Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
They Call Him The Freak
Tim Lincecum: AP

How hot is Giants ace Tim Lincecum (10-2, 2.33 ERA) these days? (cue Carson-esque follow-up of How hot is he?) He's so hot that ... :

**He's gone at least six innings in 16 straight starts
**Lincecum has registered eight or more strikeouts in 13 outings, including four double-digit K-days
**His 149/34 K-BB ratio is rivaled only by Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Javier Vazquez
**He's been a friendly solar eclipse on Matt Cain's phenomenal season (10 wins, 93 Ks, 2.42 ERA)
**Lincecum is the runaway favorite to repeat as N.L. Cy Young (over Dan Haren and Chad Billingsley)
**Despite my best efforts, I cannot even land Lincecum in 1-for-1 swaps with either Nick Markakis, Chase Utley or Ichiro

One last thing: Lincecum also deserves the Perfect Timing Award for throwing a gem last night against the Padres. Oh sure, he would've been a Clicks headliner regardless of Thursday's supreme effort (8 Ks, no-hitter into the 7th) ... but, then again, nothing halts a pitcher's momentum faster than melting down against San Diego's anemic lineup.

WHIP Masters

The following is a list of Major League Baseball's best performers in the all-hallowed WHIP category since June 10 (minimum 19 innings):

SP Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (0.76)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (0.78)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (0.78)
SP John Danks, White Sox (0.84)
SP Brad Bergesen, Orioles (0.88)
SP Kevin Correia, Padres (0.88)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (0.91)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (0.92)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (0.94)
SP Jose Contreras, White Sox (0.95)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (0.96)
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners (0.97)
SP Roy Oswalt, Astros (1.00)
SP Gavin Floyd, White Sox (1.00)
SP Brian Bannister, Royals (1.00)
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (1.01)
SP Scott Richmond, Blue Jays (1.01)
RP Chris Smith, Brewers (1.05)
SP Dallas Braden, Athletics (1.05)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (1.07)
SP Luke Hochevar, Royals (1.09)
SP Garrett Olson, Mariners (1.09)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (1.09)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (1.10)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (1.12)
SP Randy Johnson, Giants (1.12)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (1.13)
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox (1.14)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (1.14)
SP Jason Hammel, Rockies (1.15)
SP Craig Stammen, Nationals (1.16)
SP Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (1.17)
SP John Lannan, Nationals (1.17)
SP Nick Blackburn, Twins (1.18)
SP Glen Perkins, Twins (1.19)
SP Randy Wells, Cubs (1.19)
SP Scott Baker, Twins (1.19)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (1.19)
SP Jason Marquis, Rockies (1.19)
SP Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates (1.19)
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers (1.19)
SP Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks (1.22)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (1.22)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (1.22)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (1.23)
SP James Shields, Rays (1.23)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are baseball's ERA kings since June 10 (minimum 18 innings):

SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (0.86)
SP Tommy Hanson, Braves (0.90)
SP Ryan Sadowski, Giants (1.00)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (2.25)
SP Nick Blackburn, Twins (2.25)
RP Chris Smith, Brewers (2.25)
SP Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals (2.28)
SP Brad Bergesen, Orioles (2.28)
SP Brian Bannister, Royals (2.48)
SP Mike Hampton, Astros (2.50)
SP Dallas Braden, Athletics (2.51)
SP Jose Contreras, White Sox (2.52)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (2.64)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (2.66)
SP Glen Perkins, Twins (2.67)
SP Doug Davis, Diamondbacks (2.68)
SP Jason Marquis, Rockies (2.75)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (2.81)
SP Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks (2.92)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (2.93)
SP Fernando Nieve, Mets (2.93)
SP John Lannan, Nationals (3.00)
SP Scott Richmond, Blue Jays (3.04)
SP Jason Jennings, Rangers (3.06)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (3.06)
SP Jon Garland, Diamondbacks (3.06)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (3.08)
SP Jarrod Washburn, Mariners (3.09)
SP Vicente Padilla, Rangers (3.10)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (3.12)
SP Joe Blanton, Phillies (3.13)
SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (3.19)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (3.20)
SP Randy Wells, Cubs (3.26)
SP James Shields, Rays (3.32)
SP Kenshin Kawakami, Braves (3.33)
SP Zack Greinke, Royals (3.35)
SP Ted Lilly, Cubs (3.40)
SP Aaron Harang, Reds (3.41)
SP Homer Bailey, Reds (3.44)
RP Shawn Camp, Blue Jays (3.50)
SP Jason Hammel, Rockies (3.52)
SP Luke Hochevar, Royals (3.55)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (3.57)
SP Brandon Morrow, Mariners (3.60)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (3.60)

