May 22, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
It Was A 20-to-1 Shot, Doc
Joe Mauer: Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Sure, we could discuss the winning streaks of the Tigers, Padres and Yankees at the top of today's Clicks (if at all), but we'd also be ignoring the No. 1 rule in fantasyland: A team that scores 20 runs in one game ALWAYS gets top billing. So, without further ado, let's attack Thursday's Twins-White Sox gem, Revelations-style:

Twins 20, White Sox 1
What I Liked: Six Minnesota hitters (Matt Tolbert, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, J.C. Morales, Joe Mauer) tallied at least two hits and two runs on the day.

What I Liked, Part II: Twins starter Nick Blackburn allowed just four hits and three walks in seven solid innings, while yielding zero runs. Normally, I'd be disappointed with his 2/3 K-BB ratio for the day; but in a blowout situation, Blackburn simply focused on throwing hittable strikes and getting the game over ASAP. That's all a Minnesota fan could really ask of him.

What I Liked, Part III: Cuddyer (4 hits, 4 runs, 3 RBIs) raised his average to .275 and demonstrated once again that, when healthy, he can be a fantasy force in AL-only and mixed leagues.

What I Loved: Can you believe it took five paragraphs to get to Mauer's day? Pure and simple, he was the best player on the planet Thursday, collecting three hits (two doubles), two runs, one HR and six -- count 'em , six! -- RBIs. In an injury-shortened season, Mauer has eight home runs -- just one off his entire 2008 pace -- and stands just five dingers from his career high of 13 in 2006. Lost in this recent power surge: He's hitting a robust .417 on the season.

What I Loved, Part II: Mauer, Cuddyer, Tolbert and Joe Crede all launched homers against Chicago's futile pitching.

What Made Me Say 'Huh?':: Of the eight runs White Sox starter Bartolo Colon allowed in just two innings of work, only one was, technically, earned ... which leads me to this: How does a team surrender seven unearned runs off just two errors? You know what's really funny about this statisical anomaly? Three weeks from now, some poor schlub is going to pluck Colon off the fantasy waiver wire, completely forgetting about Thursday's meltdown. Yes, his numbers for the year (2 wins, 4.23 ERA, 1.59 WHIP) have been serviceable in AL-only leagues; but Colon seems to be running out of juice -- which might explain why Chicago made a landmark trade for Jake Peavy only to be jilted at the altar (more on this later).

What Makes Me Cringe: Chicago shortstop Alexei Ramirez (0-for-3) served no fantasy purpose -- again. He's hitting a Buddy Biancalana-like .213 on the season and may be sent down to the minors any day now. But until that occurs, I have no choice but to keep him in the & Friends league -- partly out of desperation and partly of stubbornness, since I acquired him and Astros closer Jose Valverde (before his injury) for Carl Crawford in a forgettable, if not infamous, mid-April trade. Yikes!

WHIP Masters

The following is a list of Major League Baseball's best performers in the all-hallowed WHIP category since April 22 (minimum 19 innings):

RP Lance Cormier, Rays (0.67)
SP Zack Greinke, Royals (0.73)
SP Jered Weaver, Angels (0.82)
RP Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers (0.82)
SP Johnny Cueto, Reds (0.86)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (0.89)
SP Dave Bush, Brewers (0.91)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (0.95)
SP Josh Outman, Athletics (0.99)
SP Edinson Volquez, Reds (0.99)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (0.99)
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers (0.99)
RP/SP Chad Durbin, Phillies (1.00)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (1,00)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (1.01)
SP Jake Peavy, Padres (1.02)
SP Chris Volstad, Marlins (1.03)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (1.03)
SP Zach Duke, Pirates (1.04)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (1.04)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (1.04)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (1.05)
SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (1.06)
SP Javier Vazquez, Braves (1.07)
SP Ted Lilly, Cubs (1.07)
SP Koji Uehara, Orioles (1.08)
SP Robert Ray, Blue Jays (1.08)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (1.10)
SP Derek Lowe, Braves (1.11)
SP Cole Hamels, Phillies (1.13)
SP Cliff Lee, Indians (1.13)
SP Matt Palmer, Angels (1.14)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (1.14)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (1.16)
SP Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates (1.17)
SP Johan Santana, Mets (1.17)
SP Vicente Padilla, Rangers (1.18)
SP Matt Harrison, Rangers (1.18)
SP Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (1.18)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (1.19)
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs (1.19)

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are baseball's ERA kings since April 22 (minimum 19 innings):

RP Lance Cormier, Rays (0.86)
SP Zack Greinke, Royals (0.90)
RP Ramon Troncoso, Dodgers (1.31)
SP Cliff Lee, Indians (1.57)
SP Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (1.80)
SP Johnny Cueto, Reds (1.88)
SP Johan Santana, Mets (1.89)
SP Jair Jurrjens, Braves (1.93)
SP Randy Wolf, Dodgers (2.13)
SP Dan Haren, Diamondbacks (2.19)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (2.21)
SP Josh Outman, Athletics (2.22)
RP D.J. Carrasco, White Sox (2.29)
SP Josh Johnson, Marlins (2.33)
SP Chad Billingsley, Dodgers (2.36)
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers (2.45)
SP Jered Weaver, Angels (2.45)
SP John Lannan, Nationals (2.45)
SP Edwin Jackson, Tigers (2.61)
SP Scott Feldman, Rangers (2.64)
SP Mark Buehrle, White Sox (2.65)
SP Roy Halladay, Blue Jays (2.68)
SP Cole Hamels, Phillies (2.70)
SP Brian Bannister, Royals (2.75)
SP Vicente Padilla, Rangers (2.78)
SP Zach Duke, Pirates (2.84)
SP Matt Cain, Giants (2.84)
SP James Shields, Rays (2.88)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (2.88)
SP Jeff Suppan, Brewers (2.90)
SP Joel Pineiro, Cardinals (2.95)
SP Jeff Weaver, Dodgers (3.00)
SP Erik Bedard, Mariners (3.09)
SP Mitchell Boggs, Cardinals (3.10)
SP Dave Bush, Brewers (3.18)
SP Ted Lilly, Cubs (3.20)
SP Edinson Volquez, Reds (3.24)
SP Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks (3.25)
SP Joba Chamberlain, Yankees (3.30)
SP CC Sabathia, Yankees (3.38)
SP Aaron Harang, Reds (3.43)
SP Yovani Gallardo, Brewers (3.44)

A Brief Interleague Interlude

This weekend, MLB launches its 13th season of interleague play, and I couldn't be more excited. Yes, it's always fun to watch Tigers-Twins, Yankees-Red Sox, Brewers-Cubs during the regular season, but nothing gets the blood pumping like seeing National League pitchers experience the wind-tunnel-like conditions of new Yankee Stadium for the first time ... or watching a brash (and soon-to-be-humbled) AL power hitter shoot for the fences at Petco (National) Park. But alas, not all hitters and pitchers are created equal during this time of wall-to-wall AL vs. NL action. Here are the active interleague stats leaders:

Batting average: 1B Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- .350 (148-for-423)
Home Runs: DH Jim Thome, White Sox -- 66
RBIs: 1B Carlos Delgado, Mets -- 153
Hits: SS Derek Jeter, Yankees -- 280
Saves: RP Mariano Rivera, Yankees -- 55
Wins: SP Livan Hernandez, Mets -- 19
ERA (minimum 100 innings): SP Johan Santana, Mets -- 2.49

Today's Special

For every baseball Clicks, I will spotlight the best mixed-league pitching prospect -- likely available on the waiver wire -- who's also taking the mound that day/evening. My intent, of course, is to provide a quick boost in your hunt for a fantasy title ... just don't send me any threatening emails after the featured hurler flames out, like all Schleprocks are prone to do sometimes. After all, there's a reason why Gavin Floyd can be had in any mixed league in the world right now:

Rich Hill, Orioles (at Nationals)
**Struck out six hitters (in 5-plus innings) in his seasonal debut last week
**Allowed only two hits and two runs in that victory over the Royals
**Just two years ago, Hill was considered the Cubs' best pitching prospect
**I personally witnessed an 11-strikeout, 2-hit gem against the Braves in 2007
**He's facing a woefully inconsistent Nationals team on Friday

**There's a reason why the Cubs were so quick to deal him to Baltimore last offseason (injuries? ... Steve Blass disease?)

Some Like It Hot

Brewers closer Trevor Hoffman didn't meet the minimum-innings requirement for the ERA and WHIP lists above, but he certainly deserves a spot on May's all-world team. Since coming back from injury on April 27, Hoffman has made 12 appearances, thrown 12 innings, racked up 11 saves, struck out 10 hitters and cultivated a microscopic WHIP (0.40) and picture-perfect ERA (0.00). In short, he's on pace for perhaps the greatest season by any reliever in the modern era -- and has an outside chance at Francisco Rodriguez's all-time saves record (62, set in 2008). OK, that might be a little ambitious given his late start ... but right here, right now, he is the lone untouchable, trade-wise, amongst the game's top closers.

However, if you really wanted to "sell high" on the 41-year-old with Hall of Fame credentials, here are some attractive 1-for-1 options:

**Hoffman for Adam Jones
**Hoffman for Aaron Hill
**Hoffman for Alfonso Soriano
**Hoffman for Adam Dunn
**Hoffman for Curtis Granderson
**Hoffman for Cole Hamels
**Hoffman for Carlos Pena
**Hoffman for Johnny Cueto
**Hoffman for Matt Cain

M*A*S*H Unit

Here's a list of prominent major leaguers currently on the disabled list:

SP Edinson Volquez, Cubs
SP Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
RP Jose Valverde, Astros
RP Joakim Soria, Royals
RP Frank Francisco, Rangers
SP Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox
SP Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
RP Joey Devine, Athletics
SP Kelvim Escobar, Angels
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers
SP Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers
SP Vicente Padilla, Rangers
RP Sergio Romo, Giants
OF Vladimir Guererro, Angels
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
OF Ryan Ludwick, Cardinals
1B Carlos Delgado, Mets
C Jorge Posada, Yankees
2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers
C Ryan Doumit, Pirates
OF Rick Ankiel, Cardinals
3B Alex Gordon, Royals
1B/3B/OF Carlos Guillen, Tigers
OF Elijah Dukes, Nationals
OF Xavier Nady, Yankees
DH Travis Hafner, Indians
3B Edwin Encarnacion, Reds
SS Jed Lowrie, Red Sox
3B Troy Glaus, Cardinals
OF Luke Scott, Orioles
C Jesus Flores, Nationals
2B/SS Omar Infante, Braves
OF Alfredo Amezega, Marlins
2B Mark Ellis, Athletics
1B Nomar Garciaparra, Athletics
3B Eric Chavez, Athletics
DH Marcus Thames, Tigers
OF Dewayne Wise, White Sox
3B Cody Ransom, Yankees
OF Cliff Floyd, Padres
C Brian Schneider, Mets
1B Tony Clark, Diamondbacks
C Jose Molina, Yankees
1B/2B Jeff Baker, Rockies
1B Doug Mientkiewicz, Dodgers
1B Gaby Sanchez, Marlins
OF Brian Anderson, White Sox
SP Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
OF Mark Kotsay, Red Sox
C Michael Barrett, Blue Jays
SS Tony Pena, Royals
C Matt Treanor, Tigers
SS Everth Cabrera, Padres
1B Dmitri Young, Nationals

Super Twos-Day

Leave it to Rotowire -- which absolutely cleaned up at the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards in January -- to get the masses excited about the impending arrival of rookie studs David Price, Tommy Hanson, Andrew McCutchen and Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. Known in the biz as "Super Two" talents, this foursome (among others) has been biding their time in the minors, in anticipation of a mid-May callup ... and now their time has finally come! It goes without saying, Price, Hanson, Wieters and McCutchen are must-haves in AL- or NL-only leagues (along with 14-team mixed leagues). They are essentially can't-miss talents and should be viewed as priorities over dime-a-dozen (read: replaceable) veterans, assuming you have the room for 'em.

Now What?
Jake Peavy: AP

The White Sox stole the spotlight on two fronts Thursday: First, there was the 20-1 beatdown at the hands of the Twins. Secondly, there was the elation (albeit brief) of the franchise trading for Padres ace Jake Peavy ... only to find out later that Peavy had rejected the deal (his contractual right), in hopes of staying in the National League. Now, this sector isn't a forum for ripping Peavy. Rather, it's a wake-up call for the White Sox (17-23, 6 1/2 games behind Detroit) to throw caution to the wind and promote Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda (the alleged principals of the Peavy/Padres trade) to the permanent No. 4 and 5 spots of Chicago's rotation.

