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Fantasy Clicks: Day of phabulous phantasy goodness in Philly


Recent Fantasy Clicks 6-15-09: Phabulous Phantasy Goodness in Philly 6-12-09: Fenway Franks & Losers' Angst 6-10-09: Where Fantasy Eagles Dare Fly 6-08-09: Marathon Men Take Over Petco Park 6-05-09: Mr. 300 Goes To Washington 6-03-09: Just Shooting The Bayou Brees 6-01-09: Angels and Speed Demons in SoCal 5-29-09: Fantasy Foxes Invade the Desert 5-27-09: SI's Bout with NFL Mock Madness 5-25-09: M&M Boys' A-list production 5-22-09: It Was A 20-to-1 Shot, Doc 5-20-09: SI's Bout with NFL Mock Madness 5-18-09: Split Personality, Sweeping Reform 5-15-09: Chris Davis ... Built For Fun 5-13-09: Not Favre From Over? Ugh! 5-11-09: Prince Albert's Great American Voyage 5-08-09: Manny's Suspended Animation 5-04-09: Man Of Steal Rides Again 4-29-09: Dangers Of RB Overpopulation 4-27-09: It's All About The O's 4-24-09: The New Falconer 4-22-09: Fantasy Breakdown Of NFL Sked 4-20-09: The Utlimate Fantasy Catch-22 4-17-09: Cyclist Of The Century 4-15-09: NFL Slices Of Heaven, Part II 4-13-09: All Hail The Check-Swing King 4-10-09: Welcome To Adventureland 4-08-09: NFL Slices Of Heaven 4-06-09: Opening Night Revelations 4-03-09: Draft Night Revelations, Part II 3-30-09: Draft Night Revelations, Part I 3-27-09: Draft Rules To Live By 3-23-09: Catch A Rising Star 3-20-09: Look Out For Pick No. 1 ... and 24 3-18-09: PVR Perfect 3-17-09: Don't Forget About Me 3-13-09: Welcome To Spring Break 3-12-09: LT2 Losing His Charge 3-11-09: Sudden Impact 3-09-09: Hip, Hip ... Hurry Back, A-Rod 3-06-09: Revenge Of The Cyst 3-05-09: A Disappointing Deadline Day 3-04-09: Cosmic Charlie 3-02-09: Aces In The Hole 2-27-09: Depth Perceptions 2-23-09: NFL Combine Revelations 2-20-09: Designated Long Drivers 2-19-09: The Brady Hunch 2-16-09: Seeking Sweet Relief 2-13-09: Sneak peek at an MLB mock draft 2-12-09: Boozer's Snoozer Of A Season 2-11-09: Impossible to ignore 2-9-09: The Secret Life of A-Rod 2-6-09: Pick of the 2B litter 2-5-09: Time for a fantasy bailout 2-4-09: Another winged wonder? 2-2-09: Super Bowl Revelations 1-30-09: Super Bowl Clicks 1-29-09: Aussie Re-Open 1-27-09: Fire sale! 1-26-09: Tim Lincecum vs. the world 1-23-09: The can't-miss kid? 1-22-09: Rip off! 1-20-09: No consolation prizes 1-19-09: Championship Sunday Revelations 1-16-09: Into the great wide open 1-15-09: Chickens, a King and free throws 1-13-09: Grab your Skates 1-12-09: Divisional Playoff Revelations 1-09-09: Playoff horse of a different color 1-07-09: Rocky Mountain Low 1-05-09: Wild Card Revelations 1-02-09: Playoff-A-Palooza

Sunday Afternoon Revelations

Jimmy Rollins (left) and Jayson Werth: 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 10 was a no-brainer -- the day's highest-scoring game, featuring the last two World Series champions:

Phillies 11, Red Sox 6
What I Liked: A whopping nine players (Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste, George Kottaras, Nick Green, Jason Bay) registered at least two hits or two runs on Sunday. Feliz led the group, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs. He's hitting .318 on the year -- and yet, he gets nary a mention when talking about Philly's prodigious offense.

What I Liked, Part II: Red Sox starter Josh Beckett racked up five strikeouts ... and connected on a homer of his own, briefly tying the game at 5 in the 6th inning (right before Philly broke things wide open with a 6-run 7th inning).

What I Loathed: Beckett got rocked for 11 hits and six runs -- one of his few duds of the season (although nothing compared to Johan Santana's Sunday stinker). His counterpart, Philly pitcher J.A. Happ surrendered seven hits and five runs ... and watched his ERA rise to 3.53.

What I Loved: Jimmy Rollins showed more glimpses of a revival by smashing his fifth homer of the season. Yes, he's only hitting .217, but he's still a great resource for runs and steals -- which is exactly why I traded Jonathan Papelbon away for him a few weeks ago. If he scores 58.9 runs from this point forward ( estimate) ... I'd take that in a heartbeat.

What I Loved, Part II: Back from a minor injury last week, Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury earned his 25th steal this season. Yes, he only has two HRs and 19 RBIs by mid-June, but I'm still encouraged by his productivity in steals, runs and average. And I cannot help but wonder: Does Fanball magazine (perhaps my favorite non-SI publication) still think Ellsbury is the best AL-only outfielder in fantasyland, pound for pound? (preseason publication)

What Made Me Cringe: Even in a 17-run game, the trio of Mike Lowell, Jason Bay and Greg Dobbs still managed to combine for 14 Left on Bases. It's a good thing no ones cares about that in fantasyland, eh?

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 11 (June 15-21). Hence, they're potential gold in weekly leagues:

Carl Pavano, Indians
Justin Verlander, Tigers
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Gil Meche, Royals
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Cole Hamels, Phillies
Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Jair Jurrjens, Braves
John Lackey, Angels
Aaron Harang, Reds
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Kevin Millwood, Rangers
Wandy Rodriguez, Astros
John Danks, White Sox
Mike Pelfrey, Mets
Tim Wakefield, Red Sox
Chris Volstad, Marlins
Dallas Braden, Athletics
Dave Bush, Brewers
Barry Zito, Giants
Doug Davis, Diamondbacks
Scott Richmond, Blue Jays
Jeff Niemann, Rays
Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies
Kevin Correia, Padres
Shairon Martis, Nationals
Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles
Glen Perkins, Twins
Charlie Morton, Pirates

Tuesday's Hero

Need an emergency starting pitcher off the waiver wire in time for Tuesday's games? Here's one diamond in the rough to consider, as a short-term fix and possible long-term keeper:

Kevin Correia, Padres (@ Angels)
**Has allowed 3 or fewer runs in five of his last seven starts
**Boasts a stellar 24/7 K-BB ratio since May 15
**Has lasted at least five innings in four of his last five outings
**Boasts a decent 4.33 ERA/1.30 WHIP since May 15
** has him down for 86 strikeouts from this point forward

**He cannot rely on spacious Petco (National) Park here ... he'll need help to keep Vladimir Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera out of Angel Stadium.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 11 (June 15-21):

Joe Mauer, Twins (vs. Pirates, vs. Astros)
Justin Morneau, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins (does he have another 30-day injury?)
Denard Span, Twins
Carlos Gomez, Twins
Joe Crede, Twins
Delmon Young, Twins
Brendan Harris, Twins
Jay Bruce, Reds (vs. Braves, vs. White Sox)
Brandon Phillips, Reds
Ramon Hernandez, Reds
Laynce Nix, Reds
Joey Votto, Reds (assuming his dizzy spells have subsided)
Adam Rosales, Reds (the new Charlie Hustle)
Alex Gonzalez, Reds
Brad Hawpe, Rockies (vs. Rays, vs. Pirates)
Ian Stewart, Rockies
Garrett Atkins, Rockies (the term 'slumpbuster' comes to mind here)
Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Dexter Fowler, Rockies
Todd Helton, Rockies
Ryan Spilborghs, Rockies
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
Ryan Braun, Brewers (@ Indians, @ Tigers)
Corey Hart, Brewers
Prince Fielder, Brewers
J.J. Hardy, Brewers
Mat Gamel, Brewers
Jason Kendall, Brewers
Mike Cameron, Brewers
Casey McGehee, Brewers

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 11 (June 15-21), 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. Note: Albert Pujols isn't mentioned with the Cardinals, for obvious reasons, given that he's the most devastating fantasy force on a year-in, year-out basis ... and that I would feel stupid for even suggesting an imminent slump:

Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (vs. Marlins, vs. Braves)
Mike Lowell, Red Sox
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Jorge Lugo, Red Sox
Jason Varitek, Red Sox
Matt Holliday, Athletics (@ Dodgers, @ Padres)
Jason Giambi, Athletics
Ryan Sweeney, Athletics
Jack Cust, Athletics
Orlando Cabrera, Athletics
Kurt Suzuki, Athletics
Bobby Crosby, Athletics
Adam Kennedy, Athletics
Justin Upton, Diamondbacks (@ Royals, @ Mariners)
Chris Young, Diamondbacks
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Felipe Lopez, Diamondbacks
Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes, Diamondbacks
Josh Whitesell, Diamondbacks
Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals (vs. Tigers, @ Royals)
Skip Schumaker, Cardinals
Brendan Ryan, Cardinals
Rick Ankiel, Cardinals (back from the DL)
Chris Duncan, Cardinals
Brian Barden, Cardinals
Yadier Molina, Cardinals

The Whowouldathunkit Dream Team

The & Friends fantasy league houses a bunch of baseball-savvy geeks and hardcore draftniks, but even we missed big time on a slew of fantasy stars. To wit, here is the All-Underrated Team of '09 ... with none of the hitters getting taken before Round 6 and none of the pitchers going before Round 8:

Catcher: Brandon Inge, Tigers (38 runs, 14 HRs, 41 RBIs, 0 steals, .269 average)
First Base: Russel Branyan, Mariners (35 runs, 15 HRs, 30 RBIs, 2 steals, .320 average)
Second Base: Aaron Hill, Blue Jays (36 runs, 14 HRs, 44 RBIs, 2 steals, .310 average)
Third Base: Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (41 runs, 16 HRs, 44 RBIs, 13 steals, .278 average)
Shortstop: Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays (48 runs, 5 HRs, 29 RBIs, 6 steals, .303 average)
Outfield: Adam Lind, Blue Jays (37 runs, 12 HRs, 45 RBIs, 1 steal, .305 average)
Outfield: Adam Jones, Orioles (44 runs, 12 HRs, 44 RBIs, 5 steals, .324 average)
Outfield: Nelson Cruz, Rangers (38 runs, 17 HRs, 42 RBIs, 10 steals, .279 average)

Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, Giants (9 wins, 68/34 K-BB ratio, 2.47 ERA, 1.27 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Tigers (7 wins, 106/25 K-BB ratio, 3.01 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Javier Vazquez, Braves (4 wins, 105/16 K-BB ratio, 3.31 ERA, 1.03 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Heath Bell, Padres (18 saves, 2 wins, 31/9 K-BB ratio, 1.37 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman, Brewers (15 saves, 16/1 K-BB ratio, 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Ryan Franklin, Cardinals (15 saves, 1 win, 18/5 K-BB ratio, 1.09 ERA, 0.89 WHIP)

Take The Money And Run

If I were a high school pitching "phenom" at the top of last week's draft -- like Shelby Miller (Cardinals), Zach Wheeler (Giants), Matthew Purke (Rangers), Tyler Matzek (Rockies), Jacob Turner (Tigers), to name a few -- I wouldn't hire an agent with a history of being obstinate in contract talks (and yes, I suppose I'm looking in the general direction of notorious, but hardly nefarious superagent Scott Boras) ... unless I had zero intention of enrolling in college this fall.

Now that MLB teams receive a commensurate pick in next year's draft should they "fail" to sign a high-round draftee this year, the clubs -- on the whole -- are probably less motivated to acquiesce to a player's exorbitant salary demands right before the signing deadline (typically before a player starts classes at the university level). In fact, some franchises in this economic downturn would be thrilled to keep the dough reserved for Round 1 picks and just focus on the other 47 or so players they've taken in the draft. After all, the most volatile asset in pro baseball remains an unproven 18-year old pitcher who's one herky-jerky pitch away from Tommy John surgery ... and who wants to overpay for that?

Bottom line: If a kid wants to have the full college experience, as both a student and athlete, and no money in the world can change that desire ... by all means, pass up the money and go enjoy your time on campus. You won't regret it for a second. But if you're a pitcher playing Russian Roulette with MLB clubs, and you have no internal desire to pitch for free in college towns ... just know that you'll have to spend a minimum of three seasons in college; and when you're eligible for the draft three years from now, you'll most likely be taken in the same slot as last week's draft (if not lower). And lest not forget the No. 1 question you'll hear -- without fail -- from other athletes and students every single day while on campus: You turned down all those millions for this?

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!)

Ian Kinsler, Rangers
Evan Longoria, Rays
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Carlos Beltran, Mets
Adam Jones, Orioles (I'm sure the bruised shin is nothing serious)
Brian Roberts, Orioles
Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Carl Crawford, Rays
Joe Mauer, Twins (a 9th-round steal for risk-taking owners)
Matt Kemp, Dodgers (my god ... can he fly!)
Victor Martinez, Indians
Jermaine Dye, White Sox
David Wright, Mets
Alfonso Soriano, Cubs (his .233 average is trying my patience)
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (back on the list ... hooray!)
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Justin Morneau, Twins
Matt Wieters, Orioles (don't overthink this ... let him play)
Chase Utley, Phillies

Starting Pitchers
Johan Santana, Mets (try to ignore Sunday's meltdown)
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Zack Greinke, Royals
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Edwin Jackson, Tigers
Erik Bedard, Mariners
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Jake Peavy, Padres (down for the count for 6-8 weeks ... ouch!)
Justin Verlander, Tigers (there's no knocking him when he's white-hot)
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Relief Pitchers
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
Joe Nathan, Twins
Trevor Hoffman, Brewers
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets
Matt Capps, Pirates (getting better all the time)
Francisco Cordero, Reds
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
Heath Bell, Padres
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Joakim Soria, Royals

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

SI Recommends

... To announce the impending arrival of Sports Illustrated's GIGANTIC fantasy football spectacular, hitting magazine racks nationwide on June 25. 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). And 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 I'm quite confident SI's first extensive foray into fantasy football -- dare I say, one of the few recession-proof billion-dollar entities -- becomes an all-time best seller ... and now you've been warned. Ha!

Analyze This

While writing today's Clicks at work on Sunday night, the & Friends league announced a 2-for-1 blockbuster deal, with Cory McCartney's Hackensack Bulls getting Alex Rodriguez (9 HRs, 26 RBIs, .237 average this season), while surrendering Javier Vazquez (105/16 K-BB ratio in '09) and Angels stalwart Joe Saunders (7 wins, 3.66 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) to Josh Wymer's Joker Marchants (his third name change this year). Now, as league commissioner, it wouldn't be fair for me to speculate on which owner got the better deal here. But there's nothing stopping our friends at Accuscore from weighing in on the swap -- from this point forward (June 15-Oct. 1):

Rodriguez: .259 average (.383 OBP), 60.5 runs, 23.6 HRs, 69.3 RBIs, 8.9 steals

Vazquez: 9.0 wins, 3.88 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 146.5 strikeouts
Saunders: 9.4 wins, 3.65 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 69.8 strikeouts

Total Bases Recall

Hanley Ramirez: 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 June 14):

1. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 164
2. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 151
3. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 149
4. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 142
5. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 141
6. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 136
7. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 135
8. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 133
9. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 132
10. Torii Hunter, Angels -- 132
11. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 132
12. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 132
13. Victor Martinez, Indians -- 131
14. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 129
15. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 128
16. Miguel Tejada, Astros -- 128
17. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 127
18. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 127
19. Adam Jones, Orioles -- 127
20. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 127
21. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 126
22. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 126
23. Johnny Damon, Yankees -- 125
24. Mike Lowell, Red Sox -- 123
25. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 123
26. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 123
27. Michael Young, Rangers -- 122
28. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 121
29. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 121
30. Alex Rios, Blue Jays -- 121
31. Freddy Sanchez, Pirates -- 121

What's Wrong With Hanley?

I got a pseudo-frantic email from an anonymous Clicks reader the other day. He wanted to know why Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been "so average" and not posting fantasy numbers like David Wright or Albert Pujols. My response, Mr. Anonymous Writer, would simply be this:

Among shortstops, Han-Ram ranks 3rd in hits (77), 3rd in runs (38), 2nd in doubles (20), 2nd in HRs (8), 2nd in RBIs (34), 2nd in total bases (121), 6th in steals (9), 5th in OBP (.395), 2nd in slugging (.519) and 3rd in batting average (.330). No matter how you break it down, he's the redoubtable choice as the No. 1 shortstop. And even if he's truly suffering from a down year, the multiple All-Star still has an outside chance at 25 HRs and 25 steals before it's all said and done.

