Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw answers questions from Twitter about managing fantasy baseball roster changes:
Question: I need to free up a roster spot. Should I drop Colby Lewis or Mat Latos? Who has better potential of bouncing back?
Answer: Colby Lewis doesn’t really need to bounce back. He is 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, which so far is beating expectations. He will give you a solid WHIP, comparatively high ERA due to the ballpark, and more than 12 wins for the Rangers. His weakness is that he gives up a lot of bombs. He has already allowed 14 home runs this season, including five in one game.
On the other hand, Reds hurler Mat Latoshas struggled a bit despite a 4-2 record. His 4.91 ERA and 1.40 WHIP suggest it’s been a tough transition to Cincinnati. Like Lewis, he has given up a ton of home runs — 12 so far this year. Each year, Latos’ walks and hits have gone up, but he now has to pitch in the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati rather than in the pitcher haven Petco Park.
Ultimately, Colby Lewis is the safe bet since he does not allow many runners on base and has an incredible offense behind him, but Latos has greater potential because of his youth and past numbers. I’d try to trade Latos and keep Lewis.
Question: I really need a new backup catcher on my fantasy teams. Suzuki is struggling and Mauer is day-to-day right now. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario has been an excellent pickup. He hit his ninth home run Monday night and now has three in his last seven games with nine RBI during that stretch. If he’s still available, he’s the hitter to target. If he’s already been taken, Chris Iannetta will return soon for the Angels and is another good option. He offers a low average but solid on-base percentage and power. Finally, for the Nationals, Jesus Flores has some pop and also hits for the highest average of the bunch.
Question: Is it worth keeping Bryan LaHair in my outfield anymore? Dexter Fowler is available.
Answer: I would rather have Dexter Fowler than Bryan LaHair. However, dropping LaHair would be a mistake. Look to package the Cubs .300 power hitter for your roster’s weakness. Fowler is the complete package in mind, with more power than the speed you expect from him. LaHair is a fine hitter, but not nearly as well-rounded a fantasy performer.
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Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
The fantasty season is not over for one of the biggest busts in the league Pedro Alvarez. The second overall pick of the 2008 draft, we expected big things out of the Vanderbilt alumnus, but instead, his average sits at just .211 with two home runs and 10 RBI. After an extended stay on the disabled list and then a month’s worth of at bats in the Minor Leagues, Alvarez is back. He will bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup and will have ever chance to succeed once again. The third base position is pretty shallow this season with talent, making fantasy managers quick to forgive players like Alvarez.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox
The man traded for Mark Teixeira a few years back is finally an everyday player in the Big Leagues. Just 26 years old, Salty is having his best season to date. His eight home runs are just one shy of his career-high and the same can be said of his 12 doubles. He is not the best defensive catcher in baseball, but he has been adequate and his respectable on base percentage with some pop makes him a dangerous bat in the Red Sox lineup.
Jeff Karstens, SP, Pirates
This former Yankees prospect is not just having a good season, he is having a Cy Young caliber season! At 28 years old, the right-handed finesse hurler boasts a 2.28 ERA with a stellar 1.04 WHIP. His lack of strikeouts may frustrate some fantasy managers, but Karstens has surrendered just 11 earned runs over his last 10 starts.
Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies
You have to wonder how many chances this guy will get but because of injuries and the struggles of his peers, Dexter Fowler is getting another shot to leadoff for the Rockies. Fowler is batting .342 since the All-Star break with 10 runs in 11 games with three steals. Just 25 years old, Fowler is too young to turn the page on for now.
James McDonald, SP, Pirates
There is no question about it, of all of the Pirates hurlers, James McDonald has the best stuff. Sure, he has some control issues, but his 92 strikeouts, seven wins, and 3.95 ERA will get your attention. A former top prospect with the Dodgers, McDonald has gone 11-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 starts. At 26 years old, McDonald should still have his best years ahead of him.