Fantasy Clicks: Joys of stealing home on the road

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Recent Fantasy Clicks 6-29-09: The Joys Of Stealing Home On The Road 6-17-09: Joe Versus The Volcano Of Expectations 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

Gary Matthews (sliding): Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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 12 was a no-brainer -- the day's highest-scoring game, a never-ending stream of timely hits and a successful swipe of home, from one of the most overlooked Angels in the outfield:

Angels 12, Diamondbacks 8
What I Liked: Of the 16 positional starters on Sunday, only Kendry Morales and Erick Aybar failed to register at least one hit. In fact, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew were the only D-backs regulars to NOT collect two hits against Angels pitching.

What I Liked, Part II: Angels second baseman Maicer Izturis almost had a perfect fantasy day, tallying one HR, two hits, two RBIs and three runs. His only blemish was a foiled stolen base attempt in the 2nd inning.

What I Loved: Speaking of Izturis ... he was one of three Angels (along with Juan Rivera, Jeff Mathis) to launch a homer at Chase Field, formerly Bank One Ballpark. None of the blasts made it poolside, though.

What I Loved, Part II: Speaking of Rivera ... he's been white-hot for L.A./Anaheim, hitting .305 (29-for-95) with 14 runs, seven homers and 23 RBIs since May 29. In fact, he's the main reason why Matthews has had trouble logging consistent starting time -- at least when Vlad Guererro is healthy and happy.

What I Loved, Part III: Speaking of Matthews ... did you happen to catch his sublime steal of home in the fourth inning? I wonder, in baseball's illustrious history, how many successful home steals have occurred in the first inning? Hmmm ... maybe I oughta research that one.

What Made Me Cringe: Arizona pitcher Max Scherzer had a good news/bad news kind of day. Unofficially, he surrendered eight runs and didn't get past the 5th inning. However, four D-backs errors played a huge role in the eight Angels runs on his watch. Since Scherzer (3.67 ERA in '09) only allowed three earned runs, this outing should be erased from our fantasyland memory banks by America's birthday.

What Made Me Cringe, Part II: Angels starter Matt Palmer was tattooed for six runs and 10 hits in five innings, while scoring nary one strikeout. And yet, he amazingly walked away with the victory (he's 7-1 on the year). No way he makes the AL All-Star team over Edwin Jackson. Not possible!

What Made Me Cringe, Part III: Not to keep harping on Anaheim's woeful day with the glove, but you wouldn't even see two particular errors in a Little League game ... or high-stakes T-ball tilt. Yikes!

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 13 (June 29-July 5). Hence, they're potential gold in weekly leagues:

Zach Duke, Pirates
Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Jon Lester, Red Sox
Johan Santana, Mets
Ricky Nolasco, Marlins
Roy Oswalt, Astros
Joe Saunders, Angels
Rich Harden, Cubs
Joba Chamberlain, Yankees
Gavin Floyd, White Sox
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Ted Lilly, Cubs
Rick Porcello, Tigers
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (back from the DL)
Nick Blackburn, Twins (a formidable foe at the Metrodome)
Randy Wolf, Dodgers
Randy Johnson, Giants
Joe Blanton, Phillies
Bronson Arroyo, Reds
Scott Richmond, Blue Jays
Fernando Nieve, Mets
Brandon Morrow, Mariners
Kenshin Kawakami, Braves (takes a licking ... keeps on ticking)
Jordan Zimmerman, Nationals (simply put, a better rookie pitcher than David Price)
Jeff Niemann, Rays
Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates
Carl Pavano, Indians
Brian Bannister, Royals
Vicente Padilla, Rangers
Josh Banks, Padres
Jason Berken, Orioles
Mike Burns, Brewers (who is this guy?)
Mike Hampton, Astros
Scott Olsen, Nationals
Josh Geer, Padres
Luke Hochevar, Royals
Clayton Richard, White Sox
Brett Anderson, Athletics
Braden Looper, Brewers
Rich Hill, Orioles
Brad Thompson, Cardinals
Sean O'Sullivan, Angels

