April 30, 2010
Fantasy Clicks
Brevity Is The ... Wit
Ricky Romero: J. Meric/Getty Images

As I write today's Clicks, I am nursing a quite-painful rib/oblique injury, with a recuperation plan that requires sleep and -- as luck would have it -- plenty of Aleve. So, in advance, please excuse the relative brevity of Friday's column ... unless you secretly loathed the James Michener-esque length of Wednesday's super-sized NFL Clicks. If that's the case, then enjoy this fantasy leaflet.

WHIP Masters

Here are MLB's best performers in the hallowed WHIP category (min. 14 innings -- thru 4/29):
RP Daniel Bard, Red Sox (0.73)
SP/RP Carlos Silva, Cubs (0.77)
RP Joel Zumaya, Tigers (0.82)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (0.82)
SP/RP Tyler Clippard, Nationals (0.84)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (0.84)
SP John Danks, White Sox (0.86)
SP Livan Hernandez, Nationals (0.87)
RP Manuel Corpas, Rockies (0.88)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (0.89)
SP Doug Fister, Mariners (0.93)
SP Phil Hughes, Yankees (0.94)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (0.94)
SP Jason Berken, Orioles (0.95)
RP/SP Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (0.96)
SP Francisco Liriano, Twins (0.97)
SP Roy Halladay, Phillies(0.98)
SP Brad Penny, Cardinals (0.98)
SP Ryan Dempster, Cubs (0.98)
SP Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays (1.00)
RP Evan Meek, Pirates (1.00)
RP Shawn Camp, Blue Jays (1.02)
SP Jered Weaver, Angels (1.03)
SP Jason Vargas, Mariners (1.04)
SP Brett Anderson, Anderson (1.04)
SP Ricky Nolasco, Marlins (1.04)
SP/RP Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs (1.05)
SP Jeff Niemann, Rays (1.05)
SP David Price, Rays (1.05)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (1.05)
SP Ian Kennedy, Diamondbacks (1.05)

Saturday's Surprise

Seeking an off-the-radar pitcher for Saturday? Here's one possible gem to consider:
Justin Masterson, Indians (vs. Twins)
**Has the potential for 10-plus strikeouts on any day/against any opponent
**At the very least, he's a lock for a 'plus' K/BB ratio
**Has allowed only three runs (in 11 innings) at Progressive Field (Saturday's venue)
**Will likely face the Twins without Justin Morneau (back injury) in the lineup
**By season's end, Masterson will prove to be Cleveland's top fantasyland starter

**Hasn't gotten past the 4th inning in his last two starts
**Progressive Field will likely have no buzz, since the Cavs and Celtics are playing next door in the NBA playoffs
**Opposing left-handers are hitting .458 against Masterson, which spells good news for Joe Mauer/Denard Span

Earning Their Stripes

One good turn deserves another. Here are MLB's ERA kings (min. 14 innings -- thru 4/29):
RP Wade LeBlanc, Padres (0.52)
SP/RP Tyler Clippard, Nationals (0.54)
RP Evan Meek, Pirates (0.60)
SP Mike Pelfrey, Mets (0.69)
SP Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies (0.79)
SP Livan Hernandez, Nationals (0.87)
SP Francisco Liriano, Twins (0.93)
SP Brad Penny, Cardinals (0.94)
RP/SP Jaime Garcia, Cardinals (1.04)
SP Manuel Corpas, Rockies (1.13)
RP Joel Zumaya, Tigers (1.23)
SP Tim Lincecum, Giants (1.27)
SP Andy Pettitte, Yankees (1.29)
SP Barry Zito, Giants (1.32)
SP Jason Berken, Orioles (1.32)
SP John Danks, White Sox (1.55)
SP Doug Fister, Mariners (1.67)
SP/RP Carlos Silva, Cubs (1.73)
SP C.J. Wilson, Rangers (1.75)
SP Roy Halladay, Phillies (1.80)
SP Jonathan Sanchez, Giants (1.85)
SP Phil Hughes, Yankees (2.00)
RP Mitch Talbot, Indians (2.05)
SP Matt Garza, Rays (2.06)
SP Johan Santana, Twins (2.08)
SP Adam Wainwright, Cardinals (2.13)
SP Tommy Hanson, Braves (2.14)
SP Clay Buchholz, Red Sox (2.19)
SP David Price, Rays (2.20)
SP Felix Hernandez, Mariners (2.23)
SP Ricky Romero, Blue Jays (2.25)
SP Brett Anderson, Athletics (2.35)
SP Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers (2.36)
SP A.J. Burnett, Yankees (2.43)

Less Bang For Your Bucs

Last week, Pardon The Interruption co-host Tony Kornheiser -- ESPN's lovable lightning-rod of controversy (ahem, Hannah Storm) -- made some innocuous comment about how Major League Baseball's Commissoner's Office should assume control of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who've been floundering as a franchise since 1993 and seemingly hold no hope of becoming respectable anytime soon. Yes, Kornheiser's comments were probably a knee-jerk reaction to Pittsburgh's 20-0 home loss to Milwaukee on April 22 ... but, on a larger scale, was he correct in asserting the Pirates are a hopeless cause in today's marketplace?

In next Friday's Clicks, we'll perform a detailed examination of the Pirates, as it relates to Pittsburgh's long-term viability in fantasyland. We'll also try to keep our knocks on GM Neal Huntington's uninspiring personality to a minimum.

