Ask Rotoman: Which Star Should I Drop?

Dear Rotoman:

Who should I keep among Robinson Cano, Giancarlo Stanton, Cliff Lee, Albert Pujols, or Adrian Gonzalez. I can only keep four of five.


Cliff_Lee,_philly_cropDear Stocked:

I’m assuming you play in maybe an eight-team mixed league. Usually I would go to my prices from the Guide, but in such a shallow league the pricing curve changes quite a bit. The best players are bid up aggressively, because the last players taken are not only excellent, but there are also many undrafted players who are just as good.

So, let’s look at where your guys were taken in the magazine Mock Draft, which at 15 rounds has some of the same characteristics as your draft:

Robinson Cano went fifth overall. He’s dropped a few slots in some drafts because he landed in Seattle, but he’s your top-rated hitter.

Giancarlo Stanton went 12th, which is aggressive given his troubles last year and how bad the Marlins will be this year, but he’s a must keep for you because of his youth and power potential.

Albert Pujols went 38th, coming off the worst year of his career. He’s an interesting one because, in addition to the foot injury that wrecked him last year,  he’s shown signs of other age-related wear and tear. The Angels say his foot is healed, and he’s not that far removed from being the game’s best hitter. Let’s come back to him later.

Adrian Gonzalez went 44th, based on his record as a solid hitter with some power. He hasn’t been a superstar the last few years, as he was before, but he makes good contact and will park one now and then. A very solid bet I would probably rank just ahead of Pujols, because we can’t be sure of the latter’s health.

Cliff Lee went 80th, which is no knock on him but an affirmation of the belief that it is necesssary to load up on the best hitters in a draft before getting into the pitching (and obviously favoring the young strikeout arms before the older ones, like Lee).

I’m not sure that you have to go that way, but there are many advantages to it. I think on the potential risk of failure, Lee might have a slim edge over Pujols, but unless your league does something weird, like draft pitchers aggressively, I’d take the hitters over the pitcher, who is likely to still be there when you pick later.