Fantasy Clicks
BY JAY CLEMONS
Meet Your Fantasyland All-Stars
Evan Longoria: John Williamson/Getty Images

Kevin Youkilis. Tim Lincecum. Matt Cain. Clayton Kershaw. John Buck. Matt Kemp. Vernon Wells. Paul Konerko. Without a doubt, these strong first-half contributors deserve a spot on the MLB All-Star rosters; but since this is fantasyland -- and we have limited space per section (that's not really true, but it sounds legitimate, right?) -- we didn't have time to squeeze 'em onto the Fantasy Clicks All-Star teams. So, before I get any nasty e-mails detailing the early brilliance of Justin Morneau, Heath Bell, Brett Gardner, Felix Hernandez, Francisco Liriano, Troy Tulowitzki, Jayson Werth, Colby Rasmus, Rod Barajas, Joe Mauer, Vladimir Guerrero or even Stephen Strasburg (sic) ... take solace in knowing there's still time to make the year-end All-Star Clicks team in October:

American League
Hitters:
Catcher: Victor Martinez, Red Sox (31 runs, 8 HRs, 35 RBIs, 0 steals, .295 average)
First Base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (47 runs, 19 HRs, 56 RBIs, 2 steals, .331 average)
Second Base: Robinson Cano, Yankees (52 runs, 14 HRs, 48 RBIs, 2 steals, .370 average)
Third Base: Evan Longoria, Rays (43 runs, 12 HRs, 51 RBIs, 10 steals, .316 average)
Shortstop: Elvis Andrus, Rangers (43 runs, 0 HRs, 19 RBIs, 19 steals, .288 average)
Outfield: Alex Rios, White Sox (44 runs, 13 HRs, 33 RBIs, 19 steals, .319 average)
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers (44 runs, 16 HRs, 48 RBIs, 4 steals, .323 average)
Outfield: Carl Crawford, Rays (50 runs, 6 HRs, 36 RBIs, 23 steals, .297 average)

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Jon Lester, Red Sox (8 wins, 96/39 K-BB ratio, 3.13 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (6 wins, 96/37 K-BB ratio, 3.08 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Andy Pettitte, Yankees (8 wins, 55/22 K-BB ratio, 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: David Price, Rays (10 wins, 64/35 K-BB ratio, 2.31 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Jon Rauch, Twins (17 saves, 1 win, 20/3 K-BB ratio, 2.42 ERA, 1.15 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Mariano Rivera, Yankees (15 saves, 0 wins, 20/5 K-BB ratio, 1.21 ERA, 0.63 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Rafael Soriano, Rays (16 saves, 2 wins, 21/5 K-BB ratio, 1.52 ERA, 0.85 WHIP)

National League
Hitters:
Catcher: Miguel Olivo, Rockies (28 runs, 8 HRs, 28 RBIs, 4 steals, .311 average)
First Base: Albert Pujols, Cardinals (39 runs, 15 HRs, 49 RBIs, 6 steals, .308 average)
Second Base: Brandon Phillips, Reds (49 runs, 8 HRs, 23 RBIs, 10 steals, .310 average)
Third Base: David Wright, Mets (34 runs, 12 HRs, 52 RBIs, 11 steals, .291 average)
Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (35 runs, 10 HRs, 36 RBIs, 12 steals, .285 average)
Outfield: Andre Ethier, Dodgers (32 runs, 12 HRs, 43 RBIs, 1 steal, .346 average)
Outfield: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (39 runs, 7 HRs, 20 RBIs, 17 steals, .314 average)
Outfield: Ryan Braun, Brewers (44 runs, 10 HRs, 45 RBIs, 11 steals, .300 average)

Pitchers:
Starting Pitcher: Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (12 wins, 84/34 K-BB ratio, 1.16 ERA, 0.98 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (9 wins, 97/28 K-BB ratio, 2.41 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay, Phillies (8 wins, 90/16 K-BB ratio, 2.36 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Josh Johnson, Marlins (7 wins, 89/26 K-BB ratio, 1.86 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Matt Capps, Nationals (20 saves, 0 wins, 27/7 K-BB ratio, 3.26 ERA, 1.42 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Brian Wilson, Giants (18 saves, 2 wins, 41/10 K-BB ratio, 2.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Reliever: Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers (16 saves, 3 wins, 42/3 K-BB ratio, 0.92 ERA, 0.92 WHIP)

