Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Sunday Afternoon Revelations
Carlos Gomez: AP

In the interest of making Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most fantasy-friendly game, NFL Revelations-style. Our choice to cap off Week 14 was a no-brainer -- the day's highest-scoring game, a doubles parade, star-studded production and certifiable proof that Joe Mauer is indeed human:

Twins 13, White Sox 7
What I Liked: The White Sox may have had trouble scoring in bunches Sunday, but three fantasy stalwarts (Chris Getz, Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham) each racked up at least two hits against Twins pitching. For good measure, Jim Thome connected on a three-run homer, his 14th of the year.

What I Liked, Part II: Within that trend, six Twins hitters (Justin Morneau, Brendan Harris, Denard Span, Mike Redmond, Carlos Gomez, Joe Crede) each posted at least two hits and one run on the day. But here's where it gets weird ...

What I Loved: ... Of Minnesota's 11 earned runs, only three players accounted for all the RBI support -- Span (three), Harris (three) and Gomez (five).

What I Loved, Part II: Span gets special mention here for his fantasy-friendly performance: Three runs, three RBIs, two hits and two steals. Suddenly, I feel vindicated for ranking Span in the Top 30 outfielders during the preseason ... and then enduring a horde of emailers denouncing my declaration.

What I Loathed: I don't know what to make of Twins starter Scott Baker. Yes, he tallied his seventh victory of the year and posted a 4/1 K-BB ratio on the day. But after surrendering five runs and six hits in just 6.1 innings -- while watching his ERA balloon to 5.42 -- I'd probably be happier with Randy Wolf (85 strikeouts, 4 wins, 3.45 ERA, 1.17) in mixed leagues.

What Made Me Cringe: Man-crush aside, was that really Joe Mauer striking out four times -- while stranding five runners? Or was Mark Reynolds, baseball's strikeout king, traded to Minnesota ... and converted to catcher?

What Made Me Cringe, Part II: As recent as two years ago, I viewed Tony Pena (2 ER, 1 IP on Sunday) as a future closer in fantasyland baseball. But for whatever reason, he never emerged as a dominant force with the Diamondbacks; and now that he's a member of the White Sox bullpen (traded last week), he's stuck behind Bobby Jenks, Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, D.J. Carrasco, Aaron Poreda and probably Scott Linebrink. D'oh!

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

Typically in this section, we list the pitchers who'll be making two starts for the week. But with only a weekend's worth of games -- thanks to the All-Star break -- no one will have the luxury of taking the mound twice in Week 15 (July 13-19). Check back next week.

The Switch Happens In 14 Days

Without a doubt, we all love fantasy baseball (otherwise, you wouldn't be reading here right now). But let's be honest: 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 glory. 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 all of August.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 15 (July 13-19):

Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (@ Yankees)
Brandon Inge, Tigers
Curtis Granderson, Tigers
Placido Polanco, Tigers
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
Clete Thomas, Tigers
Marcus Thames, Tigers
Gerald Laird, Tigers
Derek Jeter, Yankees (vs. Tigers)
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Brett Gardner, Yankees
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Hideki Matsui, Yankees
Nick Swisher, Yankees
Eric Hinske, Yankees
Ian Kinsler, Rangers (vs. Twins)
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Hank Blalock, Rangers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers
Michael Young, Rangers
Marlon Byrd, Rangers
Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Justin Morneau, Twins (@ Rangers)
Joe Mauer, Twins
Denard Span, Twins
Jason Kubel, Twins
Carlos Gomez, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Brendan Harris, Twins
Joe Crede, Twins

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 15 (July 13-19), due to poor pitching matchups:

Andrew McCutchen, Pirates (@ Giants)
Adam LaRoche, Pirates
Freddy Sanchez, Pirates
Jack Wilson, Pirates
Andy LaRoche, Pirates
Ryan Doumit, Pirates
Brandon Moss, Pirates
David Wright, Mets (@ Braves)
Jeff Francoeur, Mets
Gary Sheffield, Mets
Jeremy Reed, Mets
Alex Cora, Mets
Brian Schneider, Mets
Daniel Murphy, Mets
Nick Markakis, Orioles (@ White Sox)
Luke Scott, Orioles
Adam Jones, Orioles
Nolan Reimold, Orioles
Matt Wieters, Orioles
Ty Wigginton, Orioles
Aubrey Huff, Orioles
Brian Roberts, Orioles
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (@ Cardinals)
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks
Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks
Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Miguel Montero, Diamondbacks
Brad Hawpe, Rockies (@ Padres)
Ian Stewart, Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Dexter Fowler, Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Todd Helton, Rockies
Clint Barmes, Rockies
Chris Iannetta, Rockies

