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Man in a box: It's never too early to consider impact of amateur draft

It used to be that owners in most fantasy formats could pretty much ignore the MLB First-Year Player Draft. Stephen Strasburg and Mike Leake urge you to pay attention, and Drew Storen implores you to learn the names that went off the board Monday night. This year's draft might not offer the almost immediate impact that last year's did, but there will still be a few players who will be in the fantasy conversation as soon as next spring.

• Speaking of the draft, Bill Root and I had the opportunity on last week's Fantasy War Room to speak with two players who went in the first 13 picks of last night's first round. Left-handed pitchers Drew Pomeranz (5th) of Ole Miss and Chris Sale (13th) of Florida Gulf Coast University stopped by to talk and impressed the heck out of me. Stop by for a listen. These two young pitchers seem to have their heads in the right place. Now Bryce Harper may be a different story. As somewhat of a purist, I already dislike the way he carries himself. I'll give him a break for now, as he's just 17, but his makeup is certainly in question. Besides, the Ultimate Warrior look was so 80s.

• Time to get back to the bigs, where things are getting crazy. You've all heard enough about the Armando Galarraga imperfect game. All I'll say about that is that he warrants immediate attention in all formats. I was not very high on him after last season's debacle, but I was unaware of the fact that he pitched much of last season with a forearm injury. He's back and healthy now and may not be as good as he was last week, but will still be a solid starter.

• Think I'm chasing hype on Galarraga? I know those of you who jumped all over Starlin Castro were drinkin' the Kool-aid. His decent .280 BA hides the fact that he's hitting .062 in June. He offers little or no power and won't run as much at the major league level. If someone in your league is still thinking about that incredible debut, deal him now before they realize he's just not that great right now.

• Another player who's living off of early success is Andruw Jones. Besides his family's obvious spelling peculiarities, he's also hit just .108 with two long balls in the last three weeks. The extremely low average hurts fantasy owners now and will hurt his playing time in the long run. It's time to bail on the Curacaon.

• A player headed in the opposite direction is the multi-positional Ben Zobrist. In the last three weeks, he's hitting .395 with four homers and 12 RBIs. That's a whole lot more like the Zobrist we saw last year than the slap hitter we were watching in April and May. Take advantage if the Zobrist owner in your league has been frustrated by the lack of power. The homers will continue as Zobrist resumes his status as a Top 5 second baseman.

• While we're looking at recent stats, did anyone notice that Jonathan LuCroy is hitting .357 in Milwaukee? Sure, it's a small sample size, but LuCroy does come with a somewhat offensive minor league reputation and the Brewers certainly don't owe anything to George Kottaras as the catcher of the future. LuCroy's probably not ready for mixed league duty, but if he's floating around in deeper formats, throw him a bone.

• Will the real Manny Parra please stand up? The perpetual sleeper continued to tantalize strikeout lovers with 10 Ks Sunday in St. Louis. Even the 3.96 ERA is intriguing. Don't get too excited though, the 1.71 WHIP says that Mr. ERA will be moving up soon.

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• Speaking of ERAs going up, I need to apologize for a momentary lapse in judgment. On last Thursday's Fantasy War Room on Blogtalk Radio, I finally caved in to my cohort Bill Root and acknowledged that Jeremy Bonderman was beginning to gain my interest. Shame on me for weakening. I knew that Bonderman is just too unreliable to trust. He's now given up seven and eight earned runs in games against the powerful offenses of Kansas City and Seattle, respectively. His last four starts were against Oakland, Seattle, Cleveland and Kansas City. Feel free to ride him one more start as he matches up against the Pirates, but be ready to abandon ship once the schedule starts to roughen up.

• Am I the only one who hadn't heard of John Ely before this season? Ely had his first rough start this Sunday, but is still sitting pretty with a 3.00 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. My first reaction was that his performance was a fluke built upon the league's unfamiliarity with him. His 14-2 record and 2.82 ERA in Double-A last year says he's for real.

• I tried to tell you in April, but it's probably going to be tough to get a deal on Ervin Santana now. He's won his last five starts and has a 1.80 ERA during that span. If your league is shallow and the owners haven't noticed what Santana is doing, you need to immediately pick this dude up. He's one rung below a fantasy ace with a little room for growth on the strikeout front.

• Another pitcher who seems to have permanently cleared the hurdle to fantasy reliability is Brett Cecil. After a small eight earned run hiccup against Texas (o.k., maybe it wasn't so small), Cecil has been dominant in his last four starts. The 1.52 ERA is nice, but looks inflated next to the ridiculous 0.74 WHIP. It's time to stick the 23-year-old in your rotation and forget him until he gives you reason to blink.

Check back next week and we'll discuss the debut performances put up by phenoms Stephen Strasburg and Mike Stanton and see how Galarraga follows up imperfection.

* All statistics current as of June 7.

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Doug Anderson is the Executive Editor at Look for Man in a Box every Tuesday and catch him on The Fantasy War Room, Thursdays at 8 ET. Wanna climb in the box and talk baseball? E-mail Doug at