On the flip side, the days of Hanley stealing 50-plus bases are probably over, no matter how many "green lights" he gets from skipper Fredi Gonzalez. Given his thicker build -- to satisfy hitting third in the Florida lineup -- he just doesn't have the blinding speed of Michael Bourn or Andrew McCutchen anymore. And yes, his homers should probably be a little more plentiful at this juncture ... but hey, who am I to question the Marlins star -- especially when his mega-talented club is primed for a major second-half breakout?

To quote every myopic Cubs fans in Wrigleyville these days ... "It's gonna happen!"

While The Getting's Good

The following message is for Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, B.J. Upton and/or Chone Figgins owners in AL-only leagues: Assuming you rank either first or second in steals (and that's an easy assumption), you should start laying the groundwork for dealing these speedsters as part of a 1-for-1, 2-for-2 or 3-for-1 swap (in Crawford's case).

Think about it: By July 1 in AL-only leagues, there should be a clear separation of the haves and have nots in steals; at worst, a fantasy club already predicated on speed will likely finish no worse than No. 3 in that category. Don't believe me? In my highly competitve AL platinum league (where cohorts Lonny Krasnow and Jeff Ritter are among the cutthroat owners), the Crawford-led This Week's TWIB Notes (a team name inspired by Mel Allen) have 98 steals -- 24 ahead of the 2nd-place team and 33 thefts ahead of third place. By the time my bachelor party's over (June 21), I should reach the century mark in steals ... and who, tell me who, could possibly catch me in thefts by then? Sad but true, most owners seldom move heaven and earth to win steals -- they just don't want to finish dead-last.

Steals Leaders
1. Carl Crawford, Rays: 36
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox: 25
3. B.J. Upton, Rays: 24
4. Michael Bourn, Astros: 22
5. Chone Figgins, Angels: 22
6. David Wright, Mets: 17
7. Juan Pierre, Dodgers: 16
8. Bobby Abreu, Angels: 15
8. Nyjer Morgan, Pirates: 15
10. Jason Bartlett, Rays: 14
10. Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 14

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, Indians (now 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

Even in the middle of a well-publicized YouTube tirade on the heels of a 5-strikeout night a few weeks ago, Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios has been a rock-steady fantasy performer since May 31 (8 runs, 3 HRs, 7 RBIs, 7 steals, .333 average). But I still get the feeling that he's a highly attainable asset in fantasyland -- given Toronto's continual freefall from the AL East standings. To boot, here are some realistic 1-for-1 trade scenarios involving Rios:

*Rios for Lance Berkman
*Rios for Carlos Pena
*Rios for Chone Figgins
*Rios for Alfonso Soriano
*Rios for Brian Roberts
*Rios for Brian Fuentes
*Rios for John Lackey
*Rios for Edwin Jackson
*Rios for Chad Billingsley
*Rios for Ryan Franklin

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 Houston Chroncile writer Jose De Jesus Ortiz's engaging insight on Astros Lance Berkman, Michael Bourn, Carlos Lee, Jose Valverde, Roy Oswalt, Hunter Pence, 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 AND highly volatile & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 14-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:

1. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 94 points (an unstoppable pitching machine)
2. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 93.5 points (he's due for a one-sided trade offer any day)
2a. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 93.5 points (needs to step it up in Saves)
4. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 84 points (I'll be No. 1 in the end, no doubt)
5. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 80 points (taking a bath in WHIP/ERA)
6. Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 79.5 points (Sir Tradealot is finally happy with his team)
7. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 77.5 points (it's impossible to win AND punt home runs)
8. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 74.5 points (he's surged ahead 30 points in 5 weeks!)
9. Hacksensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 74 points (pulled an A-Rod-style heist Sunday)
10. The Brandon & Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 65.5 points (Johan's officially for sale!)
11. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 62 points (time to sell Hanley and Josh Beckett?)
12. Joker Marchants (Josh Wymer) -- 59.5 points (traded A-Rod for Javy Vazquez/Joe Saunders)
13. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 57.5 points (remember, kids: SHOW UP at your draft!)
14. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 55 points (from worst to first ... in reverse! D'oh!)

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