Saturday, May 21, 2011

Goin' Deep: American League

UPDATE 5/23 - Bourjos' owner points out to me that Bourjos was indeed a farm pick in my A.L. home league. This emphasizes my point below even further, but he should not have been included in the article.

On Monday, I got one of those "help, quick!" questions that Twitter was invented for.
I got two hours to cut one..A.L.-only 10 team...Carlos Peguero, Ben Revere, Casey Kotchman, Ryan Sweeney..keeper but all would be $10 next year.
Scenarios like this are pretty common in deep A.L.-only leagues. My guess is that the owner who asked this question had someone coming off of the D.L. like Delmon Young or Franklin Gutierrez and wasn't able to swing a deal to clear up roster space.

The two considerations when making a decision like this are playing time and value as a potential keep. With rare exceptions, playing time now is more important than keeper value later.

Of all of the hitters FAABed in my A.L.-only last year, only four were kept at $10 this spring: Peter Bourjos, Jed Lowrie, Brett Morel, and Mitch Moreland. With the possible exception of Bourjos, none of these players was a rock solid keep. Their average expert league salaries were $13 for Bourjos, $10 for Lowrie, $8 for Morel, and $11 for Moreland.

You're unlikely to get $20+ worth of value from a FAAB acquisition from the previous year. Nor are you going to find a top prospect just floating around in the free agent pool that will go for less than $10 in FAAB. Bourjos was a good prospect, but he emerged in 2010; before '10 he was a solid prospect with flaws in his game.

This brings me back to playing time when making a decision like this. Peguero and Kotchman are the most likely to get playing time, though Peguero has more upside than Kotchman. Sweeney is a solid, reliable fourth outfielder who should still be good for 350 AB, while Revere seems like he'll need an injury or a breakout week or two subbing for someone else to break into the line-up permanently.

If my team were solid top to bottom, I'd probably be safe and go with Kotchman. If I were facing an uphill climb, I might roll the dice on Peguero or even Revere. 

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