Roster Doctor – 6/4/09

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Player Pool: Mixed
No. of Teams: 12
Categories: Traditional 5×5
Scoring Type: Head-to-Head
Other Notes: First year of dynasty league; Seven minor league slots; “Awesome league”

C – Matt Wieters
1B – Billy Butler
2B – Brian Roberts
3B – Evan Longoria
SS – Stephen Drew
OF – Nick Markakis
OF – Jason Bay
OF – Gerardo Parra
U – Luke Scott

P – Jonathan Broxton
P – Mariano Rivera
P – Josh Johnson
P – Javier Vazquez
P – Ryan Dempster
P – J.A. Happ
P – Jeff Niemann

BN – Manny Ramirez
BN – Russell Branyan
BN – Kelvim Escobar
BN – Gil Meche
BN – Franklin Morales
BN – Ricky Romero
BN – Jose Valverde
DL – John Smoltz
DL – Tim Hudson

ML – Aaron Hicks
ML – Michael Stanton
ML – Madison Bumgarner
ML – Clay Buchholz
ML – Jake Arrieta
ML – Jordan Walden
ML – Martin Perez

Well, your catcher spot is locked up for the next twenty years; congratulations. With Longoria, third base will not be a concern for quite some time as well.

Billy Butler is a relatively weak starting first baseman right now, but he is young enough (23), has a good minor league track record, and has performed well enough in the majors for me to be excited about his future. Roberts is one of my favorite palyers and is playing great this year, but in the next couple of years you will probably see his stolen base totals—the main source of his value along with his batting average—decrease dramatically, severely limiting his value. His average will probably suffer a bit also, but I can see it hanging around the .280 mark a few years past that.

Stephen Drew entering his prime at age 26 had a great season last year but cannot seem to do anything right this year. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on his own bobblehead day! However, now would be the worst time to trade him since his value is probably the lowest it will be. He still has the skill set to have some good seasons in the near future, but I do not think he will ever develop into the All-Star player people once thought he could become.

His strikeout tendencies will prevent him from posting an average above the .290s and he has never displayed exceptional power or baserunning ability, so his ceiling is somewhat limited. Still, I can see him stringing together some solid seasons similar to his 2008 one in his late 20s, not that you are interested in three years down the road right now. Right now you should be happy Drew is showing some signs of life with his current seven-game hitting streak and just hold onto him.

Markakis and Bay are two great hitters, no reason to mess with them. And Parra is a solid, young fill-in until Manny’s glorious return. Luke Scott’s numbers are not as fluky as you might expect. Besides his home run totals, everything else is reasonable and he should play solidly the rest of the season at about a .285 average, 25 home run pace.

There is not much I would change about your hitting right now; if later in the season you decide to make a championship push this season, Scott, Drew, and Butler are three guys you can try to upgrade.

Your pitching is very top-heavy with the two big guns of Johnson and Vazquez heading your rotation, but after that there is a severe drop off. Although Meche and Demspter are seasoned veterans, they are not pitching that way and I would not start Dempster right now. Meche has been unlucky so far with a .344 BABIP so I can see him turning it around.

I like how you are taking the risk on young, high-upside guys like Happ, Romero, and Morales; any one or all of them could be a valuable asset in a few years. Niemann is not on the level of the others and would be the guy I cut if you want to free a roster spot for Smoltz or Hudson.

Overall, the best course of action is to sit tight with this team now. Near the trading deadline (if there is one) you should make the decision to either push for this year or wait another year. If you are still in the top three later in the year and do decide to make that push, sacrificing possible future production from a guy like Butler for a better player now is a necessary sacrifice to make because winning the championship just once makes it all worth it.

Homestretch: The 1967 AL Pennant Race, Part 3
A tight race shows no signs of letting up.

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Derek Scott
Derek Scott

I can see Billy Butler eventually finding his power stroke, maybe not to the tune of Joe Mauer this year, but around a respectable 25-30 homers eventually.

Besides he’s batting 3rd in KC’s lineup, and although it’s a bad lineup, he will get his RBI chances, for a career .282 average coming into this season he should put up respectable numbers.

Paul Singman
Paul Singman

Derek I definitely agree. Butler will put up decent numbers this year and his numbers should only get better over the next couple of seasons.

Right now, however, I would call him a below average first-baseman in a 12-team mixed league since I can easily name ten other first baseman, maybe more, that I would prefer to own over him. As I say in the article though, I am still excited for his future.