Fantasy Mailbag: Sizemore, Bedard, Garko

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

Time for another fantasy mailbag. Feel free to send a question for next week to
(but please, nothing specific to your fantasy team. I once heard a comedian say that two things a person never wants to hear about in a conversation is the other person’s dreams or the person’s cat. Add the person’s fantasy team to that list).

What the heck happened to Grady Sizemore? He hit all those extra-base hits a few years ago at age 22-23; his SLG went down last year and has fallen off a cliff so far in 2008. Is he trying so hard to get on base that it’s sapping his power? Or hiding an injury? Where do you see the HR total topping out this year?

My guess is that 2006 was an aberration rather than a new baseline for Sizemore. I expect him to slug in the .460-.480 range going forward; he should still top 20 HR. Unless, as you mentioned, he’s secretly hurt. But just 20 games in I don’t see any reason to jump to that conclusion. Sizemore is certainly young enough to progress to an elite level again, but we can’t count on it.

If you had your choice of a free agent pickup between the fast-starting Casey Kotchman or James Loney in a keeper league, who would you take? Is Kotchman’s fast start for real? Will Loney show the power he displayed last season?

To me, these are nearly identical players. I suppose I would give Loney a slight power advantage and Kotchman a slight batting average edge. Loney seems to have fewer playing time questions.

I was shocked to see Kotchman is already at six homers this year – I hadn’t noticed. He’s had six in a month once before (August of ’05). Three of this month’s HRs were termed “lucky” by Hit Tracker (meaning home runs that would not have cleared the fence if they had been struck on 70-degree, calm days). Expect Kotchman to hit homers at his normal pace from here on out.

As for Loney duplicating last year’s .538 SLG, I don’t see it.

If Erik Bedard comes back Saturday, and has a great performace, should I try to unload him? That hip has me worried.

The hip is worrisome, but Bedard has always been fairly injury-prone. I think trading him now would be jumping the gun, though. You drafted him knowing his history; four weeks shouldn’t change your opinion of him. That said if you can get Dan Haren, Aaron Harang or Daisuke Matsuzaka for Bedard, I’d consider it just to reduce risk.

Between the White Sox’ two young hurlers, John Danks and Gavin Floyd, who would you be inclined to keep for the long haul this season? Would you take a chance on Danks’ inexperience (relatively speaking) or Floyd’s near 1:1 whiff/walk rate?

I recently took a look at Danks and decided a 3.90 ERA and 1.30 WHIP would be a reasonable finish for him this year. Floyd was leading baseball in BABIP when I last checked, so he’s much more likely to regress significantly.

What you think the Rockies will do with Ian Stewart?

If Stewart continues to rake all year at Triple-A, a trade of Garrett Atkins this winter seems possible. Stewart is hitting .323/.400/.662 in 65 ABs so far while playing third base for the SkySox. I don’t see him moving back to second or supplanting Clint Barmes. Stewart’s fantasy prospects this year are bleak unless the Rox endure an injury. Another option would be trading Stewart later in the summer. In that case, he could find a big league opportunity.

Both Hiroki Kuroda and Shaun Marcum are available in the free agent pool. In a standard 5×5 non-keeper league, if you only have one roster spot to fill, which one would you pick up?

I was expecting Kuroda to whiff more batters and allow fewer hits than he has so far. Marcum is better for strikeouts, but his early performance has been boosted by an incredibly low BABIP. You can nitpick with either pitcher; I’ll go with Kuroda for the NL factor and his fine control.

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What’s the deal with Ryan Garko? He’s batting .315, which links up to his average in the minors. He’s got a couple of HRs and 11 RBI, but he’s at 11BB/6K for the season. Is his performance a sign that he’s adjusting to the league and is ready to break out?

I love the improved contact and walk rates for Garko, and I do think they might point to a new skill level. He usually bats fifth or sixth, leading to plenty of RBI chances. He’s hitting more fly balls this year; I think the HR total will come around. Garko is a good player to own.

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