The Few, The Wretched

Of course, we're obligated to mention the 20 biggest fantasy busts to date:
1. Grady Sizemore, Indians (a flameout, production-wise/health-wise)
2. Brian Roberts, Orioles (a wasted pick ... and has zero trade value)
3. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs (just 5 HRs/22 RBIs/.168 average this year ... ouch!)
4. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies (injuries have killed his fantasy momentum)
5. Nate McLouth, Braves (what's worse -- the 20 runs, 4 steals or .176 average?)
6. Chipper Jones, Braves (batting just .234 in what could be his final season)
7. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers (finally showing his age with 5 saves, 9.43 ERA, 1.86 WHIP)
8. Kyle Blanks, Padres (we may have jumped the gun on his HR projections)
9. Chad Qualls, D-backs (the 12 saves aside, the 8.46 ERA/2.19 WHIP are unspeakably poor)
10. Dexter Fowler, Rockies (injuries + 6 steals + .216 average = yikes!)
11. Rick Porcello, Tigers (onetime wunderkind could be a second-half dynamo)
12. Kevin Millwood, Orioles (K/BB ratio aside, middling numbers for a horrible team)
13. Nick Johnson, Yankees (an injured millstone ... wherever he goes)
14. Frank Francisco, Rangers (OK as a setup guy, but drafted high with 30 saves in mind)
15. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (the numbers say it all -- 3 wins, 5.60 ERA, 1.67 WHIP)
16. Curtis Granderson, Yankees (torn groin muscle put damper on steals projections)
17. Gordon Beckham, White Sox (pitiful stats: 24 runs/1 HR/15 RBIS/4 steals/.206 average)
18. Ryan Raburn, Tigers (AL-only owners certainly expected more than one homer, to date)
19. Adam Jones, Orioles (whenever he hits a homer -- rare -- it's always a solo shot)
20. Carlos Lee, Astros (recent surge almost negates .228 average/1 steal for the year)

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These potentially gold pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 12 (June 21-27):
John Danks, White Sox
Tommy Hanson, Braves
Roy Oswalt, Astros
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals
A.J. Burnett, Yankees
Ryan Dempster, Cubs
Ervin Santana, Angels
Mike Leake, Reds
Mat Latos, Padres
Scott Baker, Twins
Anibal Sanchez, Marlins
Livan Hernandez, Nationals
Gio Gonzalez, Athletics
Brett Cecil, Blue Jays
Jonathan Niese, Mets
Wade Davis, Rays
Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies
Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles
Jamie Moyer, Phillies
Mitch Talbot, Indians
Zach Duke, Pirates
Jason Vargas, Mariners
Tommy Hunter, Rangers
Bruce Chen, Royals
Rodrigo Lopez, Diamondbacks
Dave Bush, Brewers

Dare To Compare

In a nod to the classic Pepsi Challenge of 1980s lore, here's a blind taste test for fantasygoers (based on Accuscore projections): Which of the five high-profile outfielders would you most prefer from this point forward (June 18-Oct. 1)? And can you guess which projections represent that of superstars Andre Ethier and Ryan Braun?

Player A
Projected stats: .269 average, .370 OBP, 58.9 runs, 19.5 HRs, 60.6 RBIS, 9.7 steals
Player B
Projected stats: .304 average, .370 OBP, 65.8 runs, 16.6 HRs, 64.8 RBIS, 13.7 steals
Player C
Projected stats: .269 average, .341 OBP, 55.6 runs, 15.8 HRs, 51.8 RBIS, 13.4 steals
Player D
Projected stats: .233 average, .357 OBP, 47.7 runs, 17.2 HRs, 46 RBIS, 3.5 steals
Player E
Projected stats: .293 average, .373 OBP, 57 runs, 19 HRs, 67.2 RBIS, 2.9 steals

A -- Jayson Werth, Phillies
B -- Ryan Braun, Brewers
C -- Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
D -- Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
E -- Andre Ethier, Dodgers

The Great Divide

I glean real joy in obsessing over K/BB ratios in fantasyland baseball -- especially when faced with the daunting task of rebuilding WHIP totals from April/May shambles. To wit, here are the 20 best strikeout-to-walk pitching ratios (minimum 30 Ks) since May 18:
1. Cliff Lee, Mariners -- 35/3
2. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 39/5
3. Francisco Liriano, Twins -- 41/7
4. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 48/13
5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 42/11
6. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- 45/16
7. Roy Halladay, Phillies -- 38/7
8. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 39/11
9. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 42/16
10. Mat Latos, Padres -- 39/12
11. CC Sabathia, Yankees -- 38/14
12. Roy Oswalt, Astros -- 37/11
12a. Jered Weaver, Angels -- 37/11
14. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 34/8
15. Josh Johnson, Marlins -- 35/10
16. Max Scherzer, Tigers -- 33/9
17. Phil Hughes, Yankees -- 32/7
18. Luke Hochevar, Royals -- 31/6
19. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- 31/9
20. Kevin Millwood, Orioles -- 32/12

Take This To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 30 projected steals leaders amongst outfielders from this point forward (June 18-Oct. 1):
1. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 36.4
2. Michael Bourn, Astros -- 34.1
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- 31.7
4. Rajaj Davis, Athletics -- 31.1
5. Juan Pierre, White Sox -- 30.5
5. Brett Gardner, Yankees --29.3
7. B.J. Upton, Rays -- 29.3
8. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals -- 26.6
9. Scott Podsednik, Royals -- 25.5
10. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 22.7
11. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- 22.6
12. Alex Rios, White Sox -- 22.4
13. Coco Crisp, Athletics -- 21.7
14. Shane Victorino, Phillies -- 19.1
15. Julio Borbon, Rangers -- 18.7
16. Drew Stubbs, Reds -- 18.3
17. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 17.6
18. Denard Span, Twins -- 17.3
19. Bobby Abreu, Angels -- 16.6
20. Jose Tabata, Pirates -- 15.2
21. Trevor Crowe, Indians -- 15.1
22. Austin Jackson, Tigers -- 14.8
23. Shin-Soo Choo, Indians -- 14.1
24. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 14
25. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 13.7
26. Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies -- 13.5
27. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 13.4
28. Curtis Granderson, Yankees -- 12.6
29. Andres Torres, Giants -- 11.8
30. Will Venable, Padres -- 11.2

