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Dear RotoRob: What are Roy and Gay Worth?

November 30, 2006 | By RotoRob | comment on this post

We’re back for another whack of Q & A from your favourite fantasy analyst. Oh man, the letters sure are pouring in. I do my best to get to them within a day or two, but I am juggling flaming bowling balls right now. Craziness, man.

Anyways, let’s kick it off this week with a letter from one of our many International readers. Joshua is trying to establish the value of a couple of rookies he owns in a keeper league.

Dear RotoRob

I have a question. I am in a keeper league right now. I drafted Brandon Roy and Rudy Gay because I feel that they have loads of potential in them. But one of the conditions so I could keep them next year is I have to forfeit my fifth round pick (for Roy) and seventh round pick (for Gay). Should I hold on to them? Are they worth keeping if I have to give up my fifth and seventh picks next year? Gay is starting already, but aside from his 23-point output, he has struggled big time. Should I hang on to him? I feel that he has the potential to be a second round pick in the next two years, should I keep him? I feel that both of them will be at least third round picks in the next two years, or am I wrong? Thanks!

Joshua (Cebu City, Philippines)

Hi Joshua,

Finally! An e-mail from the Philippines! It’s about damn time is all I can say. I always sort of expected my first contact from your fine nation would have been from this hottie, but alas, I guess I can accept your e-mail anyways.

As for whether they are worth the picks you have to give up, it’s basically impossible to say without knowing the number of teams and the number of players who are protected each year. A fifth-round pick doesn’t mean anything to me unless I understand how many players will already be off the board.

But I can tell you my thoughts on each of these players.

I wrote an article about Roy a few months back:

https://rotorob.com/2006/08/nba-draft-recap-brandon-roy.html

I stand by that and what I’ve seen so far (obviously limited by the injury) has only increased my belief that Roy is a serious player. He’s very mature for a rookie, has great size for a guard and plays for a team where opportunity abounds. Add it all up and we’re talking keeper.

As for Gay, he’s going through the kind of inconsistency most rooks face. But the Grizzlies’ ownership is insisting on letting the kids play, so even when Pau Gasol gets back, Gay will get decent PT. He’s very athletic and can score.

What I like about both these players is they are in perfect situations for rookies. Young, rebuilding teams that will let them play through their mistakes.

As a result, I’m going to assume you won’t be able to find value like that in the fifth round or later next season. (With the caveat, again, of not knowing how many are protected in your league).
***
Carlos, who took my advice and dealt Mehmet Okur for Allen Iverson, now wants more words of wisdom from RotoRob (hey, some people are greedy!).

Dear RotoRob,

After this deal, my roster looks like this:

PG Gilbert Arenas; SG Raja Bell; G Allen Iverson; SF Josh Smith; PF Andrei Kirilenko; F Caron Butler; C Tyson Chandler; C Alonzo Mourning; Utl Deron Williams; Utl Troy Murphy; BN Mike James; BN Chris Kaman; BN Mickael Pietrus.

I am first in assists and have been offered Elton Brand and T.J. Ford for Arenas and Kaman. My three-pointers will be hurt as well as my scoring capacity. I am first in my league, 15 points above the closest team. I have to keep rebounding and scoring; what should I do?

Thanks!

Carlos

Hi Carlos,

I don’t see the value of that deal if your concern is scoring and rebounding. If you’re first in the league in assists, why would you want to add Ford? Shouldn’t you be looking to deal one of your assist men instead of bringing in an even bigger one? Or at least be getting something back that would help you in a weaker area?

If you deal Arenas, you lose major scoring, and Kaman costs you rebounding.

Getting Brand is exactly what you need, but this deal needs to be scaled down.

You’re in first place ‘ don’t deal out of desperation.

Would the guy do Deron Williams and Kaman for Brand and Ford?

Maybe he has interest in buying low on Mike James and he could be worked into the deal?
***

Next up, Zack wants to know my thoughts on a deal he’s cooking up.

Dear RotoRob,

What do you think about this trade? I give Caron Butler and Al Harington and I get Lamar Odom and Brevin Knight.

My team: Butler, Harington, Sam Cassell, Mickael Pietrus, Jason Terry, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Mehmet Okur, Andris Biedrins, LeBron James, Jason Richardson, Jamaal Tinsley, Jorge Garbajosa.

Standard league with FG percentage and FT percentage, too.

Thanks a lot for your advice

Zack

Hi Zack,

I like it a lot. You’re getting more talent in return plus the best player in the deal in Odom.

The risks:

— Selling low on Harrington. Will he explode? Or will Indy’s conservative offense keep him in check? He was rolling along there as the Pacers’ top scorer, but is averaging just eight points per game over the past four.

— The injury risk on Knight. Bear in mind that Charlotte has added Derek Anderson to help ease his workload, so that should mitigate the risk somewhat.

