Obviously, it does depend on the players involved, but as a rule I default to trading the pitcher. They are so much harder to gauge.
That said, Lester is good, but he walks a ton of people, and (assuming he doesn't get traded), he will be playing in a very tough division.
I don't see Lester as being a fantasy-worthy starter until after a few years in the bigs when he learns to pitch more.
Marte, on the other hand, can be an elite 3B almost immediately.
Remember, that 18 months ago Lester was nothing, it was last year that made him a prospect, and there are guys that are coming out like that this year (e.g. the two Twins prospects: Garza and Slowney (sp??))
Marte an "elite" 3rd baseman almost immediately? That seems like a stretch for a prospect that was considered expendable by two major league teams. While Lester is a pitcher and I usually say to keep the hitter, Baseball America's opinion of Lester seems to be very high, considering they named him their minor league pitcher of the year in 2005. I would put him in the category of a Papelbon, where in 2007 he's a starter in the bigs with 14-16 win potential with decent ratios.
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why on earth would the Red Sox put Papelbon in the rotation?
1. Their bullpen is poor already, Foulke is a FA, and most of the rest of their relievers are old.
2. Their pitching staff is deep and already signed through next year - which is the reason they traded Arroyo in the first place.
3. Papelbon has been the best closer in baseball this year
4. Papelbon showed last year that he's dominant for about 5 innings and then gets tired and gets hit hard. Now, it is possible for him to gain stamina, but he's certainly not going to have improved his stamina after this year where he pitches 1 inning at a time.
Lester walks too many people to be worth much in fantasy leagues right now. After a few years when he gets his control improved, he'll be strong. But he'll still play in a very tough division, and in a park that's tough for lefties.
14-16 wins is optimstic, but even then, that still doesn't mean that Lester will have solid ERA/WHIP.
And Marte may have been seen as "expendable", but as a 21-year old in AAA, where he was much younger than his competition, he had a .900 OPS including a 1.3 K/BB and OBP that was .100 higher than his batting average, which is incredibly impressive. He was equally impressive the year before in AA, and while he has struggled this year, he's been much much better of late.
With Marte, I think you would have to look for top-level hitters in return, but that may be hard since he had a rough April, and is only now hitting well. With Lester, I would also try to aim for top-flight talent, like the other guys said hitters are preferable to pitchers because they are more predictable. With who you want back, it is difficult with minor leaguers to know, because anyone of the top guys could turn out to be the best. Do you want help now or potential for the future? For example, Delmon Young may still have the best upside, but he is NOT helping you anytime soon. Which may make it easier to acquire him than you could have 2 months ago. Sorry I can't be more helpful.
I already have Delmon Young. Plan on keeping him. I own both Marte and Lester. I was going to activate Lester this week but I want to see if he sticks and if he does how well he does. Marte is hitting now.Thanks for your thoughts.