Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Ryan Braun or Matt Kemp, more

by Todd Zola, on July 24, 2013 @ 13:44:05 PDT


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While Ryan Braun dominated the news the past Monday, there were several other items that will have a major fantasy impact. I asked the Knights to help sort it out, quick-hit style.

Mark Melancon or Brad Ziegler?

Pittsburgh Pirates RP Mark Melancon
Mark of a closer?

Ryan Carey: Mark Melancon -- Wow, I didn't think I would be putting the whammy on Jason Grilli by tabbing him last week as the pitcher I thought would regress. I cited the injury history, and it sure looks like an elbow injury, which we all know could mean season-ending injury. (Ed. Note: Diagnosis wound up being a strained forearm.) Melancon is having a great season and has less competition for the job than Ziegler does, so I think that's the play here.

Perry Van Hook: Melancon clearly has the job in Pittsburgh (obviously the Pirates could trade for someone, but with the bullpen success this year I don't see that), while I still think we will see more of J.J. Putz this year (as well as Heath Bell).

Tim Heaney: I believe in Ziegler more than most others do. Managers don't always follow the profile for tabbing saviors that we fantasy analysts set, and if a pitcher is effective at a certain skill, he can trump the preconceived notions we set. Ziegler leads all RPs in GB% over the last one-plus seasons; if there's any extreme offbeat trait that could help him overcome not throwing 95, that's it. That being said, Melancon has a slightly better track on the job IF the Buccos don't seek outside help with Grilli on the DL and he remains sidelined indefinitely. Plus, J.J. Putz should make a push for the role again come September; they may end up wanting a familiar face in there heading to the postseason. I'll play it safe with the circumstances provided to me now and say Melancon, but it's closer than most are making it out to be.

Lawr Michaels: Ziegler because he keeps the ball down.

Todd Zola: I agree with the sentiment that Ziegler is a better pitcher than some may perceive, but I don't like the sound of the Grilli situation thus will roll the dice that Melancon has an extended stint at closer.

Jake Marisnick or Christian Yelich?

RC: Christian Yelich has the better pedigree, and I think he will make the smoother and quicker transition to the big leagues. Marisnick is the lay if you need a speed boost, but I think will find himself platooning more often out of the two for the Marlins.

PVH: I like Yelich more long-term but would take Marisnick this year for the power-speed blend. Both will play every day with Marcell Ozuna sent down IF they adapt well.

TH: I speculated on Yelich this past weekend in mixed Tout, so I'm wont to say him. Marisnick is further along in his growth ladder but doesn't have the tools Yelich has to make an impact. Marisnick depends more on PT and, as Ryan noted, could suffer there.

LM: Yelich because how could you not?

TZ: I'll offer Lawr a reason why Marisnick may be the better option for this season, though I'm with Perry and like Yelich more long term. Long story short is Marisnick displayed superior contact skills in Double-A, and while anything can happen in the short term, I'll take the player more likely to put the ball in play. Marisnick has a similar power-speed profile so the upside is there as well. For those that want to point at the wonderful debut of Yelich, I have two words for you: Nolan Arenado.

Brandon Beachy or Michael Pineda?

RC: I will go with Beachy over enigmatic Pineda. Recovery from elbow injuries tend to go more smoothly than those to the shoulder. I'll give Beachy another point just for being in the NL. Pineda also will have a lot more pressure to justify the big trade that brought him over, and we have plenty of examples of pitchers who have wilted under the NY media microscope. My expectations for Pineda's success this season are much lower than Beachy's.

PVH: Beachy up sooner and with more impact (assuming the Braves move Kris Medlen back to the bullpen which seems likely).

TH: If Atlanta opens up a spot, Beachy. Not sure the Yanks will call on Pineda as a SP, especially if David Phelps can return and they can't trade Phil Hughes, as they might want Pineda to get back in shape on the farm in low-pressure spots. I typically side with the NL guy if circumstances are nearly equal.

LM: Ugh. Do I have too? Beachy.

TZ: I'll be the contrarian here and say Pineda mainly because I am leaning to the scenario where Atlanta puts Beachy in the 'pen and the Yankees are forced to use Pineda in the rotation. That said, I'm with Lawr - ugh.

Lake-Urrutia, Kemp-Braun....

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About Todd Zola,

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, 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 and, 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. Fantasy Baseball

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