Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Sunday Afternoon Revelations
Mark Reynolds: AP

In the interest of making Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most fantasy-friendly game, NFL Revelations-style. Our choice to cap off Week 9 was a no-brainer -- unless you're not a fan of teams blowing five-run leads in the ninth, 18-inning games that seemingly go on forever, infielders pitching in emergency situations and redemptive stars clinching victories with Earl Weaver's favorite baseball occurrence, the vaunted three-run homer:

Diamondbacks 9, Padres 6 (18 innings)
What I Liked: How's this for odd symmetry: The Padres racked up one hit for every one of their runs scored on Sunday (six); the Diamondbacks tallied one hit for every inning played (18). Come to think of it, how did this game ever go 18 innings with an 18-6 hit disparity? Whoa!

What I Liked, Part II: Miguel Montero, the same catcher who crushed 10 homers in 2007 but now has trouble stealing at-bats from Chris Snyder, registered four hits, one run and one RBI Sunday ... which can only be good news for NL-only owners. But it's good to know he still has deeper-league value, if Snyder ever misses substantial time to injury.

What I Liked, Part III: Seven regular fantasy contributors (Felipe Lopez, Gerrardo Parra, Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Edgar Gonzalez and Montero) tallied at least two hits. Of course, with 15 combined at-bats, Drew and Montero (four hits for both) only raised their seasonal batting averages a few points.

What I Loved: D-backs first baseman Josh Whitesell made the most of his lone hit, knocking in three runs and sharing the role of Early Game Hero with pitcher ...

What I Loved, Part II: ... Dan Haren stymied the Padres hitters for seven innings, yielding only one run and one walk, while striking out five. On the season, the hard-luck Haren has a 2.33 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 83/11 K-BB ratio -- but only a 4-4 record to show for it.

What I Loved, Part III: It took seven loooooong at-bats for Mark Reynolds to announce his presence, but he sealed the Arizona victory with a three-run homer in the 18th inning. Now, as time marches on, Reynolds will earn full kudos for his opposite-field shot to end the game. But in the interim, it's hard to forget his game-winning blast came off an infielder (Josh Wilson) and NOT a San Diego pitcher.

What Makes Me Laugh: The thought of Clay Zavada and his 19th-century-style mustache. What can I say, we've had two consecutive years of players stealing the look of Mario from Donkey Kong -- Jason Giambi in '08 with the Yankees ... and Zavada this season. Incidentally, Zavada has been superb out of the Arizona bullpen (10/3 K-BB ratio, 0.00 ERA, 0.96 WHIP).

What Made Me Cringe: The usually reliable tandem of Juan Gutierrez and closer Chad Qualls was absolutely brutal for the D-backs on Sunday. Gutierrez entered the 9th inning with a 6-1 lead ... and then watched Qualls put the finishing touches on a blown save for the ages. Against the anemic Padres, the pair yielded four hits and five runs; the major blow came in the form of David Eckstein's three-run blast (with two outs) to tie the game at 6.

What Makes Me Scratch My Head: Both teams combined for 43 runners left on base. I doubt it's any kind of record for an extra-inning game ... but still bad enough to deserve a Yikes!

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 10 (June 8-14). Hence, they're potential gold in weekly leagues:

Jake Peavy, Padres
Derek Lowe, Braves
Cliff Lee, Indians
Matt Cain, Giants
Ted Lilly, Cubs
James Shields, Rays
Johnny Cueto, Reds
Zach Duke, Pirates
Mark Buehrle, White Sox
Andy Pettitte, Yankees
Johan Santana, Mets
Scott Baker, Twins
Josh Outman, Athletics
Josh Beckett Red Sox
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
Jered Weaver, Angels
A.J. Burnett, Yankees
Randy Johnson, Giants
J.A. Happ, Phillies
Chris Young, Padres
Jason Marquis, Cardinals
Scott Feldman, Rangers
Jon Garland, Diamondbacks
Clayton Richard, White Sox
Brian Tallet, Blue Jays
Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals
Andy Sonnanstine, Rays
Kenshin Kawakami, Braves
Brandon McCarthy, Rangers
Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers
Armando Galarraga, Tigers
Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates
Braden Looper, Brewers
Jason Vargas, Mariners
Brian Bannister, Royals
Brett Anderson, Athletics
Bradley Bergesen, Orioles
Billy Buckner, Diamondbacks
Casey Janssen, Blue Jay
Anthony Swarzak, Twins
Brian Moehler, Astros
Brad Thompson, Cardinals
Sean West, Marlins

