Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
America's Top 10
Ian Kinsler: AP

By now, you've probably heard about Ian Kinsler's amazing 6-for-6 night against the Orioles on Wednesday, when he became the first MLB player in 100-plus years to produce a cycle and collect six hits in the same game. He also tallied five runs, four RBIs, one steal ... and for good measure, delivered a baby in the stands during the seventh-inning stretch. All kidding aside, Kinsler certainly proffered the greatest fantasy night of the young season ... but he's also had some stiff competition in that field. Here are the top 10 single-game performances of '09:

10. SP Zach Duke -- CG shutout, 1 win, 4 hits, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts (April 13)
9. SS Hanley Ramirez -- 2-3, 2 runs, 1 HR, 5 RBIs (April 6)
8. SP Clayton Kershaw -- 7 innings, 1 run, 1 hit, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts (April 6)
7. SP Johan Santana -- 7 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk, 13 strikeouts (April 12)
6. 1B Miguel Cabrera -- 3-5, 1 run, 1 HR, 6 RBIs (April 10)
5. 1B Carlos Pena -- 3-5, 2 runs, 1 HR, 6 RBIs (April 13)
4. 2B/3B Emilio Bonifacio -- 4-5, 4 runs, 3 steals, 2 RBIs, 1 HR (April 6)
3. OF Adam Lind -- 4-5, 2 runs, 1 HR, 6 RBIs (April 6)
2. 1B Albert Pujols -- 2 HRs, 2 runs, 7 RBIs (April 11)
1. 2B Ian Kinsler -- 6-6, 5 runs, 4 RBIs, 1 HR, 1 steal (April 15)

WHIP Masters

The following is a list of Major League Baseball's best performers in the all-hallowed WHIP category (minimum 6 innings -- through April 15):

RP Andrew Bailey, Athletics (0.47)
SP Kevin Millwood, Rangers (0.71)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (0.71)
SP Erik Bedard, Mariners (0.75)
SP Andy Pettitte, Yankees (0.77)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (0.82)
SP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees (0.83)
SP Bartolo Colon, White Sox (0.83)
SP A.J. Burnett, Yankees (0.90)
SP Armando Galarraga, Tigers (0.90)
SP Glen Perkins, Twins (0.94)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (0.97)
SP John Danks, White Sox (1.00)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (1.00)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (1.00)
SP Anthony Reyes, Indians (1.00)
SP Kyle Davies, Royals (1.03)
SP Gil Meche, Royals (1.07)
RP Brian Tallett, Blue Jays (1.09)
SP Joe Saunders, Angels (1.10)
SP Scott Kazmir, Rays (1.11)
RP Dennis Sarfate, Orioles (1.11)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are baseball's leading ERA kings (minimum 6 innings -- through April 15):

RP Andrew Bailey, Athletics (0.00)
SP Bartolo Colon, White Sox (0.00)
SP John Danks, White Sox (0.00)
SP Zack Greinke, Royals (0.00)
SP Kevin Millwood, Rangers (0.64)
SP Armando Galarraga, Tigers (0.68)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (1.28)
SP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees (1.50)
SP Glen Perkins, Twins (1.69)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (1.93)
SP Erik Bedard, Mariners (2.02)
SP Kyle Davies, Royals (2.13)
SP Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles (2.25)
SP Trevor Cahill, Athletics (2.25)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (2.38)
SP Andy Pettitte, Yankees (2.51)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (2.57)
SP Joe Saunders, Angels (2.63)
SP A.J. Burnett, Yankees (2.70)
SP Scott Kazmir, Rays (2.84)
SP Tim Wakefield, Red Sox (3.00)
RP Brad Ziegler, Athletics (3.00)
SP Mark Hendrickson, Orioles (3.00)
SP Jered Weaver, Angels (3.09)
SP Gil Meche, Royals (3.21)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (3.38)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (3.46)
SP Scott Richmond, Blue Jays (3.48)
SP James Shields, Rays (3.65)

Today's Special

For every baseball Clicks, I will spotlight the best mixed-league pitching prospect -- likely available on the waiver wire -- who's also taking the mound that day/evening. My intent, of course, is to provide a quick boost in your hunt for a fantasy title ... just don't send me any threatening emails after the featured hurler flames out, like all Schleprocks are prone to do sometimes. After all, there's a reason why Jeff Niemann can be had in any mixed league in the world right now:

Johnny Cueto, Reds
**Has an amazing 9-1 K/BB ratio in his only start this season
**Possesses the capacity for 200 strikeouts in a full season
**Will never kill your WHIP, due to a low walks rate
**Going against a struggling Astros team on Friday
**Has perhaps the greatest upside amongst Cincy's stable of ballyhooed starters

**Gave up six runs/five extra-base hits in his only start ... and against the Pirates (yikes!)
**Facing an Astros team that desperately needs the creature comforts of their home bandbox, er, stadium

M*A*S*H Unit

The following is a list of prominent major leaguers currently residing on the disabled list:

SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
SP Tim Hudson, Braves
SP Tom Glavine, Braves
SP Alfredo Simon, Orioles
3B Melvin Mora, Orioles
SS Jed Lowrie, Red Sox
SP John Smoltz, Red Sox
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
C Geovany Soto, Cubs
OF Milton Bradley, Cubs
SP Scott Lewis, Indians
OF Brad Hawpe, Rockies
SP Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers
RP Joel Zumaya, Tigers
1B Jorge Cantu, Marlins
3B Alex Gordon, Royals
OF Jose Guillen, Royals
SP John Lackey, Angels
SP Ervin Santana, Angels
SP Kelvim Escobar, Angels
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers
C Joe Mauer, Twins
3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
RP Joey Devine, Athletics
SP Justin Duchscherer, Athletics
RP Trevor Hoffman, Brewers
RP Sergio Romo, Giants
SP Noah Lowry, Giants
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
SP Jesse Litsch, Blue Jays
SS Cristian Guzman, Nationals
1B Dimitri Young, Nationals

Mail Time

Brian from parts unknown asks: As a regular reader of Fantasy Clicks, I thought you might be able to help me out with a trade I was offered -- Jose Reyes/Ichiro Suzuki for Carlos Beltran/Lance Berkman. The other owner would also throw in Brandon Phillips for either Matt Kemp or Jason Bay. I am tempted to take this trade for a few reasons: First, I would be a lock for steals and runs just about every week. Also, I could get rid of Emilio Bonifacio, who is my main steals guy but offers little else. (The next best 2B available is Jose Lopez). I would still have Delgado, Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Davis and either Kemp or Bay for power, but I'm nervous that I'm giving up too many HRs and RBI. Please help.

My response: I'm not a big fan of Ichiro's two-category goodness (unless you think he'll hit .330 or higher this year -- which I don't). But if you'd be locking up steals and runs with Reyes & Co. -- without sacrificing your "power" depth -- then I could see the merits of accepting the trade. A word of caution you about Ichiro, however: Sure, he's a lock for batting average and steals, but who's going to drive him home 100 times on that Mariners team? Buyer beware.

Brian's response: I went through with the trade, I ended up getting Phillips, Suzuki, Reyes and Magglio Ordonez for Bay, Berkman and Beltran. I figure I lost about 30-40 HRs but gained about 100 SB and a good amount of runs. We'll see how the move pans out, but once he threw in Magglio to compensate for Bay, I couldn't resist. Plus I didn't have to trade away Kemp.

The Ban Has Been Lifted

Have you executed a waiver-wire pickup yet? Have you already wasted your top spot on the waiver-priority list in the name of grabbing Mark Teahen, the Royals' super-utility man (plays everyday at a new position)? Have you offered a trade to another owner as a knee-jerk response to Jacoby Ellsbury's tepid start? Even worse, has another owner sent you a lopsided trade (in his/her favor) on the assumption that you're despondent over CC Sabathia's one win, 10 walks, (measly) 10 strikeouts and disturbingly high 1.64 WHIP through three starts with the Bronx Bombers?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, no doubt you're a serial watcher of your fantasy league's "Live Scoring" component. You're also extremely vulnerable to making irrational decisions based on your (temporary) ninth-place standing in a 10-team league. But alas, I have some good news: Starting Monday night (AFTER the Week 3 lineups are officially set), feel free to pursue any and all deals, thus appeasing that condition known as Itchy Trade-Finger Syndrome. I empathize with the millions of fantasy owners who suffer from ITFS; but I'm not just the official spokesman of this confounding disorder ... I'm also a "club" member.

Cutting The Cord
Carl Crawford: Rich Pilling/Getty Images

At the risk of sounding petty, I blame ESPN baseball reporter (and former SI writer) Tim Kurkjian for a small chunk of my AL-only team's early woes. Here's the backstory: Right before my platinum league draft on March 31, I got a heaping helping of Kurkjian singing Carl Crawford's praises on SportsCenter, boasting that Crawford was in the best shape of his life, was determined to regain his standing as one of baseball's most lethal talents, and -- for good measure -- was primed for an MVP season, while presumably leading the Rays to another playoff berth. Well, before my Round 2 pick (No. 14 overall) -- with Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis queued up on "Draft" (and Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton, CC Sabathia, Ian Kinsler, Roy Halladay already off the board) -- I inexplicably had a Kurkjian-fueled change of heart and plucked Crawford as my No. 1 outfielder. Now, this isn't an anti-Crawford rant, by any means. After all, Rotoworld has him pegged for 13 HRs, 80 RBIs, 101 runs, 45 steals and a .307 average this season. My only complaint is this: I spent hours and hours researching that particular draft, formulating a strategy for when to target speed, when to covet power, when to get great value with starting pitching, what closers to obsess over, etc. ... and not once did I envision selecting Crawford so early. Everyone knows good drafters must always handle changes on the fly, but in Round 2? Pure home run power comes at a premium in AL-only leagues, and I essentially wasted the pick.

Which brings me to this: the baseball season can be a hellacious journey, a six-month grind. And if you're not comfortable with your fantasy roster -- no matter how talented it may be -- it's your obligation (read: fantasy duty) to make sweeping changes before May 1, at the very latest. That aside, here are the most attractive options for dealing Crawford, as part of a standard 2-for-2 swap:

Crawford/2B Chris Getz for Brian Roberts/Mark Buehrle or Kevin Slowey ... OR
Crawford/3B Josh Fields for Josh Beckett/Mark DeRosa ... OR
Crawford/RP Scot Shields for Cliff Lee/Aaron Hill ... OR
Crawford/SP Matt Garza for CC Sabathia/Jhonny Peralta ... OR
Crawford/2B Kyle Davies for Curtis Granderson/Zack Greinke

Is This Heaven? No, It's Durham!

I'll have to research their collegiate encounters a little more. But from what I can gather, Orioles superstud Matt Wieters and Rays pitcher extraordinaire David Price will engage in their first head-to-head meeting as professionals next Thursday (April 23) in Durham, N.C. Wieters and Price (or Price and Wieters) are undoubtedly the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked prospects for the 2009 season, and both are expected to heavily contribute to Baltimore and Tampa Bay's parent clubs -- almost immediately. If I didn't have to work that night (while also squeezing in more stuff for SI's gigantic fantasy football preview, coming in June or July), I would certainly make the three-hour trek from Atlanta to witness the showdown.

Of course, back in 2006, I was in the stands when Price's Vanderbilt squad and Wieters' Georgia Tech team met in the NCAA baseball super-regional in Atlanta. But for the life of me, I don't recall a momentous 1-on-1 between Price/Wieters. Heck, I barely remember that Stetson and Michigan were the other two clubs in that mini-tournament.

Nevertheless, we'll provide blow-by-blow coverage of next week's "Price vs. Wieters: This Time It's Personal" in Friday's Clicks.

Jedi Mind Tricks

Are you in the market for a starting pitcher in a deep mixed league ... but don't want to appear too desperate to the other owners, even though that position has been absolutely picked clean on the free-agent wires? Here's how you turn a frustrating negative into an overwhelming positive:

First, identify a team with a surplus of solid, yet non-superstar-like staring pitchers.

Second, identify that owner's favorite MLB team, the one club that he/she obssesses about eight days a week. (For the sake of discussion, let's pretend you're chasing a fantasy team with Kansas City's Zack Greinke and San Francisco's Matt Cain ... and Owner B is a diehard Giants fan.)

Third, offer an even-handed blockbuster deal (2-for-2, 2-for-3, 3-for-3) to the owner -- a swap that calls for him losing a beloved Giant, like Cain. Assuming the owner rejects the deal, more out of San Fran loyalty than anything else, keep sending thoughtful, non-condescending emails explaining why it'd behoove he/she to take the deal.

Eventually, the other owner will relent and strike a compromise: As a token of good faith, he/she will offer you an easy-breezy deal involving Greinke -- the pitcher you quietly coveted all along -- as a way of saying, "I appreciate the way you conducted yourself during trade negotiations, and I like how you respect my desire to keep Matt Cain. So, just so you don't go away empty-handed, here's a win-win deal for now ... in case we want to do a blockbuster swap down the road."

Obviously, the other owner doesn't realize that you've already landed your prized pig in the switch (Greinke -- 11 IP, 16 Ks, 5 walks, 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) -- especially since he/she handed the Royals ace over to you on a silver platter. Of course, with each passing start, The Great Greinke becomes less attainable (and more untouchable) in trade talks.

From Dusk 'Til Dawn

The following is a message for those who work nights and weekends (like me) ... or live the college-boy lifestyle of going to bed at 6 a.m. and sleeping until 2 p.m. (also me): If you're in a daily fantasy league ... please, please, please set your lineups before turning off the TV at sunrise. Otherwise, you'll miss out on Grady Sizemore launching the first grand slam in new Yankees Stadium history (Thursday) -- but get ahem, "credit" for starting Carlos Beltran on his de facto day off.

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