Fantasy Q&A: June 10, 2014
Should you drop Justin Verlander? Trade for Brock Holt? Find out here
Tweet a question to @Fantasy411, and yours might be chosen for our weekly Q&A. Here are this week's best inquiries.
Q: How far would you go to make a move for Brock Holt. -- @clarky0524
A: Holt has been a big spark for the scuffling Red Sox by hitting .339, taking over their leadoff spot and playing multiple positions. And as long as he continues to hit for average, the Texas native should be in the starting lineup on a regular basis. Holt's Minor League numbers suggest that he can continue to hit for average, but the rest of his skill set is not impressive. He will likely hit fewer than five homers this season, and even in a regular role, he would be hard-pressed to swipe more than 12-15 bases. Holt's playing time could also quickly fade if he hits a small skid. Mike Napoli and Xander Bogaerts need regular playing time at the infield corners, and the Red Sox will have several mouths to feed in the outfield when Shane Victorino comes off the DL. Fantasy owners who need a temporary injury replacement should definitely consider Holt. If he hits well for the rest of June, he will be worth the investment. But he is not the type of player who should be counted on for four months of production, and he should not be added at the expense of dropping a proven, reliable hitter.
Q: Is John Jaso worth owning in a 10-team dynasty league? 30 player rosters. -- @BigFoot_Paul
A: If this is a league where each team starts two catchers, then yes, Jaso is a viable option. He is showing more power this season than in recent years, and he has hit over .270 in each of the past three seasons. Many low-end catcher options in two-catcher leagues will drag a team's batting average down, but that is not the case with Jaso. Because the 30-year-old has yet to swat more than 10 dingers in a season, his upside is limited, but he is fine to use as a second catcher.
The interest in Jaso raises another interesting point about the dearth of production at the catcher position this season. Jaso has been a top-10 catcher so far this season, and even if he is unable to stick at that level, he could definitely stay in the top 20. Many popular catchers -- such as Matt Wieters, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Wilin Rosario and Brian McCann -- have disappointed due to injuries or ineffectiveness. Some of these top talents will bounce back in the summer, but Jaso owners may be wise to stick with the more consistent option and look to improve their roster elsewhere.
Q: Justin Verlander -- what should I do with him? Have him in a 14-team keeper league. -- @pierretong
A: As hard as this will be, the best plan for Verlander owners is to attempt to trade him now, using his past success as a selling point. The 31-year-old suffered a notable dropoff last season, and he has been even worse in 2014. It would be easy to sit here and project a rebound based on years of elite numbers. But it seems unlikely that Verlander can snap back into form, and it is more likely that years of a heavy workload are starting to take a toll. Even a moderate rebound would leave the Tigers workhorse with something in the neighborhood of a 3.50 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, and those numbers are not impressive in the current pool of talented starters. In a keeper league, the return for the Virginia native will depend on the owner's current place in the standings. Verlander owners who are in contention should look to replace him with a couple low-end but productive starters. A package of two pitchers including the likes of Garrett Richards, Tanner Roark or Jon Niese does not seem exciting, but it would provide two healthy, effective hurlers for a stretch run. Or, the Verlander owner could trade him for a healthy mid-tier closer, such as Huston Street or Joakim Soria. Rebuilding keeper teams should attempt to trade Verlander for any young player who can help going forward. A contender may want to trade a prospect, with a plan to use Verlander in favorable matchups this summer.
Q: Are Bogaerts, Springer, or Polanco keeper-worthy in a 10-team points league? -- @SunCoastAtheist
A: While fantasy owners have a tendency to overhype prospects, this is one case where the three names in the question are worth the hype. With 12 homers in 183 at-bats, Springer has already become a fantasy stud, and he has yet to flash the speed that earned him 45 steals in the Minors last season. The 24-year-old would be a keeper option even if he had already reached his prime but, as a developing talent, he is even more valuable. It would not be surprising to see Springer in the first round of fantasy drafts in a few years. Polanco lacks some of Springer's upside because he does not have notable power, but he should be one of the best base-stealing threats in baseball in a couple years, and he will also hit for average. It would not be surprising to see Polanco eventually remind fantasy owners of Carl Crawford in his prime -- 15-homer power, 40-plus steals and a quality batting average. Bogaerts has a little less fantasy upside than the Springer and Polanco because he lacks their speed and his power is not elite. But he is just 21 years old, and his ability to rack up homers could improve as his body fills out. Bogaerts also has the benefit of being eligible at third base and shortstop, which are prime fantasy positions in comparison to outfield. Keeper decisions are all relative to the number of players who can be retained, but in most leagues, the three youngsters in this paragraph will need to be heavily considered for keeper spots.
Fred Zinkie is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.