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In-Depth Knowledge On A College Budget

Updated: 2018-03-01T13:05:46.362-08:00




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Let's Go Rays!


There are many teams to root for, but perhaps none more than the low budget Tampa Bay Rays.



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The Milestone


Watching the Yanks/Jays game right now. A couple things to note before I get to A.J. Burnett.

1. Phil Hughes looks filthy. Curve ball is moving.

2. Notice how Jeter and A-Rod are out. People playing in the finals with those guys on the roster must love that the Yanks are officially eliminated.

On to the reason that I am tempted to post something for the first time in a while. A.J. Burnett tonight would be taken out of this game in the 7th inning in virtually every other start. He was over 100 pitches after that time. He has a history of arm problems and generally the Blue Jays have done a good deal to protect him. Tonight was different as Burnett went 117 pitches. What made it different?

Well first of all Burnett is probably not going to be back with the Blue Jays. J.P. Riccardi has said he would like to resign him, but after the last 6 weeks of the season other than CC Sabathia, Burnett appears to be the most sought after free agent (I'm going to guess that Scott Boras will not turn sentimental on us and exercise the out clause) on the market. Thus, much like the Brewers have driven CC into the ground since trading him, the Jays had nothing to lose by dangling his arm for another inning.

Second, is the milestone issue. With 18 wins heading into the start and with the Jays not leading the game Burnett needed to stay in to get his 19th. If he got his 19th he would have had the option according to Cito Gaston to start on 3 days rest Sunday and get his 20th. So he came back out. And when the Jays didn't have the lead in the 9th inning it appeared that after 117 pitches Burnett still wasn't done. Gaston was really just being classy and brought in Jessie Carlson and let the fans give Burnett one last Canadian cheer.

The issue at this time of the year is interesting and certainly debatable. For anyone who argues the numbers don't matter to these guys, you are lying. Numbers bring contracts and ultimately dollars. Sure, I believe that John Elway wanted to win when he had reached the end and that Karl Malone signed with the Lakers to get a chance at the ring. But that is AFTER these guys have already had their best years and contracts behind them. Just goes to show that sometimes fantasy managers and their players are pulling for one another.

Loving September


Last night was great excitement. Perhaps I was the only person not drawn to the NFL after 4:00 and perhaps it was a result of my Patriots hopes being crushed, but fantasy baseball had all the drama in my heart of a real baseball playoff game. I know how Hilary Clinton feels having won in West Virginia after watching Elijah Dukes put me ahead in the 14th inning of a meaningless Braves/Nats game.

Dukes was a player I just added to my team ten days ago and he's a guy who if you want to start talking about keepers has me really excited. Depending on your league format you might have keepers based on the round a player was drafted in or if they were claimed off of free agency. If you do a league based on when players were drafted Elijah Dukes stock has risen significantly.

Dukes had always been a highly regarded prospect when he was drafted back in 2002 by Tampa Bay (think about a Carl Crawford, BJ Upton, and Elijah Dukes outfield - yikes that would have been scarey). Now he may have finally put his troubled off the field problems behind him and is ready to be that great player everyone thought he could be. He is still just 24 years old and is playing in a market that will protect his "baggage" as he continues to mature. With 10 home runs and 13 steals in only 226 at bats he can easily put together Corey Hart or Nick Markakis numbers if he stays healthy next year.

If you weren't quick enough to snag Dukes up, here are some other outfielders to think about in terms of going from unappreciated to a rising fantasy star:

Nate McLouth: He will need some lineup protection without Xavier Nady and Jason Bay next season, but 100 runs and a 20/20 season is great from a guy who was supposed to platoon at the start of the season.

Lastings Milledge: Dukes teammate has also put the past behind - though his problems were more on the field with the Mets. He also has had the top prospect tag next to him and also had a breakout year of sorts and should not go far from the cleanup spot next season.

Andre Ethier: I'm just going to go ahead and stick a fork in Andruw Jones. Ethier has had the best month of his fine breakout season in September much like Matt Holliday did back in 2005 and could be a huge run scoring threat if the Dodgers resign Manny Ramirez in the offseason.

Carlos Quentin: Don't let the wrist thing fool you, this guy is a great hitter and will be next season. Arizona GM Josh Byrnes has done some great things, but he should not be let off the hook for giving up the AL MVP for 4 months for nothing. Unlike Ryan Ludwick, Quentin's season was not a fluke - he's young and has always had potential. Ludwick is old and more likely to be a Chumbawamba type player rather than a career guy.

Need a Pitching Punch?


Brandon Morrow was fantastic last night. I went back and forth on whether to start a guy who had an ERA of 5.01 at AAA Tacoma. By the time I reached the conclusion that I shouldn't start him, I was helpless at the movies without any internet access. Needless to say 'Tropic Thunder' might have saved one of my seasons.

Morrow was fantastic throwing his slider, curve, changeup and mid 90s fastball in any count to keep the Yankees off balance. In the end Joe Girardi called on pinch hitter Wilson Betemit to do something that Jose Molina couldn't do with a tree trunk sized bat - make contact. Despite throwing 106 pitches he proved to be equally as effective in his first start as he was as a reliever earlier this season. He's worth starting from here on out. Here are some other fellows to watch out for.

Jonathan Sanchez: For matchup leagues looking for a strikeout boost at the last minute he is a perfect pick up. He won't pitch until 4:05 Eastern time which will enable you to see where you are in terms of Ks and Wins versus ERA and WHIP. He also pitched real well coming off the DL his last time out in Coors Field and faces the lowly Pirates.

Johnny Cueto: Cueto is antother guy who will give you a ton of Ks and has been dropped by a lot of managers after being taken out of his last start after just 3 innings. He will face the struggling Cubs whom he has been impressive against in 3 prior starts this season.

Jeff Francis: With 4 straight quality starts a guy who was on fire at this time last season, has seemingly found his groove again after a lengthy stint on the DL. He certainly won't get the Ks that some of these other guys will, but he will be able to throw more pitches given that Cueto and Sanchez were injured more recently.

Shaun Marcum: He is back in the rotation and still has great overall numbers on the season. He is the most capable of putting together in all around fantastic game, but his stats seem to be trending in the other direction as opposed to the other guys on this list.



I saw an advertisement yesterday for the "there's only one October" campaign. They mentioned how pitching can be so nasty during the playoffs for some odd reason. It got me thinking to how the platform for traditional stats changes during September too.

Think about it. This week in my league we have the two lower seeds beating the higher seeds. Teams that are out of it are starting to give prospects a look. Teams (ok just the Angels) that have locked up the division and a home series are resting stars. The contending teams are relying on their stud pitchers more.

Basically what to take from all of this is that changes are happening more rapidly now than they would have say a month or two ago when all teams had the responsibility to give equal effort and play among their best players. Now that has changed and if you can get the young guys like David Price or the veterans with something to play for like Jim Thome you have to do it because they are more apt to perform for you versus say Jake Peavy who's team is really just hoping to have him healthy next year.

