h2h Corner ~ Keep, Trade or Drop: Travis Snider, Elijah Dukes, Garrett Jones?

It’s become scary how many baseball players are now younger than me. That’s no different for Travis Snider, who just turned 22. Snider has only had 101 major league games and 356 plate appearances, so it is a bit hard to judge what kind of pro he will be. Still, if we project out his career (so far) over 162 games, he averages about 18 HRs. That’s not bad for a 22-year old. The real exciting thing about Travis Snider is his minor league track record: 1,506 Minor League ABs resulting in a .304/.382/.533 (AVE/OBP/SLG). Snider does strike-out a lot, so slumps will be common. However, when he is hot, he has the potential to put up monster power numbers as soon as this year. For someone you can get later in drafts, he is a sneaky 25+ HR candidate.

Elijah Dukes appears to have all the tools to make him a star, yet for personal and performance issues, he hasn’t clicked yet. In 2008, in just 81 games, Dukes managed to hit 13 HRs and steal 13 bases. He looked like a pretty safe break-out candidate for 2009. Well, he wasn’t (just eight HRs and three SBs (with 10 caught stealings) in more games (107)). People tend to wait on stars (Lawrence Phillips, Maurice Clarett, Josh Hamilton (bad example)) with huge upside, but I don’t advocate it. Too much can happen during a baseball season and career to bank on someone who has given you no reasons to rely on him.

Thankfully, Garrett Jones is older than me (he turns 29 in June). Still, he had by far the best 2009 of his cohort (82 games, 21 HRs, 10 SBs, a .293 AVE and a .372 OBP). Those are pretty insane numbers, given he only had half a season. However, we have seen this kind of immediate impact turn to dust before. There simply isn’t a minor league track record to suggest Jones will be much more than a fringe fantasy contributor. In 4,185 minor league ABs, Jones hit .258/.312/.450 (AVE/OBP/SLG). In addition, I’d be surprised if he accumulated more than 10 SBs in any major league season (his highest total was 14 in the minors). He is, quite simply, too old to be considered over someone with the enormous upside of Travis Snider.

So I’m keeping Snider. I’m going to trade Elijah Dukes. For the same reason people draft Maurice Clarett (congrats Redskins fans), people will trade for Dukes. Most people will realize Jones’ 2009 was a mirage.

Keep: Travis Snider
Trade: Elijah Dukes
Drop: Garrett Jones

______________________________

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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