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:

Sean West, Marlins (vs. Nationals)
**Has yielded 4 or fewer hits in six of his seven starts
**Boasts a strong 3.86 ERA/1.32 WHIP since May 30
**Has allowed 3 or fewer runs in five of his seven outings
**For keeper leaguers, he may be the Marlins' best under-25 pitching prospect
**He's facing the anemic Nationals at Land Shark Stadium
**Has the potential for 8-9 strikeouts every time he takes the hill

**Aside from the occasionally screwy K/BB ratio ... there are really no glitches with West's short-term future. In fact, he may be 2-3 solid starts away from regular ownership in mixed- and NL-only leagues.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 13 (June 29-July 5):

Joe Mauer, Twins (@ Royals, vs. Tigers)
Justin Morneau, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Denard Span, Twins
Carlos Gomez, Twins
Joe Crede, Twins
Delmon Young, Twins
Brendan Harris, Twins
Derek Jeter, Yankees (vs. Mariners, vs. Blue Jays)
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Johnny Damon, Yankees
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Jorge Posada, Yankees
Brett Gardner, Yankees
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (vs. Nationals, vs. Pirates)
Cody Ross, Marlins
Jorge Cantu, Marlins
Emilio Bonifacio, Marlins
Chris Coghlan, Marlins (surprisingly axed in our & Friends league on Sunday)
Jeremy Hermida, Marlins
Dan Uggla, Marlins
Alexei Ramirez, White Sox (@ Indians, @ Royals)
Paul Konerko, White Sox
Jermaine Dye, White Sox
Gordon Beckham, White Sox (firmly entrenched as Chicago's third baseman)
Chris Getz, White Sox (he also stole home on Sunday)
Jim Thome, White Sox
Scott Podsednik, White Sox (a scoring machine in the last six weeks)
A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 13 (June 29-July 5), 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:

Nick Johnson, Nationals (@ Marlins, vs. Braves)
Elijah Dukes, Nationals
Adam Dunn, Nationals
Austin Kearns, Nationals
Cristian Guzman, Nationals
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
Anderson Hernandez, Nationals
Hunter Pence, Astros (@ Dodgers, @ Padres)
Lance Berkman, Astros
Carlos Lee, Astros
Michael Bourn, Astros
Jeff Keppinger, Astros
Ivan Rodriguez, Astros
Miguel Tejada, Astros
Kazuo Matsui, Astros
Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals (vs. Giants, @ Reds)
Skip Schumaker, Cardinals
Brendan Ryan, Cardinals
Colby Rasmus, Cardinals
Joe Thurston, Cardinals
Rick Ankiel, Cardinals
Chris Duncan, Cardinals
Yadier Molina, Cardinals

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 progress report on the league's most ballyhooed phenoms:

David Price: Seven outings ... 37 Ks in 36.2 innings, 3.93 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 2 wins
Tommy Hanson: Five outings ... 18 Ks in 29 innings, 2.48 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 4 wins
Matt Wieters: In 22 games ... 18-for-77 (.234) with 8 runs, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 0 steals
Andrew McCutchen: In 23 games ... 30-for-101 (.297) with 16 runs, 1 HR, 18 RBIs, 4 steals
Fernando Martinez: In 23 games ... 12-for-73 (.164) with 8 runs, 0 HRs, 6 RBIs, 2 steals

Meet The Whowouldathunkits

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 updated 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 (46 runs, 18 HRs, 51 RBIs, 1 steal, .269 average)
First Base: Russell Branyan, Mariners (46 runs, 19 HRs, 38 RBIs, 2 steals, .303 average)
Second Base: Aaron Hill, Blue Jays (48 runs, 19 HRs, 56 RBIs, 3 steals, .305 average)
Third Base: Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks (49 runs, 21 HRs, 54 RBIs, 13 steals, .268 average)
Shortstop: Marco Scutaro, Blue Jays (58 runs, 6 HRs, 32 RBIs, 7 steals, .286 average)
Outfield: Adam Lind, Blue Jays (45 runs, 15 HRs, 52 RBIs, 1 steal, .307 average)
Outfield: Adam Jones, Orioles (50 runs, 12 HRs, 44 RBIs, 5 steals, .309 average)
Outfield: Nelson Cruz, Rangers (43 runs, 18 HRs, 45 RBIs, 11 steals, .258 average)