If on the other hand your league (like mine) locks roster moves for the postseason then I hope you had planned for this moment two weeks ago. Otherwise you'll have changed your lineup for 20 weeks only to come up short at the most crucial time against a manager that you were better than for 20 out of 22 weeks. It is a shame, but that's the beauty of fantasy baseball.

Tim Hudson = Luke Hudson


Sadly, you overestimate Tim Hudson. Sure, Huddy had a great start against Philly the other week, but just cause he hasn't given up 5, 6 or even 9 runs in a game in a while doesn't mean that he's resorting back to his Oakland days. I will be open to the idea that Hudson pitches well from here on out. But until I see evidence, I still remain very skeptical of such things happening, hence why I gladly dropped him. Take a look at his recent "Hudson being Hudson" streak:

19.2 innings, 21 hits, 7 walks, 17 K's, 1.42 WHIP, .280 BAA

These numbers don't look bad, but they don't look great either. 3.2 BB/9 doesn't seem too bad, but he appears to be still rather hittable, ending up in his high WHIP. All in all, he's not bad.

Now, there are two arguments I have as to why Hudson's possible success doesn't bother me.

First is that his career September numbers are awful. Year in year out, he performs very badly in September. And much like your logic for why McCann will be Brablc's demise in the playoffs, Hudson may be the demise of yours.

Second is that, as stated before, Hudson appears still hittable. Now, despite his September struggles, Hudson is traditionally a solid August pitcher. But his recent numbers appear to be more like his 2001 season in Oakland than any of his other seasons. In all his successful Augusts, he's had a BAA of .235 or lower and a WHIP in the low 1's. In 2001, he was as hittable as he is right now. He had a .292 BAA and 25/13 K/BB ratio. These numbers are very similar to his current numbers. He ended the month with a good 3.66 ERA and a sub-par 1.47 WHIP.

At best, I see Hudson being an average pitcher. He has been very inconsistent this season and though he's had historical success, he hasn't shown that he can consistently pitch solidly while in Atlanta. Sure, I didn't expect Hudson to start pitching as well as he has been when I dropped him. But I'm still glad I dropped him, because his astronomical WHIP would really hurt my staff.

However, as you've made known, it is very difficult to predict accurately what players will do in the future. Baseball players are, after all, human, and are prone to inconsistencies. As a result, even the best team in your head to head league can lose to the worst on any given week. For this reason, I won't say that you're wrong Mark. But I will say that I wouldn't be as comfortable as you are if I had to rely on the likes of Bill Hall and Tim Hudson to win me a championship.

From Castaways to Contention


The "what ifs" eat at the heart of every manager who gives a care if Dave Roberts stole a base while he's on a date asks himself. I could have had Big Papi for Mark Teixeira before the season. I once said that Justin Morneau should be put on waivers and that I had zero interest in him (he was in fact on waivers in early May). I remember Curtis saying "I don't think Ryan Howard will hit for as much power as everyone thought" in early April.But then I thought about the moves I have made - not the big trades, but the subtle moves. The free agents I added at the right time. And as I look at my team now, I believe I am the favorite to win the playoffs as a result of taking 4 players from free agency that the other 4 contributing members to this blog gave up on.Bill Hall was dropped by Sean in late March before the season started. An understandable decision considering Hall wasn't even going to start. Hall got picked up later in the season by Curtis when Hall began to start games as a result of Brewers injuries. Curtis picked up Hall as a result of injuries on his own team to Marcus Giles. When Giles returned to action Curtis made the mistake of dropping Hall (other bad drops by Curtis include Jermaine Dye and Eric Bedard) in early June. I saw the opportunity and promise of Hall, a guy who hit 17 homers and stole 18 bags the year before. He was eligible at 3 different positions. Even though Rickie Weeks appeared to be emerging as a top 5 second basemen, Michael Young was coming off a batting title, and Melvin Mora was treading water at third base I thought that Hall could eventually be valueable. Now Rickie Weeks is done, Melvin Mora got cut, and Michael Young got traded. Hall just leads all shortstops in dingers and is currently helping me pass Curtis in the standings.Brian McCann was dropped by Brablc (Brablc's premature drops are why he won't win the playoffs. They include Hanley Ramirez, Jeff Francoer right before he got red hot, Ryan Freel, and Brablc's binky - Rocco Baldelli) on April 6 after he thought he had gotten the greatest steal in Josh Willingham since Abu took the lamp in the movie Aladin. Willingham has been up and down this season as he currently sits where Brian McCann sat on that 6th day in April waiting for someone to make him their fantasy. McCann has been the second best catcher in baseball this season and over the last month far and away the best catcher in all of baseball - even better than Joe Maeur. A look at the post all star break numbers of the two young catchersMcCann 8HR 24RBI .360 AVGMaeur 3HR 19RBI .313 AVGBrablc should win the regular season, but an off season of bragging rights only belongs to the playoff champ - the guy who gets hot at the end, kind of like McCann right now.Andy Pettite was dropped by Alvarez right before he began to show signs of life again (other Alvarez mistakes include dropping Nomar right after he came off the DL*, Aubrey Huff when Huff was turning it around in early July, Eric Bedard, Ryan Freel, Takashi Saito, Dan Uggla, and Orlando Hernandez**). So since he was dropped by Alvarez Pettite's numbers look like this in 3 starts:2 Wins 2.66 ERA 0.98 WHIP, 10.62 K/9 inningsThe fantasy baseball trade deadline this year was like MLB. Everyone wanted starting pitching so it was really hard to come by. Instead of adding a quality number 2 starter for Prince - excuse me - Matt Holliday I added Andy Pettite who is motivated once again by the Astros playoff chances.Tim Hudson was dropped by Sean (other regular season champ costing drops include: Bill Hall, Kevin Mench before he went on that dinger binge, Hanley Ramirez, and Chien Ming Wang) about one month ago and just now is starting to show signs that he is in fact Tim Hudson. The guy has a track record of being great and although he is a little smaller in stature than most pitchers he is a young 31 year old.S[...]

