ASK ROTOMAN: Which Two of Four Should I Keep? With Why Not Mike Moustakas Bonus Discussion.


Just have a keeper question. I need to protect two of these four. Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Gregory Poblano, or Mike Moustakas. It’s a head to head league. Thanks!!!

“Half and Half”

Let’s be systematic.

Carlos Gonzalez is a huge power hitter when he’s healthy and on, as he was for about six weeks last summer, but he’s often injured and is aging.

Matt Kemp has aged.

Gregory Poblano has fiery warmth, a smooth peppery heat. Gregory Polanco, on the other hand, is a speedy talented outfielder with some power, and at 23 has headroom.

Mike Moustakas is a power-hitting third baseman who is coming into his prime.

I currently have their prices as $26, $22, $25, and $16 respectively. That makes it pretty plain that Gonzalez and Polanco are your best bets, especially since injury prone players are not as risky in shallow 12 team mixed leagues as they are in deeper formats. But my heart aches for Mike Moustakas, who almost earned as much as Kemp last year, so let’s take a closer look.

moustakas-freeWe’ve been following Mike Moustakas for a long time. He made his way up through the minors at what felt like a slow pace. Looking at his stat history, however, it looks like he was always moving forward toward promotion. Maybe that’s the difference between foresight and hindsight.

What I think was true was that Moustakas started slower than he finished at each level, and worked hard and got better. And last year, after a terrible 2014 season with the stick, Moustakas became a bona fide major league third baseman (with a World Series championship, to boot).

Looking at all the components to his performance last year, it can be said to be a typical Moustakas season, but with an uptick in more and harder contact. That is, he hit the ball more, and when he hit it he more often hit it harder. This looks to me like a genuine improvement by a young hitter who is known for working hard and improving during his way up through the minors. This makes me think he might have set a new baseline, not established a new peak performance, which is why I’m going to be aggressive about him this year.

I still can’t recommend keeping him in your situation, even if he plays a scarcer position than outfield. Cargo comes with the injury risk, but he’s a much more powerful hitter if he stays healthy. And Polanco is young and valuable now, with potential to grow into more power and more effective base stealing.

Go with them.