Tuesday's Hero

Need an emergency starting pitcher off the waiver wire in time for Tuesday's games? Here's one diamond in the rough to consider, as a short-term fix and possible long-term keeper:

Jason Vargas, Mariners (@ Orioles)
Pros:
**Has allowed only seven runs all year (32 innings) ... with no more than two per game
**Boasts a remarkable 1.93 ERA and 1.16 WHIP for the season
**Has lasted at least five innings in all five starts
**Boasts a respectable 19/9 K-BB ratio
**Has become the No. 3 pitcher for the Mariners' top-heavy staff

Cons:
**There are no negatives to speak of ... the fact that he's only owned in 1.9 percent of ESPN leagues (and a free agent in the SI.com & Friends league, as well) is a stunning revelation.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 10 (June 8-14):

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (@ Yankees, @ Phillies)
Jason Bay, Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Mike Lowell, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Jason Varitek, Red Sox
Ian Kinsler, Rangers (vs. Blue Jays, vs. Dodgers)
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Chris Davis, Rangers
Marlon Byrd, Rangers
Hank Blalock, Rangers
Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers
Michael Young, Rangers
Brad Hawpe, Rockies (@ Brewers, vs. Mariners)
Ian Stewart, Rockies
Garrett Atkins, Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Dexter Fowler, Rockies
Todd Helton, Rockies
Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (recently abandoned him in my head-to-head league)
Jay Bruce, Reds (@ Nationals, @ Royals)
Joey Votto, Reds (assuming he's good to go off the DL)
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Ramon Hernandez, Reds
Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds
Edwin Encarnacion, Reds
Adam Rosales, Reds (the new Charlie Hustle)
Alex Gonzalez, Reds

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 10 (June 8-14), due to poor pitching matchups. I'm not saying "Don't start 'em" ... just be wary of these guys facing at least four top-end hurlers during this period:

Ryan Howard, Phillies (@ Mets, vs. Red Sox)
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Chase Utley, Phillies
Raul Ibanez, Phillies
Pedro Feliz, Phillies
Jayson Werth, Phillies
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Matt Holliday, Athletics (vs. Twins, @ Giants)
Jason Giambi, Athletics
Ryan Sweeney, Athletics
Jack Cust, Athletics
Orlando Cabrera, Athletics
Kurt Suzuki, Athletics
Bobby Crosby, Athletics
Adam Kennedy, Athletics
Joe Mauer, Twins (@ Athletics, @ Cubs)
Justin Morneau, Twins
Denard Span, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Carlos Gomez, Twins
Joe Crede, Twins
Brendan Harris, Twins
Delmon Young, Twins
Jason Kubel, Twins
Pablo Sandoval, Giants (@ Diamondbacks, vs. Athletics)
Fred Lewis, Giants
Emmanuel Burriss, Giants
Bengie Molina, Giants
Randy Wynn, Giants
Travis Ishikawa, Giants
Aaron Rowand, Giants
Edgar Renteria, Giants
Adam Dunn, Nationals (vs. Reds, @ Rays)
Nick Johnson, Nationals
Willie Harris, Nationals
Josh Willingham, Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Cristian Guzman, Nationals
Anderson Hernandez, Nationals
Austin Kearns, Nationals

Feeling A Draft In Here?