The Second Half Fantasy Hitting All Stars


As promised to you last week here are the guys who are going to step it up in the second half of the fantasy season. If you have a chance to acquire any of these guys by trading overachievers of the season's first half go for it.Catcher: Brian McCann. The batting average is already there, but the other numbers are going to start appearing too for McCann after going on the DL for a stint with a minor injury in the first half. He is only 22 and will eventually learn to hit for more power - hopefully he learns fast. Though it is unlikely make sure the Braves don't move a player like Andruw Jones at the deadline.Final Line Projection: .316/15HR/71RBI/54RFirst Base: Todd Helton. Last season around this time Helton was heading to the DL. He has already been on the DL this season and everyone considers Helton to be past his time as a power hitter. All the reason why he will be a second half all star. He is a buy low candidate at this point and will be motivated to play well since the Rockies are in the hunt this year. Remember Helton hit 80 points better in the second half last season.Final Line Projection: .315/23HR/97RBI/110RSecond Base: Jorge Cantu. Like Helton Cantu spent time on the DL to start the year, but he has been playing for a couple of weeks now and appears to be healthy. Remember he drove in 117 runs last year and has been batting 5th in front of Carl Crawford, a healthy Rocco Baldelli, and the resurgent Aubrey Huff. If your team has been short on RBI, Cantu's numbers and position can have you a tremendous lift.Final Line Projection: .285/18HR/82RBI/63RShortstop: Rafael Furcal. Many shortstops underachieved in the first half (Michael Young, Jhonny Peralta, Jimmy Rollins) but nobody was worse than Furcal. Lately it seems like Furcal has turned it around as he is batting .333 to start his July and his stolen base success rate has improved in the last two months. The reason the Dodgers gave Furcal so much money in the offseason was because of his second half last season with Atlanta when he hit .322 and stole 17 bases.Final Line Projection: .274/10HR/58RBI/117R/41SBThird Base: Eric Chavez. This was the toughest choice because there are so many great candidates. If you are thinking of remaking your team I would grab extra third basemen. Ryan Zimmerman is starting to prove why he gets compared to David Wright, Aramis Ramirez has shown positive signs lately and Morgan Ensberg would be a great buy low candidate but my pick is Chavez here. Take a look at his average season from 2000-2005:.278 average 29.5 home runs, 98 RBI, 90 runs scoredChavez is currently on pace for .240/26 homers/85 RBI/75 runs. There is no logical explanation seeing how he has been so consistent and hes under 30 years old.Final Line Projection: .270/29/97/88Outfielder 1: Ken Griffey Jr. I know this guy has a history of injuries, but with the stats down and that injury factor in mind, many owners might be happy to part with Griffey. His upside is still tremendous for the second half and he is seven years younger than Bonds.Final Line Projection: .263/38/111/80Outfielder 2: Juan Pierre. As mentioned in a previous article Pierre is notorious for heating it up after the break. He got a head start last week when he hit .438 and stole 5 bases.Final Line Projection: .290/101R/57 SBOutfielder 3: Curtis Granderson. At the break Granderson is close to a 20 home run/20 stolen base season. Looking at similar players to Granderson in their rookie seasons (Alfonso Soriano, Grady Sizemore) a trend suggests that Granderson will put up better numbers after the break and get to the 20/20 plateau.Final Line Projection: .280/22HR/79RBI/108R/20SB[...]

Top Ten Keepers for 2007


For some fantasy baseball players hopes of a 2006 championship are slim to none. These players need to start preparing for the future. To help with this process, I have unveiled my first Top Ten Keeper List for 2007.

1. Francisco Liriano: This guy has absolutely filthy stuff. Scouts say that he has more talent than Johan Santana who has been the top pitcher in fantasy baseball for the last three years. Liriano’s numbers this year include a 10-1 record, a 1.83 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and 102 Ks in 88.1 IP. At 22 years old he is unquestionably the top keeper for 2007.

2. Albert Pujols: He has consistently been a top notch fantasy player since he joined MLB in 2001. If it wasn’t for a strained oblique, he would be running away with the number one player ranking this year. At the young age of 26, Pujols has many great years in front of him.

3. Johan Santana- See Francisco Liriano. He has been the top pitcher in FB over the last three years and is currently number four. There is no reason to think that at the young age of 27 he won’t continue to dominate.

4. Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod’s owners are complaining about his poor production despite the fact that he is currently number 30 in the player rankings. After eight straight MVP caliber seasons, I guess he is kind of disappointing. At 31 years old though, I feel that he is still far from being an absolute fantasy stud.

5. Jose Reyes: While I don’t think he will consistently hit .300 like he has done this year, as a SS Reyes is quite the valuable commodity. He is the top SB threat in the league and will score an ungodly amount of runs in a Mets lineup that should be strong for the foreseeable feature. Add in the fact that he is only 22 with plenty of time to improve his already amazing numbers, one understands why Reyes is a top 5 keeper.

6. David Wright: This guy can flat out hit. Already a top 15 player, this 23 year old has the potential to continue to improve his numbers like he has done in his first three ML seasons. Throw in the fact that this five tool talent plays 3B, and you have unquestionably a top ten keeper.

7. Carlos Beltran: I wasn’t sold on him this year. Boy was I wrong. Beltran has 40-40 potential as well as the ability to consistently put up 100 Rs and 100 RBIs in a dangerous Mets lineup (see two players above). Throw in the fact that he is still just 29 and he is no doubt a first-rate keeper.

8. Carl Crawford: This 24 year old continues to soar as he gets more experience in the major leagues. This year he is on pace to set career highs in all five major fantasy hitting categories. I think he is for real and it wouldn’t surprise me if next year he vaults into the top three of the fantasy player rankings (joined by Liriano and Pujols).

9. Scott Kazmir: Kazmir has lived up to all the hype that preceded his debut in the MLs. He has already shown the ability to earn wins with support from a good Devil Rays offense as well as plus performance in both the Ks and ERA category. As the 24 year old’s command continues to improve as it has done since his 2004 debut, his average WHIP will improve to the point that Kazmir is consistently among the top 15 players.

10. Miguel Cabrera: This 23 year old has the ability to put up .330 average with 35 HRs, 100 runs, and 120 RBIs. As the young hitters around Cabrera continue to improve, I expect him to develop into an annual attendee on the top 15 fantasy player list.

Karabell: Man or God?


Is Eric Karabell God? Is he the 2nd coming of Jesus? Part man, part God, with a spark of fantasy baseball divinity within him? This article seeks to answer this question.In one of my leagues, Eric Karabell is God. I have Joe Nathan. I recall trying to trade Nathan in late May or so, and no one wanted him. "Twins are horrible, man. He's good, but without saves, it's pointless." Karabell writes an article on the guy and a day later I have two trade offers for Nathan. The skeptic in me says this is no coincidence. My take on him is that he's insightful and interesting, but his word is far from gold. Upon reading his latest article, I felt it necessary to commit heresy and say that Karabell is wrong.In his recent article, "Saves Are Saves" on, he and I shared one common belief in that it's a beautiful thing trading away closers. Saves are hard to come by, so people always will pay top dollar for a good closer. If you play the closer game (as I recommended all to do at the beginning of the season), then you are bound to reap rewards later on in the season. For instance, by playing the closer game, I was able to get Berkman in my most recent trade.However, we differ on one statement. He says:"While Papelbon, B.J. Ryan, Nathan and Trevor Hoffman are among those with special numbers in ERA and WHIP, the fact is it just doesn't impact your team all that much. In the league I dealt Papelbon in, I did the math. He and Izzy have the same amount of saves. Had I owned Isringhausen all season instead of Papelbon, my team ERA would have been only slightly higher, from 4.08 to 4.16. Big deal? Not today it isn't.....Closers are nice, make no mistake, but they remain one-category fantasy players. Of course we all need that category, which is why Shawn Camp was the most added player in three separate weeks on ESPN. If you can move your top closer for something you really need and a lesser closer, it's a smart move. Happens all the time. "Karabell is wrong. While I'm glad he was capable calculating his season long ERA difference, I really could care less. Of course one closer won't effect your season long ERA/WHIP tremendously. However, if you're relying on just one closer to provide you with saves every week, then you're clearly not pursuing the proper strategy. What the average manager does is have 3 to 5 closers going for him every week. I am not quite certain whether or not this has been said before (by a different person, I'm thinking Mark maybe) on this site, but regardless, it is necessary to be said again. Let's assume I have the following closers: Nathan, Papelbon, Chad Cordero. Let's also assume that my starting pitching staff pitched 50 innings, gave up 22 runs, for a weekly ERA of 3.96. Let's also assume that in those 50 innings, their WHIP was 1.30.Now, I go back and compile the weekly stats for all four of my closers from the last 7 days. Nathan pitched 2 innings last week, gave up no runs, allowed 3 baserunners, struck out 3. Papelbon pitched 2 1/3 innings, no runs, allowed 1 baserunner, and struck out 2. Cordero pitched 4 1/3 innings, no runs, allowed 2 baserunners, and 7 strikeouts. My totals on the week from my closers would be 8 2/3 innings, 0.00 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and 12 K's, not to mention the 3 saves and 3 wins also tagged on by them. Aside from Cordero's 3 wins, none of these numbers are abnormal. They are expected. Meaning, each week you get out of your closers the equivalent of a dominant, Johan-esque type start while occassionally receiving not only saves, but win(s) as well. By having good closers, I lower my ERA from 3.96 to 3.37, WHIP from 1.30 to 1.21, increased strikeouts by 12, wins by 3, and saves by 3.Karabell is right in that one shouldn't overpay for closers. If you get rid o[...]

