(*) FANALYTICS: This week's chat
Here are a few interesting questions from this week's chat at USAToday.com:
Albert Pujols seems to be his usual self now after a very slow start. Do you see any cause for concern in keeper leagues for the next couple years?
RON@HQ: Well, he certainly did turn things around after his April Armageddon (he's batted over .300 since May 1). Is there cause for concern? Of course there is. This is not the first time he's started slow, or struggled (though this was clearly the worst), and he's only getting older. It is not out of the question that one year soon, that early slump could last into July. If you are signing him, opt for a shorter term. The risk just goes up from here.
Andrew McCutchen's breakout season is not fully supported by the peripheral numbers, but he has definitely become one of the fantasy baseball elite. The Baseball Forecaster mentioned 30/30 upside before this season. What would you say his 2013 upside is now?
RON@HQ: Breakout seasons are almost always a product of skill and luck. When Carlos Gonzalez went nuts a few years back, recall that his batting average was driven by an other-worldly BABIP. Same here. Always expect regression. By that token, I'd expect that 2013 will not be as good as 2012, but should still keep him among the elite.
With Yadier Molina, AJ Pierzynski and Carlos Ruiz all having career years in their 30s, is there reason to believe Matt Wieters will eventually have that fabled MVP-type season that has been but a whisper of a shadow, lo these many years?
RON@HQ: No question, and quite likely well before his mid-30s. Recognize that catchers make it to the majors based on their defense. That is the focus of the work they do; offense often takes a back seat and thus takes longer to develop. Think about it: how many really poor defensive catchers with good bats are hanging onto their backstop jobs? Most end up getting switched to other positions or getting cut. That all said, Wieters is a stud - far better than the other late bloomers - and is just inches away from the big breakout season.
Are you holding onto Eric Hosmer in a H2H non-keeper league, or is this season a bust and look to the waiver wire for a replacement?
RON@HQ: Look, anything is possible. It seemed like he was finally coming around in June and then he has a terrible July. One thing we do know - he does have great skill and did show it last year. That means he could tap back into those skills at any time. Tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year. I'd have much more faith in that than taking a chance on someone like Travis Snider, for instance, who is nothing but speculation right now. At least Hosmer HAS done it.
Desparately need a handful of free saves to salvage a couple of standings points. In FAAB pool today there is F.Cordero, Broxton, League, Boggs. Anybody you see as getting 4-5 saves the rest of the season in the NL now that the deadline has passed?
RON@HQ: The short answer is no, but as you know, things can change quickly if someone gets hurt. Note that, to get 4-5 saves over the next two months, you are really looking for a pitcher who would have been expected to pitch at a full-season rate of about 15 saves. There are very few of those animals around. Full-time frontline closers will get up to 12 saves ROS; backup guys probably only 2-3.