Fantasy Clicks
BY JAY CLEMONS
Oh, The Cantu-Man Can
Jorge Cantu: Doug Benc/Getty Images

Believe me, the last thing I want do is jinx Marlins 3B/1B Jorge Cantu and his amazing streak of 10 straight games with at least one hit and one RBI -- an MLB record to start the season. But it's my responsibility to you, the loyal Clicks reader, to speculate on whether Cantu's run will be his way-too-early watershed occurrence for 2010 ... or the start of a fantasy MVP season for the unheralded power hitter; and even if I'm wrong, hey, at least I addressed the topic, right?

The good news: At 15 RBIs through 10 games, Cantu is obviously on-pace to shatter Hack Wilson's all-time record of 191 (241, if he plays 162 games in '10); but his current streak isn't necessarily a fluke, either. After all, Cantu amassed 195 RBIs in 2008 and '09 and stands as an excellent bet to reach the century mark again this year. Furthermore, he's only hitting .308 during the streak -- a great average, for sure -- but one that's not much of a deviation from his career numbers (at least with Florida). Last but not least, if Cantu played in New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles, perhaps the streak -- and then his time AFTER the streak -- would be the subject of nightly news reports and the obligatory media circus. Instead, by playing in sleepy south Florida, Cantu has at least two more months of relative peace ... should he remain a viable threat to Wilson's RBI record.

The bad news: Cantu has enjoyed the good fortune of teeing off against Mets and Reds pitchers to start the season, and he'll undoubtedly see tougher pitchers as the Marlins' schedule winds from April to May. In the next two weeks alone, Cantu will face Roy Halladay, Wandy Rodriguez, Ubaldo Jimenez and any combination of the Giants' Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Jonathan Sanchez. Ouch!

For what it's worth, here are my preseason projections for Cantu ... and his revised projections, courtesy of Accuscore.com. It's safe to say that both estimates might be toast come October:
Preseason: 22 HRs, 92 RBIs, 81 runs, 2 steals, .291 average
Accuscore: .293 batting average, .353 OBP, 71.6 runs, 19.1 HRs, 128 RBIs, 2.7 steals

America's Top 20

Cantu's greatness aside, he barely cracks our list of the top 20 single-game performances:
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 4-for-5, 4 runs, 2 HRs, 3 RBIs (April 5)
2. Placido Polanco, Phillies -- 3-for-5, 1 run, 1 HR, 6 RBIs (April 5)
3. Jonathan Sanchez, Giants -- 8 IP, 11 Ks/3 BBs, 0 ER, 0.75 WHIP, 1 win (April 14)
4. Roy Halladay, Phillies -- 9 IP, 8 Ks/0 BB, 0 ER, 0.74 WHIP, 1 win (April 11)
5. Chris Young, Diamondbacks -- 3-for-4, 1 run, 1 HR, 5 RBIs (April 9)
6. Ricky Romero, Blue Jays -- -- 8 IP, 12 Ks/2 BB, 2 ER, 0.38 WHIP, 1 win (April 13)
7. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- -- 2-for-4, 3 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 steal (April 14)
8. Josh Johnson, Marlins -- 6 IP, 10 Ks/1 BB, 1 ER, 1.00 WHIP, 1 win (April 15)
9. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 7 IP, 10 Ks/1 BB, 2 ER, 0.88 WHIP, 1 win (April 11)
10. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 2-for-4, 3 runs, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs (April 14)
11. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs (April 11)
12. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 7 IP, 7 Ks/0 BB, 0 ER, 0.55 WHIP, 1 win (April 5)
13. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 3-for-5, 1 run, 1 HR, 4 RBIs (April 13)
14. Jose Guillen, Royals -- 2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 HRs, 4 RBIs (April 11)
15. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 4-for-5, 2 runs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs (April 15)
16. Matt Garza, Rays -- 8 IP, 9/2 K-BB ratio, 1 ER, 0.75 WHIP, 1 win (April 7)
17. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 2-for-4, 1 run, 1 HR, 5 RBIs (April 11)
18. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- 4-for-5, 1 run, 1 HR, 1 RBI (April 11)
19. Dallas Braden, Athletics -- 7 IP, 10/1 K-BB ratio, 1 ER, 0.72 WHIP (April 6)
20. Charlie Haeger, Dodgers -- 6 IP, 12/4 K-BB ratio, 3 ER, 1.14 WHIP (April 11)

