h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Wandy Rodriguez, Chad Billingsley, AJ Burnett?

When I initially set out to do this one, I thought WandyRod was younger (he just turned 31). So this makes my decision relatively easy: Chad Billingsley. Man, during the first half of 2009, I looked good for touting Billingsley in the rankings: 119 Ks, a 1.23 WHIP and a 3.38 ERA. In the Jekyll half: 60 Ks, a 1.48 WHIP and a 5.20 ERA. Basically he had a miserable July and a miserable September. This means he was incredibly useful in the other months. Billingsley is just 25, and consistency comes with age and experience. He’ll be a frontline fantasy starter down the line – you can’t hold two months and 56 disastrous innings against him.

I’m trading AJ Burnett. For one reason, he plays in New York, and that artificially inflates someone’s (self)worth. For a second reason, the “brittle” Burnett has averaged 188 IPs over the last five seasons. WandyRod has only eclipsed that number once. Burnett will likely provide a K per inning, and a reasonable WHIP and ERA. Given that he plays for the Yankees, he’ll be good for some extra wins as well. So he’s the more valuable commodity.

I really like Wandy Rodriguez, I swear. However, I’ve seen too many people burned by drafting a pitcher after a career year. WandyRod is getting up there, has only once pitched more than 182 IPs in a year and has only topped 158 Ks once. However, when he is healthy, he has been good. Over the last three seasons, WandyRod has posted a 3.70 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and an 8.3 K/9 rate. Those are pretty good numbers. Actually, they are better than Burnett’s. However, with a pitcher, you’re better taking the safe bet.

Keeping: Chad Billingsley
Trading: AJ Burnett
Dropping: Wandy Rodriguez

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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.

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