Starting Pitcher: Matt Cain, Giants (9 wins, 85/41 K-BB ratio, 2.52 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Justin Verlander, Tigers (8 wins, 124/34 K-BB ratio, 3.40 ERA, 1.20 WHIP)
Starting Pitcher: Javier Vazquez, Braves (5 wins, 125/23 K-BB ratio, 3.04 ERA, 1.06 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Heath Bell, Padres (20 saves, 3 wins, 35/11 K-BB ratio, 1.44 ERA, 0.99 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman, Brewers (17 saves, 1 win, 19/5 K-BB ratio, 1.99 ERA, 0.97 WHIP)
Relief Pitcher: Ryan Franklin, Cardinals (18 saves, 1 win, 20/5 K-BB ratio, 0.93 ERA, 0.83 WHIP)

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 May 29:

1. Javier Vazquez, Braves -- 47/8
2. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 44/9
3. Josh Beckett, Red Sox -- 35/4
4. Scott Baker, Twins -- 38/6
5. Chad Gaudin, Padres -- 47/10
6. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 40/9
7. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 33/5
8. Kevin Correia, Padres -- 34/6
9. Ted Lilly, Cubs -- 34/7
10. Cole Hamels, Phillies -- 33/7
11. James Shields, Rays -- 29/4
12. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 33/6
13. John Danks, White Sox -- 30/8
14. Joe Blanton, Phillies -- 29/7
15. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- 25/5
16. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 41/13
17. Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers -- 28/6
18. Jason Hammel, Rockies -- 27/7
19. Dallas Braden, Athletics -- 27/9
20. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays -- 20/1

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's GIGANTIC fantasy football spectacular, available online and on 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 in the genre.

Total Bases Recall

Ryan Braun (left) and Prince Fielder: 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 in total bases (through June 28):

1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 187
2. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 171
3. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 164
4. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 162
5. Prince Fielder, Brewers -- 159
6. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 158
7. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 158
8. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 156
9. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 156
10. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 155
11. Victor Martinez, Indians -- 155
12. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 154
13. Mark Reynolds, Diamondbacks -- 154
14. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 153
15. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 153
16. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 152
17. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 152
18. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 151
19. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 151
20. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 148
21. Pablo Sandoval, Giants -- 147
22. Michael Young, Rangers -- 147
23. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 146
24. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 146
25. Russell Branyan, Mariners -- 145
26. Torii Hunter, Angels -- 145
27. Johnny Damon, Yankees -- 144
28. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 144
29. Curtis Granderson, Tigers -- 143
30. Brad Hawpe, Rockies -- 143

Analyze This

While writing Clicks at work on Sunday night, I was offered a simple 1-for-1 swap in an AL-only league: In return for surrendering Rangers slugger Chris Davis (15 HRs, .212 average in '09), I'd get Oakland's Dallas Braden -- the only current non-rookie starting pitcher on the A's staff (assuming Gio Gonzalez still qualifies). In a perfect world, I choose to stay patient with the hot-and-cold Davis -- especially since I'm only in 4th place (albeit 26 points back). But perhaps I'll let the geniuses at Accuscore make the final call, courtesy of their customized player projections from this point forward (June 29-Oct. 1):

Owner A
Davis: .220 average (.277 OBP), 37.3 runs, 17.1 HRs, 37.9 RBIs, 0.2 steals

Owner B (Me)
Braden: 7.1 wins, 3.61 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 60.5 strikeouts

Verdict: In fantasy years past, I could hardly tolerate Adam Dunn's all-or-nothing approach to hitting, no matter how many homers he'd launch at Great American Ballpark. Simply put, those low-average bashers will kill you every time. So, why should Davis' seasonlong plight be any different? Rangers-fueled man-crushes aside, maybe I oughta take the deal.