Take This To The Bank

Based on Accuscore's sophisticated statistical evaluations, here are the top 25 projected strikeout leaders from this point forward (April 30-Oct. 1):
1. Tim Lincecum, Giants -- 230.9
2. Justin Verlander, Tigers -- 199.2
3. Dan Haren, Diamondbacks -- 194.3
4. Zack Greinke, Royals -- 193.1
5. Rich Harden, Rangers -- 192.6
6. Jonathan Sanchez, Giants -- 191.8
7. Jon Lester, Red Sox -- 191.8
8. Bud Norris, Astros -- 186.3
9. Roy Halladay, Phillies-- 185.2
10. Yovani Gallardo, Brewers -- 183.5
11. Javier Vazquez, Yankees -- 183.3
12. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals -- 181.4
13. Felix Hernandez, Mariners -- 178.2
14. Gio Gonzalez, Athletics -- 173.9
15. Matt Garza, Rays -- 172.9
16. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- 171.4
17. Ricky Nolasco, Marlins -- 170.4
18. Phil Hughes, Yankees -- 169.6
19. Jake Peavy, White Sox -- 169.4
20. Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies -- 168.9
21. Justin Masterson, Indians -- 168.0
22. Josh Johnson, Marlins-- 166.4
23. Colby Lewis, Rangers -- 165.7
24. Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays -- 164.7
25. C.J. Wilson, Rangers -- 164.0

Take This To The Bank, Part II

And here are Accuscore's top 26 projected stolen base leaders from this point forward:
1. Michael Bourn, Astros -- 56.2
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- 53.5
3. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 52.1
4. Nyjer Morgan, Nationals -- 45.7
5. Rajaj Davis, Athletics -- 42.4
6. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- 38.6
7. Scott Podsednik, Royals -- 38.4
8. B.J. Upton, Rays -- 37.4
9. Brett Gardner, Yankees -- 36.4
10. Juan Pierre, White Sox -- 36.2
11. Chone Figgins, Mariners -- 35.5
12. Julio Borbon, Rangers -- 35.0
13. Elvis Andrus, Rangers -- 34.7
14. Coco Crisp, Athletics -- 33.0
15. Jose Reyes, Mets -- 32.0
16. David Wright, Mets -- 29.8
17. Chris Getz, Royals -- 28.9
18. Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners -- 27.6
19. Drew Stubbs, Reds -- 27.5
20. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 27.4
21. Jimmy Rollins, Phillies -- 26.6
22. Alex Rios, White Sox -- 26.5
23. Derek Jeter, Yankees -- 26.5
24. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 26.4
25. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 26.0
26. Brian Roberts, Orioles -- 25.2

Analyze This

Since we already have the Accuscore Predictatron 5000 cranking, here's a particularly interesting 2-for-1 trade in the SI.com & Friends league this week. Do we have an early winner here?

Team A gets ... Jay Bruce
Projections from April 30-Oct 1: .228 average, .306 OBP, 25 HR, 61.8 runs, 63 RBIs, 5.9 steals

Team B receives ... Yunel Escobar/Ty Wigginton
Projections: Escobar -- .280 average, .357 OBP, 10.2 HR, 76.1 runs, 66.7 RBIs, 6.6 steals
Projections: Wiggington -- .286 average, .339 OBP, 10.5 HR, 30.8 runs, 30.1 RBIs, 0.5 steals

Verdict: Let's be honest. Wigginton is merely one step above The Eminently Replaceables -- a group of decent veterans who'll always be available in free agency -- due to his 1B/3B versatility. That said, it's hard to justify keeping anyone who's not a lock for 35 runs/RBIs from this point forward. So, this trade is essentially a 1-for-1 swap that'll solely be determined by Bruce's success or failure in Year 3 with the Reds. If Bruce hits 25 homers, and keeps his average above .245, this will be a victory for Team A. But if he should fall below one or both of the previous estimates, it's a landmark steal for Team B -- which is ironic, since neither player impacts stolen bases.

Feeling A Draft In Here?

With MLB's first-year player draft on the horizon, here are the first 20 picks from MyMLBDraft.com's most recent mock draft (updated April 27). You'll notice that Washington has a chance to land two once-in-a-lifetime players in back-to-back seasons -- Stephen Strasburg in 2009 ... and Vegas power-hitting legend Bryce Harper this season:

1. Nationals: C Bryce Harper, Southern Nevada Community College
2. Pirates: P Jameson Taillon, The Woodlands HS (Texas)
3. Orioles: P Drew Pomeranz, Mississippi
4. Royals: P Deck McGuire, Georgia Tech
5. Indians: P Karsten Whitson, Chipley HS (Calif.)
6. Diamondbacks: SS Manny Machado, Brito HS (Fla.)7. Mets: 3B Zack Cox, Arkansas
8. Astros: P Dylan Covey, Maranatha HS (Calif.)
9. Padres: SP Anthony Ranaudo, LSU
10. Athletics: OF Bryce Brentz, Middle Tennessee State
11. Blue Jays: 3B/OF Josh Sale, Blanchet HS (Wash.)
12. Reds: P A.J. Cole, Oviedo HS (Fla.)
13. White Sox: OF Austin Wilson, Harvard-Westlake School (Calif.)
14. Brewers: P Chris Sale, Florida Gulf Coast
15. Rangers: SS/3B Nick Castellanos, Archbishop McCarthy HS (Fla.)
16. Cubs: SS Christian Colon, Cal-State Fullerton
17. Rays: C Yasmani Grandal, Miami
18. Angels: SS/P Kaleb Cowart, Cook County HS (Ga.)
19. Astros: P Brandon Workman, Texas
20. Red Sox: P Matt Harvey, North Carolina

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