Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
A Special Tuesday Airing Of 'Royal Pains'
Miguel Olivo: AP

Choosing Tuesday night's most fantasy-friendly game was a no-brainer, even if it didn't involve one bench-clearing brawl (Detroit @ Boston) or two burgeoning stars going off in Denver (Troy Tulowitzki/Andrew McCutchen). Instead, we're pinning our patented Revelations on yet another game that hit the hallowed 20-run mark:

Royals 14, Twins 6
What I Liked: They may have gotten squashed on the scoreboard, but five Twins regulars (Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel, Delmon Young, Brendan Harris) produced satisfactory results in fantasyland, with each one registering two hits or two RBIs. Of course, Kubel could've been a little more efficient at the plate (scroll down for more) ... but we shouldn't lambaste him too much.

What I Liked, Part II: Both Young and Harris recorded at least five total bases. Young even racked up one outfield assist, nailing Alberto Callaspo at home plate.

What I Liked, Part III: For one game at least, Royals starter Kyle Davies delivered on the promise (and ESPN hype) that was mistakenly lavished onto him back in March. In just five innings, he allowed one run, while striking out six Minnesota hitters.

What I Loved: How about the Kansas City 9 getting off on Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn? Seven hitters -- David DeJesus, Miguel Olivo, Alex Gordon, Yuniesky Betancourt, Mitch Maier, Mike Jacobs and Callaspo had two hits; and everyone in the starting lineup notched at least one run in the blowout. Now, to be fair, Jacobs, Betancourt, Maier and Gordon have all been gawd-awful this year ... so I would certainly understand if none of these pedestrian figures currently reside on your mixed-league roster.

What I Could Potentially Love: By all accounts, Jacobs has been a grave disappointment with his pathetic .236 average. However, in the last 30 days, he's crushed three homers (for nine RBIs) and boasts a .318 batting average. If you're looking for a cheap source for homers right now, the usually second-half-friendly Jacobs might emerge as a suprise difference-maker.

What I Loathed: In a long game with 20 runs, it's only natural to have some high LOB counts. But Gordon (six) and Kubel (seven) combined to strand 15 men on the night. But that was nothing compared to Royals first baseman Billy Butler leaving eight runners behind in six at-bats. So much for last week's all-world breakout, eh?

What I'm Going To Remember For 2010 Draft Day: Justin Morneau will get major Round 1 consideration in 12-team mixed-league drafts next spring. For years, the man has finished in the neighborhood of 35 HRs, 100 runs, 110 RBIs and a .300 average -- and yet, could never break the specter of Round 2 speculation. But those days are over. Fantasy owners can win titles when singularly building around Morneau, and I look forward to proving it.

Earning Their Stripes

Just in case you already have tunnel-vision for fantasy football and don't have any leisure time to track baseball stats, here are the ERA kings since July 12 (minimum 18 innings):

SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (0.87)
SP Cliff Lee, Phillies (1.32)
SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (1.41)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (1.56)
RP Tim Lincecum, Giants (1.75)
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals (1.80)
SP Jeremy Sowers, Indians (1.80)
SP/RP Justin Lehr, Reds (1.82)
SP Andy Pettitte, Yankees (1.87)
SP John Lackey, Angels (1.88)
SP Rich Harden, Cubs (1.95)
SP Aaron Laffey, Indians (1.99)
SP Josh Beckett, Red Sox (2.17)
RP Tyler Clippard, Nationals (2.25)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (2.32)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (2.36)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (2.38)
SP Mat Latos, Padres (2.43)
SP Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (2.43)
SP Brett Cecil, Blue Jays (2.49)
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs (2.49)
SP Joe Blanton, Phillies (2.51)
SP Dustin Nippert, Rangers (2.52)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (2.61)
SP Johan Santana, Mets (2.70)
SP Clayton Richard, Padres (2.70)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (2.72)
SP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees (2.76)
SP Gavin Floyd, White Sox (2.83)
SP Brad Bergesen, Orioles (2.84)
SP Tommy Hunter, Rangers (2.88)
SP Scott Baker, Twins (2.97)
SP Tim Stauffer, Padres (3.00)
SP Jon Lester, Red Sox (3.00)
SP Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates (3.07)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (3.12)
SP Brett Anderson, Athletics (3.15)
SP Derek Holland, Rangers (3.23)
SP Derek Lowe, Braves (3.26)
SP John Lannan, Nationals (3.27)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (3.27)
SP Tommy Hanson, Braves (3.31)
SP A.J. Burnett, Yankees (3.34)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (3.35)
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers (3.38)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (3.41)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (3.41)
SP Charlie Morton, Pirates (3.45)

