By Andy Behrens
May 8, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : May 7
In case you were wondering when the best time to trade Brad Penny might be, it's now, immediately after the 14-strikeout game. At the moment he's 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA. If you can find a trading partner in need of starting pitching and you can extract a top-tier talent, do it. Or if you can land someone like Johan Santana or Roy Oswalt by packaging Penny with a middle-tier hitter, do it.
If you look at Penny's career performance prior to this season, you'll notice the hard-throwing right-hander has a tendency to start extremely well, but finish as a replacement-level fantasy pitcher. Some splits to consider:
| Brad Penny || G || IP || W || L || K/IP || ERA || WHIP |
| April/May || 69 || 421 || 26 || 17 || 0.69 || 3.61 || 1.29 |
| June/July || 67 || 375.2 || 22 || 26 || 0.76 || 4.46 || 1.39 |
| August/Sept/Oct || 61 || 361 || 24 || 19 || 0.76 || 4.16 || 1.28 |
Brad Penny, put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers.
Throughout his career, he's simply been a more useful fantasy starter during the first third of the season, and by a significant margin. There's a great case to be made for holding onto Penny for a few more starts, of course. His next four appearances should be against the Reds, Angels, Cubs, and Pirates. But his history is fairly clear. You'll recall that physical issues have played a role in Penny's mid- and late-season declines in previous years. Maybe no such troubles will beset him in 2007. I just wouldn't want to rely on that being the case.
By the way, when I say that you should consider trading Penny, that's not the same as saying he's unownable. Brad Penny is very good – he was astonishingly good on Monday against the Marlins – and he'll be worth owning all year. But he will not be undefeated with a sub-2.00 ERA all year. His value is unusually high right now, and it's an excellent time to explore the trade market. Is it possible that at 28, Penny has reached a new performance plateau and that he'll continue as a fantasy ace? Sure, absolutely. Things like that happen. I wouldn't trade him simply for the sake of trading him. I would, however, deal him for an upper-tier player.
To continue the "Glengarry Glen Ross" references, Brad Penny has been strictly steak knives.
Onto the bulleted blurbs …
Fausto Carmona (1.5 percent owned) impressed Monday, going seven innings and allowing only one unearned run to the Orioles. It was his third win in as many starts. Carmona throws a hard sinker that leads to lots of ground balls (14 Monday), but few Ks. He's a streamable pitcher in mixed leagues, and certainly ownable in any AL-only configuration. He's been good enough to keep Adam Miller in Triple-A for a little while longer. Miller is now 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA and 37 K in 37 innings for the Buffalo Bisons.
Alex Gonzalez (15.8 percent owned), a 30-year-old shortstop and career .248/.294/.397 hitter, is the hottest add in Yahoo! leagues at the moment. He was added 4818 times Monday, and he's been picked up by over 7300 owners today. Not the guy I'd go after if I needed a shortstop. Yes, I know he has three home runs in his last two games and seven for the year. But you don't get those stats when you add him. Instead, you get the future. The current home-stand against the Astros doesn't look so bad, actually. Gonzalez will face Wandy Rodriguez, Woody Williams, then Matt Albers – and Albers was hammered by the Reds on May 1. But after this little test-drive against Houston, I urge you to seek alternatives to Alex Gonzalez. He's a nice defensive shortstop, which doesn't really help you at all in fantasy.
Depending on need, I'd prefer Ryan Theriot (17.3 percent owned) or Troy Tulowitzki (10.8). If I needed steals and Theriot was already owned, I'd get Twins' shortstop Jason Bartlett (0.7). He's a bottom-of-the-order hitter, but he's put together a modest eight-game hitting streak, and he's been perfect on four stolen base attempts this year. Bartlett hit a very useful .309 last season and swiped 10 bases in 99 games.
Milwaukee third base prospect Ryan Braun, who's been one of the most productive hitters in the high minors thus far (8 HR, 3 SB, .358/.426/.716), is reportedly dealing with slight wrist and groin injuries. Apparently, the injuries are nothing serious, but he has missed some time. If I had to guess at Braun's call-up date, I'd say no later than June 8, in time to DH at Texas, Detroit, and Minnesota during interleague play. He's likely to be the next big rookie waiver add.
Chad Cordero went on the bereavement list today. He'll spend as much as a week with his ailing grandmother in Southern California. And yeah, I do sort of feel like a jerk for criticizing his performance on Monday. Jon Rauch (0.4 percent owned), who I just stupidly dropped in my NL-only league, should get any Nats save opportunities over the next few days.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 3:41 pm, EDT
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