Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Sunday Afternoon Revelations
Brandon Inge: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

In an effort to make Fantasy Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most intriguing MLB game with an NFL-style Fantasy Revelations. This week's choice -- Texas @ Detroit -- had everything a fantasy lover could possibly want: One six-run inning, two Rangers superstars blasting homers, three relievers under heavy fantasy scrutiny and -- whoa! -- the Check-Swing King's fourth home run of the young season (I'm talking about Brandon Inge, by the way).

What I Liked: The Rangers don't crank out two homers every game -- it only seems like it. Sunday's chosen ones were Josh Hamilton (one HR, one run, two RBIs) and Ian Kinsler (one HR, one run, two RBIs), who seemingly gave Texas enough run support to salvage the final piece of a three-game series in Detroit. Of course, if we were talking about any other bullpen, maybe, just maybe Rangers ace Kevin Millwood wouldn't be installing a punching bag in his basement.

What I Liked, Part II: Speaking of Millwood, he yielded zero runs, only four hits and struck out six. In hindsight, I suppose his only real crime was needing 114 pitches to get through seven scoreless innings. If he had economized a little better (sarcasm detected yet?), he could have finished the game -- or at the very least, directly handed the ball to Rangers closer Frank Francisco ... who, curiously, never got to interrupt the Tigers' six-run conga line in the eighth inning.

What I Loved: I own Carlos Guillen in four fantasy leagues -- partly out of Detroit loyalty and partly out of versatile necessity, given his eligibility at 1B/3B and (soon-to-be) OF. But he justified my fantasy faith in the clutch on Sunday, knocking in the game-tying and game-winning runs with a seeing-eye double down the left field line. It was classic Guillen, who at the age of 33, certainly has plenty of juice left in the proverbial fantasy tank.

What Made Me Laugh: I still say the Tigers have the American League's worst bullpen (although the Orioles look pretty bad, too). But for one day, the Rangers relief corps (specifically C.J. Wilson) seized possession of this infamous distinction. Seriously, how does Wilson surrender six runs (three earned) in a game where Detroit's hitters showed absolutely no life for seven innings? It goes without saying: Wilson is relieva non grata in all leagues.

What Makes Me Nervous: For those of you scoring at home, Tiger relievers Brandon Lyon (two no-hit innings, one victory) and Fernando Rodney (one no-hit inning, one save) were perfect for innings seven, eight and nine. Show of hands here: How many think this was an anomaly and that Detroit's bullpen will blow one or two saves next weekend in Seattle?

What Made Me Say 'Wow': Brandon Inge tallied one run, two hits, three RBIs and a home run on Sunday -- his fourth of the season (he's batting .304 on the year). As someone who's seen 85 percent of Tigers games since 1980 - and as someone whose hate-love-hate relationship with the Check-Swing King seemingly has no bounds -- I say this run of Chris Shelton-like production won't last past May. That aside, Inge will always have 25-HR potential, provided he's getting regular at-bats and not playing catcher. (Thank heavens for Gerald Laird)

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 2 (April 13-19). Hence, they're potential gold in weekly leagues:

A.J. Burnett, Yankees
Jon Lester, Red Sox
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Zack Greinke, Royals
Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
John Danks, White Sox
Scott Kazmir, Rays
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Edinson Volquez, Reds
Javier Vazquez, Braves
Gavin Floyd, White Sox
Ted Lilly, Cubs
Matt Garza, Rays
Kevin Slowey, Twins
Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
Randy Johnson, Giants
Mike Pelfrey, Mets
Fausto Carmona, Indians
Chris Volstad, Marlins
Koji Uehara, Orioles
Jesse Litsch, Blue Jays
Todd Wellemeyer, Cardinals
Jamie Moyer, Phillies
Glen Perkins, Twins
Vicente Padilla, Rangers
Kyle Davies, Royals
Shane Loux, Angels
Carlos Silva, Mariners
Brian Moehler, Astros
Walter Silva, Padres
Daniel Cabrera, Nationals
Carl Pavano, Indians (baseball's shakiest No. 3 starter)
Doug Davis, Diamondbacks
Ricky Romero, Blue Jays
Zach Miner, Tigers
Zach Duke, Pirates
Dallas Braden, Athletics