Yes, Peavy would have brought immediate credibility to the White Sox' chances of repeating in the AL Central. And yes, I believe he would've found total happiness living and playing in the Windy City -- even if he had to face the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, Angels, Twins, Tigers and Rangers on a regular basis. But what's done is done ... and now the White Sox must again confront the brutal reality that Jose Contreras (8.19 ERA, 1.89 WHIP, zero wins in 29 innings) and Bartolo Colon no longer possess pennant-worthy stuff -- and must be replaced immediately.

Poreda (210/71 K-BB ratio, 2.62 ERA, 1.11 in 247 minor league innings) and Richard represent top-notch prospects for a franchise that hasn't drafted and developed a stud starter since the days of Jack McDowell, Wilson Alvarez and Alex Fernandez -- and could easily be the missing pieces for a club whose championship window is quickly closing. And now, through unseredipitous circumstances (Peavy's high-profile rejection), the general public at least knows their names. That oughta count for something.

Speaking Of Peavy ...

Courtesy of our friends at AccuScore, here are his San Diego projections for the '09 season, from this point forward: 9.7 wins, 3.48 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 175 strikeouts. Good stuff (although the WHIP seems a little high).

Addition By Subtraction

Here are the Top 10 'Most Dropped' players in CBS Sports leagues this week. You'll notice that only one player currently resides on the Disabled List -- whereas the remaining nine are flailing worse than the Twins bullpen in pressure situations against the Yankees.

1. 2B Rickie Weeks, Brewers (out for the season after wrist surgery)
2. SP Luke Hochevar, Royals (10 earned runs allowed, only 2 Ks in two underwhelming starts)
3. RP Brandon Morrow, Mariners (stuck in No Man's Land -- middle reliever on a bad club)
4. SP Armando Galarraga, Tigers (what's worse -- 20 Ks/20 walks or 7.94 ERA since April 22?)
5. SP Justin Masterson, Red Sox (banished to the bullpen, now that Dice-K's back)
6. SP Glen Perkins, Twins (did you see Monday's implosion in NYC? worst ... start ... ever)
7. SP Gavin Floyd, White Sox (Jake Peavy's not coming to Chi-Town; needs to get act together)
8. OF Chris Duncan, Cardinals (1 HR and a Uecker-esque .202 average since April 22)
9. SS Khalil Greene, Cardinals (there has to be a reason for his stunning decline in power)
10. SP Todd Wellemeyer, Cards (for a Wild Card team, St. Louis barely has any fantasy relevance)

Pitcher Perfect

Congratulations are in order for Indians farmhand Jeanmar Gomez and his perfect game in Double-A ball on Thursday night. The Akron Aeros ace retired 26 batters without much incident, including eight strikeouts. The only out-in-doubt occurred in the 9th inning, when Matt "Don't Call Me 'Bake'' McBride made a diving catch to preserve the no-no. Since his promotion from Class A, Gomez has a 4-0 record and 0.31 ERA. And while that's all fine and good, the real question is this: Is Gomez one of Cleveland's prized prospects? Will he be a fixture in the Tribe's rotation throughout the next decade?

In its springtime listing of the Tribe's Top 10 Prospects, Baseball America doesn't include Gomez in either the top 10 or the projected starting rotation for the '12 season. However, offers the following (unbiased?) capsule review:

[Gomez] shows a feel for a three pitch mix at times, with a good fastball, curveball and changeup. His fastball consistently clocks in at 87-90 MPH and tops out at 93 MPH. His curveball has 11-5 break, and shows good potential. His changeup is an average pitch with sink and fade, and he has good command of it.

The Roaring 20s

Rogers Hornsby. Lou Gehrig. Babe Ruth. Goose Goslin. Ty Cobb. Their impact on the game of baseball has been felt for decades, and now, thanks to the good people at Retrosheet, their day-to-day, game-to-game stats from the 1920s can be found at the touch of a button. As an added bonus, you can access the 1925 season -- a year when the Red Sox and Yankees finished next to one another in the American League cellar. How rare is that? Outside of 1966, it's the only time I can recall such an occurrence.

Go Figure

Rangers slugger Chris Davis is 0-for-20 against the Tigers this season. But that hardly compares to his team's woes against the AL Central leaders. Prior to its two series at Comerica Park, Texas had been riding win streaks of three and seven, respectively -- only to leave Michigan with bad thoughts of a three-game sweep both times. Now, for the good news: The Rangers only face the Tigers one more time -- July 27-29 in Arlington -- and have no more trips planned to Detroit this season (excluding the playoffs).

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