With MLB's first-year player draft on Tuesday/Wendnesday, here are the first 15 picks from MyMLBDraft.com's most recent mock draft (updated June 3). You'll notice that 12 pitchers are going quite high, meaning 2009 serves as either one of the weakest-hitting classes in recent memory ... or the single-greatest group of pitching phemons in draft history:

1. Nationals: P Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State
2. Mariners: OF/1B Dustin Ackley, North Carolina
3. Padres: OF Donovan Tate, Cartersville HS (Ga.)
4. Pirates: P Aaron Crow, Fort Worth Cats (independent)
5. Orioles: P Tanner Scheppers, Fresno State
6. Giants: P Shelby Miller, Brownwood HS (Texas)
7. Braves: P Zach Wheeler, East Paulding HS (Ga.)
8. Reds: P Tyler Matzek, Capistrano Valley HS (Calif.)
9. Tigers: P Jacob Turner, Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.)
10. Nationals: P Alex White, North Carolina
11. Rockies: P Kyle Gibson, Missouri
12. Royals: SS Grant Green, USC
13. Athletics: P/IF Matt Leake, Arizona State
14. Rangers: P Matt Purke, Klein HS (Texas)
15. Indians: P Rex Brothers, Lipscomb University

Take The Money And Run

If I were a high school pitching "phenom" at the top of Tuesday's draft -- like Shelby Miller, Zach Wheeler, Tyler Matzek, Jacob Turner, to name a few -- I wouldn't hire an agent with a history of being obstinate in contract talks (and yes, I suppose I'm looking in the general direction of notorious, but hardly nefarious superagent Scott Boras) ... unless I had zero intention of enrolling in college this fall.

Now that MLB teams receive a commensurate pick in next year's draft should they "fail" to sign a high-round draftee this year, the clubs -- on the whole -- are probably less motivated to acquiesce to a player's exorbitant salary demands right before the signing deadline (typically before a player starts classes at the university level). In fact, some franchises in this economic downturn would be thrilled to keep the dough reserved for Round 1 picks and just focus on the other 47 or so players they've taken in the extensive MLB draft (a two-day event!). After all, the most volatile asset in pro baseball remains an unproven 18-year old pitcher who's one herky-jerky pitch away from Tommy John surgery ... and who wants to overpay for that?

Bottom line: If a kid wants to have the full college experience, as both a student and athlete, and no money in the world can change that desire ... by all means, pass up the money and go enjoy your time on campus. You won't regret it for a second. But if you're a pitcher playing Russian Roulette with MLB clubs, and you have no internal desire to pitch for free in college towns ... just know that you'll have to spend a minimum of three seasons in college; and when you're eligible for the draft three years from now, you'll most likely be taken in the same slot as Tuesday's draft (if not lower). And lest not forget the No. 1 question you'll hear -- without fail -- from other athletes and students every single day while on campus: You turned down all those millions for this?

The Untouchables

Gut feelings aside, these stars should NOT be dealt in any garden-variety 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 swap this season: (If you're using them as a means to a blissfully lopsided trade in your favor ... then, by all means, do the deed!)

Hitters
Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Evan Longoria, Rays
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Carlos Beltran, Mets
Adam Jones, Orioles
Brian Roberts, Orioles
Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Carl Crawford, Rays
Joe Mauer, Twins (a 9th-round steal for risk-taking owners)
Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Victor Martinez, Indians
Jermaine Dye, White Sox
David Wright, Mets
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs (busted out a 14th-inning HR against the Reds on Sunday)
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Andre Ethier, Dodgers (last week's Walkoff King)
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (back on the list ... hooray!)
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Justin Morneau, Twins
Matt Wieters, Orioles (don't overthink this ... let him play)
Chase Utley, Phillies

Starting Pitchers
Johan Santana, Mets
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Zack Greinke, Royals (his ERA climbed on Friday ... to all of 1.55)
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Edwin Jackson, Tigers (the biggest Week 9 pitching stud, along with Jon Lester)
Erik Bedard, Mariners
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Jake Peavy, Padres
Justin Verlander, Tigers (there's no knocking him when he's white-hot)
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (back on the list)

Relief Pitchers
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
Joe Nathan, Twins
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets
Matt Capps, Pirates (getting better all the time)
Francisco Cordero, Reds
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
Heath Bell, Padres
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Joakim Soria, Royals

Man-Child Prodigies Update

The hype machine for some of MLB's super prospects hitting the majors reached "ludicrous speed" (thanks, Spaceballs) in late May ... that is, until a few of them temporarily crashed and burned amid all the pomp and circumstance. Here's a progress report on the league's most ballyhooed phenoms:

David Price: Three outings ... 20 Ks in 14.2 innings, 2.45 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 1 victory
Tommy Hanson: One outing ... 5 Ks in 6 innings, 6 hits allowed, 6 runs allowed
Matt Wieters: Seven games ... 4-for-28 (.160) with 1 run, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs
Andrew McCutchen: Four games ... 6-for-18 (.333) with 3 runs, 0 HRs, 4 RBIs and 1 steal
Fernando Martinez: Through 10 games ... 7-for-35 (.200) with 5 runs, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs and 2 steals

Speaking Of Wieters ...