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:

Gio Gonzalez, Athletics (@ Rays)
Pros:
**Boasts an excellent 25/8 K-BB ratio in his last four outings
**As you'll see two sections from now, Accuscore.com projects another 107 strikeouts for Gonzo this season
**Gonzo hasn't allowed more than four runs per outing all season

Cons:
**Sports a dreadful 5.52 ERA and 1.91 WHIP in the last 30 days
**He's facing a red-hot Rays team at Tropicana Field (29-13 at home), starring B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Evan Longoria, Jason Bartlett, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena and Pat Burrell

M*A*S*H Unit

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

Pitchers
SP Kevin Slowey, Twins
SP Randy Johnson, Giants
SP Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees
SP Edinson Volquez, Reds
SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
SP Jake Peavy, Padres
SP Ervin Santana, Angels
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
SP Brett Myers, Phillies
RP Matt Lindstrom, Marlins
SP Chris Young, Padres
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs
SP John Maine, Mets
RP J.J. Putz, Mets
RP Hong Chih-Kuo, Dodgers
SP Manny Corpas, Rockies
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 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

Batters
2B/3B/OF Mark DeRosa, Cardinals
OF Raul Ibanez, Phillies
3B Adrian Beltre, Mariners
2B Kelly Johnson, Braves
3B Mike Lowell, Red Sox
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
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
OF Carlos Quentin, White Sox
SS/2B Mike Aviles, Royals
2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers (out for the season)
C Ryan Doumit, Pirates
3B Alex Gordon, Royals
1B/3B/OF Carlos Guillen, Tigers
2B/3B Akinori Iwamura, Rays (nearing a return?)
OF Xavier Nady, Yankees
SS Khalil Greene, Cardinals
3B Edwin Encarnacion, Reds
SS Jed Lowrie, Red Sox
C Jesus Flores, Nationals
OF Alfredo Amezega, Marlins
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

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 10-Oct. 1). So, grab 'em ASAP, via trade:

1. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 130.8
2. Gio Gonzalez, Athletics -- 106.9
3. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 106.2
4. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 105.3
5. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers -- 104.7
6. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 103.4
7. David Price, Rays -- 103.2
8. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 103
9. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 101
10. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 100.5
11. Johan Santana, Mets -- 99.4
12. Chad Billingsley, Dodgers -- 98.5
13. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays -- 97
14. Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks -- 94.7
15. Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies -- 93.9
16. Rich Harden, Cubs -- 92.9
17. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 92.2
18. Joba Chamberlain, Yankees -- 92.2
19. A.J. Burnett, Yankees -- 91.2
20. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- 90.5

Take This To The Bank, Part II

And without further ado ... here are the top 25 projected HR leaders from this point forward:

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 23.7
2. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 22.8
3. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 20.9
4. Jermaine Dye, White Sox -- 20.8
5. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 20.5
6. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- 20.2
7. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 19.9
8. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 19.7
9. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 19.5
10. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 19.2
11. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 18.9
12. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 18.8
13. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 18.7
14. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 18.7
15. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 17.8
16. Hank Blalock, Rangers -- 17.7
17. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 17.6
18. Carlos Quentin, White Sox -- 17.4
19. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 17.3
20. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 17.2
21. Grady Sizemore, Indians -- 17.2
22. Ben Zobrist, Rays -- 17.1
23. Manny Ramirez, Dodgers -- 16.9
24. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 16.9
25. Jayson Werth, Phillies -- 16.6

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.

In Case You Missed It ...

Here's my fantasyland All-Star team for the season's first half:

American League
Hitters:
Catcher: Joe Mauer, Twins
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Second Base: Aaron Hill, Blue Jays
Third Base: Evan Longoria, Rays
Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees
Outfield: Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Outfield: Carl Crawford, Rays
Outfield: Jason Bay, Red Sox

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke, Royals
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Tigers
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Relief Pitcher: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
Relief Pitcher: Brian Fuentes, Angels
Relief Pitcher: Joe Nathan, Twins

National League
Hitters:
Catcher: Brian McCann, Braves
First Base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Second Base: Chase Utley, Phillies
Third Base: David Wright, Mets
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers
Outfield: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Outfield: Raul Ibanez, Phillies

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Tim Lincecum, Giants
Starting Pitcher: Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Starting Pitcher: Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Relief Pitcher: Heath Bell, Padres
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman, Brewers
Relief Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez, Mets

Thursday Afternoon Revelations
Jhonny Peralta (left) and Ryan Garko: AP

On a day when Tim Lincecum flirted with a no-hitter, the Marlins scored a club-record 10 runs in one inning and Chase Utley capped a big Phillies win with a thrilling inside-the-park HR, you wouldn't think a game between two sometimes-erratic AL Central foes would steal the fantasy spotlight. And yet, it was our Clicks destiny to re-live another high-scoring affair between Cleveland and Chicago:

Indians 10, White Sox 8
What I Liked: Six regular fantasy contributors (Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Garko, Chris Getz, Jermaine Dye, Scott Podsednik, A.J. Pierzynski) registered at least two hits on the day. Garko and Getz, by the way, led the crowd with four hits apiece.

What I Liked, Part II: Getz, who I own in both AL-only leagues, had two steals against Indians pitching. For a power-starved second baseman, four hits and two steals equates to the perfect fantasy outing. Speaking of thefts, Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera were devilish on the basepaths, to the delight of fantasy owners everywhere.

What I Loved: Tribe closer Kerry Wood was lights-out in relief, striking out two and allowing only one hit in a four-out save on Thursday. Wood only has three saves in the last 30 days, but his ERA (3.86) and WHIP (1.07) totals have been outstanding, which leads to me believe he'll be solid trade bait before the MLB trade deadline.

What I Loved, Part II: A pair of catchers, Pierzynski and Kelly Shoppach, both launched homers on Thursday. How strong has Pierzynski (10 HRs, .304 batting average) been this season? I'm actually thinking about grabbing him for the SI.com & Friends league -- even though we start only one catcher (Victor Martinez) ... and that Maicer Izturis (my other infield alternative) is setting the fantasy world on fire.

What Makes Me Laugh: That last time I watched a Rockies game on DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings package, the Denver FSN people were still airing the locker-room TV spot featuring Podsednik, even though he hasn't played a game in Colorado pinstripes since September 2008.

What Makes Me Cringe: Despite his Thursday success, Pierzynski still stranded four runners on base. His teammate, Paul Konerko, also accrued four LOBs. But Shin-Soo Choo took the cake in this dubious field, leaving five runners on the basepaths. Thank heavens he's a .297 hitter, eh?

Analyze This

After three months and 21 modest trades, the SI.com & Friends league finally had a certifiable blockbuster on Wednesday ... and it just so happened to involve my first-place club, which surrendered Miguel Cabrera, Edwin Jackson, Andrew McCutchen for Alex Rodriguez, Michael Young and Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. At first blush, I violated the cardinal sin of Never give up the best player in a megadeal. But one could argue I landed the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 talents in the swap, thus making the deal plausible on my end. As commissioner of this league, it'd be unfair for me to comment any further on the matter, but that doesn't mean the geniuses at Accuscore cannot voice their opinions. Here are their projections from this point forward (July 10-Oct. 1):

Clemons
Lester: 7.7 wins, 3.86 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 100.9 strikeouts
A-Rod: .264 average (.400 OBP), 47.3 runs, 19.6 HRs, 60.5 RBIs, 5.6 steals
Young: .317 average (.373 OBP), 49.4 runs, 9.2 HRs, 37.9 RBIs, 4.4 steals

