Deciding on divisive fantasy players 

March, 20, 2012

Our fantasy department asked me if I'd answer a few questions about specific players they're hearing about often from readers this spring.

I picked a few where I felt I had reasonably strong opinions and have answered them here in a Q&A format.

What's the floor/ceiling this season for Pedro Alvarez?

I've been asked by a lot of readers if Alvarez is a "bust," but I don't like hanging that term on position players who haven't even reached age 27 (Alvarez plays at 25 this year). But the Pittsburgh Pirates didn't handle him well -- I always thought they rushed him up the minors, promoting him the moment he strung together a few good performances -- and adjustments he clearly needed to make coming out of college remain unmade. He doesn't have an ideal setup or swing, and his recognition of offspeed stuff has never been great -- far worse than that when the pitcher is left-handed.

I think he needs more time in Triple-A to work on those issues, if only because time in the majors this year he is likely to see more strikeout accumulation, although he could probably hit 25 home runs if the Pirates force 500 at-bats on him regardless of his OBP.

Thoughts on Michael Pineda and his "early struggles" this spring, or is this just the typical New York Yankees microscope on a player blowing things out of proportion?

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer