Fantasy baseball managers have hit the final stretch of the season, and the baseball gods have responded with a couple of curveballs. MVP candidate
81 at-bats, 12 runs, 6 HRs, 20 RBIs, 1 SB, .282 AVG
Your prototypical utility man, Blum has played for six teams in his 10-year career. He is best known for his 2005 home run in the 14th inning of Game 3 in the World Series to lift the White Sox to victory over the Astros. As for as his regular season exploits, Blum is rather ordinary. Entering this season, Blum's career high for homeruns was set his second season in the major leagues when he hit 11 for the Expos. Over the past two and a half seasons, Blum played for the San Diego Padres, where he combined for just 14 home runs and a .248 average. The Astros signed Blum this offseason with hopes that he would be a suitable substitute at all of the infield positions.
At the age of 35, Blum was nowhere near the radar of fantasy managers entering this season. However, when
0-0, 4 SV, 8.1 IP, 4 Ks, 1 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.74 WHIP
Which closer is this?
Drafted as a starting pitcher out of Vanderbilt University, Lewis found mixed results in the lower levels of the minor leagues in the role. The Indians moved Lewis to the bullpen by his third season, and with a 1.73 ERA between Double and Triple A, Lewis made his major league debut in '07. Lewis continued to dominate as he made 26 appearances during his major league rookie campaign while limiting the opposition to a .234 average, resulting in a 2.15 ERA. It wasn't long before Indians fans began to call the right-hander the closer-of-the-future, a role they expected Lewis to grab as early as '08.
At the age of 24, Lewis had a fine track record, but little experience. As a result, the Indians went with a proven closer,
On July 4, Lewis returned to the major leagues as a middle reliever, and was immediately hit hard. In fact, the hurler surrendered two runs in four of his first five outings upon his recall, spiking his ERA to 4.89. Nonetheless, with Kobayashi struggling, the Indians became desperate for a closer. On Aug. 8, Lewis was thrust in that role, and he has been perfect on four save opportunities since. With 10.2 consecutive scoreless innings, Lewis is one of the hottest relievers in the game. He should be able to grab another handful of saves before this season is through. The Indians hope they have a long-term fix at the closer's position.
10-8, 121.1 IP, 91 Ks, 17 BB, 3.78 ERA, 1.06 WHIP
Which starting pitcher is this?
A second round pick out of Winthrop, Slowey has taken the fast track to the major leagues. Slowey dominated the minors with a 1.94 ERA in 366.2 innings. In fact, in '07, Slowey dominated Triple A with a 10-5 record and 1.89 ERA in 20 starts. Though he has the ability to strike out the opposition, he is better known for his immaculate control and ability to keep the ball in the yard. At the end of the '07 season, Slowey enjoyed his major league debut by racking up four wins compared to one loss, despite a 4.72 ERA. Slowey was expected to round out the starting rotation for the Twins in '08.
It was a busy off-season for the Minnesota Twins as they traded away ace
Slowey has won his past three decisions, while allowing just one earned run in each performance. His best start of the season came on Tuesday against the A's as he struck out a career high 12 batters in seven innings. On the season, Slowey is 10-8 with a 3.78 ERA. Perhaps his greatest achievement this season is his ratio of 91 strikeouts compared to 17 walks through 121.1 innings. The 24-year-old hurler entered the season with hopes of simply making the rotation, by '09, he may be considered an ace. Slowey should be grabbed in all fantasy leagues for the remainder of the '08 season.