Fantasy All Stars


With the MLB all star game a week from today its time to look book at the first half's all stars.I picked the all star team not by choosing the top ranked players at each position, but rather how they have done versus their expectations and how valueable they have been for a fantasy team.Catcher: Ramon Hernandez. Who said September stats are over rated? After finishing 05' with a .359/5/20 month Hernandez has not slowed down in 06. The move from Petco to Camden Yards has led to a pace of 32 home runs and 126 RBI. Pretty good for a position one of our writers claims you should never waste a high pick on. In Hernandez's case he was taken very late at pick 142 and in ESPN leagues he was on average the 8th catcher chosen.First Base: Albert Pujols. Yeah, I know. He's the easy pick. But considering he has been on the DL and might reclaim the number one spot on the player ranker he deserves it. The secret was out on Pujols going into the year, the only question was who to take with number one - Pujols or A-Rod. The question has been answered.Second Base: Dan Uggla. For people like our fellow phenom Sean who don't like to take second basemen after the elite are gone this guy has been a savior. He like many other Marlins has risen from the minors and has contributed in all categories this season.Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra. When Nomar started the year on the DL many owners decided to give up on the two time batting champ and let him go rather than waste a DL space. He has returned and is on a pace to score and drive in over a 100 runs. He is also battling for a third batting title.Third Base: Scott Rolen. I said in the preseason that Rolen would be out of action by June 1st, but he has hung in pretty well thus far. He is putting up numbers close to third base power houses David Wright, Alex Rodriguez and Miguel Cabrera but was taken in the middle rounds unlike all of those guys.Outfield 1: Carlos Beltran. I thought Beltran had forgotten how to play. I guess the number one overall ranking he has kind of says otherwise.Outfield 2: Vernon Wells. He went in the 9th round in our draft, but he's been playing like a second rounder and a keeper for next year. I guess adding Troy Glaus has brought Wells back to where he was when Carlos Delgado hit behind him.Outfield 3: Jermaine Dye. One of this site's most brilliant mind's let him go early on. He has paid for it since. Dye has more homers than last year's home run king Andruw Jones and the same amount of RBI as Jason Bay.Starting Pitcher 1 : Francisco Liriano. R I D I C U L O U S. Props to those of you who withered the middle relief storm.Starting Pitcher 2: Mike Mussina. 4.41 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 05' are gone thanks largely to improved change up and the other 19 pitches he features.Relief Pitcher 1: Jonathan Papelbon. The first half's most valueable fantasy player in terms of how much you paid to get him. In our league he went undrafted, while Keith Foulke (the closer going into 06) was taken in the 15th round.Relief Pitcher 2: J.J. Putz. In any league featuring only saves this guy should have gone undrafted. Well now every league featuring only saves has J.J. Putz on a roster and his numbers have been superb especially the 57 k's in 40.1 innings.Pitcher: Aaron Harang. He's always been a pretty good strikeout pitcher but this year he has actually been a good pitcher.Pitcher: Broson Arroyo. Harang's teammate has lost the Designated Hitter he had to see in the AL and had a dominant first half.Pitcher: Tom Gordon. Brad Lidge, Billy Wagner, K-Rod, Huston Street, Eric Gagne, and Trevor Hoffman have all had fantastic years as closers. Gordon has out-pitched all of them this year even though he wasn't taken until rounds after these guys.Who will be the second half's fan[...]

Analysis of a Trade


Questions about trades are the most frequent types that appear in fantasy baseball chats. We have not progressed to the point where we will host chats to answer such questions. (However, if you would like my opinion please feel free to e-mail me at
Instead I wanted to analyze a trade in hopes that my insights will better allow you to analyze your own trade. The trade I will be looking at is a three-way deal that recently happened in our Phenom league. Note: all parties involved in a trade can be winners. Their doesn’t necessarily have to be a loser in a trade.

Brabs: Gives- Lance Berkman and Todd Helton.
Gets: Aaron Harang, John Smoltz, and Coco Crisp

Thoughts: I really don’t like this trade for Brabs. Lance Berkman is an absolute stud and Helton, despite the fuss made about his lack of power, is the number 80 player over the last month and I suspect he will actually play at a slightly better level than this for the remainder of the season. Before this trade I thought Brabs was average in runs, HRs, RBIs, and average. Considering that his replacements for Berkman an Helton are Mike Cameron and Coco Crisp, who doesn’t look like he will get back the leadoff spot anytime soon, I think his offense will really suffer. Chris does have mediocre starting pitching at best, and Harang (extremely underrated, I absolutely love this guy) and Smoltz (wins will come if he continues to pitch well) make his SPs good but not great. However, solving one leak in the pipe by removing the tape that is covering another leak is not a good strategy. He would have been better off trading just Helton for Smoltz and taking a chance on one of the young guns to round out his SP.

Verdict: Loser

Matt: Gives: Coco Crisp and Aaron Harang
Gets: Todd Helton, Chad Cordero, and Ryan Dempster

Thoughts: Matt was average to above average in every category except SBs. The switch of Helton with Crisp makes him above average to elite in four categories which is what you need to win in the playoffs. He has extremely deep SP, the best in the league, and could afford to give away Harang. In addition, he gets two closer to add to his current one, Brad Lidge. My only quarrel about Matt’s trade is that Dempster was one of the closers. Dempster sucks and will lose his job soon. At that point, Matt will be with two closers or a third closer/adventure (think Mike MacDougal).

Verdict: Winner

Strive: Gives: John Smoltz, Chad Cordero, and Ryan Dempster
Gets: Lance Berkman

Thoughts: Stirve has a huge excess of RP so giving away a above average closer and a guy that is going to lose his job is no big deal. Smoltz is a very good SP, but you have to give something to get something. Smoltz was not one of Strive’s top four SPs so he should be able to deal with the loss. In return he gets a stud OF to fill a huge hole in his lineup.