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

I'm a little ambivalent on the whole Twitter thing. Yes, I'm happy to finally have an account (@SI_JayClemons) -- one that fantasy football fans can access 24/7 with questions/comments about players, teams, drafts and starting lineups. Yes, it's great to "follow" hilarious celebrities like Michael Ian Black, Kevin Pollak, Jason Segel, Steve Carell, Stewie Griffin, Bonnie Hunt and, of course, Statler and Waldorf of Muppets fame. And yes, it's sweet to already have nearly 150 followers after just six days of service. However, Twitter is more voyeuristic than Facebook, and I cannot help but wonder if this one-sided e-fad won't outlast the Pet Rock from the 1970s.

In the meantime, I will try to pass the Twitter downtime with inane (and sometimes comical) comments like the following:

"How's this for irony: Brandon Marshall gets 'demoted' but moves ahead of Steve Smith (who SHOULD be ready for Week 1) in the WR rankings" ..."

"I wonder if two people have ever exchanged fisticuffs after fighting over which Hostess cupcake tasted better -- the yellow or brown?"

"I must apologize to the UFL's Las Vegas Locomotives ... I was wrong to lump you in with Kylie Minogue's 'Locomotion' ...

"I did a little research on who was the first celebrity to regularly attend Lakers games: None other than Mr. Haney of Green Acres fame ..."

"I just visited an out-of-town friend's house to feed/clean up after his cats ... and one of 'em hissed when I gave him/her the wrong omelette ..."

"Thank god for IMDB ... how else would we know what Lacey Underall is up to these days -- 30 years since the filming of Caddyshack? ..."

"Billy Mays ... say it ain't so, brother? ..."

"Someone oughta tell Michael Crabtree's adviser the NFL is a big boys league ... veiled threats of sititng out the season mean bupkes!"

"The NFL Network's Missing Rings series has been great ... suggestions for next batch -- '80 Browns, '79 Rams, '82 Jets, '84 Dolphins ..."

Take This To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 25 projected Wins masters from this point forward (Aug. 12-Oct. 1). So, grab 'em ASAP, via trade:

1. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- 6
2. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 5.9
3. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 5.8
4. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 5.7
5. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 5.6
6. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- 5.6
7. CC Sabathia, Yankees -- 5.6
8. Cliff Lee, Phillies -- 5.5
9. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays -- 5.5
10. Mat Latos, Padres -- 5.5
11. J.A. Happ, Phillies -- 5.4
12. Josh Johnson, Marlins -- 5.4
13. Jered Weaver, Angels -- 5.4
14. Edwin Jackson, Tigers -- 5.3
15. Roy Oswalt, Astros -- 5.3
16. Matt Garza, Rays -- 5.3
17. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 5.2
18. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- 5.2
19. Randy Wells, Cubs -- 5.1
20. Matt Cain, Giants -- 5.1
21. Jeff Niemann, Rays -- 5.1
22. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 5.1
23. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 5.1
24. Zach Duke, Pirates -- 5
25. James Shields, Rays -- 5

Take This To The Bank, Part II

As for closers ... here are the top 25 projected Saves leaders from this point forward (Aug. 12-Oct. 1):

1. Brian Fuentes, Angels -- 16
2. Mariano Rivera, Yankees -- 15.6
3. Brad Lidge, Phillies -- 15.1
4. Joe Nathan, Twins -- 15.1
5. Bobby Jenks, White Sox -- 15.1
6. Fernando Rodney, Tigers -- 14.5
7. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox -- 14.4
8. Brian Wilson, Giants -- 14
9. Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers -- 13.9
10. Huston Street, Rockies -- 13.9
11. Heath Bell, Padres -- 13.4
12. Jose Valverde, Astros -- 13.2
13. Frank Francisco, Rangers -- 13.2
14. Matt Capps, Pirates -- 12.7
15. David Aardsma, Mariners -- 12.6
16. Ryan Franklin, Cardinals -- 12.5
17. Kerry Wood, Cubs -- 12.3
18. Chad Qualls, Diamondbacks -- 12.1
19. Francisco Cordero, Reds -- 11.7
20. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers -- 11.7
21. Joakim Soria, Royals -- 11.3
22. Francisco Rodriguez, Mets -- 11.1
23. Mike MacDougal, Nationals -- 11
24. J.P. Howell, Rays -- 10.9
25. Matt Lindstrom, Marlins -- 10.8

Take This To The Bank, Part III

On the offensive side of the fence ... the top 25 projected Home Run leaders:

