Written by Daniel Paulling
Published: 29 April 2008
Last week shows that it may be better to be lucky than good. After a dominating season last year, the Rockies went with Manny Corpas as their closer this year. However, Corpas went through some rough times, and I hope you were lucky enough to pick up replacement Brian Fuentes before anyone else did or had the luck to draft Fuentes knowing that Corpas may lose his job. Anyway, let’s get to the questions.
What’s the latest news on John Smoltz? DL?
--Brad, Denver, CO
That shoulder is really bugging Smoltz, even if he doesn’t let it on. In his start against the Mets, Smoltz threw 83 pitches in four innings and about 30 of those were fastballs. He relied more on guile to get guys out, and that didn’t work, as he allowed four earned runs. His taking time off during spring training is another sign that he’s hurt. He did it for “competitive” purposes, but it was really to avoid injury. Trade Smoltz for what you can, and don’t bother starting him until he lasts seven innings.
What to do with Manny Corpas? Keep him or drop him?
--Brian, Newark, NJ
I do not think that Corpas gets the job back, unless the Rockies fall out of contention and they start to shop Fuentes. He isn’t a great closer, but he’s good enough. Corpas should be dropped in mixed leagues, unless you’re really desperate in H2H leagues. I do not think Corpas will get more than 15 saves this year, much less be placed back in the closer’s role. I’d keep him in NL-only leagues, since he is still a decent setup reliever who can lower your ERA. So, if you need saves, avoid him; if you don’t, might as well keep him.
I need a little pitching help. What guy do I pick up: Saunders, Volquez, Wolf, or Bannister?
--Isaac, Cleveland, OH
This is a difficult question, since it features so many different types of pitchers. Volquez is the talented rookie, Saunders is the unknown having a ton of luck, Wolf is the quality (but oft-injured) veteran pitching well, while Bannister is really a combination of all three. If I had to choose, I’d say go with Bannister. He has a better track record than Saunders, stays healthier than Wolf, and won’t get lit up like a rookie like Volquez will. I wonder why Bannister didn’t get more publicity for last year’s rookie of the year voting.
Who do I take for the rest of the year: Brad Hawpe, Melkey Cabrera, or Ryan Church for the rest of the year?
--Shawn, Baltimore, MD
Hawpe, definitely. He’s playing in a ballpark more conducive to offense, is guaranteed more playing time, and he’s frankly the hitter who will put up the better statistics. Church will see the bench more when (if?) Moises Alou comes back and Cabrera has his playing time cut in half with Jason Giambi’s inability to play first base and Johnny Damon sharing the outfield spot.
Zimmerman or Longoria for the remainder of the year?
--Joe, Washington, DC
I’m more of a conservative fantasy player, which means my vote is for Zimmerman. He is a more proven commodity. At any time, Longoria could go 2-for-26. He’s a rookie, which means there will be some growing pains. If you want to argue for Longoria, you could look at how Ryan Braun demolished the NL last year and say that rookie slumps come in their second year. I’m just not buying; give me Zimmerman.