Adios, Robb Quinlan

I threw a mini-shindig on Saturday to celebrate Kendry Morales' official conversion to first base in fantasyland circles. In most leagues, a player becomes eligible for a new position once he's played five games at that spot in the current season, and Morales -- hitting .368 on the year -- reached the 1B/OF threshhold two days before my AL-only lineups had to be reset for Week 2. With Morales now a full-time 1B, I can dump Angels utityman Robb Quinlan, who has zero fantasy value in even the deepest leagues. Here's a list of players who have either earned new-position eligibility -- or are on the cusp of accomplishing this often-overlooked status:

3B Chris Davis, Rangers (now 1B-eligible)
3B/1B Carlos Guillen, Tigers (will be OF-eligible later this week)
1B Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks (should be OF-eligible later this week)
1B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (now 3B-eligible)
2B Mark DeRosa, Indians (now 3B-eligible)
OF Skip Schumaker, Cardinals (should be 2B-eligible later this week)
3B Garrett Atkins, Rockies (should be 1B-eligible by May 1)
OF Adam Dunn, Nationals (should be 1B-eligible by mid-May)
2B Mark Teahen, Royals (should be 2B-eligible in two weeks)
SS Michael Young, Rangers (now 3B-eligible)
3B Jorge Cantu, Marlins (now 1B-eligible)
2B Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (now SS-eligible)
3B Ian Stewart, Rockies (should be 2B-eligible by mid-May)

The Road To Wellville

The following is a list of hitters who should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 2 (April 13-19):

Billy Butler, Royals (vs. Indians, @ Rangers)
Alex Gordon, Royals (assuming his hip is OK)
Coco Crisp, Royals
Mike Aviles, Royals
Mike Jacobs, Royals
Mark Teahen, Royals
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox (@ Athletics, vs. Orioles)
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Jason Bay, Red Sox
Ryan Howard, Phillies (@ Nationals, vs. Padres)
Chase Utley, Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, Phillies
Raul Ibanez, Phillies
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Jayson Werth, Phillies
Ian Kinsler, Rangers (vs. Orioles, vs. Royals)
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Michael Young, Rangers
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Chris Davis, Rangers
Hank Blalock, Rangers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers
Marlon Byrd, Rangers
Elvis Andrus, Rangers

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 2 (April 13-19), due to poor pitching matchups. I'm not saying "Don't start 'em" ... just be wary of these guys facing at least four top-end hurlers during this period:

Pablo Sandoval, Giants (@ Dodgers, vs. D'backs)
Emmanuel Burriss, Giants
Bengie Molina, Giants
Aaron Rowand, Giants
Eugenio Velez, Giants
Travis Ishikawa, Giants
Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (vs. Cards, @ Giants)
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks
Chad Tracy, Diamondbacks
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres (@ Mets, @ Phillies)
Chase Headley, Padres
Brian Giles, Padres
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres

The Obligatory A-Rod Update

According to a report, Alex Rodriguez has concluded Phase I of his rehab from hip surgery (lovely Vail, Colo.) and will be heading to the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa sometime this week. A-Rod has already begun stretching, light jogging, hitting off a tee, taking grounders -- aka Phase II -- the kind of stuff players do in mid-February. So, assuming he remains on his regular timeline of recovery, he should be back with the Yankees by mid-May (in other words, nothing's changed). My seasonal projections are essentially the same, as well -- he's still a solid candidate for 24 HRs, 84 RBIS and 81 runs. However, I'd be shocked if he registered six steals this season, since the Yankees would be crazy to green-light any "straight steal" opportunities in '09. Apparently, Joe Girardi likes his job and doesn't want to get fired, Costanza-style.