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 15.2
2. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 13.5
3. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 13.5
4. Garrett Jones, Pirates -- 13.1
5. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- 13
6. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 12.9
7. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 12.9
8. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 12.7
9. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 12.7
10. Kendry Morales, Angels -- 12.3
11. Hank Blalock, Rangers -- 12.3
12. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 12.2
13. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 12.1
14. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 11.9
15. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 11.9
16. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 11.7
17. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 11.5
18. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- 11.4
19. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 11.4
20. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 11.3
21. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 11.2
22. Jermaine Dye, White Sox -- 11.1
23. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 11.1
24. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 11
25. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 11

Take This To The Bank, Part IV

And last but not least, here are the top 25 projected Stolen Base leaders:

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- 22.6
2. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 22
3. Michael Bourn, Astros -- 18.2
4. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals -- 15.8
5. B.J. Upton, Rays -- 15.6
6. Chone Figgins, Angels -- 15
7. Willy Taveras, Reds -- 14.9
8. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies -- 13.1
9. Rajaj Davis, Athletics -- 12.1
10. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 11.8
11. Elvis Andrus, Rangers -- 11.7
12. Brian Roberts, Orioles -- 11.1
13. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 10.6
14. Bobby Abreu, Angels -- 10.4
15. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 10
16. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 9.9
17. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- 9.8
18. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 9.6
19. Shane Victorino, Phillies -- 9.5
20. Denard Span, Twins -- 9.4
21. Willie Bloomquist, Royals -- 8.8
22. David Wright, Mets -- 8.4
23. Scott Podsednik, White Sox -- 8.2
24. Curtis Granderson, Tigers -- 8.2
25. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 8

We Interrupt Baseball 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!)

Wait 'Til Next Year
Albert Pujols: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Since we're all in a mock-draft state of mind these days (thanks to fantasy football), here is a wayyyyyyy-too-early guess at the Top 24 picks -- or first two rounds -- for next year's baseball leagues (12 teams, standard-scoring rules). Obviously, these rankings come before any megahype that will be bestowed upon some stars in mid-March (despite their limited fantasy talents or consistent injury history):

Round 1
1. 1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals
2. SS Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
3. OF Ryan Braun, Brewers
4. 1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
5. 3B David Wright, Mets
6. SP Tim Lincecum, Giants
7. 2B Chase Utley, Phillies
8. 3B Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
9. OF Matt Kemp, Dodgers
10. 1B Mark Teixeira, Yankees
11. OF Carl Crawford, Rays
12. 1B Justin Morneau, Twins

Round 2
13. 1B Prince Fielder, Brewers
14. 1B Ryan Howard, Phillies
15. OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
16. SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
17. SS Jose Reyes, Mets
18. OF Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
19. SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
20. OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals
21. OF Adam Jones, Orioles
22. OF B.J. Upton, Rays
23. OF Grady Sizemore, Indians
24. 2B Ian Kinsler, Rangers

Analyze This

I am not a big fan of head-to-head leagues in baseball. Oh sure, the concept works wonderfully for football and basketball (especially when the Lakers are playing home late on Sunday nights) ... but everything falls kind of flat with fantasy baseball -- particularly when there are more benchwarmers than starters every week. That aside, I'm getting pennant fever in my CBS head-to-head league and must figure out a way to convert my glut of star outfielders (Matt Holliday, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford, Andrew McCutchen, Nyjer Morgan, Jacoby Ellsbury, Alfonso Soriano) into bankable starting pitching.

One current deal on the table involves surrendering Ellsbury and Holliday for James Shields, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Pena. My first inclination is to politely decline the offer -- even with Joey Votto's prolonged slump of late -- but I would also like the geniuses at Accuscore to have a crack at the analysis. Hence, the quintet's projections from this point forward (Aug. 12-Oct. 1):

Owner A -- Me
Shields: 5 wins, 3.86 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 46.8 strikeouts
Buehrle: 4.6 wins, 3.98 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 36.9 strikeouts
Pena: .211 average (.347 OBP), 29.4 runs, 12.7 HRs, 33 RBIs, 0.7 steals

Owner B
Ellsbury: .302 average (.356 OBP), 31.4 runs, 3.3 HRs, 18.3 RBIs, 22.6 steals
Holliday: .314 average (.399 OBP), 29.9 runs, 7.1 HRs, 29.8 RBIs, 6.8 steals

Verdict: The pitching looks to be OK for the foreseeable future. But there's just no point in giving up Ellsbury AND Holliday -- especially when they'll be in my lineup come playoff time. On the other hand ... if I can sub-out a better hitter than Pena, maybe I will accept the trade and the far-reaching consequences that arise from it.

