Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Fenway Franks & Streaking Angst
David Ortiz: Getty Images

A Red Sox-Yankees game in mid-June can barely hold my attention longer than an episode of The Bachelorette or a two-hour documentary on the NHL's Hartford Whalers (although you have to love their theme song). But who am I to ignore Boston's amazing run of eight straight wins against the Bombers -- capped off by Thursday night's comeback victory at Fenway -- while maintaining sole possession of first place in the AL East? Hmmm ... seems like a good jumping-off point for some mini-Revelations:

Red Sox 4, Yankees 3
What I Liked: Boston starting pitcher Brad Penny -- the constant subject of recent trade talks -- had perhaps his strongest effort of the season, allowing zero runs in six innings. He also struck out five and walked only one.

What I Liked, Part II: Six regular fantasy contributors (Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz) either registered two hits or two RBIs before a national TV audience (MLB Network). Sarce bleu ... Big Papi even blasted a homer, his fourth of the season!

What I Loved: Jeter stole his 12th base of '09 ... making me wonder if he's a serious candidate for 30 thefts -- a level he's reached only three times in his distinguished career. His personal high, by the way, is 34 from 2006 (that record's probably safe).

What I Loved, Part II: Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon racked up his AL-leading 16th save on Thursday. Had the Yankees kept their 3-1 lead in the eighth inning, Mariano Rivera (14 saves) would've gotten a quality shot at tying Papelbon for AL saves; but those are the breaks, I guess.

What Makes Me Cringe: Not that I'm rooting against him ... but I made a big March/April hub-bub about A-Rod not collecting more than 8-9 steals this season (while running on that repaired hip) -- thus limiting his fantasy value. And now, with two steals to his credit, he's back on pace for nine. (gulp) Might have to eat some crow on that one.

WHIP Masters

The following is a list of Major League Baseball's best performers in the all-hallowed WHIP category since May 12 (minimum 19 innings):

SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (0.71)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (0.76)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (0.83)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (0.89)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (0.92)
SP Sean West, Marlins (0.95)
SP Randy Wells, Cubs (0.95)
SP Josh Outman, Athletics (0.97)
SP Derek Lowe, Braves (0.97)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (1.00)
RP Alfredo Aceves, Yankees (1.00)
SP Gavin Floyd, White Sox (1.01)
SP Johnny Cueto, Reds (1.06)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (1,07)
SP Bronson Arroyo, Reds (1.07)
SP Scott Baker, Twins (1.08)
SP Ted Lilly, Cubs (1.09)
SP Kevin Slowey, Twins (1.10)
SP Kenshin Kawakami, Braves (1.11)
SP Bradley Bergesen, Orioles (1.11)
SP Garrett Olson, Mariners (1.11)
SP Phil Hughes, Yankees (1.12)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (1.12)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (1.13)
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs (1.13)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (1.13)
SP Erik Bedard, Mariners (1.13)
SP Mike Hampton, Astros (1.14)
SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (1.14)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (1.14)
SP Carl Pavano, Indians (1.15)
SP Brian Tallet, Blue Jays (1.16)
SP Jake Peavy, Padres (1.16)
SP Aaron Cook, Rockies (1.17)
SP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees (1.18)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (1.18)
SP Nick Blackburn, Twins (1.18)
SP Jamie Moyer, Phillies (1.19)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (1.20)
SP Matt Palmer, Angels (1.20)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (1.20)
SP Jason Vargas, Mariners (1.20)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (1.21)
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox (1.21)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are baseball's ERA kings since May 12 (minimum 18 innings):

RP Brian Bass, Orioles (0.49)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (0.76)
RP Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers (0.95)
RP R.A. Dickey, Twins (0.98)
RP D.J. Carrasco, White Sox (0.98)
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers (1.49)
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (1.59)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (1.64)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (1.69)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (1.75)
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners (1.96)
SP Jered Weaver, Angels (1.98)
SP Nick Blackburn, Twins (2.08)
SP Randy Wells, Cubs (2.14)
SP Sean West, Marlins (2.22)
RP Alfredo Aceves, Yankees (2.25)
SP Josh Outman, Athletics (2.31)
SP Erik Bedard, Mariners (2.35)
SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (2.39)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (2.50)
SP Justin Masterson, Red Sox (2.57)
SP Jason Vargas, Mariners (2.60)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (2.60)
SP James Shields, Rays (2.61)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (2.66)
SP Livan Hernandez, Mets (2.67)
SP Bronson Arroyo, Reds (2.68)
SP Cliff Lee, Indians (2.85)
SP Jeff Niemann, Rays (2.86)
SP Eric Milton, Dodgers (2.89)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (2.89)
RP Ted Lilly, Cubs (2.90)
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs (2.90)
SP Derek Lowe, Braves (2.97)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (3.00)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (3.00)
SP Kevin Millwood, Rangers (3.03)
SP Johnny Cueto, Reds (3.05)
SP Kevin Slowey, Twins (3.08)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (3.05)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (3.08)
SP Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (3.08)

Catcher In Awry

I'm not a draft expert, by any means. But why would the Pirates go with a solid, but hardly all-world catching prospect at No. 4 overall (Tony Sanchez) -- instead of choosing amongst some of the best young pitchers in years? Plus, doesn't the club already have a stud major league backstop in Ryan Doumit? OK, the Doumit comment may be a little shortsighted, given the Bucs' long-term commitment to building organizational depth at all positions; but there's no disputing the dynamic tools of pitching prospects Kyle Gibson, Jacob Turner, Tyler Matzek, Alex White, Drew Storen, Matt Hobgood, Zach Wheeler and Aaron Crow (and no, Stephen Strasburg doesn't apply here ... since the Nationals took him at No. 1).

This mini-rant isn't a referendum on Sanchez's talent; but I'm having trouble understanding how the Pirates -- already under the gun for dealing fan-favorite outfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves for three prospects, including Gorkys Hernandez (a move that paved the way for Andrew McCutchen's big-league promotion) -- would throw their Round 1 arms around a prospect like Sanchez who, in Baseball America's eyes, is a "self-made player who should at worst be a big league backup." And do you realize that Sanchez (.346 batting average with Boston College) was taken higher than Matt Wieters or Buster Posey -- baseball's highest-rated catching prospects of the last five years ... and two players with supposedly greater major-league ceilings?

Listen, I know the MLB draft is a major crapshoot and that at least one or two of the aforementioned pitchers will likely fail in their pro careers. But at the top of drafts, baseball clubs should always feel obligated to take high-end catchers more tangibly reminiscent of Mike Piazza than Spanky LaValliere -- especially teams which haven't had a winning season since 1992.

Saturday's Surprise

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

Armando Galarraga, Tigers (@ Pirates)
Normally in this space, I provide statistical evidence as to why said pitcher will have a fantasy-friendly outing. But who are we kidding with Galarraga? He's been plain awful all year (11 Ks/11 walks, 6.75 ERA, 1.59 WHIP since May 12) and is in grave danger (is there any other kind?) of losing his cushy spot in the Detroit rotation if he doesn't shape up soon. That is why he's absolutely due for at least one stellar game -- especially if the quieter-than-normal Pirates fans at PNC Park are still nursing a hangover from the Pittsburgh Penguins winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals on Friday. In a weird way, Galarraga would benefit from a Penguins' win ... against his professional-hometown team (the Detroit Red Wings) ... whose owner (Mike Illitch) just happens to sign Galarraga's bi-weekly paychecks.

Besides, the list of waiver-wire pitchers for Saturday is pretty thin ... so much that Baltimore's Rich Hill (who lasted only 2/3 inning vs. Oakland last week) almost got the call here. D'oh!

M*A*S*H Unit

Here's a list of prominent major leaguers currently on the disabled list:

SP Edinson Volquez, Reds (back after one painful start)
SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
SP Rich Harden, Cubs (coming back soon)
RP Scot Shields, Angels
RP Brad Lidge, Phillies
SP Matt Harrison, Rangers
SP Eric Milton, Dodgers
SP Eric Stults, Dodgers
SP Scott Kazmir, Rays
SP John Maine, Mets
RP J.J. Putz, Mets
RP Hong Chih-Kuo, Dodgers
SP Glen Perkins, Twins
SP Koji Uehara, Orioles
SP Jesse Litsch, Blue Jays (done for the season)
RP Jose Valverde, Astros (could be back next week)
SP Oliver Perez, Mets
RP Jorge Campillo, Braves
SP Yusmeiro Petit, Diamondbacks
SP Justin Duchscherer, Athletics
SP Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
RP Joey Devine, Athletics
SP Kelvim Escobar, Angels
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers
RP Troy Percival, Rays
SP Dustin Moseley, Angels
SP Anthony Reyes, Indians
SP Shane Loux, Angels
RP Rafael Betancourt, Indians
SP Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays

OF Josh Hamilton, Rangers
OF Grady Sizemore, Indians
SS Jason Bartlett, Rays
1B Joey Votto, Reds
SS Jose Reyes, Mets
C Kenji Johjima, Mariners
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
1B Casey Kotchman, Braves
C Chris Iannetta, Rockies
OF Carlos Quentin, White Sox
OF Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
2B Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians
1B Carlos Delgado, Mets
SS/2B Mike Aviles, Royals
2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers
C Ryan Doumit, Pirates
OF Rick Ankiel, Cardinals
3B Alex Gordon, Royals
1B/3B/OF Carlos Guillen, Tigers
OF Pat Burrell, Rays
OF Xavier Nady, Yankees
SS Khalil Greene, Cardinals
OF Scott Hairston, Padres
3B Edwin Encarnacion, Reds
SS Jed Lowrie, Red Sox
3B Troy Glaus, Cardinals
C Jesus Flores, Nationals
2B/SS Omar Infante, Braves
OF Alfredo Amezega, Marlins
2B Mark Ellis, Athletics
1B Nomar Garciaparra, Athletics
3B Eric Chavez, Athletics
OF Dewayne Wise, White Sox
3B Cody Ransom, Yankees
SS/2B Nick Punto, Twins
C Brian Schneider, Mets
1B Tony Clark, Diamondbacks
C Jose Molina, Yankees
1B/2B Jeff Baker, Rockies
1B Doug Mientkiewicz, Dodgers
1B Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
OF Brian Anderson, White Sox
OF Luis Montanez, Orioles
OF Mark Kotsay, Red Sox
C Michael Barrett, Blue Jays
C Matt Treanor, Tigers
OF Travis Buck, Athletics
1B Dmitri Young, Nationals

Take These Projections To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 13 projected strikeout masters from this point forward (June 12-Oct. 1). So, grab 'em ASAP, via trade:

1. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 164.8
2. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 146.2
3. Johan Santana, Mets -- 145.1
4. Jake Peavy, Padres -- 141.6
5. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 139.4
6. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 136.4
7. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 135.7
8. Rich Harden, Cubs -- 133.1
9. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays -- 128.6
10. Chad Billingsley, Dodgers -- 128.6
11. Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks -- 126.5
12. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 126.3
13. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 126.1

Analyze This
Matt Holliday: Getty Images

As regular Clicks readers can attest, I have been waiting for the perfect moment to maximize Carl Crawford's trade value in my favorite AL-only league -- especially since I'm a shoo-in to win the Steals title. Well, that day is drawing nearer ... even though I've yet to receive an enticing offer for the early pick for AL fantasy MVP. The latest 2-for-2 pitch arrived Thursday morning: I would've surrendered Crawford and Rays pitcher David Price for Joba Chamberlain and Matt Holliday. Given Joba's starter-or-reliever uncertainty with the Yankees, I was reluctant to swing that deal. (Plus, I didn't want to part with Price.) But was I too quick to reject that star-laden proposal? Let's let the aforementioned geniuses at Accuscore handle my dilemma with stat projections for Joba, Holliday, Price and Crawford from this point forward (June 12-Oct. 1):

Crawford: .306 average (.364 OBP), 69.4 runs, 7.5 HRs, 47.5 RBIs, 45.6 steals
Price: 9.3 wins, 3.33 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 126.3 strikeouts

Holliday: .289 average (.382 OBP), 63.5 runs, 14.6 HRs, 62 RBIs, 12.3 steals
Chamberlain: 9.5 wins, 3.55 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 127.8 strikeouts

Verdict: Technically, the trade is rather even-handed. But looking at those 45.6 steals for Crawford, I would be a fool not to shop him to an owner who's desperate for steals. That's the only way I'll end up fleecing anyone in this whole venture.