Odom has been scoring like mad of late, but he hasn’t shot well the past couple of games. That’s just a blip though, so I wouldn’t worry.

Butler is definitely one of the most underrated players in the game. He can flat out score and has put up 47 in the past two.

Bottom line: do the deal, man.
***

Next up, we received a rather exhaustive letter from Todd in response to last week’s Offseason Lowdown column about Ryan Howard winning the NL MVP. It was so passionate and well positioned, I just figured, what the hell? I’ll just run it as is. Do yourself a favour, though. Get yourself a coffee before reading this. Todd is from Texas, and you know how they like to do things big there. That extends to their writing, apparently!

Since you are a fantasy geek (of course that is a compliment, don’t take it otherwise), you will be familiar with some of the stats I will spout out in this e-mail. However, your Ryan Howard for MVP article clearly lacked in
research. I cannot understand how this was so clear cut. Your basis of making this clear cut by using the Joe DiMaggio stat is not that overwhelming. In fact the stats you chose were clearly only ones that favoured Howard. What you failed to look it was the whole picture.

The snit about Pujols being surly no matter how far away from Barry Bonds you portrayed — the comment was was clearly based on the playoffs. You have no articles in print nor have other writers outside of St. Louis ever mentioned this during the regular season. So that was quite obviously not accurate. However, in this day in age, I find it fitting to be included. Finally, if you have ever spoken to him and been rebuked in a “surly” way then I apologize. However, as most people tend to write these days, I can’t quite believe you have ever spoken to Howard or Pujols to make the comments you made about their personalities. Bonds won multiple MVP awards so your surly comment about Pujols is off base and not even close to being an accurate reason that Pujols lost.

The quotes from two writers also does not make the argument stand. It is flawed. I can show you one quote from a writer and tell you that writers have lost their mind when they talk about Pujols, but you would read it and use logic to determine that is just one measly soul and not a consensus.

My quote is from Stephen A. Smith. Yes, the guy with his own show and verbose way of going about things from Philly. He says this about Pujols: “the reality is that the talent that is Pujols, while fairly unique, is a dime a dozen in the laundry list of Latin talent that has invaded baseball.”

Those are his grammatical errors by the way.

Now clearly an intelligent person can read this and know, not think, but know that Smith is off his rocker and does not know what he is talking about. That is my point about getting quotes from the paper that follows Howard.

Pujols lost because chicks dig the long ball. That’s it. Plain and simple.

I don’t need to give you any stats. Andruw Jones almost won last year and that would have been a worse tragedy than Justin Morneau this year. If Pujols plays on the east coast, his six years of unmatched productivity would be glorified to the highest hill. Sorry about the east coast comment, but it is true nonetheless.

OK, here are my stats for which I will take no credit for as I looked for these stats but could not get them all together in one spot until Bernie Miklasz of the Post Dispatch did.

“Here’s why Pujols was the MVP:

‘ If you want to use the more traditional statistics, Pujols was the only hitter in the NL to finish in the top five in average (third), homers (second), RBI (second), runs (fifth), on-base percentage (first), slugging percentage (first) and batting average with runners in scoring position (first).

‘ If you want to use sabermetrics, Pujols was first in the NL in Value Over Replacement, first in Win Shares, first in Equivalent Average, first in Runs Created, first in Win Probability Added.

‘ If you want to zero in on clutch hitting, Pujols led the NL with a .397 batting average with runners in scoring position. Howard ranked 51st in the NL with a .256 average with runners in scoring position. With runners in scoring position and two out, Pujols hit a preposterous .435. Howard batted .247.

‘ If you want to downgrade Pujols because the Cardinals struggled in September, then I would simply ask why this should be held against him. In the final month, Pujols batted .372 with 10 homers and 28 RBI. In the final week of the regular season, Pujols batted .370 with four homers and eight RBI. And if I’m not mistaken, Philadelphia was in strong position to win the wild card, only to go 3-4 in the final week.

‘ Pujols was the NL’s best defensive first baseman. In the Baseball Prospectus defensive-rating stat, Fielding Runs Above Replacement, Pujols was a plus 25. Howard was a minus 5.

‘ Pujols finished eighth in the NL in extra bases taken as a runner; he would have rated even higher on the chart had he not missed nearly three weeks with a strained oblique.

‘ If you want to say that Howard “carried” the Phillies’ lineup, then I must simply ask why is it that two of Howard’s lineup mates received MVP votes? Philly second baseman Chase Utley finished eighth overall in the voting and was named on 26 of 32 ballots. Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins also received a ninth-place vote. No other Cardinals position player received a vote. So how can anyone possibly argue that Howard carried the Phillies more than Pujols carried the injury-ravaged Cardinals?

