Adam Ronis, Staff Writer April 6, 2013
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The average will be low, but getting more than 20 home runs from J.P. Arencibia makes him a solid No. 2 catcher. Photo Credit: Keith Allison

My second catcher is Russell Martin. J.P. Arencibia is a free agent. Would you drop Martin for Arencibia?

I had Arencibia ranked ahead of Martin before the season and I still feel that way. Arencibia has some flaws and a low average is expected. He strikes out a lot and swings at a lot of bad pitches. He doesn’t draw many walks either. When looking at No. 2 catchers in mixed leagues, it’s highly unlikely that you will find one that supplies a good average. Arencibia has great power and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he hits the most home runs among catchers. In 2011, despite a .211 average, he hit 23 home runs with 78 RBIs in 443 at-bats. Last season, he batted .233 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in 347 at-bats. Arencibia hits a lot of fly balls, with a career percentage of 48.4 percent. When you strike out often and hit a lot of fly balls, the average is going to suffer. The hope for Arencibia is a .230-.240 average. He has two home runs in his first 11 at-bats and will be part of a potent Blue Jays lineup in a good ballpark to hit in. Martin is not going to be much of an asset either. There’s also concern about his power numbers. He hit 18 home runs in 2011 and 21 last season, but both years he was playing half his games at Yankee Stadium when he had home run/fly ball ratios of 15.9 percent and 19.8 percent, respectively. Those were well above his career mark of 11.2 percent. I don’t see Martin topping 20 home runs in 2013 playing in Pittsburgh. Make the move.

I need another closer. Possible pickups are Ryan Cook, Kyuji Fujikawa, Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke. Who would you pick up?

In this instance, we are trying to figure out who has the best path to saves. You can eliminate Cook since Grant Balfour is healthy to begin the season. The Tigers situation is an absolute mess. There are several options to close in Detroit and the signing of Jose Valverde to a minor league deal only makes the picture even murkier. While the Cubs continue to say Carlos Marmol is the closer, it’s difficult to envision him holding the job very long since he’s not very good. Marmol is a free agent after the season and the Cubs want him to pitch well so they can trade him. Good luck. Marmol had a better second half last season after a bad first half, but it is very difficult to trust him. He walks way too many batters and while his strikeout percentage is still solid, it’s not the 41.6 percent that he had in 2010, which masked his control issues and allowed him to save 38 of 43 games. Marmol had a 7.32 BB/9 last season. He has already been very shaky in his first two appearances. He came in for a save chance on Opening Day and recorded one out while allowing one hit, one run, one walk and he hit a batter. Fujikawa got the final out for the save. With a 3-0 lead on April 4, Marmol came in for the save and it was another adventure. He did get the save, but allowed two runs on three hits and he walked one. Fujikawa, 32, came over from Japan. He has an excellent splitter and displayed good control in Japan. He has pitched 1 1/3 innings and hasn’t allowed a hit or a walk with one strikeout. Of all the pitchers mentioned, I would add Fujikawa. The path to saves could be here real soon for him.

With David Freese coming off the disabled list soon, I need some advice on who to drop from Daniel Murphy, Kendrys Morales, J.J. Hardy or Vinnie Pestano.

It comes down to Murphy or Pestano. Much depends on your league format and roster spots. Overall, Murphy has more value because he plays second base and it’s not a position filled with depth. Murphy doesn’t offer much outside of average as a career .291 hitter. He’s someone to consider as a middle infielder in a deeper league. Pestano has value in leagues that count holds. Chris Perez appeared as though he might start the season on the disabled list with a shoulder injury but he was ready to go. Pestano is still valuable in deeper leagues, especially daily leagues. Pestano gets a lot of strikeouts and supplies good ratios. If Perez were to get injured, Pestano would see a boost in value. Perez pitched well last season when many were expecting him to lose the job after a shaky 2011 season, but Perez will have a long leash. The answer depends on your roster and league format, but overall I would drop Murphy, especially if a lot of setup men that have the potential to close are owned by the rest of your league.

In a 10-team 5×5 roto league, I need to pick up a fifth starter. I have four now and have a 1,250 innings max. Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel, and Trevor Cahill are available? Who do I add?

All are solid additions and in a league this shallow, you and certainly rotate the spot all season, play matchups and go with a two-start pitcher if it’s a weekly league. Of the three players, I would add Cahill. He had very high strikeout rates in the minor leagues, but it didn’t translate to the majors right away. Each season, he is striking out more batters. In 2010, he had a strikeout percentage of 15.1 percent and it increased to 16.3 in 2011 and 18.6 percent last season. Cahill has solid walk rates and he induces a lot of groundballs and that helps pitching in Arizona. Cahill had a groundball percentage of 61.2 percent in 2012. Cahill went 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.02 K/9 and 3.33 BB/9 in 2012. Hammel is my second choice.

All statistics entering Friday April 5.

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