Take This To The Bank, Part II

As long as we've got the Accuscore Predictatron 5000 cranking, here are the top 15 projected home run leaders for shortstops from this point forward (June 18-Oct. 1):
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies -- 17
2. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 14.3
3. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays -- 12.2
4. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies -- 12
5. Derek Jeter, Yankees -- 11.7
6. Juan Uribe, Giants -- 10.6
7. Alexei Ramirez, White Sox -- 9.8
8. J.J. Hardy, Twins -- 8.2
9. Ronny Cedeno, Pirates -- 7.6
10. Marco Scutaro, Red Sox -- 7.1
11. Ian Desmond, Nationals -- 6.9
12. Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks -- 6.7
13. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 6.4
14. Yuniesky Betancourt, Royals -- 5.3
15. Yunel Escobar, Braves -- 5.2

A Basketball Gift From Me To You

As a serial YouTube-ist of sports-related events from the 1970s and 1980s, I stumbled upon a gem from either 1978-79: Legendary Detroit sportscaster Al Ackerman interviewing new Pistons coach Dick Vitale -- on one of the ugliest couches you'll ever see. Obviously, this part of the interview never went live to air -- which explains Ackerman's coarse language throughout this clip -- but it does reveal a time, pre-ESPN and sports radio, when local sportscasters were undisputed kings of their respective medium ... with oversized egos to match.

Not long after this interview, Vitale was fired from the Pistons, which unknowingly opened the door for him becoming the face of college basketball for the next four decades, beginning with DePaul vs. Wisconsin on Dec. 5, 1979.

The Missing Links

Here are the Web sites I check every morning -- in the name of 24/7 roster improvements:
**Baseball America
**Baseball America's 2010 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)

Goodbye Stranger

We all knew this day would come, when I break free from from SI.com and Fantasy Clicks ... for a two-week vacation. Yes, it's time for the annual trek to Michigan to see friends, family and drunken acquaintances -- but unfortunately, NOT the lads from U2. This trip was originally built around the premise of attending the U2 concert at Michigan State University's Spartan Stadium on June 30 ... perhaps one of the signature experiences of my lifetime. But alas, Bono had to have emergency back surgery, thus postponing the concert until the spring of 2011; and now, I'm left with six days of eating, drinking, catching up on summer movies, Tiger games with the folks and the NBA Draft, which also shares my birthday (June 24). In the meantime, I understand David Komer will be holding down the Fantasy Clicks fort for two weeks, so y'all have that going for you ... which is nice.

FEZ -- Being A U2 Nut

Since we're on topic, here's one more thing -- my 20 favorite U2 songs for all time:
1. A Sort Of Homecoming, The Unforgettable Fire -- (50 years from now, it'll still rank No. 1)
2. Drowning Man, War -- (an amazing song that actually gets better with age)
3. 11 O'Clock Tick Tock, Under A Blood Red Sky -- (this is why LIVE albums are made)
4. Indian Summer Sky, The Unforgettable Fire -- (perhaps U2's most underrated song ... ever!)
5. Bad, The Unforgettable Fire -- (not wild about the shorter version on the Best Of 80s album)
6. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, The Joshua Tree (sweet song, sweeter video)
7. Seconds, The Unforgettable Fire -- (the best anti-nuclear war song of all time?)
8. Pride (In The Name Of Love), The Unforgettable Fire -- (definitive song from U2's best album)
9. With Or Without You, The Joshua Tree -- (I can't believe this song never made No. 1)
10. Original Of The Species, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb (Bono's lyrical genius surfaces)
11. No Line At The Horizon, song/album name -- (best U2 song for the treadmill)
12. The Unforgettable Fire, song/album name -- (excellent lyrics/tempo; are those violins?)
13. Miracle Drug, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb -- (gotta love The Edge's guitar riff)
14. Surrender, War -- (great backstory for this song in U2's book from 2007)
15. Stay (So Close, Far Away), Zooropa -- (sheesh, like I was going to pick Lemon here)
16. I Threw A Brick Through A Window, October -- (had to pick one track from this killer album)
17. The Fly, Achtung Baby -- (this song's to blame for Bono's omnipresent sunglasses)
18. Running To Stand Still, The Joshua Tree -- (easily U2's best 'get my friend off heroin' song)
19. Where The Streets Have No Name, The Joshua Tree -- ("that is until police PULLED the plug")
20. 40, Under A Blood Red Sky -- (possibly the greatest album-ending song in music history)

Postscript: There is one song that would've made the countdown ... if it were actually part of an official U2 album. Do the honors, Homer Simpson!

Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night (@SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.

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