h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop Adam Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gonzalez?

This one has personal bias written all over it. I’m an unabashed Baltimore Orioles fan, ergo Adam Jones. While I may lie, numbers won’t. In his first two “full” seasons, Jones averaged 72 runs, 14 HRs, 10 SBs, and 64 RBIs, while posting a .274 AVE. I put full in quotation marks because Jones has been a bit banged up, playing 132 games in 2008 and 119 in 2009. Still, Jones won’t be 25 until August and we should see a good increase in numbers across the board in 2010.

In 102 games last year, Andrew McCutchen scored 74 runs, hit 12 HRs, stole 22 bases, knocked in 54 runners and posted a .286 AVE. These are very similar to Jones’, right? McCutchen won’t turn 24 until October. OMG, what have I done? I’ve talked you (and myself) into keeping McCutchen over Jones. It’s close, but McCutchen is younger and a better base stealer. While he’ll likely score fewer runs and knock in fewer, those deficiencies will be marginal given his ability to run more. So, I have to keep Andrew McCutchen.

As an aside, for non-keeper drafts, I’d rather have Adam Jones slightly over Andrew McCutchen – there is a tiny fear of a sophomore slump for McCutchen, while I know roughly how Jones will perform.

I’m pretty clearly going to trade Adam Jones. Whether right or wrong, he has better name value and will fetch more on the open market than Carlos Gonzalez. Plus, the Rockies’ outfield is a bit muddied with Dexter Fowler, Brad Hawpe, Seth Smith, etc. Still, Gonzalez could be in for an awesome year. In just 89 games last season, Gonzalez scored 53 runs, hit 13 HRs, stole 16 bases and knocked in 29, while batting .284. He has the ability to be a 15-15 performer next year (his AAA stats: 15 HRs, eight SBs, a .290 AVE and a .385 OBP in 104 games). I wouldn’t sleep on Gonzalez one bit, even though I’m dropping him.

Keep: Andrew McCutchen
Trade: Adam Jones
Drop: Carlos Gonzalez


Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).

While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.

The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.

If you want other KTDs, please let me know. Also, feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner)/Facebook pages.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by James Chang on January 29, 2010 at 5:24 am

    I know if I were faced with the choice of Carl Crawford or Justin Upton I would take Upton without hesitation. Carl Crawford is a truly outstanding player, but I think we’ve already seen his upside. It wouldn’t shock me if he had a season like Willie McGee’s MVP season in 1985, but I certainly don’t expect that. I don’t think any of us yet know what Justin Upton’s upside is–but I can safely say it’s higher than Carl Crawford’s at this point.

    As for your primarily article, I’d love to argue some point with you but I very much agree with all three of your choices.


  2. Posted by Albert Lang on January 29, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Thanks for reading, James! I appreciate your comments.

    The Orioles fan in me really thought Adam Jones was going to be the clear winner, so I was a bit surprised when it became clear it was McCutchen. That said, i have McCutchen very late in my keeper league, so it dulls the pain a bit.


  3. Posted by James Chang on January 29, 2010 at 9:55 am

    I had the pleasure of watching McCutchen play in the Arizona Fall League in 2007. I will never forget the way he just glided around the bases on a triple to right-center. He was moving noticeably fast, but with little apparent effort or exertion. If you watched the N.H.L. about 20 years ago it reminded me of watching Paul Coffey skate, great speed with virtually no wasted motion or effort. Let’s just say it made a lasting impression on me. When you factor in his burgeoning power he becomes one of the most exciting young players in the game. I see his skill set right now as quite comparable to B.J. Upton’s; a little less real power and fewer steals, but a better batting average and comparable counting stats. I really envy you having him in a keeper league.

    No need to thank me for reading; this topic is quite fascinating. I really like your hypothetical keep, trade, drop exercise. Let’s do some pitchers. How about Johan Santana, Cole Hamels, and Javier Vasquez?


  4. Ahh you bespeak by next KTD (Billingsley, Wandy Rodriguez and AJ Burnett, which should be up now).

    I also have planned:
    James Shields, Matt Cain, Matt Garza
    Tommy Hanson, Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson
    Jonathan Sanchez, Jorge de la Rosa, John Danks
    Phil Hughes, David Price, Joba Chamberlain
    Rick Porcello, Chris Volstad, Ricky Romero
    Gio Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Luke Hochevar
    Wade Davis, Brandon Morrow, Homer Bailey

    As for yours, I’ll have more on this in my pitcher ranks column, but Cole Hamels was incredibly unlucky last year. All non-luck driven numbers were basically the same as 2008. His 2009 BAbip was just crazy. Cole is still only 26 (b-day in December), so he is relatively young.

    Johan is a question mark at the moment now (not quite as bad as Reyes) – there is a lot of concern with a pitcher coming off injury issues who hasn’t had his full off-season regimen. He’ll also be 31 on my birthday (March 13 for those of you planning to send presents). How many durable years does he have left?

    As for Javy Vazquez (my top-10 sleeper pitcher from last year), I love him but not in the Bronx. I don’t think he’ll have as bad a 2010 as his second half of 2004 was (his only year in NYY). However, going to a hitter’s park in the toughest division of the toughest league with a DH will cause his ratios to go up a bit and his Ks to go down. He’ll also be 34 in July, so he is likely getting toward the end of his career.

    If I’m not poised to win this year, I’m keeping Cole Hamels, trading Johan (still think he is worth more than Javy) and dropping Vazquez. If I think I am poised to win and have some reliable keepers, I’d roll the dice on Johan. In keeper leagues, I think you have to go for it when you have a chance, always planning for next year, leaves you never winning (ask the Orioles).

    What did you think?


  5. […] Orioles fan. For some reason, that hasn’t stopped me from keeping other players over the likes of Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Will my Orioles-loathing continue? You’ll have to read approximately four […]


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