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RotoGraphs Mailbag – 5/29/09

Haven’t seen a mailbag since the 14th and wanted to get your thoughts on this.

I am in a 12 team (2 division) mixed H2H league with 10 starters (normal position players and 2 utility spots) that scores 14 categories, 7 of which are offensive (R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, SLG, OBP). We have four keepers. Roster sizes are 30 players per team.

Is it wise to deal Sizemore to an out of division opponent for R. Zimmerman and J. Upton? I have a decent outfield absent Sizemore with Pence, Ludwick and Bruce in my rotation. Aramis Ramirez is my (injured) 3B and I have been using Andy LaRoche and Scutaro there in the meantime. I have two rock-solid keepers in Reyes and Pujols and intriguing options for the remaining two spots should I deal Sizemore (potentials include A. Gonzalez, Bruce, the two players I am receiving).

My team is current in 4th overall and considering injuries and performances of some starters figures to only get better.

Thanks, Big Oil

Thanks for the question, and since readership has been high for these, we will continue to do them.

My initial response is that I don’t like the deal. If you only keep four, you always want to consolidate your keeper talent. That much is probably not news to you, but Grady Sizemore blend of speed and power is matched by only a handful of players. Owning him puts you ahead of the game because you don’t need to pick a speed-only guy high in the draft – if at all.

Upon a closer review, I can see the enticement. Your current third basemen are not up to snuff in a mixed league, and though you are competing now, you may fall behind without Aramis Ramirez and his considerable production at the hot corner. I don’t fault you for looking for a better option at third base, not at all.

However, I still go with ‘no,’ even after more reflection. I don’t want you to keep a second 1B (Adrian Gonzalez is good, but first base is a deep position), and Jay Bruce and Justin Upton are exciting players that probably won’t steal like Sizemore. Upton is close, as he is on pace for over 15 stolen bases this year and has always shown good speed in the minors.

But speed is not his game like Sizemore’s. Consider that Sizemore stole 96 bases in the minors (in 529 games) while Upton totaled 36 in 231 games. Er, that was a suprising statistic. Guess it makes sense that Upton’s four-component speed score of 6.7 this year would better Sizemore’s since 2006.

Hmmm. On second thought, fly that flag. Go for the win and do the trade. Upton looks like a good consolation prize right now, and at 21 is coming into his own. You can deal your surplus 3B at the end of the year if you want to consolidate keepers.

In a 12 team mixed league, I have a staff of Sabathia, Chamberlain, Greinke, Kershaw, Porcello, Maholm, and Sonnanstine. I am going with 2 closers and am using Joba’s RP status to plug in an extra starter. I also had Kawakami on my bench, but dumped him and someone else scooped him up. I am growing impatient with Sonny and am wondering if I should cut bait and pick up someone else. I am near the top of ERA, WHIP, Wins, but could use more Ks and could go back to 3 true RPs. Any thoughts?

Thanks! K.G.

Andy Sonnanstine shouldn’t be owned in most formats. Seriously, I took a longer look at his stats than I deemed necessary, and I still didn’t see anything I liked.

His mediocre stuff just holds him back. While he’s still not walking too many to be productive (2.92 per nine), he’s still not striking out enough to really matter (5.29 K/9). How is he going to strike people out with an 87 MPH fastball, an 87 MPH cutter, a 77 MPH slider, and a 74 MPH curveball? That’s just too many pitches at the same speed with similar movement.

Look at this chart for his vertical movement. You can see why he’s suddenly using his cutter more, because it’s the only one that moves differently on the vertical plane. Consider that his cutter used to move less, and the possibility of a regression to an already-unattractive mean is not a happy thought.

Sonnanstine is a decent number four or five in real life baseball, just on the basis of his stinginess with the walks. That shouldn’t be too attractive in fantasy baseball. Go find a reliever that might get you some saves. (Oh and trade Paul Maholm high, because he’s got too much in common with Sonnanstine to get comfortable with him.)

Our email address for this feature is rotographs+mailbag@fangraphs.com, so send in your questions! Remember to try to give us all relevant information in the fewest words possible, and you’ll be all set.