Friday, March 28, 2008

Ask the Hurler: Cantu or Dukes?

One of our steadiest readers, Anonymous, queries the following:

Would you pick up Cantu in favor of Dukes? Seems like Dukes has more underlying raw talent, but Cantu certainly has more momentum right now (and some track record).

Well, your particular roster needs may skew the analysis, but it's hard to imagine a situation in which a 1B/3B eligible player coming off a monster spring, and with one very good year on his resume, wouldn't be more valuable than Dukes. While it's been a while, Cantu has succeeded on the Major League level: Dukes never has. Also, Dukes may be basically keeping the OF warm for the quickly healing Wily Mo Pena. Unless he implodes, Cantu has the job all year, since Dallas MacPherson was sent to AAA. Unless your league is crazy shallow in OF, you've got to go with Cantu. Even if everything was equal (which it's not), you'd still prefer a multi-positional player on your bench.

If Cantu's red-hot spring-training numbers and all of the above don't convince you, consider this: there's an off-chance that Cantu may gain 2B eligibility at some point. Dan Uggla doesn't miss a lot of games, but depending on your league set-up, he wouldn't have to. Cantu played 100+ games at 2B in 2006 and a couple last year (in very limited time, overall). He can play the position. Right now he's looking like a very useful multi-positional corner infielder who may start at CI or UTIL for deep teams. But, if he gains 2B eligibility, that 2005 season of 117 RBI, 28 HR, and a .286 batting average from a second baseman will be fresh on everyone's mind.

Considering every team needs a few multi-positional guys, anyway, I can think of no reason not to add him in just about every league format in which he's available.


Anonymous said...

Great analysis. And I'm glad that I've managed to gain an identity as anonymous. I'm forgetting that you probably have admin tools that let you see my obsessive refresh rates (really slow at work these days) Maybe I should just log in.

Back to Dukes --- Sometimes I have to break free from the seductive allure of the absence of evidence. Dukes, and other pure upside players, have an appeal similar to a really good conspiracy theory --- the less information there is, the more it must be true. Pretty soon you can create a .300-30-100 player out of thin air or a third gunman behind a grassy knoll (bad example, since of course there was a third gunman).

The clincher for me is that I have Wily Mo stashed on my DL. So at least I'm maintaining some of the Dukes equation indirectly.

The position flexibility will be nice, even though I got Wiggington in the last round of my draft to cover things. If Cantu gets 2B eligibility, I'll go from having some decent flexibility to being a full-blow yoga instructor.

Mike Bock said...

You have Wily Mo, too? You're apparently pretty obsessive about locking down the Washington Nationals left fielder.

You're right on the money about "phantom upside." In fact, I think I'll write an article about it...

Mike Bock said...