Verdict: Winner



I first must apologize for my long delay in writing a post. Having my computer crash certainly puts a massive roadblock in my career as a Phenom, and the only time I have time to write is some down time at work. So with that said, I'll say as much as I want to say in the short time that I have to say it.

Let's play a little high/low.

Raul Ibanez: Guess who leads the majors in slugging percentage in this last month? Yea, Ibanez wasn't my guess either. But being 34 certainly does not bode well. Congratulations are in order for those who had him after his rough start. I would say sell high, but I doubt you can. Anyone looking to pay for him right now must surely have better options for similar or lower costs.

Joey Gathright: I've been critical of Royals management before. This latest move is interesting. Gathright's value certainly goes up with this trade, but the pertinent question is how much? It seems as though he's taken over center and DeJesus moves over. It's a given that Gathright has the speed, but it's pretty fruitless if he can never get on. As soon as his OBP starts to go up a little, he's going to be a valuable asset to any team. Buy Low.

Josh Johnson: I'd be weary of this man. He's got great stuff and he has shown the potential to be a solid pitcher. I picture Johnson has being somewhat of a Chris Young type pitcher this season. Young's rookie season and Johnson's are very similar. Johnson is still young and he may be playing a little over his head right now. No one rated Johnson as one of the top rookie pitchers entering this season. It's very likely, as what happened with Young, that he'll fade out towards August. But allow some time to mature, and he'll be tearing up the NL just like Mr. Young. Sell high for the time being.

Takashi Saito: I've always spoken about how not to trade for stud closers just to have closers. If you want saves, just be attentive and get them on the waiver wire. Now, while I still stand by this strategy, I may make an exception on this case. 1.67 ERA, 49/8 K/BB ratio, and 0.77 WHIP so far this season is remarkable. Gagne doesn't appear to be coming back, and he does, it won't be for a while and it'll take him a while to regain his dominant form again. If Saito keeps these stats up, he could be a top 5 closer. His peripherals are just too good to pass up. Buy high.

Michael Young: Young is certainly having a down season, only in the fact that he's 5-7 homers behind his expected pace (assuming he was predicted to have 22-25 homers this season). Other than that, though, he's having a good year. Yet, don't buy low. Middle infielders are by nature weak offensively. There are only a few exceptions to this, and those exceptions are valuable beyond belief. As for the rest of them, they're a dime a dozen. If you have enough resources to get a Michael Young from someone, go out and get yourself a Texeira, Giambino, or Rios instead. These guys will put up by far better offensive numbers than Young for the same price. As I mentioned before the season began, sticking with an Ian Kinsler or some waiver wire middle infielder won't be that much of a downgrade if you're able to get your hands on a solid offensive player at any other position. Don't buy unless it's low...real low.

Hope you all have a good weekend, enjoy the fireworks, and hopefully I'll have another article coming soon.

Markie's Mixin & Matchin


Everybody was quick to point out that Josh Beckett was going to Boston home to the league with the DH. This added to his already flawed resume of his blister problem. As a result his stock prior to the draft dived. And after Beckett went 1.1 innings giving up 7 runs in New York against the Yankees all the predictions appeared to be on the money. Until Beckett's last two nights. He retired 16 in a row to start a nationally televised game against the Phillies and most recently tonight when he stole the show in Pedro's return to Boston.

Beckett's stuff and make up is far too good to stop him from being a dominant fantasy pitcher however. The guy throws really hard and (knock on wood) has been healthy for the first time in his career. In his last post Curtis talked about Burnett as a high risk/reward type of player. Beckett is way more on the reward side. Even when he went down with those blister injuries in Florida he normally only needed 3 weeks to get back at it. He is still 25 years old remember so he has plenty of growth potential and could be very valuable as a keeper for years to come. Grab him now while has ERA still has that puke green colored number of 4.64 next to it.
Noah Lowry has lost what he had last year in San Francisco. Many owners drafted him believing that his 2.43 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in last season's second half was a sign of things to come for the lefty. Unfortunately in early injury to this year which appears to still be lingering has caused his strikeouts to dive into shallow enough water that Lowry could be a candidate to be dropped if an opportunity presents itself. Lowry's fastball is gone and in his most recent start vs. an Angels lineup that featured Juan Rivera hitting clean up Lowry was lucky to go 6 innings when a runner got thrown out at the plate to preserve a "quality" start for Lowry.
Hideki Matsui has been dropped in many leagues, but he is expected back in mid-August. One person in our league who is out of it recently picked him up. I love this move. Come trade deadline time Matsui could be a piece for this owner in getting a high quality keeper and building toward 2007. Unless you have a crazy principle like not taking Yankees on your team guys like Matsui, Rich Harden, or Gary Sheffield should be snatched up if they are free agents and you have a DL spot available.
Looking for help in OBP or batting average? Trot Nixon has been playing great. He doesn't have the flashy upside of guys like Matt Kemp or Jeremy Hermida, but Nixon is in a contract year and it is certainly having an effect on his play. While his home runs have not been what they were a few years ago for Nixon he is in the top 5 in hitting in the AL at press time. Nixon also seems to have won the coveted fifth spot in the Red Sox order behind David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez after the Sox had been shifting this role between Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, and Mike Lowell. Just make sure that he is playing when the opposing team's starter is a lefthanded.

Tuesday Roundup


Florida/Tampa Bay: Ricky Nolasco pitched a quality start for Florida. He now has 6 wins and 48 Ks to go with a 3.26 ERA on the season. However, his WHIP of 1.33 and his unspectacular K ratio leads me to believe that this act won’t keep up. Regardless, he is still a potential add in deep mixed leagues.Houston/Detroit: Both Nate Robertson and Roger Clemens pitched gems for their respective teams. I am not sold on Robertson for the same reasons as Ricky Nolasco. Regardless, with that Tigers offense behind him he is still worth a pickup in mnay leagues. Roger Clemens should be good the rest of the way (think top 20 pitcher). However, I am skeptical that another year on the wrong side of 40 and stuff that didn’t look dominating when I watch him wil prevent him from being a top 10 pitcher.Atlanta/New York Yankees: Horacio Ramirez is not a good pitcher. Trust me, I am an avid Braves fan and have been watching for him three years. For more proof look at the K rates and WHIP. New York Mets/Boston Red Sox: Carlos Beltran hit another home run. Kudos to those that didn’t let him drop in the draft. Jon Lester had a rough game with five walks and four hits in five innings, but only gave up two runs. He h as managed an ERA under 3.00 so far, which appears to be very lucky considering the number of base runners he has allowed. It seems to me that he is not quite as ready as guys like Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, or even Cole Hamels. Regardless, he is still worth owning in most league formats considering the lack of pitching this year.Chicago White Sox/Pittsburgh: Mark Buehrle threw another great start for the White Sox. Ian Snell on the other had a poor start demonstrating the inconsistency that prevents him from being picked up in mixed league formats.Toronto/Washington: AJ Burnett led the way for Tornoto with a six-hit seven-K shutout. When Burnett pitches, he is without a doubt a top-15 pitcher in my opinion. However, Burnett has a checkered injury past and has already missed most of the season to this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made yet another trip to the DL this season. This should not stop you from contacting the Burnett owner and seeing what type of player(s) it would take to get this high-risk/reward player.Kansas City/Cincinnati: Emil Brown had a big day for the Royals. We will move on now considering that he is not a worthy fantasy player. Todd Coffey gave up another two runs in the loss for the Reds. He now has a 6.35 ERA with 3 Ks in 11.1 IP during the month of June. Keep an eye on the situation.Milwaukee/Chicago: Ryan Dempster had yet another blown save in an ugly performance for the Cubs. He is another one to keep an eye on considering his over 9.00 ERA in June. The last thing the Cubs need is to blow one of their few chances to win games.Cleveland/St. Louis: Anthony Reyes gave up two ERs, four hits, four walks, and had 3 Ks in five IP against a tough offense. If he is not added in your league you should pick him up right. I don’t think he will be as good as Justin Verlander has been the rest of the way, but I think he will be much better than Lester who we discussed earlier.Los Angeles Dodgers/Minnesota Twins: It is now time to listen to me complain. At our draft, I was salivating over Francisco Liriano. I probably would have picked him in the first ten rounds but I thought that since he wasn’t starting my league mates would let him fall to one of the last rounds. That didn’t happen and he was drafted by another league owner who is generally very impatient. Therefore, I thought I would just hold until he dropped him. This owner never dropped him (he actually ended[...]