Analyze That

Just when it seemed like Joey Votto (9 HRs, 37 RBIs, .354 average in '09) would be confined to fantasyland benches until the All-Star break ... the Reds first baseman quietly came off the DL last week and immediately began raking -- to the tune of seven hits, two runs, one HR and four RBIs in just 22 at-bats. For the record, I have no idea if Votto's bouts with dizziness and/or stress, prompted by an inner-ear infection, have subsided. But as long as we have the Accuscore Projectionator 5000 still cranking, maybe we should peak at his projected stats from this point forward ... before deciding to keep him or trade him in the very-near future:

Votto: .322 average (.404 OBP), 43.6 runs, 15.4 HRs, 57.8 RBIs, 3.9 steals

Verdict: He's a keeper!

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
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Prince Fielder, Brewers
Jason Bay, Red Sox
Torii Hunter, Angels
Carlos Beltran, Mets
Derek Jeter, Yankees
Adam Jones, Orioles
Brian Roberts, Orioles
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 (seemingly back on track and ready to dominate)
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
Matt Wieters, Orioles (don't overthink this ... let him play)
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
Matt Capps, Pirates (getting better all the time)
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

At last count, I have tried to pry Rays outfielder B.J. Upton from Scott Wraight 14 times in the & Friends league this season. But the guru (Wraight) has rebuffed each dalliance with extreme prejudice ... citing blind faith that Upton would somehow, some way rebound from his woeful start. Well, lo and behold, Mr. Wraight was indeed wise to keep baseball's best 40/40 threat (sorry, Soriano), who has two HRs, seven steals, 10 runs, 13 RBIs and a .382 average since June 14. Sure, my efforts to acquire the Tampa Tornado (28 steals in '09) seem fruitless ... but, for the most part, B.J.'s still an eminently attainable asset in fantasyland. Here are some creatively realistic scenarios for such a deal:

*Upton for Lance Berkman/David Aardsma
*Upton for Carlos Pena/Matt Capps
*Upton for Chone Figgins/Scott Podsednik
*Upton for Brian Roberts/Kevin Correia
*Upton for Javier Vazquez/Felipe Lopez
*Upton/Cliff Lee for Dan Haren/Adam Lind
*Upton/Yovani Gallardo for Chase Utley/Jonathan Broxton
*Upton/Edwin Jackson for Chad Billingsley/Nick Markakis
*Upton/Wandy Rodriguez for Roy Oswalt/Kerry Wood/Shin-Soo Choo
*Upton/Matt Garza/Fernando Rodney for Derek Jeter/Ryan Franklin/Josh Johnson

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. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 94 points (my offense is a remorseless killing machine)
2. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 93.5 points (pound-for-pound ... probably the best team)
3. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 89 points (Saves may prove to be his Waterloo)
4. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 87.5 points (haunted by an unspeakably futile WHIP)
5. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 85 points (former leader drops five teeny-tiny slots)
6. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 84 points (needs a big-time revival in HRs and Saves)
7. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 79 points (no doubt, the comeback story of the year!)
8. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 76 points (Sir Tradealot's silence speaks volumes)
9. The Brandon & Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 67.5 points (killing time until fall semester)
10. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 64.5 points (could Hanley and Beckett be on the block?)
11. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 61.5 points (needs more from Scherzer, Oswalt, Lidge)
12. Hackensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 57.5 points (moving + Baby No. 2 = no time for fantasy)
13. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 57 points (where's a Rally Monkey when you need 'em?)
14. Joker Marchants (Josh Wymer) -- 54.5 points (taking a bath in Wins/ERA/WHIP ... yikes!)

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