Total Bases Recall

For the loyal Clicks readers in fantasy football, you've heard me prattle on a thousand times about the importance of targets -- the number of times a receiver is thrown to -- and how it's a fail-safe method for evaluating receivers. Well, I am equally passionate (fanatical?) about total bases in fantasy baseball. By my way of thinking, total bases are the perfect convergence of coveting power hitters and on-base machines who make a living from doubles. They're also a stellar indicator of future success -- even in early April: (stats through April 12)

1. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 32
2. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 24
3. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 23
4. Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins -- 20
5. Brandon Inge, Tigers -- 20
6. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 20
7. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 19
8. Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays -- 19
9. Nick Swisher, Yankees -- 19
10. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 18
11. Ryan Church, Mets -- 17
12. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 17
13. Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs -- 17
14. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 17
15. Yunel Escobar, Braves -- 16
16. Travis Hafner, Indians -- 16
17. Kelly Johnson, Braves -- 16
18. Brian McCann, Braves -- 16
19. Jordan Schafer, Braves -- 16
20. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies -- 16
21. Adam Jones, Orioles -- 15
22. Victor Martinez, Indians -- 15
23. Hunter Pence, Astros -- 15
24. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 15
25. Freddy Sanchez, Pirates -- 15
26. Joey Votto, Reds -- 15
27. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays -- 15
28. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 14
29. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 14
30. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 14

Reader-Driven Choose Your Own Adventure

On Friday, I solicited the help of readers regarding my options for trading Rangers stud Ian Kinsler to one specific team in the & Friends league. Given my stacked offense, top-notch starting rotation but only decent bullpen, I was willing to consider five 1-for-2 trades with Owner B -- thus surrendering Kinsler for White Sox 2B/SS Alexei Ramirez and either Jose Valverde, Carlos Pena, Travis Snider or Cubs catcher Geovany Soto, who may be headed for the disabled list. Here's a sampling of the best responses:

Stewart from Halifax, Nova Scotia says: You should take Ramirez and Pena for Kinsler. That is a lot of offense coming your way.If you don't have room to play Pena, I would take Ramirez and Valverde as my second choice. Trading Ramirez and Pena/Valverde for Kinsler doesn't make a lot of sense from the other owner's point of view; he must have mountains of man-love for Kinsler.

Terry from Plymouth, Mass., writes: If I were you, I'd take the Ian Kinsler for Alexei Ramirez/Jose Valverde deal. Why? You said your team is stacked offensively, so you can take the risk of giving up Kinsler for Ramirez. It's a slight dropoff, but if the rest of your lineup is solid, you'll be fine. You have a decent bullpen, so why not make it better with Valverde -- who's averaging more than 30 saves the past few years? This way, you could have solid pitching all around. But I realize that Ramirez started "0-fer-2009" (as of Friday) -- so you might want to stick with Kinsler, knowing he's going to have a monster year in the Texas lineup. Glad I could help (LOL) -- let me know if you need help deciding what make/model of car you want to buy in the Fall (Ford Fusion -- not the hybrid version; I'll explain why if you want to know).

Jeff from parts unknown says: Gotta say, I don't like either offer. I have Ian Kinsler in one of my leagues, and he's off to a hot start. If he stays healthy, his value will be much higher than Ramirez, Snider and Valverde. I always remember what one fantasy expert told me about 2-for-1 deals. The guy getting the 1 player, usually is getting the better end of the deal. That being said, I like Snider's potential, but I also think Ramirez has been over-hyped. Don't fall into the trap. Remember, Teahen is out there, too. :)

Postscript: In case you're wondering, my new friend Jeff was referencing yours truly (from an NFL-style Clicks in November) as his "expert" source on 2-for-1 fantasy trade theories -- specifically getting the best player out of a deal. I couldn't agree more, Jeff ... that's why I've decided to stand pat for now and let Kinsler keep wreaking havoc on my club, This Week's TWIB Notes. (scroll down for more)

Don't Give Up The Ship
Elijah Dukes: Doug Benc/Getty Images

I took Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes in all six of my mixed-league drafts last month, and I'm proud to report that he still belongs to five teams -- minus one waiver-wire swap for the red-hot Emilio Bonifacio. Why am I beaming with pride -- even though Dukes was seemingly banished to the Washington bench, due to overcrowding in its outfield (Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Willie Harris, Josh Willingham)? Well, despite the less-than-glowing endorsement from manager Manny Acta after camp broke, Dukes has proven to be an unbenchable force (5-for-11, 1 run, 3 RBIs in the Atlanta series) and should have no problem getting 450-500 at-bats this season. And with opportunity comes the realistic potential for 25 HRs and/or 30 steals.

