MLB fantasy mailbag: Trout's superstar potential can't be ignored
Despite starting in minors, Mike Trout is second in AL in hitting and first in steals
Dexter Fowler has been in and out of Rockies lineup because of .216 June average
Anthony Rizzo has been hot in minors but hit .150 in 2011 call-up with Padres
I'm Ray Flowers, co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Each week I'll be here answering questions that have been sent to me at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.
Give up R.A. Dickey to get Mike Tout in 12-team roto league?
I recently spoke about Dickey in my Around the Horn video. If you don't want to take the time to watch my ugly mug talk about him, here are the highlights of what I talked about.
Dickey has allowed one run in five starts.
He's hurled 42.2 innings without allowing an earned run.
He's also made five-straight starts with at least eight Ks and no earned runs allowed, and that is the longest such streak in the history of the game.
His 11 wins lead baseball.
His 2.00 ERA is the best in baseball (tied with the Tommy John surgery headed Brandon Beachy).
He's second in the NL with 103 strikeouts.
You can make a valid argument that Dickey has been the best pitcher in fantasy baseball this year. The fact that he has done that throwing a knuckleball 86 percent of the time simply boggles the mind, akin to me discovering how to time travel and have Izabel Goulart fall in love with me on the same day ridiculous.
Trout has been a dominating force in the fantasy game, and as I pointed out in the video link above, he may be the best player in fantasy baseball since he was called up. Currently hitting .338, second in the AL, and leading the circuit with 19 steals, here is the pace that Trout is on if he were to rack up 600 at-bats this season: .338-18-86-123-58. Those are insanely good numbers, so good, in fact that the five-some of figures has never been posted in one season by one player in the history of baseball.
Which player will keep up their historic pace? I think it's safe to say neither.
Which player would I rather have? I'd go with Trout. Every person that has ever seen Trout play has thought to themselves "this guy is a superstar." Hell, Dickey's family has never even thought that once.
Cody Ross or Dexter Fowler rest of season?
You have to love the East Coast and how it causes people to lose their minds (I write that while listening to Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys by the way). Somehow, people have been brainwashed into thinking that Ross is a must add player in 12-team leagues. Even if you're starting five outfielders, Ross is nothing more than a depth play. The last time Ross hit .275 was in an abbreviated 2007. The last time he hit 15 homers was '09. In a career that began in '03 he has one season with 75 RBI (90 back in '09). He's stolen more than six bases one time (nine in '10). What in that history lesson suggests that Ross is a lock to start everyday in a fantasy lineup?"But Ray, he's socked nine homers with 25 RBIs in just 39 games this year." So what. What's done is done, and he isn't going to maintain that pace. He's striking out at a career worst rate (25.0 percent), isn't going to keep a HR/F ratio of 21 percent after failing to reach even 15 percent the past four seasons, and he's hitting .271 with zero steals.
Fowler has been in an out of the lineup a bit recently, and you can't blame the Rockies for that given that he's hitting .216 in June. Still, this is the guy you want here. Fowler may never live up to expectations given that consistency has always eluded him. He's hit just .169 with one homer on the road this season, continuing a career trend of struggles away from Coors (career .876 OPS at home and .678 on the road), but he's the better talent and he has the more dynamic skill set. You can find 18-homer, 70-RBI guys on the waiver wire, but good luck find a guy who could go 15/15 while scoring 75 runs and knocking in 75 (Fowler is on pace for an effort of .264-19-75-85-17).
Assuming Kevin Youkilis gets traded and Anthony Rizzo is called up. Points league: Rizzo or Will Middlebrooks?
I don't ever recall a career .141 hitter with less than 50 games of big league experience drawing this much attention. Look, I know that Rizzo has elite talent and everyone is gaga over his potential, but what on Earth did he do last year besides being the worst hitter in baseball when he was with the Padres? Rizzo produced one of five seasons in the 21st century of a batter hitting under .150 in 150 plate appearances or more (J.R. Towles, Brandon Wood, Michael Saunders and Jason LaRue re the others). "But Ray, Rizzo is killing it in the minors this season." News flash, everyone, he killed it last year in the minors, too, despite his catastrophic failure with the Padres.
2011 (Triple-A): .331-26-101 with a 1.056 OPS in 93 games
Does that mean that he will have immediate success when the Cubs call him up this time around since he's been even better this year in the minors?
2012 (Triple-A): .360-23-59 with a 1.115 OPS in 64 games
I'll remind you of these facts.
Chris Davis has hit .337 with a 1.006 OPS in Triple A over four years with an average of 28 homers and 106 RBIs per 500 at-bats. Did he have immediate success in the big leagues? Of course not.
Alex Gordon was the Minor League Player of the Year in '06 after hitting .325 with 29 homers, 101 RBI, 111 runs and 22 steals in just 130 games. Did he have immediate success in the big leagues? Of course not.
Paul Konerko was the No. 2 prospect in baseball in 1998 after hitting .323 with 37 homers, 127 RBI and 97 runs in 130 minor league games in '97. He hit .214 with seven homers in his first 224 big league at-bats.
The bottom line is that the path to success isn't always smooth and linear. I'd take Middlebrooks, who continues to impress, has had success at the big league level (.303-7-27 with a .863 OPS in 37 games), and plays third base, a thin position.
Is Dillon Gee worth a pickup 12 team league?
Of course, it would depend on your current pitching staff, but Gee is one of those guys floating around on waiver wires in a lot of 12-team mixed leagues, and he's a great guy to target if you're in need of a boost on the hill.
On the surface Gee has a 4.27 ERA and a 5-3 record. Yippee, right? But look beneath that and you see a guy who is gaining momentum. Over his last seven starts he's pitched at least six innings without allowing more than three earned runs every time (that's seven-straight "quality starts"). Over his last five outings he's only walked nine batters. Over his last six outings he's struck out 40 batters. On the year he owns an 8.24 K/9 mark and his BB/9 rate is 2.48, leading to an impressive 3.32 K/BB ratio. He's also generating plenty of grounders from batters with a 53 percent ground ball rate, leading to a 1.94 GB/FB ratio. If you have a K/BB ratio over 3.30 and your GB/FB ratio is over 1.90 you are going to have a ton of long-term success. A ton.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87 from 5-8 PM EDT, Monday through Friday. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.