Did you know there's a popular Web site singularly devoted to the Orioles rookie catcher, aptly named MattWietersFacts.com? On the site, you can buy a MWF T-shirt, view his Hall of Fame bust or fall in love with Chuck Norris-esque taglines that bring Wieters' überhype to a whole new level. Like this gem: Matt Wieters is so good, his intangibles are tangible.

Total Bases Recall
Prince Fielder: Scott Boehm/Getty Images

For the loyal Clicks readers of fantasy football, you've heard me prattle on a thousand times about the importance of Targets -- the number of times a receiver is thrown to -- and how it's a fail-safe method for evaluating receivers. Well, I am equally passionate (fanatical?) about Total Bases in fantasy baseball. By my way of thinking, TB is the perfect convergence of coveting power hitters and on-base machines who make a living from doubles. It's also a stellar indicator of future success. Here are the top 30 leaders (with ties) in total bases (through June 7):

1. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 148
2. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 137
3. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 131
4. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 127
5. Victor Martinez, Indians -- 126
6. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 124
7. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 124
8. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 124
9. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 124
10. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 124
11. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 124
12. Adam Jones, Orioles -- 122
13. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 121
14. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 120
15. Miguel Tejada, Astros -- 119
16. Michael Young, Rangers -- 119
17. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 118
18. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 117
19. Johnny Damon, Yankees -- 114
20. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 113
21. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 112
22. Torii Hunter, Angels -- 112
23. Carlos Lee, Astros -- 112
24. Mike Lowell, Red Sox -- 112
25. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 112
26. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 111
27. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 111
28. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 110
29. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 109
30. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 109
31. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 109

While The Getting's Good

The following message is for Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and/or Chone Figgins owners in AL-only leagues: Assuming you rank either first or second in steals (and that's an easy assumption), you should start laying the groundwork for dealing these speedsters as part of a 1-for-1, 2-for-2 or 3-for-1 swap (in Crawford's case).

Think about it: By July 1 in AL-only leagues, there should be a clear separation of the haves and have nots in steals; at worst, a fantasy club already predicated on speed will likely finish no worse than No. 3 in that category. Don't believe me? In my highly competitve AL platinum league (where SI.com cohorts Lonny Krasnow and Jeff Ritter are among the cutthroat owners), the Crawford-led This Week's TWIB Notes (a team name inspired by Mel Allen) have 86 steals -- 13 ahead of the 2nd-place team and 28 thefts ahead of third place. By the time my bachelor party's over (June 21), I could conceivably reach the century mark in steals ... and who, tell me who could possibly catch me in thefts by then? Sad but true, most owners seldom move heaven and earth to win steals -- they just don't want to finish dead-last.

Steals Leaders
1. Carl Crawford, Rays: 34
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 23
3. Chone Figgins, Angels: 21
4. Michael Bourn, Astros: 19
5. B.J. Upton, Rays: 17
6. Bobby Abreu, Angels: 15
7. Jason Bartlett, Rays: 14
8. David Wright, Mets: 14
9. Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 14
10. Juan Pierre, Dodgers: 13

Positional Assumptions

In most leagues, a player becomes eligible for a new position once he's played five games at that spot in the current season. Here's a list of players who have either earned new-position eligibility ... or are on the cusp of accomplishing this often-overlooked and underappreciated status:

3B Chris Davis, Rangers (now 1B-eligible)
SS Jhonny Peralta, Indians (now 3B-eligible)
3B Hank Blalock, Rangers (now 1B-eligible)
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds (now 1B-eligible)
3B/OF Chris Coghlan, Marlins (should be 2B-eligible by mid-June)
2B Jose Lopez, Mariners (now 1B-eligible)
2B Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (now 3B-eligible)
DH Jason Giambi, Athletics (now 1B-eligible)
2B Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (now SS-eligible)
3B Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
3B/1B Carlos Guillen, Tigers (now OF-eligible)
1B Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
1B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (now 3B-eligible)
2B Mark DeRosa, Indians (now 3B- and OF-eligible)
OF Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks (now 2B-eligible)
OF Skip Schumaker, Cardinals (now 2B-eligible)
3B Garrett Atkins, Rockies (now 1B-eligible)
OF Adam Dunn, Nationals (now 1B-eligible)
OF/2B Mark Teahen, Royals (now 3B-eligible, thanks to Alex Gordon's injury)
SS Michael Young, Rangers (now 3B-eligible)
3B Jorge Cantu, Marlins (now 1B-eligible)
2B Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (now SS-eligible)
C Victor Martinez, Indians (now 1B-eligible)
OF Kendry Morales, Angels (now 1B-eligible)
SS Ben Zobrist, Rays (now 2B- and OF-eligible)
OF Nick Swisher, Yankees (now 1B-eligible)
3B/SS Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays (now 2B-eligible)
3B Ian Stewart, Rockies (now 2B- and OF-eligible)
2B/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds (now 3B- and SS-eligible)
SS/OF Ben Zobrist, Rays (now 2B-eligible)

Running Hot

Boy, that Prince Fielder really runs hot and cold, eh? Luckily for fantasy owners, he's been on a certifiable tear since May 24 (12 runs, 6 HRs, 15 RBIs, .408 average) ... but unfortunately for those who covet a big-bopping first baseman, they'll probably have to pay through the nose to land the Brewers' TV-friendly slugger. Here are some realistic 1-for-1 trade scenarios involving Fielder:

*Fielder for Ian Kinsler (he's come down to Prince's level)
*Fielder for Ryan Zimmerman
*Fielder for Torii Hunter
*Fielder for Carlos Lee
*Fielder for Nelson Cruz
*Fielder for Jonathan Broxton
*Fielder for Roy Halladay (only in emergency situations)
*Fielder for Tim Lincecum (ditto for Timmy)
*Fielder for Francisco Rodriguez

The Missing Links

Need a helping hand with your fantasy baseball research? Well, here are the Web sites that I check every morning (and night) -- all in the name of 24/7 roster improvements:

**Baseball America
**Baseball America's 2009 Top Prospects
**Rotowire Player Search Database (great for targeting prospects)
**MinorLeagueBaseball.com's Stats page
**MLB.com's Fantasy Page
**Baseball-Reference
**Baseball Prospectus
**Accuscore.com
**Retrosheet
**The Hardball Times
**Dallas Morning News' Rangers blog (co-writers Richard Durrett, Jeff Wilson)
**Seattle Times' Mariners blog (Geoff Baker, author)

Postscript: It goes without saying, you MUST become a regular subscriber (or at least make it a "Favorite" on your desktop) to your players' team blogs in respective newspapers (like Los Angeles Times writer Dylan Hernandez's engaging insight on Dodgers Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Manny Ramirez, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton, etc.). These sites should be your daily lifeline when conducting research. And for those playing in AL- or NL-only leagues, your absolute best friend from April to September should be the ever-changing depth charts running on MLB.com's team pages.

Stock Report

In case you care, here's an update for the much-talked-about AND highly volatile SI.com & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 14-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:

1. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 94 points (back on top after sluggish Week 8)
2. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 86.5 points (now that he's on summer break, look out!)
2a. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 86.5 points (amazing pitching ... but will it be enough?)
4. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 84.5 points (easily the league's most balanced team)
5. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 84 points (concocted two landmark trades last week)
6. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 83 points (came to his bro's message-board defense)
7. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 79.5 points (my ERA/WHIP are steadily getting better)
8. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 73 points (he should've sold 'high' on Wieters)
9. Hacksensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 68 points (a nasty 4.5-point dip on Sunday)
10. The Brandon & Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 66 points (Johan's officially for sale!)
11. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 65 points (a true late bloomer; what's his next move?)
12. Joker Marchants (Josh Wymer) -- 63 points (new team name, same middling production)
13. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 62.5 points (there's no explanation for his meltdown)
14. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 54 points (a six-point surge in one week ... progress!)

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