Ask Rotoman: What price the good Polanco?

Dear Rotoman:

I want to pick up Gregory Polanco before someone else grabs him. If he comes up and is decent I can keep him for 1/3 espn auction value for 2015. (3 year average is calculated from $0 + $0 + ESPN estimated price.) to grab him I have to drop one of my outfielders, we start 5. Who should I drop or should I leave Polanco for someone else?

J. Ellsbury – not dropping
B. Harper – in DL spot

C. Blackmon
C. Yelich
S. Victorino
C. Crisp
J. Heyward – leaning towards dropping him due to slow start

Much appreciated!
“Keeper Heaven”

Dear KH:

First off, and everybody should listen up, if you’re going to ask a keeper question you should give prices. It’s really hard to properly weigh a situation without the facts.

I’m assuming that The Good Polanco at one-third his FAAB price is going to be a good deal next year. But how good? Without the prices of your other guys, I can only guess.

For instance, how does Polanco’s projected keeper price compare to Heyward’s? I happen to love Heyward’s potential, but he’s still a child in a game played by mostly men, and he has done little to deserve that love. But hey, Love never asks.

Heyward is off to a slow start, but he’s getting on base, even though his BA stinks. He’s running more, and successfully, and his power numbers are in line with batting leadoff. Depressed. Which is what he’s been doing, and which hurts roto players who expected big power.

What isn’t in line with his performance or future expectations is his runs scored. Those are down now, for no apparent reason, and should grow as we go along, as long as he bats leadoff for the Braves. And given everything else, his batting average should be in the .250 range, which would put his OBP above .350. The runs will come.

But how much did he cost you? I don’t know, which matters in so far as you might keep him next year (or play him this year). If the answer is negative on both counts, you don’t really care how much he bounces back. He’s your second reserve outfielder and he’s kind of costly. Polanco may not be any better this year, but he’ll be way cheaper. It doesn’t matter what either do now, it seems, what matters is next year.

I’ll remind you, I’m mind reading here, but if that’s the case I would try to trade Heyward. You may think he stinks, but my guess is if I was in your league I’d want him more than my fifth outfielder. I might not give you much, depending on his future price, but something is better than nothing.

And then, if I stopped being my Heyward-acquiring self, and I was you, I’d make a reasonable bid to acquire Polanco. You don’t need him. He’s probably not going to help you this year. He might help you next year, but that’s not a guarantee. The cheaper you can get him the more value he’ll have for you going forward. Which is a reason not to bid too aggressively.

And if you lose him? Then you still have Jason Heyward, unless you already traded him to me. Hmm, this is getting complicated. You can sort out the timing, here’s the takeaway.

Heyward is doing his team a favor leading off, but is far better suited to batting fifth, where he can beat the hide off the baseball. And let his BA go to hell. So maybe he’s not in line to earn the way he did a couple years ago.

Gregory Polanco emerged last year as a minor league fave. He’s killing it in Triple-A this year, with a 1.070 OPS. My usual thing about minor leaguers versus major leaguers is to point out that at Polanco’s age today Heyward had already hit 70 major league homers. So, the rule of thumb is, don’t overreach for prospects.

But Polanco is a real talent who makes better contact than Heyward, but doesn’t walk as much. More importantly, he may end up in an RBI role in Pittsburgh, which suits him (and probably helps your team more). And the Pirates have every reason to promote him once he gets past the Super Two date, probably in early June.

Assuming he’s reasonably cheap, that makes him a keen pickup. And I use the keen adjective enthusiastically.

Not placidly,