Analyze That

As long as we have the Accuscore Projections Analyzer 5000 cranking ... I am torn between four strikeout-heavy (but admittedly mediocre) pitchers for the & Friends league -- but I can only keep two: Ricky Nolasco, Jonathan Sanchez, Carl Pavano, Chad Gaudin. Here are Accuscore's projections from this point forward:

Nolasco: 4.4 wins, 5.83 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 94.7 strikeouts
Sanchez: 4.4 wins, 4.96 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 122.1 strikeouts
Pavano: 4.6 wins, 6.18 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 79.6 strikeouts
Gaudin: 5.0 wins, 4.55 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 113.8 strikeouts
Verdict: Gaudin takes the cake in victories and ERA. Sanchez wins out in strikeouts. And unbelievably, I'd be getting jack squat from the entire foursome in WHIP! Geesh, how hard is it to NOT walk 12 batters in a game for just one of these eminently replaceable assets?

Speaking Of Free Passes ...

In the Tigers' 7-6 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday, it marked the club's first win since 1998 ... when allowing 12 or more walks. And before you ask, yes, Dontrelle Willis (5 walks in 5 innings) was Detroit's starting pitcher that evening. Surprised, huh?

Addition By Subtraction

Here are the Top 10 'Most Dropped' players in CBS Sports leagues this week. Not surprisingly, this list is littered with players who are either on the DL or now relegated to non-essential pitching roles (read: saves/wins):

1. SP Scott Richmond, Blue Jays (has been bad recently ... but not gawd-awful)
2. OF Gary Sheffield, Mets (hitting just .139 since May 27)
3. SP Fausto Carmona, Indians (once-prized pitcher gets demoted to minors)
4. SP Dontrelle Willis, Tigers (my feelings on him have been well-documented here)
5. RP Joel Hanrahan, Nationals (gets break from mediocre play, thanks to the DL)
6. SP Manny Parra, Brewers (why isn't he a better pitcher? truly baffling)
7. RP Brad Ziegler, Athletics (has lost the A's closing job -- at least for now)
8. SP Clayton Richard, White Sox (a 5.29 ERA/1.59 WHIP since May 27 -- yikes!)
9. SP Brandon McCarthy, Rangers (I'm surprised he was even owned in a lot of leagues)
10. OF Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies (the one sour note from the Rockies' recent tear)

Addition By, Um, Addition

Conversely, here are the top 10 'Most Added' players for the week:
1. RP Ryan Madson, Phillies (the closer while Brad Lidge is on the DL)
2. 2B/3B Ian Stewart, Rockies (hitting .326 with 5 HRs since May 27)
3. SP Carl Pavano, Indians (I suppose he gets a free pass for Wednesday's meltdown)
4. SP Vin Mazzaro, Athletics (the fourth A's rookie starter to have success this year)
5. 2B Clint Barmes, Rockies (batting .400 since May 27; need any more evidence?)
6. SP Dallas Braden, Athletics (a superb play in AL-only leagues all year)
7. 1B Lyle Overbay, Blue Jays (batting .364 with 10 RBIs since May 27)
8. OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (I look at him play and think ... Willie McGee!)
9. OF Aaron Rowand, Giants (the one consistent San Fran hitter from week to week)
10. RP Mike MacDougal, Nationals (D.C.'s closer du jour ... until Drew Storen?)

I Cannot Leave Without Touting ...

The new and improved Along with The Baseball Cube and Rotowire, these are the pre-eminent sites for tracking the daily, weekly and monthly travails of minor league stars -- essentially the lifeblood talents for deeper fantasy leagues. has undergone an eye-pleasing site re-design (much like, and it's certainly worth checking out ... even if you're not obsessed with the absurd slugging numbers for Tigers prospect Ryan Strieby (like me).

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