, but at least it's probably almost solely up to him. I didn't have much confidence in Joel Hanrahan coming into 2013, so don't see a reason to reverse course.
LM: Bailey is pitching pretty well right now as the Boston closer, and I don't think that much of Mujica. I do keep thinking "Trevor Rosenthal, Trevor Rosenthal" in that case, but I am also now fearing my man-crush on Trevor may be as frustrating as Jason Grey's like-fixation with Austin Kearns.
RC: I think Bailey is pitching pretty well right now and I think of the two he has the better chance to take the job and run with it. I just don't see the Cards sticking with Mujica long-term.
TZ: I'm going with Bailey with the addendum that I don't think we've seen the last of Hanrahan at closer. I also suspect that Mujica is just a placeholder until the inevitable announcement that Jason Motte is out for the season. On the off-chance Motte is able to return, it's easier that he displace Mujica than Rosenthal. I agree with those speculating that Rosenthal usurps the job.
WINNER: Bailey 7-0
Fernandez vs. Rodriguez, Nava vs. Wells
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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