Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
One Man's Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection
Mark Buehrle (smiling): AP

As of early Thursday afternoon, there were no formal plans for Fantasy Revelations in today's Clicks ... but ain't it funny how life works out sometimes? It took a simple once-in-a-lifetime experience (from a man with two career no-hitters) to alter our gameplan in mid-stream:

White Sox 5, Rays 0
What I Liked: Alexei Ramirez was the only player in the game to collect two hits (he also had one RBI, for good measure). Since June 24, A-Ram is batting .345 with 19 runs, three homers, 13 RBIs and one steal. So much for that horrible April/May, huh?

What I Liked, Part II: Being consigned to a backup role hasn't totally decimated Josh Fields' fantasy value -- at least from my view in the dugout. His second-inning grand slam was the only cardinal sin that Tampa Bay pitcher Scott Kazmir committed all day ... in perhaps his last start as a member of the Rays' rotation.

What I Loved: OK, now that we've dispensed with the appetizers ... how about Mark Buehrle's perfect game against a prolific Rays team ... on a day when they had their full complement of studs in the lineup? Buehrle was lights-out on Thursday, striking out six hitters and forcing a ton of lazy flyouts. Of course, the one signature moment from this game will be DeWayne Wise's over-the-wall catch in the 9th inning -- robbing Gabe Kapler (not to be confused with comedian Gabe Kaplan) of a home run. In fact, some people on the four-letter network hailed Wise's catch as the greatest-ever in a no-hitter, which sounds all warm and fuzzy. But frankly, I think Robin Yount's 1988 catch at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium -- clinching Teddy Higuera's Milwaukee no-no -- trumps all comers.

What Makes Me Smile: How's this for a silver lining? None of the Rays left any runners stranded on the basepaths. Rejoice!

Can You Believe This?

Here's one more juicy Buehrle-related nugget, courtesy of ESPN reporter extraordinaire Tim Kurkjian (formerly of Sports Illustrated): The aggressive Rays only swung and missed on six pitches all day. That's 27 batters ... and six missed balls. Think about that for a moment. I mean, really, really ponder the odds of that happening. Wow!

WHIP Masters

The following is a list of Major League Baseball's best performers in the all-hallowed WHIP category since June 24 (minimum 18 innings):

SP Jonathan Sanchez, Giants (0.33)
SP Brett Anderson, Athletics (0.68)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (0.70)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (0.76)
SP Roy Oswalt, Astros (0.78)
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners (0.84)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (0.85)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (0.86)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (0.87)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (0.87)
SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (0.90)
SP Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (0.99)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (1.01)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (1.03)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (1.04)
SP John Lackey, Angels (1.04)
SP Gavin Floyd, White Sox (1.04)
SP Jason Marquis, Rockies (1.05)
RP Tommy Hunter, Rangers (1.06)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (1.06)
SP Chris Volstad, Marlins (1.06)
SP Joe Blanton, Phillies (1.07)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (1.08)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (1.09)
SP Tommy Hanson, Braves (1.09)
SP Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (1.09)
SP Jeff Niemann, Rays (1.10)
SP Craig Stammen, Nationals (1.10)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (1.12)
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox (1.13)
SP Armando Galarraga, Tigers (1.13)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (1.14)
SP Jose Contreras, White Sox (1.15)
SP John Danks, White Sox (1.16)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (1.17)
SP Luke Hochevar, Royals (1.18)
SP Chad Gaudin, Padres (1.19)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (1.19)
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (1.20)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (1.20)
SP Kenshin Kawakami, Braves (1.20)
SP Johan Santana, Mets (1.21)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (1.21)
SP Randy Wells, Cubs (1.22)
SP Mark Rzepczynski, Blue Jays (1.23)
SP Brian Moehler, Astros (1.23)
SP Zach Duke, Pirates (1.24)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are baseball's ERA kings since June 24 (minimum 18 innings):

SP Brett Anderson, Athletics (0.34)
SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (0.90)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (1.22)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (1.46)
SP Jonathan Sanchez, Giants (1.50)
RP Tommy Hunter, Rangers (1.52)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (1.54)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (1.60)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (1.63)
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners (1.66)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (1.67)
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox (1.82)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (1.85)
SP Joe Blanton, Phillies (1.87)
SP Jeff Niemann, Rays (1.98)
SP Roy Oswalt, Astros (2.00)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (2.02)
SP Brian Moehler, Astros (2.10)
SP Johan Santana, Mets (2.12)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (2.21)
SP Tommy Hanson, Braves (2.37)
SP A.J. Burnett, Yankees (2.43)
SP Zack Greinke, Royals (2.43)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (2.45)
SP Brad Bergesen, Orioles (2.48)
SP Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays (2.50)
SP John Lackey, Angels (2.52)
SP Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (2.54)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (2.63)
SP John Danks, White Sox (2.81)
SP Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (2.83)
SP Jason Marquis, Rockies (2.88)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (2.88)
SP Armando Galarraga, Tigers (3.03)
SP Chad Gaudin, Padres (3.11)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (3.13)
SP Kenshin Kawakami, Braves (3.15)
SP Chris Volstad, Marlins (3.19)
SP Jon Garland, Diamondbacks (3.20)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (3.23)
RP Charlie Morton, Pirates (3.27)
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (3.29)
SP David Hernandez, Orioles (3.33)
SP John Lannan, Nationals (3.40)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (3.41)
SP Braden Looper, Brewers (3.44)
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers (3.45)

Saturday's Surprise

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

Luke Hochevar, Royals (vs. Rangers)
**Boasts an excellent 17/3 K-BB ratio in his last three outings
**His 3.62 ERA/1.18 WHIP since June 24 puts him just a notch below Zack Greinke in K.C.'s rotation
**Has allowed 4 or fewer runs in eight of last 10 starts
**Coming off a 9-strikeout, 0-walk performance against the Rays last week
**He's almost a lead-pipe cinch to pitch into the 7th inning

**Yes, he'll be spared the anxiety of pitching at the homer-friendly Ballpark in Arlington ... but he still has to face the Rangers' long blue line of fantasy stars like Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young, Elvis Andrus, Hank Blalock, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Marlon Byrd. No easy outs in that lineup, for sure.

The Switch Happens In 3 Days

We all love fantasy baseball, without a doubt. But let's be honest here: The bread-and-butter sport in fantasyland is not baseball, basketball or hockey -- it's professional football, as in celebrating the NFL in all its splendor. That's why on July 27, we'll make the seamless transition of expanding NFL Fantasy Clicks to twice a week (Mondays/Fridays) ... while moving the MLB Clicks to Wednesdays for August. Just so you know.

Take This To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 20 projected strikeout masters from this point forward (July 24-Oct. 1). So, grab 'em ASAP, via trade:

1. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 105.7
2. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 97.7
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 95.5
4. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 95.1
5. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers -- 94.7
6. Gio Gonzalez, Athletics -- 91.8
7. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 88.8
8. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 86.9
9. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays -- 86
10. Johan Santana, Mets -- 85.4
11. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 83.5
12. David Price, Rays -- 83.4
13. Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks -- 82.5
14. Joba Chamberlain, Yankees -- 81.7
15. John Smoltz, Red Sox -- 81
16. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 80.7
17. Josh Johnson, Marlins -- 80.6
18. Rich Harden, Cubs -- 80.2
19. Erik Bedard, Mariners -- 79.6
20. Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies -- 79.6

Take This To The Bank, Part II

Next up, here are the top 25 projected HR leaders from this point forward (July 24-Oct. 1):

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 19.8
2. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 19
3. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 18.8
4. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- 17.9
5. Jermaine Dye, White Sox -- 17.7
6. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 17.5
7. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 17.1
8. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 17
9. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 17
10. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 16.3
11. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 16.3
12. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 16.3
13. Jim Thome, White Sox -- 16.1
14. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 16.1
15. Garrett Jones, Pirates -- 16
16. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 15.9
17. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 15.9
18. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 15.7
19. Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- 15.6
20. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 15.4
21. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 15.2
22. Jayson Werth, Phillies -- 15.2
23. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 15
24. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- 15
25. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 14.8

Take This To The Bank, Part III

Last but not least ... here are Accuscore's top 25 projected steals leaders from this point forward:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- 28.4
2. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 28
3. Michael Bourn, Astros -- 23.8
4. B.J. Upton, Rays -- 22.6
5. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals -- 20.6
6. Willy Taveras, Reds -- 20
7. Chone Figgins, Angels -- 19.7
8. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 17.5
9. Dexter Fowler, Rockies -- 17.5
10. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies -- 16.6
11. Elvis Andrus, Rangers -- 16.6
12. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 15.8
13. Brian Roberts, Orioles -- 15.5
14. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 15.2
15. Jose Reyes, Mets -- 14.7
16. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 14
17. Denard Span, Twins -- 13.9
18. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- 13.8
19. Scott Podsednik, White Sox -- 13.7
20. Bobby Abreu, Angels -- 13.4
21. Shane Victorino, Phillies -- 13.2
22. Alex Rios, Blue Jays -- 12.9
23. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins -- 12.6
24. David Wright, Mets -- 11.9
25. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 11.7

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, available online and at magazine racks nationwide. This 168-page tome is chock-full of rankings, columns (two from yours truly), features, draft-day advice, in-season strategies, booms, busts and an experts' mock draft, enlisting an army of SI's award-winning fantasy and NFL writers (including Peter King). Last but not least, it boasts perhaps the coolest cover of any fantasy magazine you'll ever see!

Am I overselling it a little bit? Perhaps. But the early feedback I've gotten from my fantasy brethren suggests SI's first major foray into fantasy football will be an absolute triumph -- and that it could become an all-time best seller within the genre. (UPDATE: My well-placed moles have informed me that SI's fantasy mag is indeed the top seller to date ... sweeeeeet!)

Analyze This
Hanley Ramirez: AP

Maybe it's the sluggish economy (although the Dow Jones soared past 9,000 for the first time in a while Thursday), maybe it's a general loathing of any Florida Marlins star, or maybe it was being stuck in 9th or 10th place all season with no realistic hopes for a title. Whatever the case, Hanley Ramirez, baseball's No. 2 fantasy stud (behind Albert Pujols, was surprisingly dealt in the & Friends league this week by David Katz's Hoboken Highlanders ... for the seemingly low, low price of two "name" players mired in spectacular slumps of late (Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Astros outfielder Hunter Pence). How bad have things been lately for Gonzo? Since June 24, he's batting .178 with one measly homer; perhaps even worse, he's been featured as a "dud" in's weekly Studs/Duds gallery for three consecutive weeks. But as commissioner and current penthouse resident of the league, I'll reserve total judgment of this 2-for-1 swap. In fact, I'll just let the geniuses at Accuscore analyze this quasi-blockbuster with projections from this point forward (July 24-Oct. 1):

Gonzalez: .258 average (.381 OBP), 38.2 runs, 16.3 HRs, 40.2 RBIs, 0.5 steals
Pence: .276 average (.337 OBP), 33.4 runs, 9.6 HRs, 31 RBIs, 6 steals

Owner B
Ramirez: .344 average (.420 OBP), 46.8 runs, 12.6 HRs, 42.5 RBIs, 11.7 steals

Analyze That

As long as we have the Accuscore Projections Analyzer 5000 cranking ... I am torn between four promising infielders with run-scoring potential -- Yunel Escobar, Emilio Bonifacio, Marco Scutaro, Rafael Furcal -- but would only have interest in trading for one. Here are Accuscore's projections from this point forward:

Escobar: .311 average (.376 OBP), 38.5 runs, 8 HRs, 42.2 RBIs, 2 steals
Bonifacio: .254 average (.304 OBP), 38.6 runs, 0.6 HRs, 16.4 RBIs, 12.6 steals
Scutaro: .271 average (.368 OBP), 38.3 runs, 4.6 HRs, 26.1 RBIs, 4.4 steals
Furcal: .254 average (.327 OBP), 38.5 runs, 4.2 HRs, 19.4 RBIs, 4.9 steals

Verdict: If you're looking for steals -- especially since runs are essentially a wash -- then Bonifacio is the preferred choice. But if you're seeking power and across-the-board fantasy goodness, then Escobar's the strongest call, by a country mile.

M*A*S*H Unit

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

SP Kevin Slowey, Twins
SP Randy Johnson, Giants
SP Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees
SP Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals
SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
SP Jake Peavy, Padres
RP Frank Francisco, Rangers
SP Fernando Nieve, Mets
SP Scott Richmond, Blue Jays
RP Matt Lindstrom, Marlins
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs
RP Joel Zumaya, Tigers
RP J.C. Romero, Phillies
SP Tim Wakefield, Red Sox
SP Chris Sampson, Astros
SP Antonio Bastardo, Phillies
RP Chris Ray, Orioles
SP Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
RP Scot Shields, Angels
SP Matt Harrison, Rangers
SP Josh Outman, Athletics (done for the season)
SP Koji Uehara, Orioles
SP Jesse Litsch, Blue Jays (done for the season)
SP Dave Bush, Brewers
SP Gil Meche, Royals
RP Jorge Campillo, Braves
SP Scott Olsen, Nationals
SP Justin Duchscherer, Athletics
SP Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
RP Joey Devine, Athletics
SP Kelvim Escobar, Angels
SP/RP Chad Durbin, Phillies
RP Troy Percival, Rays
SP Dustin Moseley, Angels
SP Eric Milton, Dodgers
SP Dustin McGowan, Blue Jays

OF Torii Hunter, Angels
OF Jay Bruce, Reds
1B/OF Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds
OF Vladimir Guerrero, Angels
1B Lance Berkman, Astros
2B/3B/OF Mark DeRosa, Cardinals
3B Adrian Beltre, Mariners
2B Kelly Johnson, Braves
3B Mike Lowell, Red Sox
1B/DH Jason Giambi, Athletics
SS Jose Reyes, Mets
1B Carlos Delgado, Mets
OF Coco Crisp, Royals
OF Endy Chavez, Mariners
OF Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks
C Chris Snyder, Diamondbacks
3B Troy Glaus, Cardinals
C Kenji Johjima, Mariners
OF Jose Guillen, Royals
OF Alfredo Amezega, Marlins
OF Fernando Martinez, Mets
SS/2B Mike Aviles, Royals
2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers (out for the season)
C Geovany Soto, Cubs
1B/3B/OF Carlos Guillen, Tigers
2B/3B Akinori Iwamura, Rays (nearing a return?)
OF Xavier Nady, Yankees
SS Khalil Greene, Cardinals
2B Edgar Gonzalez, Padres
1B/OF Darin Erstad, Astros
C Jesus Flores, Nationals
3B Eric Chavez, Athletics
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
C Michael Barrett, Blue Jays
C Matt Treanor, Tigers
1B Dmitri Young, Nationals

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 hitting roles:

1. SP Andrew Miller, Marlins (sporting a dreadful 6.87 ERA/1.89 WHIP since June 24)
2. SP Vin Mazzaro, Athletics (speaking of dangerously high ERA and WHIP counts ...)
3. 2B/3B Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (bears the potential for ugly fantasy stats, minus steals)
4. OF Gary Sheffield, Mets (his breakdown was never a question of 'if' but 'when')
5. 1B/OF Nick Swisher, Yankees (frankly, I'm surprised he was even owned in the first place)
6. OF Cody Ross, Marlins (should I cut bait on him in the & Friends league?)
7. 3B Garrett Atkins, Rockies (an undisputable talent ... but too enigmatic for my tastes)
8. SS Cristian Guzman, Nationals (this one-trick pony is hitting only .169 over the last month)
9. OF Juan Pierre, Dodgers (he's only one Manny injury away from total fantasy relevance)
10. SP Jason Hammel, Rockies (the thrill is gone ... or, at least it's kaput the rest of the year)

Addition By, Um, Addition

Conversely, here are the top 10 'Most Added' players for the week:

1. SP Jason Schmidt, Dodgers (must be a slow week for him getting all this fantasyland run)
2. SS Erick Aybar, Angels (hitting .500 with 14 RBIs since July 9)
3. SP Sergio Mitre, Yankees (this week's flavor-of-the-month pitcher for the Yankees)
4. RP C.J. Wilson, Rangers (a worthy closing replacement for Frank Francisco)
5. SP Tommy Hunter, Rangers (has a small window to impress Nolan Ryan for the long term)
6. SP Jonathan Niese, Mets (I don't understand the fascination with Mets prospects)
7. OF Seth Smith, Rockies (getting his chances in a crowded-house outfield in Colorado)
8. SP Tim Stauffer, Padres (the Padres are putting together an impressive corps of young arms)
9. C Ryan Hanigan, Reds (a sound replacement for the injured Ramon Hernandez)
10. OF/DH Marcus Thames, Tigers (the ultimate feast-or-famine slugger ... just hope for a hot streak)

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 pitching wizardry of Orioles uberprospects Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta (like me).

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