Analyze That

As long as we have the Accuscore Projections Analyzer 5000 cranking ... I am torn between four star-laden infielders with similar RBI potential -- Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins, Derek Jeter -- but would only have interest in trading for one down the stretch. Here are Accuscore's projections from this point forward:

Zimmerman: .270 average (.342 OBP), 34 runs, 9,3 HRs, 30.2 RBIs, 0.4 steals
Young: .349 average (.403 OBP), 33.9 runs, 9.4 HRs, 29.7 RBIs, 3.6 steals
Rollins: .252 average (.307 OBP), 33.2 runs, 6.4 HRs, 25.5 RBIs, 13.1 steals
Jeter: .310 average (.377 OBP), 32.4 runs, 5.6 HRs, 22.4 RBIs, 7.3 steals

Verdict: Jeter may get the most publicity, and Zimmerman may possess the greatest 30-game-hit-streak potential; but I'd only want to move heaven and earth for Young or Rollins in the next 50 games. Here's the deal: If I'm in dire need of steals, I'll make a play for Rollins. But if I'm just looking for across-the-board fantasy goodness, then it's Young all the way!

Addition By Subtraction

Here are the Top 10 'Most Dropped' players in CBS Sports leagues this week. Not surprisingly, this list is littered with starting pitchers whose next contributions on the mound will likely come in 2010:

1. SP Jason Schmidt, Dodgers (you mean, he had plenty of prior ownership?)
2. SP Edinson Volquez, Reds (his next big pitch probably comes in 2011 ... bummer!)
3. SP Dallas Braden, Athletics (he should be healthy soon; but does it really matter?)
4. SP Brett Cecil, Blue Jays (strong prospect ... but he's already on Operation: Shutdown)
5. SP Jamie Moyer, Phillies (sing it: old gray paint ain't what he used to be)
6. SP Jonathan Niese, Mets (feeling ... drowsy ... discussing ... Mets ... pitchers)
7. SP Francisco Liriano, Twins (the biggest high-risk/high-reward starter on this list)
8. 2B/3B Clint Barmes, Rockies (his fantasy irrelevance extends to NL-only leagues)
9. SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks (time to cut bait on Webbie's Season of Discontent)
10. 3B Scott Rolen, Reds (another trip to the DL ... stop me if you've heard that one before)

Addition By, Um, Addition

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

1. RP/SP Justin Lehr, Reds (two wins and a 1.80 ERA in three successful starts)
2. OF Rajaj Davis, Athletics (if you like Willie Bloomquist, you'll love RD)
3. OF Travis Snider, Blue Jays (batted .314 with 13 HRs in Triple-A ball this season)
4. OF Will Venable, Padres
5. SP Derek Holland, Rangers (look no further than his 3-hit shutout of the Angels)
6. 2B Eugenio Velez, Giants (a great source for average and runs -- but not HRs)
7. SP Braden Looper, Brewers
8. RP Mike MacDougal, Nationals (simply a closer-placeholder for Drew Storen in '10)
9. SS Everth Cabrera, Padres (who knew the Padres' minor-league system had this much talent)
10. OF Elijah Dukes, Nationals (it's probably too late to capitalize on the promise of a 25/25 season)

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 Cincinnati Enquirer writer Tom Groeschen's engaging insight on Reds Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Edinson Volquez, Adam Rosales, Johnny Cueto, Francisco Cordero, Aaron Harang, 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.

Stock Report

In case you care, here's an update for the much-talked-about & Friends fantasy league. In addition to the pennant winner earning the big prize, there's a bonus given to the team with the biggest jump in points AFTER the All-Star break:

1. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 106 points (run and hide, Machota, run and hide)
2. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 97.5 points (happily stuck in 2nd-place ... for now)
3. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 91.5 points (Sybil has nothing on CK's bunch)
4. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 88.5 points (is BK finally out of creative gas, trade-wise?)
5. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 85 points (still taking a bath in homers/saves)
6. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 82.5 points (willing to trade saves for Ks/victories)
7. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 74 points (stuck in mud after amazing 1st-half surge)
8. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 73 points (let the Beckett/Gonzo trade derby begin)
9. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 71.5 points (losing steam in all offensive categories)
10. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 69.5 points (ping-pong/fantasy football have his full attention)
11. Hackensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 68.5 points (you're welcome for Miggy/McCutchen)
12. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 64 points (great staying power for absentee owner)
13. Joker Marchants (Josh Wymer) -- 39.5 points (JW's long national nightmare is ALMOST over)
14. The Brandon & Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 38.5 points (10 total points in five pitching categories -- that's 1962 Mets 'bad')

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