‘ Pujols hit 49 homers and drove in 137 runs. Howard is the undisputed HR champion, and we salute him. But what about RBI? The voters love RBI. And Howard had 149 RBI, 12 more than Pujols. But let’s look beneath the surface numbers. Howard had more RBI than Pujols for an obvious reason: He had more
RBI opportunities. Howard had 358 plate appearances with runners on base; Pujols had 301 plate appearances with runners on base. The Phillies had 509 runners on base for Howard’s at-bats; the Cardinals had 429 runners on base for Pujols’ at-bats. Howard had 164 at-bats with runners in scoring position; Pujols had 126 at-bats with runners in scoring position. And despite having 38 fewer at bats in those situations, Pujols actually drove in more runs than Howard, 88-83.

— As we said, Howard is the HR champ. But since we’re counting them all, don’t forget that Pujols swatted a major-league record 20 game-winning homers this season, the most since Willie Mays had 19 in 1962. (Howard had nine game-winning HRs).

— Colleague Rick Hummel points out that Pujols had 25 homers and 65 RBI through May 31 to push the Cardinals to 15 games over .500. Howard received many deserved kudos for leading the Phillies in August and September, but unless MLB changed the rules, I believe that games played in April and May also count in the standings.”

Back to my comments…

The point about Utley and Rollins getting votes clearly trumps all ideas that Howard carried the team. Sorry but you can’t BS a BSer. Don’t want to curse but you get the drift.

You want more stats. Pitching wins ball games. Again, the Phillies were a different team pitching wise in the second half. The Phillies had a 4.82 ERA before the All-Star break and a 4.36 ERA afterwards. To ignore that is myopic at best and ignorant at worst.

The RISP is a big deal.

So home runs matter to you, like being close to 60. Well, 20 game-winning home runs to nine is helping your team. Don’t you think? These are overwhelming stats that favour the best hitter in the game. Twenty to nine. Wow, think about that for a second. Twenty game-winning home runs! Sounds like a lot of hollow home runs for Howard. Finally, the most since Mays. Mays! Clearly a revered ballplayer in the annals of baseball lore. I don’t think Howard has done anything Mays has done. Might as well put Teddy ballgame, Frank Howard, Mel Ott, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle and most of DiMaggio’s other stats as things that Howard hasn’t come close to matching or surpassing.

Yes, but Howard hit 58 home runs.

No one has done what Pujols has done in his first six years. So to anoint Howard as the torchbearer is both wrong and not clearly following baseball’s history. Why do I say that? Baseball is based on history more so than any other sport. Stats are history for that person for what he has done in the past. So the reason there is no guarantee that Howard will continue this surge is because the great ones didn’t do it either. Pujols has MVP stats for all six years. Think about that. That is Hank Aaron-like.

So please don’t take it for granted when Pujols puts up another .330 BA, over 100 runs and 100 RBI, 10 SB, over 30 home runs, and other otherworldly stats for his seventh season. Getting to 50 like Andruw or 58 like Howard is not even close to doing those above stats for six years at over 150 grinded out ball games day after day, year after year.

Once in a while a ball player will be upset when a hall of famer like Tom Glavine gets to you. It doesn’t make you surly. It should also be pointed out the 180 degree approach Pujols had with the media after he was ripped in the media, however little press that got.

When we look back at this time in his career, articles will be written about how underappreciated he was. However, the sad part will be that the articles will be written by St. Louis journalists or journalists with a
background from St. Louis.

I hope this was both helpful and informative. I mean no disrespect towards you. Pujols was the better player and will be from this moment on. The stats both traditional and non-traditional are overwhelming in Pujols’
favour.

Best Regards,

Todd W. Kuenstler
Dallas
***

Phew. Okay, now that Todd has spoken his piece, Matthew wanted advice on a basketball trade.

Dear RotoRob

What do you think of trading Mike Bibby and Quentin Richardson for Mehmet Okur? I need the rebounds. I have Deron Williams and Baron Davis at the point and also Leandro Barbosa. Am I giving up too much?

Thanks.

Matt

Hi Matthew,

Well, you’re selling low, which is never the best strategy. But Okur is a beast who can help in everything.

Despite his wrist issues, Bibby is still an explosive player, but Q-Rich is hurting now and his value has plummeted after that simply sick start he had. (Since then, however, he came back and went nuts last night, so…)

I’m a bit concerned with Okur’s scoring drought as he’s not getting as many touches the past couple of games.

From the sounds of it, though, you’re dealing from your strength, with plenty of point players.

Why not? Go for it and hope Okur starts getting more plays run for him.
***

Percy is taking a beating because of Nazr Mohammed, so he wants to know about Dwight Howard’s position eligibility.

Dear RotoRob,

I thought this might be an appropriate question to ask you since you write the Position Battles article every week.

