- Jennie Finch, Contributor, espnW.com
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Hey Finch Files followers! I'm enjoying hearing from some of you multiple times. I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. We had some good family time ourselves. It's getting harder to find that time, between my husband Casey Daigle's playing schedule and mine. Sometimes it feels like we're running all the time -- a marathon. We really enjoy the moments we have with each other and our 1-year-old son Ace.
Speaking of marathons, I think this might be a good time to remind everyone out there that the baseball season is a marathon of sorts. We're still seeing skewed statistics out there from the cold weather on the east coast at the beginning of the season. Hang in there. Things will balance out for the most part.
With that, let's get to the mailbag and your questions!
John (Brooklyn): Nick Swisher is a career .260 minor-league hitter and a .250 major-league one. Is his average to date legit and he's finally matured, or should I just trust the history? How about Julio Lugo, who's currently putting up good numbers in every category outside of his average -- will we ever know which player we'll get out of him?
Jenny: Nick Swisher is a pure power hitter, and not the kind that's ever going to be a high-average guy. Although he's off to a fast start this year with a batting average of .297, I'd look for his batting average to settle in the .270 range by the end of the year.
Same comment applies to Lugo. I expect he'll start hitting in the .270 - .280 range as we've seen in the past. This is a marathon. Players have peaks and valleys. With the cold weather in the northeast earlier this season, a lot of averages are a mess. I think the fact that he's driven in a lot of runs (30 RBIs) and stolen 15 bases bodes well for him to have even bigger numbers when he starts hitting well.
Ryan (Rosemount): Do you know if ESPN is going to televise any of the softball games that you're preparing for?
Jenny: Thanks for that question, Ryan. I'm not sure yet, but check my website www.jenniefinch.net throughout the season and we'll have up-to-date TV and appearance listings.
Tammy: Jennie, this really isn't a fantasy question, I was just wondering what you think of Cal Ripken Jr.? My husband absolutely loves the man, buys all his books and coaches fastpitch softball according to some of the standards that Cal has set concerning attitude, work ethic, etc. … Just wondering if you think that's ok ... since he's a baseball player and not a fastpitch player?
Jenny: Cal is a great guy. I did a bunch of inner-city clinics with him a few years back. He has a great rapport with people and gave me some good advice along the way. The importance of a good attitude and work ethic are the same in any field if you want to succeed. I'd say your husband's right on. Cal's words and philosophies can certainly be applied to softball and in more cases than not, to life in general.
Justin, (Chaska, MN): What should I do with Bob Wickman? Should I keep him or get an extra infielder, say Howie Kendrick? Or should I go after another closer? I have Ryan Dempster as well, and nobody knows what will happen with him.
Jenny: I don't know what closers are available in your league, but I think you're safe with Wickman. Even if Wickman and Dempster don't help you as much with ratios and strikeout as some of the power closers, but they do get plenty of saves. As long as the rest of your pitching staff takes care of the other categories, you'll be fine.
Jeff (Lake Havasu City, AZ): Hey Jennie. I gave you a holla last week in reference to a trade and it worked out great. I had confidence in myself, but just wanted a second opinion.. As for a baseball pick up, I have been "eye ballin" Carlos Pena from Tampa Bay. What do you think of him and would you think of possibly considering to drop maybe a Jeff Kent or an Adrian Gonzalez for him? I use these two as utility players to back up David Ortiz.
Jenny: Glad I could help out, Jeff, even if only with a second opinion!
As for your fantasy question, stick with Kent and Gonzalez because they both have long-standing track records. Even in 2006 when he was limited by injuries, Kent produced outstanding numbers. Gonzalez hit .336 in the second half last year. My concern with Pena is that he's had hot streaks like this before and then became frigid. Keep tabs on Pena but stick with what you have.
Amanda (Raymore,Mo) I'm a big fan of the Royals born and raised in the KC area. do you think they have a good pitching lineup?
Jenny: I think the Royals are finally beginning to address their pitching concerns. I wouldn't call it a good rotation yet, although Gil Meche is off to a solid start. As much as it pains me to say this because I like some of those guys on a personal level -- like Brian Bannister who is a really great guy -- for fantasy purposes in the short term I'd look elsewhere and stay away from the Royals pitchers.
Alex (Mich): A guy in my league was shopping Albert Pujols. I made several offers trying to unload Carlos Delgado. After several failed attempts he offered me Pujols and J.J. Hardy for Delgado and Jose Reyes. As much as I didn't want to part with Reyes, Hardy is having a career year and Pujols for Delgado, I think, is a no-brainer. I saw Pujols play in Detroit and he was tearing it up. Even though I had to give up Reyes, do you think this was a good deal to make? I did go ahead and pull the trigger on it while it was still on the table. Your thoughts?
Jenny: Well, I hate to say this, but I would have stuck with Delgado and Reyes. Before you get angry or upset, let me give you my reasons: First, Reyes may be the best player in rotisserie baseball right now, and second, Delgado wasn't going to slump all year. And I'd have said this before he hit four home runs in three games. Hardy is off to a great start, but he has no track record indicating that he'll sustain his productivity over the course of a season. Unfortunately, Pujols is stuck in a lineup that is completely underachieving and may do so the rest of the year. Sorry!
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Jennie Finch discusses hot fantasy baseball topics and answers user e-mail.