Saturday's Surprise

Seeking an off-the-radar pitcher for Saturday? Here's one possible gem to consider:
Johnny Cueto, Reds (@ Pirates)
Pros:
**Has only walked four batters in 11 solid innings (two starts)
**Should be a sneaky-good candidate for 6-plus strikeouts per game, once he gets rolling
**Has the potential for 10 strikeouts on any day/against any opponent
**Has the benefit of pitching in 40-degree weather with probable rain on Saturday, one day after the Reds and Pirates enjoy 70-degree temps (before a major cold front comes in)

Cons:
**Pittsburgh is averaging 5.2 runs per game at home this season
**Cueto only has five strikeouts to date, indicating that he's nowhere close to midseason form
**Thanks to a somewhat-violent delivery, Cueto is always one awkward pitch away from sustaining a big-time shoulder or elbow injury

WHIP Masters

Here are MLB's best performers in the hallowed WHIP category (min. 6 innings -- thru 4/15):
SP Carlos Silva, Cubs (0.50)
SP/RP Sean Marshall, Cubs (0.50)
SP Chris Young, Padres (0.67)
SP Tim Stauffer, Padres (0.67)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (0.67)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (0.71)
SP Mark Hendrickson, Orioles (0.75)
SP Brad Penny, Cardinals (0.79)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (0.80)
SP Carl Pavano, Twins (0.85)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (0.85)
SP Dallas Braden, Athletics (0.85)
SP David Huff, Indians (0.87)
SP Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays (0.92)
SP Jason Berken, Orioles (0.92)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (0.93)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (0.93)
SP Roy Halladay, Phillies (0.94)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (0.94)
SP/RP Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs (0.95)
RP Tyson Ross, Athletics (0.95)
SP Brian Bannister, Royals (0.97)
SP Dana Eveland, Blue Jays (0.98)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another -- MLB's current ERA kings (min.6 innings -- thru 4/15):
SP Livan Hernandez, Nationals (0.00)
SP Chris Young, Padres (0.00)
SP Tim Stauffer, Padres (0.00)
SP/RP Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs (0.00)
SP J.A. Happ, Phillies (0.00)
SP Brett Anderson, Athletics (0.00)
SP Roy Halladay, Phillies (0.56)
SP Brad Penny, Cardinals (0.64)
SP Andy Pettitte, Yankees (0.75)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (1.13)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (1.20)
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers (1.20)
SP/RP Micah Owings, Reds (1.29)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (1.29)
SP/RP Mark Hendrickson, Orioles (1.35)
SP Dana Eveland, Blue Jays (1.35)
SP Mike Leake, Reds (1.35)
SP Carl Pavano, Twins (1.38)
SP Mike Pelfrey, Mets (1.38)
SP John Danks, White Sox (1.38)
SP Matt Harrison, Rangers (1.38)
SP John Lackey, Red Sox (1.42)
SP Carlos Silva, Cubs (1.50)
SP/RP Sean Marshall, Cubs (1.50)
SP Doug Fister, Mariners (1.50)
SP Max Scherzer, Tigers (1.64)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (1.80)
SP James Shields, Rays (1.80)

My Patriotic Duty

Since Monday's Fantasy Clicks rarely go live before 11 a.m. -- unless I'm pulling a rare all-nighter during baseball season -- perhaps we should use today's forum to remind everyone that Week 3 lineups (excluding dailies) lock as soon as the Rays and Red Sox tangle on Monday morning (first pitch: 11:05ish). So, consider this your friendly warning ... unless you're suddenly OK with Brandon Morrow getting two starts over Colby Lewis.

Speaking Of Mr. Lewis ...

I captured the fantasyland daily double from Rangers-Indians on Wednesday. Colby Lewis, who refined his pitching mechanics in Japan the last two years (while posting an absolutely absurd 369/46 K-BB ratio during that span), struck out 10 Cleveland hitters, yielded only two runs and notched his first victory of the season. His starting counterpart, Justin Masterson, fanned nine Texas hitters in just six innings of work. So, where did I land Lewis and Masterson in the 15-team SI.com & Friends draft? Try Rounds 22 and 23 ... and picks 229 and 232, respectively. BOOM!