In my league each player can only be eligible in one position. Currently I have Dwight Howard, and he is
listed at F. But I see so many articles listing him as a C (including all the articles from the Orlando Sentinel), but just as many listing him as a F.

What position does he really play, and if it’s C, what evidence can i provide to get him changed over to that
position? (Nazr’s killing me!)

Thanks

Percy

Hi Percy,

Get Nazr out of there!

Howard has split time between the four and the five, but he has now started over 10 games at centre:

https://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/splits?statsId=3818

So he should qualify in the middle by any league’s standards.

***

Stephen is wondering if the time is right to jump on the Andrea Bargnani bangwagon.

Dear RotoRob,

Do you think its time to drop Jorge Garbajosa and pick up Andrea Bargnani? Garbajosa has not been that great lately and Bargnani seems to be only going up.

Thanks

Stephen

Hi Stephen,

Oh man, it’s real close. But Garbajosa is still getting more minutes and has a significant advantage in rebounds. If you really need 3-pointers, however, you might want to go with the upside of Bargnani.

I prefer Garbajosa at this very minute, but the gap is narrowing fast. The way the top overall pick has been lighting it up of late is very impressive.

Just know that Bargnani will be far more prone to stinkers than Garbo, so he’s the sexier, but unsteadier pick.
***

Zak (no, not Zack, as above, but apparently another Zak) has been getting a lot of offers for Carlos Boozer lately and is wondering what to do.

Dear RotoRob,

I need help. I am in first place in my league, well, let me put it this way: I am kicking everybody’s asses. I could sit out like the next 15 games and still be winning so I am in no hurry to make a dumb trade, but three people in my league are so desperate to try to get Boozer from me (who I picked up in a trade, Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury for Boozer and Rashard Lewis; not sure what that person was thinking). But I got this trade today and it has me giving up Boozer, Lamar Odom and T.J. Ford, and I would be getting Jermaine O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Josh Howard. Now everything in my head is saying do it quick
before he realizes what he is doing but at the same time I am not sure if Boozer is going to cool down.

So if you could give me your input and let me know if you think that is a good trade and who has the advantage in that trade, I’d appreciate it. Also who has more fantasy value: Odom or Antawn Jamison? My league rates Jamison better, but I am already losing badly at turnovers so having a player with less turnovers isn’t that important to me, so I am thinking Odom has more value?

A little help? Thanks.

Zak

Hey Zak,

Oh man, that’s a serious blockbuster deal. I’m not sure I’d make this deal, even though O’Neal is just unbelievable right now, scoring, rebounding, blocks, and is the best player in the trade.

I like buying low on Howard (who’s starting to play heavier minutes and has his touch back) and Bryant, but both Kobe and Jermaine concern me right now, injury-wise. I like how Kobe seems to becoming more of a leader, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be lighting it up for 35 every night.

Honestly, I don’t think Boozer is going to slow down. I think he’s just finally healthy after two years of struggling with injuries. You’re finally see what an amazing power forward he really is.

If you are worried that he might slow down(and remember, you’re way ahead so no need to panic), would the guy do O’Neal straight up?

As for Odom, yes, absolutely he’s more valuable than Jamison. He’s just the rare player who can help you in every category. I mean, the dude has triple-double potential every time he takes the floor.

And Ford has made such a great comeback. Getting to watch him every game here in Toronto is giving me a whole new appreciation for The Little Engine.

What are you main needs? I mean, I suppose you don’t have any desperate needs given your standing, but there must be one area you’re looking to beef up in. Maybe you have a better offer for Boozer that doesn’t include you giving up Odom?
***

Dear RotoRob,

I just got wind of a trade of Leandro Barbosa and Troy Murphy for Allen Iverson accepted by one of my colleagues. What do you think of it?

Ace

Hi Ace,

First of all, is Ace your real name? And a colleague? Come on, fess up. You’re talking about yourself, right?

So this is a classic two good players for one great player kind of deal. Obviously dealing Barbosa now is smart to take advantage of him while his value is high, but giving up Murphy while he’s not at his highest level negates that to an extent.

I always like getting the best player in the deal (Iverson), but this deal is going to really burn the guy who dealt the Answer in FG percentage, rebounds, blocks and even three pointers. Having said that, I love the scoring gain and the assists, but the advantage in FT shooting isn’t as much as you’d think.

I like the Iverson side but only by a slim margin. Barbosa returned last night, but he could fade and Murphy (who’s having more medical issues and is scheduled for an MRI) may have trouble regaining his status (also very possible with Andris Biedrins, Mickael Pietrus, etc., playing well).

Of course, Iverson is having his own issues now. He seems to be pissed about something and left practice early and then skipped a mandatory team event last night.

In many ways, this is a risky deal for all sides, but you can’t top Iverson’s scoring.

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