Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Reality Check: The price for Puig

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Would you trade Yasiel Puig for Matt Kemp?

Among the many hypotheticals thrown our way during a typical Fantasy Baseball Today (weekdays, LIVE @ noon ET) episode, this one seemed innocuous enough, yet when presented with it on Monday's show, I hesitated and recognized how drastically it could alter a Fantasy owner's fate.

On the surface, yes, trading Puig, who I have 43rd among outfielders in my rest-of-season rankings, for Kemp, who I have 20th, seems automatic. But I say that as someone on the outside looking in, as one who won't have to live with the consequences of Kemp never rediscovering his stroke or of Puig continuing to terrorize the league.

Is either of those scenarios the most likely one for that player? My guess is no, which is why I rank Puig and Kemp the way I do, but neither is the kind of predication I can make with 99 percent assurance. It's more like 60-40.

Which brings me to the broader question concerning Puig: Now what?

Let's say you have him. I'll get to if you don't in a minute, but for now, he's yours. You beat everyone else to him and have relished every moment since. The easy response would be to just plug him into your lineup and let him do his thing.

But would that be for the best?

Since your mad dash to the waiver wire, Puig's value has escalated. He's gotten off to an impossibly hot start, becoming just the second player since 1900 to hit four home runs in his first five games as a pro. But the numbers don't tell the whole story. The timing of his feats -- from the game-tying three-run homer June 4 to the grand slam that cushioned the Dodgers' one-run lead Thursday to the game-tying solo shot just one day later, not to mention all the game-changing, highlight-reel assists from right field -- has elevated him to almost mythical status.

In short, you aren't the only one relishing every moment. Everyone else sees what's going on with Puig and can't help but think, "Man, I wish ..."

Which is, of course, the perfect recipe for a sell-high candidate.

Now, here's where it get tricky: What if Puig really is this good -- or, perhaps more applicable, what if he's really this good this soon?

I wouldn't even entertain the possibility if not for Mike Trout last year. Before him, the assumption for any rookie who took the league by storm in his first few weeks on the job was that he'd inevitably meet with an adjustment period that would bring his numbers down to size. He may overcome it soon enough to finish the year among the best at his position, but he'd bring a certain level of frustration to those who owned him in Fantasy -- and without any real assurances.

Yes, before Trout, rookies who could not only help a Fantasy team, but carry it, came along once every generation, like Albert Pujols.

Most Added Players (as of 6/11)
Player Name % change
1. Gerrit Cole, SP, Pirates 46
2. Kyle Blanks, OF, Padres 31
3. Tony Cingrani, SP, Reds 30
4. Anthony Rendon, 2B, Nationals 27
5. Carlos Quentin, OF, Padres 26
6. Adam Lind, 1B, Blue Jays 22
7. Bartolo Colon, SP, Athletics 18
8. Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox 17
9. Ryan Doumit, C, Twins 16
10. Jason Marquis, SP, Padres 16

So maybe Trout just so happens to be this generation's Pujols -- i.e., a beautiful, freakish aberration. It stands to reason. But Puig is doing his best to suggest otherwise. Unlike Trout, who struggled to the tune of a .220 batting average in his first taste of the majors back in 2011, Puig has only thrived against major-league pitching so far, carrying his .517 batting average and 1.328 OPS from spring training into his first week as a pro. And unlike most rookies, he most likely already has some experience against upper-level competition from his playing days in Cuba.

Why couldn't he be that rare case of lightning striking twice, living up to all the Bo Jackson comparisons by delivering the kind of numbers that shake up the standings? It's a relative long shot, judging by all the rookies who've come before him, but for some Fantasy owners, that long shot is all they have.

At 4-6 or 3-7, they're close to dropping out of the playoff picture and on the verge of not even caring anymore. They don't need just another good player to get them back in the race. The need a miracle of Mike Trout proportions. And now, with Puig, they have hope.

Unless someone in their league is so enamored with Puig's potential that he's willing to give up a stud hitter like Edwin Encarnacion or Adrian Beltre or a true ace like Justin Verlander or (as one person on Twitter suggested might actually be a possibility) Adam Wainwright, they're not going to find that same hope on the trade market.

So while in a vacuum, trading Puig for someone more assured like Alex Rios, Ian Desmond or Billy Butler makes almost too much sense, in certain situations, it's the equivalent of looking a gift horse in the mouth.

The same would apply if you don't own Puig but have a chance to trade for him. I had such a chance with a similarly unproven Trout in the Podcast Listeners' League at this time last year when host/producer Adam Aizer, owner of the first-place team, marketed him for pitching.

Off to a miserable start at 3-7, I offered Matt Moore, who wasn't quite as established as he is now. In terms of risk-reward, he was something like this year's R.A. Dickey -- a pitcher whose big potential is shrouded in inconsistency. (It's not the cleanest comparison, but you get the idea.) Adam accepted.

I didn't know if Trout was the answer at the time, but I had a pretty a good idea Moore wasn't. I needed a miracle, so instead of clinging to my occasional ace just because he was one of the few commodities I had, I decided to put my faith in the 20-year-old wunderkind who, as little as he offered in the way of track record, at least came with the assurance that someday he's supposed to be good.

Sound familiar?

Of course, by then it was too late. In a league where only four teams advanced to the playoffs, I had dug myself into a deeper hole than even Trout could pull me out of. But at least I made a game out of it. With Trout, my team was immeasurably better.

And Adam? Well, he can't complain too much. He went on to win the league -- with some help from Moore, of course. That's not to say he wouldn't have won if he had held on to Trout, but because he accomplished his ultimate objective, I doubt he regrets the move.

Which says something about the way the other half should treat Puig.