Man-Child Prodigies Update

The hype machine for some of MLB's super prospects hitting the majors reached "ludicrous speed" (thanks, Spaceballs) back in late May ... that is, until a few of them temporarily crashed and burned amid all the pomp and circumstance. Here's a seasonal progress report on the league's most ballyhooed phenoms:

Tommy Hanson, Braves: 25/20 K-BB ratio in 41 innings, 2.85 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4 wins
David Price, Rays: 47/31 K-BB ratio in 44 innings, 4.70 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, 3 wins
Derek Holland, Rangers: 45/17 K-BB ratio in 57.2 innings, 6.24 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, 3 wins
Rick Porcello, Tigers: 47/31 K-BB ratio in 87 innings, 4.14 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 8 wins
Matt Wieters, Orioles: 28-for-108 (.259) with 10 runs, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs, 0 steals
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 43-for-150 (.287) with 23 runs, 2 HRs, 23 RBIs, 7 steals

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 since June 13:

1. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins -- 49/5
2. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 46/5
3. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 27/3
4. Ted Lilly, Cubs -- 38/4
5. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 54/9
6. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 46/9
7. Jose Contreras, White Sox -- 35/5
8. John Lackey, Angels -- 37/10
9. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 39/11
10. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 32/5
11. Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- 25/4
12. Cole Hamels, Phillies -- 29/6
13. Aaron Harang, Reds -- 28/6
14. James Shields, Rays -- 25/5
15. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 31/7
16. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- 30/7
16a. Kevin Correia, Padres -- 30/7
18. Chad Gaudin, Padres -- 40/13
19. Brett Anderson, Athletics -- 25/8
20. Edwin Jackson, Tigers -- 32/12

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.

Total Bases Recall
Mark Teixeira: AP

For the loyal Clicks readers of 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, TB is the perfect convergence of coveting power hitters and on-base machines who make a living from doubles. It's also a stellar indicator of future success. Here are the top 30 leaders (with ties) in total bases (through July 12):

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 222
2. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 192
3. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 190
4. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 189
5. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 189
6. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 177
7. Pablo Sandoval, Giants -- 177
8. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 177
9. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 176
10. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 176
11. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 175
12. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 175
13. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 175
14. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 174
15. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 172
16. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 170
17. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 168
18. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 168
19. Michael Young, Rangers -- 168
20. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 167
21. Miguel Tejada, Astros -- 167
22. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 166
23. Jermaine Dye, White Sox -- 165
24. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 164
25. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 164
26. Brad Hawpe, Rockies -- 164
27. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 164
28. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 164
29. Shane Victorino, Phillies -- 162
30. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 161
31. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 161

Analyze This

Just like the New York Stock Exchange around July 4, there was light trading in every one of my eight fantasy baseball leagues last week. But here's one swap to report from a mixed head-to-league, involving pitcher Max Scherzer and power-hitting first baseman Carlos Pena. Who got the better end of this deal? As always, I'll let the delicate geniuses at Accuscore make the call, courtesy of their customized player projections from this point forward (July 13-Oct. 1):

Owner A
Scherzer: 6.2 wins, 3.64 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 88.1 strikeouts

Owner B
Pena: .232 average (.365 OBP), 47.9 runs, 19.8 HRs, 50.8 RBIs, 0.8 steals

Analyze That

While we've got the Accuscore Projectionator 5000 cranking, here's another 1-for-1 swap involving Randy Wells and Pablo Sandoval:

Owner A
Wells: 8.2 wins, 2.42 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 65.1 strikeouts

Owner B
Sandoval: .327 average (.379 OBP), 33 runs, 10.1 HRs, 42.1 RBIs, 2.9 steals

Verdict: The rule of thumb goes as follows: If a pitcher and hitter are similarly stellar in the same time frame, the nod always goes to the hitter. That aside, what fantasy owner wouldn't kill for Wells' predicted numbers? For crimedy sakes, he's a better seasonal option than Max Scherzer, Ricky Romero, Daisuke Matsuzaka or Clayton Kershaw. That's amazing!

