Five For Fighting: Ryan Hallam Of Fighting Chance Fantasy

J Ellet LambieCorrespondent IMay 26, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14:  David Ortiz #34 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out swinging with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning as catcher Jeff Mathis #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout on May 14, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Angels won 5-4 in 12 innings.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Originally published 5/17/2009 at Stats updated 5/26.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of "Five For Fighting," where I’ll team up with other fantasy baseball bloggers and columnists to ask and answer questions on players, strategy, trends, and other facets of the game we love.

Each installment will see yours truly trade five questions with a talented writer from elsewhere on the web. My questions and their answers will appear here, in this humble forum, while their questions and my answers will appear on their sites—in this case, here

Hopefully this segment will provide you with valuable insight from a variety of sources and introduce you to new writers whose work I think you’ll enjoy.

Joining me today is Ryan Hallam of Fighting Chance Fantasy. His site is part of the Fantasy Players Network, and features daily updates on all things fantasy baseball. In addition, Ryan co-hosts the Fantasy Baseball Guru’s show on blog talk radio and contributes work in a variety of other sites and forums. 

Although I haven’t known him long I consider him a friend, and a solid source for opinion and analysis. Special thanks to Ryan for taking the time to be a part of this segment.

Now let’s get to it:


1) Which Struggling Slugger is the Better Play Going Forward—David Ortiz or Lance Berkman?

Boy, a tough one right off the bat. Both guys have been horribly struggling to start the season. Berkman, at the minute I am writing this, is hitting .231 with 10 homers and 27 RBI. He has been dealing with some wrist issues, but has been back in the lineup for a few weeks.

Ortiz was just mercifully benched last weekend by the Red Sox, as he is hitting .195, with one homer and 18 RBI. You can really tell that this cold streak is really in his head, and his frustration becomes more and more evident with every out he makes. He has shown some flashes of breaking out of it, but they are quickly followed by more poor production.

I am going to go with Berkman for a couple of reasons. For one, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that this wrist injury has had some effect on his game. Obviously, a hitter needs a healthy wrist to be effective.

The second reason is the difference in the appearance of Ortiz. Now, I’m not one to go out and say someone was doing something they shouldn’t have been doing, but it is obvious that Ortiz isn’t the same size he was during his career when he was belting out 50 homers. Perhaps that has something to do with his power outage as well.

2) Which Struggling Pitcher is the Better Play Going Forward—Ricky Nolasco or Ryan Dempster?

I guess I’m going to say Nolasco, but that is only because he is younger, and I think he can turn it around some. I don’t expect either to perform to the level that they did last year.

I am still trying to figure out how in the world Ryan Dempster went 17-6 last season. I know he was a decent starter years ago for the Marlins, but he was a train wreck at best as a closer. How could he be so much better over seven innings than he was in just one? 

Dempster went on a little hot streak, allowing two earned runs in three of four starts, but collapsed Monday, coughing up six runs in four innings to Pittsburgh.

I am also worried about Nolasco. I have been checking out his minor league stats, and they were good, until he got to AAA. He only made 13 starts there, but he was 2-5 with an ERA over 10.00.

 He was great last year, and all of the Marlins seem to be struggling right now. Instead of the collapse, I have been waiting for him to improve.

I can’t say I love either, but if I had to make a choice, I think I would go with Nolasco.  

3) Which Up-and-Coming Middle Infielder Do You Have More Confidence in Going Forward—Alberto Callaspo or Asdrubal Cabrera?

Both guys I think are very similar players. They both have hit for a pretty good average, very little power, not much speed, and are driving in runs at a pretty good clip given their positions.

Cabrera is hitting .316, with one homer, 25 RBI, and seven steals. His best season in the minors was a AA-Akron, when he hit .310 with eight homers, 56 RBI, and stole 23 bases in 96 games. That was by far the most speed he's ever shown in a season.

Callaspo is hitting .309 with two homers and 16 RBI. He hasn’t stolen any bases. His best running years came very early in his minor league career, as he hasn’t been doing much stealing lately. 

He does seem to offer more power than Cabrera.  In 89 games in 2005, he hit 10 home runs, and the next season he parked seven in the seats in 114 games. He has also hit over .330 in his last two seasons in the minors. 

I think if I had to choose one, I would go with Cabrera. He is a couple of years younger, plus he seems to offer much more on the base paths, without a great sacrifice in the power, as neither guy hits many home runs. 

I think he is the more well-rounded of the two. I would like to have him as my MI, perhaps at UTIL, or on my bench in case of injury. Not sure I would want him starting every day for me.  

4) If You Had to Choose between Building Your Lineup around Speed or Power Which Would You Choose and Why?

I always build around power, and I’ll tell you why. For one thing, power hitters tend to help you out in both points and roto leagues more than speed guys. 

In roto leagues, power hitters will help you out in HRs and RBI, but they also tend to be high on the list of runs scored more than you would think. 

Last season, the top ten hitters by runs scored were:  Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Lance Berkman, Chase Utley, Nate McLouth, Jose Reyes, Curtis Granderson, and Jason Bay. There are more 30 HR guys on that list than there are 30 SB guys.

 As far as average is concerned, the top guys in steals didn’t really help you much there. Willy Taveras hit .251; Reyes hit .297; Jacoby Ellsbury, .280; Jimmy Rollins, .277; and B.J. Upton hit .273. All of those are decent averages, but none are really helping you out.

Power players will give you more help in more categories.  However, you can’t just forget about steals, either. 

In points leagues, home runs tend to be worth more than steals, not to mention the RBIs and runs scored points that come with them. In any kind of league, I base my team around power. 

And don’t forget—chicks dig the long ball!

5) What’s the Best Name for a Fantasy Team You’ve Ever Heard?

Man, there have been so many. Right now I’m in a league where a guy has a team the Dominican Nutrition Center, which of course is a play on all of the Dominican players getting in trouble for steroids. 

My brother has been sticking with Abraham Drinkin’ for far too long. It was funny the first year, but I think he needs a change.

One of my favorites—and this is a little off color: If you say the words Aural Sects, it gives quite the different meaning than what it looks like. A couple others I have liked are Warning Track Power, Frozen Ropes, and Bay Being Bay (a play on Manny Ramirez). 


Thanks again to Ryan from Fighting Chance Fantasy for being a good sport. He was gracious enough to provide me with 5 questions, the answers to which you can check out here.  

You can also check it out at the Bleacher Report Here.

Until next time kiddies, be well.


Have a question, comment or suggestion? Are you bored and enjoy sending random emails to strangers? Drop me a line at


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