Look, no one is overlooking the fact that Dukes has some personal problems to overcome (probably for the rest of his life) and no one is working on his bust for Cooperstown, either. However, there is also no disputing Dukes' Bo Jackson-esque athletic talents and passion for making plays. By season's end, Dukes will prove to be fantasy gold -- namely for the guy/gal who plucked him off irrevocable waivers.

Welcome To The Show, Rookie

I seldom endorse banking on first-year players in standard mixed leagues. However, if you're going to dip into the rookie pool, these guys likely have staying power -- at least until the obligatory post-All-Star swoon:

C Matt Wieters, Orioles (yes, he's still in the minors ... but be patient, Grasshopper)
1B Pablo Sandoval, Giants
2B/3B Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (14-for-24 start + blazing speed = mucho fantasy goodness)
SS Elvis Andrus, Rangers
OF Dexter Fowler, Rockies
OF Cameron Maybin, Marlins (a virtual lock for 25 steals/80 runs)
OF Jordan Schafer, Braves (the HR pace will surely slow down ... but he has no competition at CF)
OF Daniel Murphy, Mets
OF Travis Snider, Blue Jays
Util Colby Rasmus, Cardinals
SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
RP Jason Motte, Cardinals (don't let his opening-day meltdown steer you wrong)
P David Price, Rays (if you don't know who he is, you shouldn't be playing fantasy baseball)

Gone In 14 Seconds

Speaking of Mr. Bonifacio, the Marlins' highly versatile, lightning-quick infielder ... did you happen to catch his blazing inside-the-park HR on Opening Day against the Nationals? By my count, Bonifacio went from home plate ... to, uh, home plate in 13.8 seconds; and even if it's not an MLB record (but then again, who'd ever keep track of such things?), it was easily the greatest demonstration of speed I've seen in a baseball game. Now, of course, one uber-productive day (he scored four runs against Washington) doesn't make a season -- or enhance one's long-term fantasy viability -- but Bonifacio has the makings of the real deal (unless you're looking for 15-plus homers). So grab him ASAP!

The Missing Links

Need a helping hand with your fantasy baseball research? Well, here are the Web sites that I check every morning (and night) -- all in the name of 24/7 roster improvements:

**Baseball America
**Baseball America's 2009 Top Prospects
**Rotowire Player Search Database (great for targeting prospects)
**'s Stats page
**'s Fantasy Page
**Baseball Prospectus
**The Hardball Times
**Dallas Morning News' Rangers blog (co-writers Richard Durrett, Jeff Wilson)
**Seattle Times' Mariners blog (Geoff Baker, author)

Postscript: It goes without saying ... you MUST become a regular subscriber (or at least make it a "favorite" on your desktop) to your players' team blogs in respective newspapers (like Detroit News writer Tom Gage's engaging insight on Tigers Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, Justin Verlander, etc.). These sites should be your daily lifeline when conducting research. And for those playing in AL- or NL-only leagues, your absolute best friend from April to September should be the ever-changing depth charts running on's team pages.

Not That You Care ...

But here's a way-too-early update for the much-talked-about, but rarely seen & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 14-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:

1. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 105 points (top-5 ranking in eight categories -- yikes!)
2. Here Comes The Funcooker! (Jeff Ritter) -- 96 points (perhaps the most balanced team)
3. Worldwide Prestige (Charlie Kight) -- 87 points (needs help in Runs, HR, RBIs)
4. Verlander's A Bum (Jon Machota) -- 86.5 points (getting killed by Wins/Saves)
5. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 84.5 points (gawd-awful in Ks and steals)
6. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 83.5 points (bottom rung in HRs and steals)
7. The Brandon & Jason Show (Brandon Marcus/Jason Schwartz) -- 80.5 points
8. Capital City Goofballs (Josh Wymer) -- 65.5 points (thank god for steals and batting average)
9. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 65 points (punting saves, are we?)
10. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 64.5 points (essentially last in all offensive categories)
11. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 62.5 points (major shortcomings in Wins and ERA)
12. Hackensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 61 points (all offense, nonexistent pitching)
13. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 55 points (needs more than Wins to be a contendah)
14. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 54 points (what do you expect from an 'Autopick' team?)

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