Fantasy Baseball 2012: Ryan Braun, Adam Wainwright Headline Twitter Q&A

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Fantasy Baseball 2012: Ryan Braun, Adam Wainwright Headline Twitter Q&A
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright racked up 39 victories and 425 strikeouts for the 2009-10 seasons.

Question #1

Jacob S. (@jacobslide): Would you trade Ryan Braun/Martin Prado for Eric Hosmer/Brett Lawrie? I currently have Michael Cuddyer at first base (move to 2B after trade), Prado at third base and Delmon Young playing left field.

Answer

This excellent question tests two of my favorite fantasy philosophies:

1. ALWAYS get the best player in trades that involve 3-6 players.
2. Never pass on two superstars in a four-man swap.

Owner A would receive perhaps the most explosive talent in fantasy baseball (Braun) and a respectable five-category contributor (Prado). On the flip side, Hosmer and Lawrie could become top-20 assets for Owner B by season's end.

I shouldn't wuss out here, declaring this a coup for both sides. But how else should it be spun?

In 12-team leagues, where corner-infield power rules all, Hosmer (targets: 24 HRs, 87 RBI, 14 steals, .297 BA) and Lawrie (25-HR candidate) are everyday fixtures in fantasy lineups. And in leagues where five outfielders start, Braun is quite possibly the most invaluable trade commodity for struggling teams in June/July. To best judge this blockbuster is to view it from a particular viewpoint...at the precise time someone clicks "Accept" when offered the deal on the Web. It's quite possibly the perfect trade.



Question #2

Neil Merrell (@nam1238): Hey, I just received an interesting counter (from an offer last week): Gio Gonzalez/Dexter Fowler for Adam Wainwright/Eric Thames. Which owner gets the better deal?

Answer

Neil, I would prefer the upside of Wainwright and Thames over Gio and Fowler. In my Top 40 Starting Pitchers, Gonzalez holds a slightly higher value right now; but Wainwright's early-March ranking was a precautionary assessment of how quickly he would recover from elbow surgery. When fully healthy, we're talking about a strong candidate for 18 wins, 210 strikeouts and 2.60 ERA.

On the flip side, Fowler may be the better early-season prospect, but Thames' minor-league track record is reminiscent to that of Nelson Cruz. It also helps that Thames won't have to share at-bats with Travis Snider in Toronto. For better or worse, Thames will be given every opportunity to fulfill his 18-HR, 68-RBI, 10-steal potential with the Blue Jays.



Question #3

Gerard Martin (@gerardnmartin): Which sleeper reliever ends the year with more saves—Mike Adams, Joel Peralta or Addison Reed?

Answer

Hmmm, what an interesting question. Since neither Adams, Reed nor Peralta are guaranteed any closer opportunities from May to September, the smart money lies with Tampa Bay's Peralta building an insurmountable edge throughout April, in the wake of Kyle Farnsworth (elbow) heading to the disabled list.

Yes, Rangers closer Joe Nathan is hardly a lock to go the whole season without an injury; and from a pure talent standpoint, no one can match Reed's K/9 potential. But his time in the spotlight will likely occur next year. For 2012, I'll side with Peralta's seasonal outlook of 2.59 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 14 saves.



Question #4

Keith Whitmire (@KeithDWhitmire): Please rank these sleeper starting pitchers—Drew Pomeranz, Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Mike Minor. Thanks!

Answer

You could draw these names out of a hat five different times, and I'd be OK with the 1-4 order on each occasion. All four commodities have their share of glowing positives and nagging questions for the season ahead.

Colorado's Pomeranz (3-0, 0.53 ERA, 0.88 WHIP in Cactus League action) profiles as a future fantasy ace, but must overcome the requisite hurdles of being a rookie pitcher and playing at Coors Field. Hochevar is a strikeout-to-walk guru's dream prospect. When healthy, Sanchez has the capacity for 200 strikeouts. And Minor has a world of talent, but must fight for a season-long spot in the Braves' rotation. 

My current order: Hochevar, Minor, Pomeranz, Sanchez.



Question #5

Brian Roe (@brsport13): Here's one offer: I get Jason Kipnis, Adam Jones, Jonathan Broxton and give up Howie Kendrick/Jason Heyward. Should I do it?

Answer

Even if Broxton had been declared the Royals' sole closer for April/May during spring training, I would still doubt his chances of being the back-end ace in August/September.

Greg Holland and Aaron Crow are younger and more explosive options than Broxton, whose best bullpen days are likely behind him. In essence, that offer is a 2-for-2 involving Kipnis and Jones for Kendrick and Heyward. And when comparing positions, I'd want Kendrick at second base and Hewyard in the outfield. It's not a bad proposal...but one that should be nixed without much consideration.

Bottom line: Make Owner B step up another notch to pull off the blockbuster.

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.

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