Fantasy mailbag: Lilly, Kemp, Quentin

Tim Dierkes runs a daily fantasy baseball blog called RotoAuthority. If you enjoy this column, check it out.

Time for another look at the fantasy mailbag. Feel free to send a question for next week to
(but please, nothing specific to your fantasy team). The questions were excellent this week, by the way.

To those of us who lost out on Johnny Cueto, who are some starters we should be expecting to appear on waivers later this season?

Clayton Kershaw comes to mind, though he may come up before September only if the Dodgers get desperate. Let’s not give up on Homer Bailey, who turns 22 in May and started strong in Triple-A. The Angels’ Nick Adenhart is a strong candidate to get a look. Others: Gio Gonzalez of the A’s, Adam Miller of the Indians, Luke Hochevar of the Royals, Max Scherzer of the D’Backs, Justin Masterson of the Red Sox, Eric Hurley of the Rangers and Sean Gallagher of the Cubs.

Last week, you did a post on who to drop in order to pick up Johnny Cueto. Along those lines, should I drop Ted Lilly after his abysmal start to pick up Edinson Volquez?

I have been grappling with similar decisions myself, as I own Lilly in two leagues. Volquez is not enough of a sure thing to justify dropping Lilly. Volquez is a more interesting pitcher with more upside, and my itchy trigger finger wants to cut Lilly. But really, any pitcher can have two crappy starts. Even throwing out his first month in the NL last year, Lilly has shown he can be a low-WHIP, low 4.00s ERA guy with decent Ks and double-digit wins. Lilly strung together two bad starts in ’07, too. He recovered. I might sit him against Philly next time out, but it’s too early to cut bait.

Can we forget about Mark Lowe getting any more save opportunities now? I need to add another hitter to be in the lineup when my guys are sitting out. In relief I have Corpas, Qualls, Speier and Lowe. Do you think I should keep Lowe or should I stick it out and just take an empty spot in the lineup? I’m in an unlimited transaction league.

Sounds like a fairly poorly constructed team. I’m not going to analyze it specifically—that’s your job! But Lowe seems more likely to get saves than Qualls right now. John McLaren’s use of Ryan Rowland-Smith Tuesday night was a lefty-lefty match-up thing. Lowe’s still the best bet in Seattle, though that isn’t saying much. Qualls remains behind Brandon Lyon and Tony Pena.

Jeff Francis. What should I think after his first two starts? Is he suffering a World Series hangover? Or should things pick up?

The mistake was drafting Francis in the first place. He typically went in the 13th round and there were many better pitchers available at that point. Francis’ main appeal in a 12-team mixed league is wins, always an unreliable stat. From Day 1 he projected for a 4.39 ERA and 1.39 WHIP; I’d expect something like that from here on out. I do agree that his 33-inning increase from ’07 to ’06 gives him extra injury risk.

As of now, I dropped Matt Kemp for Edinson Volquez for his first start. Is Kemp a type of player I should pick back up; do you think he can be that five-tool player he should be?

I wouldn’t have made that move; I still believe in Kemp despite a 6-for-22 start. That’s less than five percent of the season, and if it happened in June you’d never notice. I expect the talent to win out and for Kemp to get 500 ABs. He still should help in all categories.

With Jorge Posada possibly heading to the DL, is Jose Molina a valid replacement in a standard mixed-league using two starting catchers? If not, which of the waiver wire suspects (Josh Bard, Paul Bako, John Buck, Shawn Riggans) would you recommend?
—Crafty Lefty

Bard’s not a bad pick; he should play a lot given Michael Barrett’s injury. Molina is not a valid choice. Otherwise I’d lean toward Buck. Gerald Laird is a decent pick, if he’s out there. In one 12-team mixed league of mine (15 transactions a year), Ryan Doumit was still available.

Carlos Quentin. I know last season he was a possible sleeper to hit 30 homers. Now he’s with the White Sox…what do you think of him?

A 30-HR expectation was always a stretch, but 20 seems possible. I think he gets 500 ABs and has a nice year, perhaps knocking in 80. Doesn’t hurt that U.S. Cellular inflates right-handed home runs by 26 percent.

The “R” in WAR
How a person can be a hero by being a zero.

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