Take This To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 25 projected wins leaders from this point forward (April 16-Oct. 1):
1. Roy Halladay, Phillies -- 18.5
2. CC Sabathia, Yankees -- 18.1
3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 17.8
4. Randy Wolf, Brewers -- 16.9
5. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- 16.8
6. Tim Hudson, Braves -- 16.8
7. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 16.7
8. Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- 16.5
9. J.A. Happ, Phillies-- 16.2
10. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 16.1
11. Matt Garza, Rays -- 16.0
12. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- 15.8
13. Phil Hughes, Yankees -- 15.8
14. Joel Pineiro, Angels -- 15.6
15. Jered Weaver, Angels -- 15.4
16. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 15.3
17. Matt Cain, Giants-- 15.1
18. Dallas Braden, Athletics -- 15.1
19. Mark Buehrle, White Sox -- 15.1
20. Andy Pettitte, Yankees -- 15.0
21. Brett Anderson, Athletics -- 14.7
22. John Lackey, Red Sox -- 14.4
23. Josh Johnson, Marlins -- 14.3
24. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 14.2
25. Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- 14.1

Take This To The Bank, Part II

And here are Accuscore's top 30 projected RBI leaders from this point forward:
1. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 141.8
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 137.3
3. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 121.0
4. Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- 120.8
5. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 114.2
6. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 113.5
7. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 113.1
8. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 112.7
9. Derrek Lee, Cubs -- 112.3
10. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 111.0
11. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 110.0
12. Torii Hunter, Angels -- 108.7
13. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 107.3
14. Jason Bay, Mets -- 103.8
15. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 103.5
16. Jason Heyward, Braves -- 103.4
17. Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- 103.1
18. Kendry Morales, Angels -- 103.1
19. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 102.6
20. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 101.5
21. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs -- 101.3
22. Andre Ethier, Dodgers -- 101.2
23. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- 101.1
24. Bobby Abreu, Angels -- 100.7
25. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 100.6
26. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 100.0
27. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 99.5
28. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 98.1
29. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 97.8
30. Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals -- 97.2

Analyze This

Since we already have the Accuscore Predictatron 5000 cranking, here's a particularly interesting 2-for-1 trade in the SI.com & Friends league (involving starting pitchers). Do we have an early winner here?

Team A gets ... Jon Lester
Projections from April 16-Oct 1: 13.5 victories, 3.80 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 208 strikeouts

Team B receives ... Chad Billingsley/Aaron Harang
Projections: Billingsley -- 13 wins, 3.82 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 160 strikeouts
Projections: Harang -- 8.7 wins, 4.75 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 157 strikeouts

Verdict: Unless Harang has a surprisingly stellar season OR Lester simply gets hurt for a sustained period, Team A wins this trade without much debate. Yes, Lester and Billingsley share similar projections in three categories ... but that's one deep chasm in the strikeouts department -- even if Harang is pulling his weight, too.

Working together, Harang and Billingsley have a solid chance at trumping Lester (especially with Accuscore's modest projections for the Red Sox wunderkind). But you have to figure that, even in a 15-team league, whomever Team A finds to fill the vacancy full-time will eventually push Lester's side of the deal over the hump, resulting in victory at season's end.

What's the lesson here, kids? Never trade a 200-strikeout pitcher with a sub-3.80 ERA ... unless you're getting a superstar hitter in return.

Feeling A Draft In Here?

With MLB's first-year player draft on the horizon, here are the first 15 picks from MyMLBDraft.com's most recent mock draft (updated April 9). You'll notice that Washington has a chance to land two once-in-a-lifetime players in back-to-back seasons -- Stephen Strasburg in 2009 ... and Vegas power-hitting legend Bryce Harper this season:

1. Nationals: C Bryce Harper, Southern Nevada Community College
2. Pirates: SP Anthony Ranaudo, LSU
3. Orioles: P Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands HS (Texas)
4. Royals: P A.J. Cole, Oviedo HS (Fla.)
5. Indians: SS Christian Colon, Cal-State Fullerton
6. Diamondbacks: P Derek McGuire, Georgia Tech
7. Mets: P Dylan Covey, Maranatha HS (Calif.)
8. Astros: 3B Zack Cox, Arkansas
9. Padres: P Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast
10. Athletics: P Karsten Whitson, Chipley HS (Calif.)
11. Blue Jays: P Drew Pomeranz, Mississippi
12. Reds: OF Austin Wilson, Harvard-Westlake School (Calif.)
13. White Sox: OF Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State
14. Brewers: P Alex Wimmers, Ohio State
15. Rangers: SS Manny Machado, Brito HS (Fla.)

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