Texas Hold Em


Going into this season I had the utmost confidence in my team. And why not? I was keeping 2 of 2005's top 10 players in Manny and Mark Teixeira and most experts number one shortstop in Michael Young. While Manny and Young have not performed like top picks, the greatest dissappointment has been Teixeira who I had expected to be my best player and a top 5 player overall.

Tex is just 26 years old and was coming off of a .281/38/112/101 in 2004 and .301/43/144/112 in 2005. This year his numbers are way down compared to the previous two as he only has six home runs 71 games into the season. But before we start going Abigail Williams on him with steroid accusations I think its important to analyze Tex's numbers a little deeper. Here are 5 reasons to keep Tex in your lineup and on your team.

1. The first thing that I notice about him is that the batting average is still respectable as he currently sits on .281 where he was two seasons ago. Richie Sexon and Adam Dunn are like fat men in a small car for your team's batting average, but Tex has remained steady this season in the average category. There is also strong evidence suggesting that Tex is ready to hit for a better average. He is currently hitting .242 at home and .328 on the road this year. Texas is known for being a great hitter's ballpark and Tex did hit .334 at the Ballpark in Arlington last season.

2. With the average being sufficient, the bigger question is will the power come back? This is an issue I have grappled with for a few weeks as Tex has continued to not hit home runs. I've wanted to say yes because scouts raved about him when he was a first round pick in 2001, he was a fantasy cover boy as he shot through the farm system, and he backed up all the hype with back to back monster seasons - but its so difficult with the dingers not there. But then this past weekend as I watched 'A Walk to Remeber' (come on it beats Garden State for a chick flick) it hit me. "Its like the wind you can't feel it - but you know its there." Mandi Moore couldn't explain Tex's 24 doubles in 06' any better. He is on pace to hit 55 doubles which would be 14 more than his steller 05' season. There are some guys like Young and Craig Biggio who just hit a lot of doubles but don't hit homers. Then there are those like Travis Hafner and Derek Lee who do both. I'd compare Tex much more closely with Hafner and Lee than his teammate Young or Biggio.

3. He hits third. Gary Matthews and Michael Young (both in top 15 in MLB in hitting) give him great RBI chances even if the ball isn't leaving the stadium. Having Blaylock hit behind him is also pretty good.

4. 162. As in how many games he played last season and how many games he could play this season.

5. Selling Tex this low is very dangerous. Just make sure the person attempting to trade with you understands the 4 factors listed above before you do anything. Remember Texas is famous for balls carrying during the summer and today is officially the first day of summer. He could get going any day now.

Pitching Philosophies- Quality vs. Quantity


One of the greatest questions in the world of fantasy baseball comes from looking at your pitching staff. Do I go after quantity stats, Wins and K's, or quality stats, ERA and WHIP? While every manager hopes to win all four, the fact remains that there is not enough SP to go around these days to make that happen. Very rarely do I see a team in any league with quality starters 5 or 6 deep. SP is gold.

The greatest problem I see among managers with their Starting Pitching rotations is their inability to take on the question of quality vs. quantity. Those who favor quality, get four or five top notch starters and stick with them to gain the valuable WHIP and ERA categories, while quantity enthusiasts pick up anyone and everyone who will rack up innings and K's and hope that some Wins and Quality Starts follow. But then you have your tweeners, those guys that don't really have an identifiable strategy. These guys have staff aces like Johan, Shilling and Peavy but round out their rotations with seventh and eighth starters like Tony Armas and Livan Hernandez. In this way, these managers dilute what could be a phenomenal staff by employing WHIP killers to eat up innings. For these managers, no pitching stat is safe at the beginning of each week. These managers might be sucessful in the regular season but in the playoffs this strategy has serious limitations.

Now having said all this, you might think that I never look at the waiver wire for pitching help and believe you shouldn't take any chances on SP. However, I believe the opposite. The regular season is a trial period for your staff, it is a time to evaluate players and decide who's good and who's bad. I recommend taking chances not on solid seventh starters like a Livan but on high ceiling potential guys that can turn into solid number three fantasy starters. For instance, I just picked up a pair of rookies in Zach Minor and Jaime Shields. They've pitched great so far this year and if they continue they will turn my staff from not so good to very good. Granted if they show their rookie colors, the waiver wire will be calling their name. These are the guys you take chances on during the season and evaluate. Cause when playoff time comes, you better have the pretenders off your roster if you hope in winning it all.



I am going to take a closer look at the top 7 added/dropped in Yahoo! Leagues in hopes of giving you a better perspective on him.

Jered Weaver (Most Dropped): I already talked about Jered Weaver in my last article and don’t have too much to add here. To summarize, whether or not to keep Jered Weaver depends on your league format. In full team keeper leagues there is no way you drop him. In non-keeper rotisserie leagues he is almost an automatic drop. In our head-to-head league the champion is crowned in the playoffs. Since I feel that I am in no danger of missing the playoffs, I am keeping Weaver despite a lack of roster spots.

Gil Meche (Most Added): You can’t maintain a 4.10 ERA with a 1.40 WHIP unless you have a dominating K/9 ratio which Meche does not. Combine that with the fact that he has never really shown any potential to be a great pitcher (career WHIP of 1.44 and season best of 1.37) and Meche is a bad start waiting to happen.

Gary Matthews Jr. (Added): He will not hit .343 all year as he is benefiting from a high BIPA of .415 currently. I expect something closer to .280 the rest of the way. That said, his HR power seems to be for real. He is hittng a lot of extra base hits (36 total) which supports his HR power. In addition, playing in the Hitters’ Park at Arlington boosts most players HR numbers.

