Fantasy Clicks: Reynolds leads sun duel in the desert

Fantasy Clicks
Long-Ball Fun In The Sun
Stephen Drew: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In an effort to make Fantasy Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most intriguing MLB game in an NFL-style Fantasy Revelations. This week's choice -- Phillies vs. Diamondbacks -- was the only game with high scoring and star power to boot ... and the only one to have former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in attendance:

Arizona 8, Philadelphia 6
What I Liked: In 2007-08, second baseman Kelly Johnson amassed 28 homers, 137 RBIs, 177 runs and 20 steals for the Braves -- while drawing fantasyland comparisons to the great Derek Jeter. In 2009, Johnson experienced one of the coldest snaps in Atlanta history and subsequently lost his job to Martin Prado; Jeter, for what it's worth, went on to become a world champion and Sports Illustrated's Sportsman Of The Year. But the worm has turned again for Johnson, now of the Diamondbacks, who blasted his seventh homer of the season (while collecting two RBIs on the day). For the year, Johnson also boasts 14 runs, 12 RBIs and a .329 batting average.

What I Liked, Part II: Stephen Drew, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz each tallied two hits on the day, which doesn't sound like much. But as I like to say in this Monday forum, you can learn a lot about fantasy commodities on their blah days. Consistency feeds the fantasy bulldog, too.

What I Loathed: It's been a bad year for middle-of-the-road starting pitching in NL-only leagues. Case in point: Kyle Kendrick and Rodrigo Lopez were simply brutal on Sunday, surrendering a combined 11 runs, 18 hits and three homers in just 11 innings of work. If there was one sliver of light for the Diamondbacks, Lopez didn't register one walk against Philly's imposing lineup.

What Made Me Indifferent: Speaking of big-name boppers, at what point do we pull the plug on Raul Ibanez's expected fantasy greatness for the season ... or has Father Time finally caught up to the 38-year-old Ibanez (1 HR, 8 runs, 8 RBIs, .222 average)?

What I Loved: At the risk of infuriating a Clicks audience that's heard this story 3-4 times in April alone, I currently own a Vegas prop-bet ticket confirming my belief that Mark Reynolds will win the MLB home run title in 2010 (pays 15-1 ... not that I'm much into gambling). On Sunday, Reynolds launched his seventh homer of the year -- tying Kelly Johnson for the Arizona lead -- putting him one behind Paul Konerko in all of baseball. For good measure, Reynolds also had three hits, two runs, four RBIs and -- how about this? -- only one strikeout. Perhaps I should've bet the under with his preseason strikeout estimates.

What I Loved, Part II: It's way too early to tell if Chris Young's decent start (3 HRs, 8 runs, 15 RBIs, 1 steal, .269 average) portends good things for the year; but at the very least, it suggests Young won't be completely ignored in all fantasy leagues this time around. Seriously, how anyone can devolve from 30-30 threat in 2007 to baseball leprecy in three short years remains a bigger mystery than Amelia Earhart's one-way flight or why TV's My Mother, The Car (starring a very-young Jerry Van Dyke) was canceled after only 30 episodes.

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These potentially gold pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 4 (April 26-May 2):
Roy Halladay, Phillies
Jered Weaver, Angels
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Josh Beckett, Red Sox
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Justin Verlander, Tigers
Zack Greinke, Royals
Tim Hudson, Braves
Francisco Liriano, Twins
Jonathan Sanchez, Giants
Randy Wolf, Brewers
Mark Buehrle, White Sox
Edwin Jackson, Diamondbacks
Huroki Kuroda, Dodgers
Phil Hughes, Yankees
Derek Lowe, Braves
Wade Davis, Rays
Shaun Marcum, Blue Jays
Ben Sheets, Athletics
Carlos Silva, Cubs
Zach Duke, Pirates
C.J. Wilson, Rangers
Mat Latos, Padres
Kevin Millwood, Orioles
Dana Eveland, Blue Jays
Aaron Harang, Reds
Bud Norris, Astros
Matt Harrison, Rangers
Ian Snell, Mariners
Oliver Perez, Mets
Jon Garland, Padres
John Lannan, Nationals
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
Tom Gorzelanny, Cubs
David Huff, Indians

Are You Ready For Wednesday?

Taking a break from baseball ... if you thought last Wednesday's post-NFL-schedule-release Clicks were insane, wait till you see what's in store for this week's post-NFL Draft Clicks. Without giving too much away, I can reveal that, yes, Tim Tebow has made our Top 10 Third-String Fantasy Quarterbacks list. But here's the real zinger: Is Tebow ranked before OR after Caleb Henie?

