The Thinking Chair

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Lots of folks spend a lot of time creating the "Best First Half Team" list, or a list of "Most Likely to be Second Half All-Star" lists, and those are fun and valuable and great. I'm not going to do that. Mainly because I'm lazy, but also because so many other, talented writers do it that I don't think it adds the right kind of value.

So instead, I'm going to toss out a few stats here and there and see what you can make of it.

For instance ... do you know that one of the more fantasy relevant games EVER happened between the Colorado Rockies and Chicago White Sox back on June 14 of this year? I missed it when it happened, and I can only blame the fact that I've been knee deep in diapers and baby wipes since mid-May with our newborn daughter. But it happened nonetheless.

Indeed, this game may have helped more fantasy owners than almost any other game this season ... or at least, it potentially had that impact.

What happened? Rockies center fielder Willy Taveras stole five -- yes, FIVE -- bases. That's a better fantasy day than hitting five home runs in one game, and nobody has EVER done that. (The most recent hitter to swat four in a game was Carlos Delgado in September 2003. I always remember hard hittin' Mark Whiten for his effort back in 1993, when he produced a record 12 RBI in one game, but then, that's just me.)

Anyhow, Fast Willy sure had a good game, and it's worth a mention.

Someone else who is getting a lot of love is St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who ended the first half with a gobsmacking 21 HR. That's pretty insane for a guy who probably wasn't drafted in 99 percent of leagues. But I do think that the Rick Ankiel story is one that's probably already in development at a Hallmark Movie of the Week near you. Seriously - this is a guy who was a joke around the league, lumped in with Steve Sax, Steve Blass and Mark Wohlers as a head case who simply forgot how to play the game. So he gave up pitching and developed into one of the better power hitters in baseball.

Yeah, you heard me. He had 20 HR and 50 RBI at the break and cracked yet another dinger in his first game afterwards. But after deliberating a bit, I think I'm here to say you should explore trading him. Why? Not because he's due to cool off. It's because his stats look like he's due for something close to a 40 HR, 100 RBI season -- but he's actually on pace for a 34 HR, 85 RBI season. because the Cardinals played 96 games before the break. Seriously -- 96 games! The first half should be close to, if obviously not exactly, 81 games. Our friend Mr. Ludwick, who casual fans would project for something like a 42 HR, 130 RBI season, could not cool off and end up with a 35 HR, 110 RBI season. No shame in that, but he LOOKS like someone who is playing like a first-rounder, when he's really on pace for simply a very good season. Milk that if you can.

The problem with my situation, aside from the fact that most people in my leagues read this column and therefore won't fall for the above advice, is that folks in my leagues also tend to be pretty savvy roto veterans. But if you are playing with folks who don't quite realize how unbalanced some team's schedules are around the All-Star Break ... well, pounce.

Matthew Greber is a Senior Writer for and has no plans to play in the NFL this season, regardless of how many teams knock on his door. (So far, it's been disturbingly quiet.) He's spending his days working on his draft slotting for football, wondering if he will soon have more players on the DL than active on his baseball team, and feeding and burping his newborn daughter. And that list probably isn't exactly in order. In the meantime, he also loves reading and replying to email, so send him a treat at