Enrique Gonzalez (Added): Enrique has been dominating since being called up supporting a 1.64 ERA, .64 WHIP, 2 wins, and 22 Ks in 20 IP. This good prospect should have a full time spot in the Diamondbacks’ rotation now that Russ Ortiz has been released. His potential certainly makes him a pick-up candidate for any team that can afford to release a marginal player.

Casey Janssen (Dropped): Most people saw this coming. You can’t have a K/9 ratio of less than 5.00 and expect to keep an ERA under 4.00 and WHIP close to 1.00. Too many balls get put into play for that to happen. Personally, I have not seen anything from Janssen that would lead me to believe that he will be even an above-average pitcher. Therefore, in mixed leagues he is certainly gone as well as shallow AL Only leagues.

Jon Lester (Added): Lester is one of the top prospects in the game. In two starts with the Red Sox, he has been good not great. This was similar to his minor league season where he performed well but did not dominate like Cole Hamels or Jered Weaver. Considering his performances this season and his potential, he is certainly worth an add if you don’t have too drop a solid pitcher (Jeff Franics or Tim Wakefield for example). If you do have to drop a guy like that, I would wait one or two more starts to see how he performs.

Taylor Tankersly (Added): A lot of people added him after he recorded his second save. The reason why he did record that save was normal closer Joe Borowski had pitched three straight nights. Since I don’t envision Borowski losing his job anytime soon, I would not pick up Tankersly. However if Joe is traded or injured, you know who to pickup.

Middle Infield: Help Wanted


I remember before the season Curtis made a trade that meant one of the kid's in our league was going to keep Jose Reyes. I made up my mind. I was keeping Michael Young - not Roy Halladay or Roy Oswalt. Needless to say after yet another Halladay complete game and Michael Young's shortstop ranking I've got finally got my idiot certification nearly 2 years after Johnny Damon got his. I wouldn't write off Young by any means however as he will still hit for a very good average and score runs. Here are some options however in case you decide to sell low on Young, Jhonny Peralta (if he wasn't already voted off the island), or Hanley Ramirez:

1. Freddy Sanchez. While everyone continues to applaud Alex Rios in his breakout year, Sanchez currently has the same batting average as Rios at .341. He also hits in front of the best outfielder in all of fantasy (sorry Guerrero) which has helped his run totals. Chances are Sanchez is eligible at 3rd and 2nd as well.

2. Ian Kinsler. He's eligible at both shortstop and 2nd. While he hasn't been too impressive lately, his birthday is coming up (June 22) so his experience will benefit in going from a 23 year old kid to a 24 year old young player. The guy has shown flashes of being very good and I'd keep an eye on him after the break.

3. In deep leagues, keep an eye on J.J. Hardy who will return from the disabled list most likely around Kinsler's birthday. Also remember that Hardy's return could reduce Bill Hall to Toby Hall status and thus somebody will be in the market for a 2nd base, shortstop, or 3rd basemen (depending on how they used William). If you have depth at the position Hall was used, explore trade avenues.

Notes on Tuesday Games


Atlanta vs. Florida: Josh Johnson pitched another great game for the Marlins lowering his ERA to 2.05 with his 7 K performance. John Smoltz threw well for Atlanta despite getting the loss. While the wins may be slow this year with a stagnant Braves’ offense, looking at his peripheral numbers would lead you to believe that Smoltz’s ERA to fall from its current respectable level of 3.78.Cleveland vs. New York Yankees: Great game for both Chien-Ming Wang and Paul Byrd in this one. While Byrd is an afterthought, Wang is a serviceable starter in 5x5 leagues considering his enormous potential in the wins category and the fact hat he won’t kill you in ERA or WHIP.Colorado vs. Washington: Holliday had another great game raising his average to .344 with a 2 for 5, 2 run, 2 RBI performance. In my mind he should be considered a weak number one or good number two fantasy OF. Fogg threw fantastic but I am not touching him.New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Lots of great hitting performances out there by the Mets’ fantasy stars. Jimmy Rollins led the way for the Phils with 2 HRs. He never has and never will be a consistent .300 hitter despite all the press he got for his hit streak. However, he still should put up numbers around a 100-.280-15-55-30.St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh: Phenomenal game by top-5 SP Carpenter and a good game by Oliver Perez. However, I am not buying on Perez. Look at his game log and you’ll se why.Tampa Bay vs. Detroit: Kenny Rogers threw a gem for Detroit. Some fantasy owners, myself included, tend to underrate Kenny Rogers because of his lack of “stuff.” Yet he has consistently put up solid numbers in the last several years and a sub 4.00 ERA with 15 + wins seem very attainable.Baltimore vs. Toronto: Stars Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells led the way for the Blue Jays with a complete game and a HR respectively. Both are fantasy studs and nothing they has done so far this season has led us to believe that they won’t continue to be good performers for the rest of the season.Milwaukee vs. Cincinnati: Bronson Arroyo threw a solid but not great game for the Reds. While I don’t expect him to continue to support a sub 2.51 ERA the whole year, I do expect him to do well throughout the year and certainly finish with an ERA in the low 3’s. Dave Ross hit another HR for the Reds. If you don’t have a good catcher, he is certainly worth a pickup. However, for those who have catchers of the Posada-Barrett quality, Ross’s career .237 AVG. and .777 OPS should make you hold on picking him up.Chicago White Sox vs. Texas: Garland pitched well for the White Sox but shouldn’t be pitching for your team. Thome and Konerko both had good games.Houston Astros vs. Chicago Cubs: Pettite threw very well for the Astros. Before making a trade for him though, I would personally like to see him throw together a string of three or four quality starts.Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins: Fantastic games by fantasy aces Schilling and Santana. Varitek hit his fifth homer in the last month and appears to be playing like the top-5 fantasy cather everyone expected out of him.San Francisco vs. Arizona: I guess after watching Jose Valverde’s last performance Bob Melvin decided to continue using the hot Jorge Julio as his closer. Considering the way these two have pitched, I can’t see Melvin switching back to Valverde unless Julio stumbles badly. That said, I would continue to hold onto Valverde for now and see if Julio can continue his recent performance.Kansas [...]