Breaking News Alert (Sort Of)

While in the middle of a heated ping-pong game against SI.com's Jeff Ritter on Sunday night, we learned of a momentous shortstop-only trade in the SI.com & Friends league -- Jose Reyes for Yunel Escobar. At face value, Reyes certainly posssesses the higher upside; but who's to say when Reyes' bad hamstring will heal ... July, August or mid-September? And even if Reyes (.279, 11 steals in 2009) returns in the coming weeks, what are the chances of the Mets green-lighting him for steals, especially if they're out of the playoff chase? And Escobar (41 runs, 44 RBIs, .293 average) has his own question marks, as well ... as in will he remain with the Braves? Or will he become trade fodder for a pennant-contender that's willing to satisfy Atlanta's request for a power hitter? Too many questions, for sure. Luckily, Accuscore has the answers from this point forward:

Scott Wraight (The Farmer John Family)
Reyes: .301 average (.367 OBP), 32.9 runs, 4.5 HRs, 23.2 RBIs, 17.8 steals

Cory McCartney (Hackensack Bulls)
Escobar: .307 average (.371 OBP), 42.9 runs, 7.1 HRs, 43.5 RBIs, 2.6 steals

Verdict: The Reyes projections are a tad ambitious, in my opinion. Obviously, Accuscore has confidence that he'll be his typically dominant self by Aug. 1. If that's the case, Wraight wins out by the narrowest of margins. But if Reyes isn't healthy and stealing bases by mid-August -- and the Mets are flailing in the NL East race -- then McCartney is the lead-pipe cinch victor here.

The Untouchables

Gut feelings aside, these stars should NOT be dealt in any garden-variety 1-for-1 or 2-for-2 swap this season: (If you're using them as a means to a blissfully lopsided trade in your favor ... then, by all means, do the deed!)

Hitters
Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Evan Longoria, Rays
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Prince Fielder, Brewers
Jason Bay, Red Sox
Torii Hunter, Angels
Carlos Beltran, Mets
Derek Jeter, Yankees
Chone Figgins, Angels
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Adam Jones, Orioles
Brian Roberts, Orioles
Carl Crawford, Rays
Joe Mauer, Twins (a 9th-round steal for risk-taking owners)
Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Victor Martinez, Indians
David Wright, Mets
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (it's a bird, it's a plane ... no, it's Han-Ram!)
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Justin Morneau, Twins
Chase Utley, Phillies

Starting Pitchers
Johan Santana, Mets
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Zack Greinke, Royals
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Edwin Jackson, Tigers
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (I'm finally ready to move heaven/earth to land him)
Matt Cain, Giants
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Johnny Cueto, Reds
Justin Verlander, Tigers
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Relief Pitchers
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
Joe Nathan, Twins
Trevor Hoffman, Brewers
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets
Francisco Cordero, Reds
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
Heath Bell, Padres
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Joakim Soria, Royals

Positional Assumptions

In most leagues, a player becomes eligible for a new position once he's played five games at that spot in the current season. Here's a list of players who have either earned new-position eligibility ... or are on the cusp of accomplishing this often-overlooked and underappreciated status:

3B Chris Davis, Rangers (now 1B-eligible)
2B Clint Barmes, Rockies (now SS-eligible)
SS Gordon Beckham, White Sox (now 3B-eligible)
SS Jhonny Peralta, Indians (now 3B-eligible)
3B Hank Blalock, Rangers (now 1B-eligible)
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds (now 1B-eligible)
3B/OF Chris Coghlan, Marlins (should be 2B-eligible by mid-June)
2B Jose Lopez, Mariners (now 1B-eligible)
2B Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins (now 3B-eligible)
DH Jason Giambi, Athletics (now 1B-eligible)
2B Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (now SS-eligible)
3B Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
3B/1B Carlos Guillen, Tigers (now OF-eligible)
1B Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
1B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (now 3B-eligible)
2B Mark DeRosa, Cardinals (now 1B/3B- and OF-eligible)
OF Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks (now 2B-eligible)
OF Skip Schumaker, Cardinals (now 2B-eligible)
3B Garrett Atkins, Rockies (now 1B-eligible)
OF Adam Dunn, Nationals (now 1B-eligible)
OF/2B Mark Teahen, Royals (now 3B-eligible, thanks to Alex Gordon's injury)
SS Michael Young, Rangers (now 3B-eligible)
3B Jorge Cantu, Marlins (now 1B-eligible)
2B Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (now SS-eligible)
C Victor Martinez, Indians (now 1B-eligible)
OF Kendry Morales, Angels (now 1B-eligible)
SS Ben Zobrist, Rays (now 2B- and OF-eligible)
OF Nick Swisher, Yankees (now 1B-eligible)
3B/SS Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays (now 2B-eligible)
3B Ian Stewart, Rockies (now 2B- and OF-eligible)
2B/OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds (now 3B- and SS-eligible)
SS/OF Ben Zobrist, Rays (now 2B-eligible)

Running Hot

Jayson Werth is an All-Star. Werth is the primary reason why the Phillies never offered Pat Burrell a multiyear deal in the offseason. Werth is likely an annual 20/20 threat for the next 10 years. Werth has crushed seven homers since June 27, while hitting at a .317 clip. Werth is the fourth Philadelphia hitter to bash 20 homers before the All-Star break -- a feat that's only been accomplished once in MLB history (the 2000 Toronto Blue Jays). And yet, for the low, low price of a bigger "name" player with mediocre stats, he'll probably be yours for the stretch run. In fact, here are some creatively realistic scenarios for such a deal:

**Werth for David Ortiz
**Werth for Andre Ethier
**Werth for Adam Dunn
**Werth for Grady Sizemore
**Werth for Cole Hamels
**Werth for Carlos Delgado
**Werth for James Shields
**Werth/Ricky Nolasco for Dustin Pedroia/Doug Davis
**Werth/Yovani Gallardo for Aaron Hill/Victor Martinez/Francisco Cordero
**Werth/Matt Cain for Johan Santana/Alfonso Soriano
**Werth/Brad Bergesen for Alex Rios/Wandy Rodriguez
**Werth/Ricky Romero/Edwin Jackson for Carlos Zambrano/Heath Bell/James Loney
**Werth/Shin-Soo Choo/Javier Vazquez for John Lackey/Derek Jeter/J.D. Drew

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)
**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)

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 New York Post writer Bart Hubbuch's engaging insight on Mets David Wright, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, Carlos Delgado, Jeff Francoeur, 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 MLB.com's team pages.

Stock Report

In case you care, here's an update for the much-talked-about AND highly volatile SI.com & Friends fantasy league. This week's standings hold greater importance than usual, since there's a bonus paid out to the team that makes the biggest jump in points AFTER the All-Star break:

1. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 95 points (I'm 1st or 2nd in five categories ... boom!)
2. Pete Rose's Best (Tim Dwyer) -- 91 points (needs a Kingman/Armas-like HR boost)
3. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 87.5 points (pound-for-pound, perhaps the best club)
4. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 86 points (In real baseball, the Kight Brothers ...)
5. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 83 points (... would just throw money at their problems)
6. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 82.5 points (must play the J-Reyes waiting game)
7. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 78.5 points (must replace Giambi/Cust/McCarthy)
8. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 73 points (not bad for autodraft team/stand-pat owner)
9. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 69.5 points (time to deal Manny, Kemp or Han-Ram?)
10. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 68.5 points (former leader primed for second-half rally)
11. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 61.5 points (pondering my V-Mart for Wieters/Danks offer)
12. Joker Marchants (Josh Wymer) -- 60.5 points (dead-last in three pitching categories ... yikes!)
13. Brandon &Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 57.5 points (imploding in Runs/RBIs/Steals)
14. Hackensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 56 points (the reconstruction begins with Miggy/Yunel)

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