OpinionJune 8, 2009

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Monday Mail Call: Hamels vs Verlander

By R.J. White

Time for another Mail Call. I hope you’re not discouraged by Tommy Hanson’s first start; he actually pitched very well, save for a few mistakes that were driven out of the park. He has a history of not allowing a lot of HRs, so I would consider his debut an anomaly. In fact, it may be the perfect time to “buy low” on the young phenom. What else is buzzing around fantasy owners’ minds? Read on.

I have a good pitching staff in Lincecum, Haren, Shields, Lilly and Verlander. Someone offered me Hamels for Verlander, something tells me Hamels adds better depth, should I take him? — Ed

Hamels has had a history of being consistently excellent. Verlander, while he’s probably just as good as Hamels at his peak, has been consistently inconsistent, if that makes sense. With how Hamels has looked this year, I would probably say that Verlander has a bit higher ceiling than Hamels. However, I feel Hamels has a lot better chance to succeed the rest of the way. That’s not saying that Verlander won’t succeed as well, but I just feel Hamels is the safer pick of the two to be successful. That said, you have an excellent pitching staff already, so if you want to hang onto Verlander’s upside and the added risk he might have, I would completely understand that as well.

I decided to drop Randy Johnson for Liriano. However, my team is still desperate for pitching. I have Carl Pavano, but I know he won’t be able to be this good for the whole [season]. So, is J.J. Hardy really more valuable than Randy Johnson? I want to drop both Hardy and Pavano for John Smoltz and Randy Johnson. Would getting those two help my pitching staff? Right now, I have Lester, Volquez, Liriano, Nolasco, Porcello, Pavano and closers Bailey and Franklin. — Bryant

I wouldn’t go dropping Hardy. Also, now that Randy has his 300th win, we can’t really rely on him to go out there every fifth day and dominate. John Smoltz is a nice pickup, but I would stick with what you have for now. Pavano’s metrics this year are fantastic, and I would give him a few weeks to see if he can keep it up.

I’ve heard from numerous sources that Haren tends to have a bad second half. Should I keep him or should i trade him away right now for another ace while his value is high? — Ed

It depends on who you can get in return. It’s true he’s fallen off a bit in the second half in the past, but research has shown that the theory of players being “first-half” or “second-half” players is actually overblown. I wouldn’t trade Haren for a lesser pitcher based solely on the idea of him being a poor second-half player, but if you can make a smart trade to improve your team and get great value for the ace, by all means, take advantage of it.

If you have questions for the Mail Call, send them to fbcmailbag@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years, making him an addict at this point. He loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
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