The 4 Corners


I'd like to take this time to post my first weekly edition of The 4 Corners. Each week I will spotlight one to two players each who are buy-high, buy-low, sell-high and sell-low candidates. Buy-High: David Wright (3rd-base, NYM)David Wright, if not already, is a superstar in the making. He's certainly not a player you can trade for at any discount, but whatever the asking price for him (barring absurdity) is justifiable. This kid is only 23 and has all the tools. From today forward, he is just a notch below A-rod in my mind. A-rod will hit for a little more power, knock in a few more runs and probably score a little bit more. But for average and steals, Wright is the man. Plus, if Wright matches A-rod's rbi and runs total for the rest of the year, I wouldn't be surprised in the least. He's hitting in a better offense, with fans that actually like him. He will, barring some catastrophe, be a first round draft pick next year and a keeper forever. If I had Wright, I would only trade him straight up for Pujols or Santana (Pedro too, but only if I'm in a non-keeper league). If not for those guys, then I would expect an A pitcher (think Halladay or too a lesser extent Webb), and an A to A- hitter (think Ryan Howard or Ichiro). Would a Wright owner be able to get that much? Probably not, but that is how much he is worth.Buy-Low: Coco Crisp (OF, BoSox)This youngster has three things going for him that make him a perfect buy-low candidate. One, he's got talent and hasn't even begun to hit his ceiling. He hits for average, gets on base and has speed. Granted, his manager doesn't utilize his stolen base potential to its maximum, but he's still considered a solid option for steals. Couple that with the fact that he's got some pop, and you've got yourself a very productive 2nd or 3rd outfielder. Two, Crisp hits in front of two of the best hitters in the game. If you don't know who I'm talking about no amount of fantasy baseball advice will save your season. Considering the 135-150 rbi Manny and Big Papi get every year, Crisp has a chance to score every time he gets on base. Three, he was hurt for well over a month of the season. He has been back for a few weeks now and is really starting to hit the ball (.344 this past week and crossed the plate 4 times). He's a lessor known quantity, but I see no reason to believe he won't put up Johnny Damon type numbers the rest of the season. He is only going to get better. Sell-High: A.J. Burnett (SP, TBJ)Burnett is set to take the mound in his first rehab start today (Monday). His inclusion in this list might surprise many of you since Burnett owners drafted him relatively high and have been using up their dl spot for him. Why sell now, right before he's going to take the mound for the first time as a Jay? The answer is simple: his value will get no higher. He will most certainly prove he is healthy in his rehab stints (That is how these things go). There will be lots of buzz flying around all of baseball in anticipation of his first start this season. A fantasy manager loves nothing more than potential, and this guy has loads of it. His value will skyrocket (from how low it was when he first was put on the 60-day dl) and he won't have even thrown a major league pitch. Is there anything worse than an elbow injury to a power pitcher? No way. If this guy pitches past July, I'll be surprised. There is near certainty that he will return to the dl at some point this season. T[...]

Waiver Wire Pickups


Below are several hitters and pitchers listed that are available in more than a third of all ESPN leagues that could be useful additions to your fantasy team.


Brian McCann, C: The Braves’ backstop was leading the NL in hitting at the time of his injury three weeks ago. Fantasy owners have not taken note of his recovery as he is owned in a mere 53% of MLB leagues. McCann is a great all around hitter who was batting over .350 with five homers before the injury. The Braves believe he has the talent to be a top catcher as evidenced by their trade of Johnny Estrada in the off-season. You should also believe in McCann’s talent as he will hit for a good average, display 20-25 home run power, and get a decent amount of RBIs as the number five hitter in the Braves lineup. I consider him a top-5 catcher here on out.

Marcus Thames, OF: This Detroit Tigers outfielder has finally been a permanent fixture in Jim Leyland’s lineup. He is hitting .313 this year with 11 Hrs in only 115 at bats. While he does only have 19 RBIs this year, he was recently moved to number five in the Tigers’ lineup. This should only increase Thames’ RBIs and status overall. While his past major league success makes this season seem like a fluke, I don’t see why he can’t continue his good play.


Dave Bush, SP: Despite his horrific start today, he is still a very good pickup. Going into today, he was in the top ten in both strikeouts and WHIP on the senior circuit. However, his ERA didn’t match up with his peripherals and as a result his wins also suffered. Look for his ERA to decline and the wins to pickup in the near future for this Brewers’ starting pitcher.

Ervin Santana, SP: I was shocked to learn that Santana was owned in only 54.9% of leagues. Though he is inconsistent, he has been good overall with a 5 wins, 51 Ks, a 4.32 ERA, and a 1.16 WHIP. He has the ability to dominate as evidenced in his starts against TB and Detroit this year. He is one player that I expect to improve throughout the year and could be number three or four fantasy starter by the end of the year.

Tony Armas Jr., SP: This Washington Nationals’ pitcher has 6 wins, 54 Ks, a 3.48 ERA, and a 1.27 WHIP. Armas was once a top prospect whose career was derailed by injuries. This year, finally healthy, he has put up quality fantasy numbers in part aided by his pitcher-friendly home park. While Armas has not looked dominant in any of his starts, he has consistently made quality starts. I think he could be useful to most fantasy squads throughout the season and I expect a final ERA around 4 with a 1.30 WHIP and 12-14 wins to boot..

The Beauty of Fantasy


One of the many beautiful things about Fantasy Baseball is that the winner, in the end, is rarely determined by luck. Granted, in a head to head league, one team that somehow squeeked into the playoffs may have a few key players that catch fire at the right time and ride them to a playoff victory. But as for an entire season, it doesn't take luck to come out on top.I remember sitting at my computer two months ago, groaning that i had the 8th pick of 10. I watched as many of my favorite players got picked away, right before my very eyes. But that's life and you deal.Well, let's assume that you are a team that relied on studs like Pujols, DLee, Sheffield, Oswalt, etc. These are all players who really don't have big injury concerns attached to them and all go in the first 3 rounds or so. Yet now they're injuries (often self-inflicted) are acting as a drain on your team.If you fall into this category, then how you react to this bad news is what makes you either a good manager or a bad one. I read in an article once that it's a big suprise with these injuries to players who anchor a team. The suprise being that they're being the type of anchor that sinks a team, rather than carry them upwards.I disagree with this completely. Sure, Pujols is as sure of a bet as they come. There was nearly zero risk in drafting him. So having him hurt puts a massive damper on your team. But take a lesson in life (not just in fantasy), don't put all your eggs in one basket.A fantasy genius generates his own luck. He's the type of guy that went out and picked up guys along the way; a Nick Johnson...or a Prince Fielder (if he was available after his infamous season start)...If you missed out on them, have no fear. Grab Mike Jacobs as he continues to heat up. Morneau is still not performing up to expectations, but his recent 2 homers and 5 rbis are some sign of hope (though he still can't hit lefties).Fantasy success doesn't derive from having a solid first round pick. It derives from crisis management. And those who come out of any crisis the best, even the most unexpected crisis, are the ones who already had players or plans waiting in the wing for just a moment like this.Enough of that, let's talk about a couple of players and what the Boyz of Harlem think of them:Josh Johnson: He's got a low 2 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He's demonstrating some pretty decent control (47 K's, 24 BB in 55 1/3 innings so far). While he's had the luck of facing several lack luster offenses in his starts, he's faired pretty well against the tougher few that he has faced. He's also pitching in a pitcher friendly park.Lastings Milledge: You see that throw to 2nd base he made the other night to get Nomar out? My God, this kid is going to be a great all around player. However, he's currently only up because Nady and Floyd are out. Although, he's been playing well enough to stay on for a little longer. He's a good pickup and may be traded soon.Jose Valverde: BUY LOW! Bob Melvin is "mixing and matching", I've been told, newly acquired Jorge Julio and Valverde. Things are getting pretty ugly for Valverde, but his mechanics evidently are fine. Get him and ride him out through this tough time and enjoy the fruits of a good closer when he gets out of it.Takashi Saito: He's got an ERA near 2, a WHIP below 1, and over 11 K's/9. He's a solid reliever regardless. Well, now he's become the new Otsuka. Gagne's t[...]