Teams already in good shape shouldn't have to resort to miracles to claim the title. If you buy into the idea that Puig is more likely to emerge as an above-average-to-good mixed-league outfielder than a one-man wrecking crew as a rookie, then why take the chance of him being anything less? Instead, take this opportunity, while his value has peaked, to pawn him off to someone else in search of a miracle, getting back something far better than you could ever hope to find on waivers, like a Rios, Desmond or Butler.

Check out our Fantasy Baseball podcast!
Stay a step ahead of your competition in 2014 by checking out our popular Fantasy Baseball Today podcasts. Adam Aizer, Scott White and Al Melchior will entertain you and help you dominate all season.
Latest episode | Subscribe!

What happens after then is inconsequential. If Puig continues to Hulk out on the rest of the league and the other guy ends up "winning" the deal, who cares? You probably locked up the title by making the trade, and keeping Puig wouldn't have accomplished more than that. It only would have exposed you to more risk.

It's sort of like a retirement plan. The closer you get to the goal, the less risk you want to take.

Puig is risk -- risk of regression, with risk of demotion attached to that regression. Because of that, he's more valuable to the teams with the least to lose and the most to gain.

What about those in between -- the owners of the 5-5 and 6-4 teams? Whether you're a seller or buyer of Puig ultimately comes down to the direction you think your team is headed, the alternatives you already have and, of course, what you'd be getting or giving in return. Risk or no risk, nobody's suggesting you dump Puig. Even the owner of an 8-2 team is looking to sell high on him, settling for nothing less than a player he can expect to start every week. Likewise, nobody's suggesting you offer up a Carlos Gonzalez or Prince Fielder for Puig, requiring him to meet the full extent of his potential just to recoup your losses.

Naturally, asking too little or giving too much for Puig isn't the answer, so if you're not comfortable with the direction your negotiations take, your best bet is to sit on him and wait.

Which brings us back to Kemp. He presents a high degree of risk himself, so I'm not sure I'd ever be comfortable acquiring him in a deal. I suppose I have more faith in him meeting his best-case scenario than Puig, but unless I was already running away with the league, I think I'd have more to lose than gain by pulling the trigger on this deal now.

Two weeks from now, we'll only have a better idea of Puig's true value, and two weeks from now, Kemp might still be hurt.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Chris Tillman gets nod for Game 1 of ALDS
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:21 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman has drawn the nod for Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Tigers Thursday.

Tillman has been a force in the Orioles rotation over the last three seasons, going 38-16 with a 3.42 ERA and 395:158 K:BB ratio in 499 2/3 innings. That included a 13-6 record, 3.34 ERA and 150:66 K:BB ratio in 207 1/3 innings in 2014.

Manager Buck Showalter has informed his players of his rotation plans after Game 1, but he won't announce them until after Thursday's game, the Baltimore Sun reports.


Pedro Alvarez, Chris Stewart out of wild-card lineup
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5:09 pm ET) Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez (foot) and catcher Chris Stewart (wrist) are not in the starting lineup for Wednesday's wild-card game against the Giants. Alvarez hasn't played since Sept. 5, while Stewart sits in favor of regular starter Russell Martin.

Report: Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud undergoes elbow surgery
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:17 pm ET) Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud had successful surgery Wednesday to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, a source told the New York Daily News.

Kevin Gausman to work out of Orioles' bullpen during ALDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:13 pm ET) Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman said he has been told he will pitch out of the bullpen during the ALDS against the Tigers, according to The Baltimore Sun. Gausman went 7-7 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 20 starts for Baltimore this season.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin starts Wednesday vs. Giants
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:07 pm ET) As expected, Pirates catcher Russell Martin made it into the starting lineup for Wednesday's wild-card game against the Giants. He had been out since aggravating a hamstring injury Friday.

Michael Morse left off roster for wild-card game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(4:03 pm ET) Giants outfielder Michael Morse was left off the roster for Wednesday's wild-card game against the Pirates due to an oblique injury that has kept him out since Sept. 20.

Jered Weaver will be on the hill for Angels Thursday
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:55 pm ET) Angels starting pitcher Jered Weaver will oppose Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas in Game 1 of the ALDS Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. Weaver is 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in six postseason appearances (three starts).

Royals going with Jason Vargas as Game 1 starter in ALDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:51 pm ET) Royals starting pitcher Jason Vargas will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels, according to The Kansas City Star. Vargas was 11-10 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over 30 starts during the regular season.

Orioles 3B Manny Machado has full range of motion in right knee
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:44 pm ET) Orioles third baseman Manny Machado told reporters Wednesday he has full range of motion in his right knee coming off surgery in late August, according to MASNsports.com. He could begin jogging in a pool next week.

Mariners already have D.J. Peterson on radar for 2015 season
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:48 pm ET) The Mariners are expected to be in the market this offseason for a right-handed power bat, but if they can't find an external option, then an internal option could be prospect D.J. Peterson, according to The News Tribune.

"His age and experience might be working against him," general manager Jack Zduriencik said, "but this is also a pretty good hitter. You don’t shut the door on it. You leave it open and see what he does.

"Coming out of Double-A to the big leagues is challenging, but he’s going to be in the Fall League. There are a lot of people who’ve been around him who think this guy is the real deal. We’ll bring him into spring training. He’ll get a fair shot. What happens, happens."

Peterson has primarily played third base in the minors, but he is expected to see significant time at first base in the Arizona Fall League. With Kyle Seager blocking his path at third base, Peterson's fastest route to the majors could be first base.

"I played a lot of first base in college," Peterson said. "It’s a position that I’m acquainted with. I’m very used to it. It wouldn’t be too much of an adjustment."


 
 
 
Rankings