McCartney
Jackson: 9 wins, 3.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 75.9 strikeouts
Cabrera: .312 average (.374 OBP), 45.1 runs, 17.1 HRs, 50.9 RBIs, 0.8 steals
McCutchen: .272 average (.338 OBP), 45.3 runs, 2.6 HRs, 43.9 RBIs, 12.9 steals

Analyze That

As long as we have the Accuscore Projections Analyzer 5000 cranking ... I am torn between four serviceable (but potentially intriguing) hitters for the SI.com & Friends league -- Ryan Church, Garret Anderson, Jeff Francoeur, Ty Wigginton -- but would only grab one, at the most. Here are Accuscore's projections from this point forward:

Church: .271 average (.331 OBP), 26.9 runs, 3.3 HRs, 22.1 RBIs, 4.4 steals
Anderson: .277 average (.314 OBP), 23.7 runs, 5.9 HRs, 34.4 RBIs, 1.9 steals
Francoeur: .238 average (.281 OBP), 27.1 runs, 4.4 HRs, 28.9 RBIs, 2.9 steals
Wigginton: .257 average (.312 OBP), 18.4 runs, 7.3 HRs, 24.7 RBIs, 1.2 steals

Verdict: If you're looking for steals, then obviously Church would be the foursome's most attractive option. Perhaps even more obvious, I should be targeting Anderson (who's steadily gaining steam with the Braves) for across-the-board fantasy goodness.

The Four Horsemen

On Thursday, the Phillies became only the second team in MLB history to have four players -- (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Jayson Werth) reach 20 or more homers before the All-Star break. The first club to accomplish this Herculean feat? The 2000 Blue Jays (Carlos Delgado, Tony Batista, Brad Fullmer, Jose Cruz, Jr.) -- although I correctly guessed just one player from that foursome before finding the answer.

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. 1B/3B Chris Davis, Rangers (demoted to the bushes after hitting a less-than-robust .202)
2. SP Matt Palmer, Angels (he has quite the legion of non-believers, including yours truly)
3. SP Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees (injured again; had little fantasy relevance anyway)
4. OF Juan Pierre, Dodgers (his only crime: Manny returned from a drug suspension)
5. SP Vin Mazzaro, A's (why dump a starter with promising K/BB ratios in his last six starts?)
6. SP Josh Outman, Athletics (done for the season -- elbow surgery)
7. 2B Kelly Johnson, Braves (benched while Martin Prado rides his hot streak)
8. SP Trevor Cahill, A's (meet the David Price of underperforming West Coast rookies)
9. RP Jason Frasor, Blue Jays (could be sneaky-good for another 5-6 saves from this point forward)
10. 3B Adrian Beltre, Mariners (out at least another six weeks to injury; was hitting quite poorly anyway)

Addition By, Um, Addition

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

1. 1B/2B/3B Martin Prado, Braves (hitting .394 with 15 runs since June 10)
2. OF Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners (16 runs, 13 RBIs and a .355 BA in the last 30 days)
3. SS Maicer Izturis, Angels (a must-start every single day -- at least until the well runs dry)
4. 3B/2B Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (seven steals and .300-plus hitter since June 10)
5. SP Marc Rzepczynski, Blue Jays (one good start + unfettered rotation slot = cha-ching!)
6. OF/1B Andruw Jones, Rangers (riding high after launching three homers vs. Angels on Wednesday)
7. RP Alfredo Aceves, Yankees (perfect for leagues that reward rock-steady non-closers)
8. OF Josh Willingham, Nationals (wow! an outfielder who's actually living up to the D.C. hype)
9. SP Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays (could return to Jays by August; still, no reason to grab him)
10. OF Hideki Matsui, Yankees (if Godzilla played for any other team, he'd be an afterthought)

I Cannot Leave Without Touting ...

The new and improved MinorLeagueBaseball.com. 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. MiLB.com has undergone an eye-pleasing site re-design (much like SI.com), 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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