Lightning-Fast Trivia Question

Which baseball Hall of Famer has the unique distinction of accidentally striking a fan in the face with a foul ball, and then hitting her again -- while she's being escorted out of the ballpark by medical personnel -- on the very next pitch? Scroll down for the answer.

Running Hot

If you had the foresight to pluck Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal (16 runs, 6 RBIs, 8 steals, .329 average) from the icy depths of Round 20 or later in mixed-league drafts, congratulations on landing a fantasyland all-star for a lower draft-day price than Travis Snider, Corey Hart, Garrett Atkins or Ty Wigginton. But how are you going to handle Furcal's situation from this point forward: Will you remain faithful to Furcal, on the assumption he'll continue to shine at one of baseball's scarcest positions? Or will you capitalize on Furcal's newfound fame and parlay his early fantasy goodness into an April megatrade? Decisions, decisions.

Here are some realistic 1-for-1 trade scenarios involving Furcal:
*Furcal for Shin Soo-Choo
*Furcal for Dan Uggla
*Furcal for Jered Weaver
*Furcal for Franklin Gutierrez
*Furcal for Chris Young (Diamondbacks)
*Furcal for Carlos Marmol
*Furcal for Denard Span
*Furcal for David Price
*Furcal for James Loney

For what it's worth, here are Accuscore's adjusted projections for Furcal: .281 batting average, .347 OBP, 85.8 runs, 6.1 HRs, 39.8 runs, 19.4 steals.

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare well against average-to-subpar pitching in Week 4 (April 26-May 2):
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox (@ Blue Jays, @ Orioles)
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
Victor Martinez, Red Sox
J.D. Drew, Red Sox
Adrian Beltre, Red Sox
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Pablo Sandoval, Giants (vs. Phillies, vs. Rockies)
Edgar Renteria, Giants
John Bowker, Giants
Aubrey Huff, Giants
Bengie Molina, Giants
Mark DeRosa, Giants
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (@ Orioles, vs. White Sox)
Derek Jeter, Yankees
Jorge Posada, Yankees
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Matt Kemp, Giants (@ Mets, vs. Pirates)
Andre Ethier, Giants
James Loney, Giants
Russell Martin, Giants
Casey Blake, Giants
Rafael Furcal, Giants

Uh-oh, Trouble Ahead

On the flip side ... here's a list of hitters who are likely headed for slow starts in Week 4 (April 26-May 2), due to poor pitching matchups. I'm not saying "Don't start 'em" ... just be wary of these guys, who'll face at least four high-quality hurlers during this period:

Billy Butler, Royals (vs. Mariners, @ Rays)
Scott Podsednik, Royals
Rick Ankiel, Royals
Alex Gordon, Royals
Jose Guillen, Royals
David DeJesus, Royals
Alberto Callaspo, Royals
Grady Sizemore, Indians (@ Angels, vs. Twins)
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians
Matt LaPorta, Indians
Russell Branyan, Indians
Jhonny Peralta, Indians
Luis Valbuena, Indians
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (vs. Twins, vs. Angels)
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
Johnny Damon, Tigers
Brandon Inge, Tigers
Scott Sizemore, Tigers
Austin Jackson, Tigers

Total Bases Recall
Matt Kemp: Lisa Blumenfield/Getty Images

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 April 25):

1. Jose Guillen, Royals -- 53
2. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays -- 50
3. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 49
4. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 47
5. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 46
6. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays -- 46
7. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 45
8. Paul Konerko, White Sox -- 45
9. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- 44
10. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 44
11. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- 44
12. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 42
13. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 42
14. Franklin Gutierrez, Mariners -- 41
15. Casey McGehee, Brewers -- 41
16. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 41
17. Dan Uggla, Marlins -- 41
18. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 41
19. Marlon Byrd, Cubs -- 40
20. Michael Cuddyer, Twins -- 40
21. Hideki Matusi, Angels -- 40
22. David DeJesus, Royals -- 39
23. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 38
24. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 38
25. Joe Mauer, Twins -- 38
26. Kendry Morales, Angels -- 38
27. Magglio Ordonez, Tigers -- 38
28. Rickie Weeks, Brewers -- 38
29. Jayson Werth, Phillies -- 38
30. Casey Blake, Dodgers -- 37
31. Andre Ether, Dodgers -- 37
32. Matt Holliday, Cardinals -- 37
33. Austin Jackson, Tigers -- 37
34. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 37
35. Martin Prado, Braves -- 37
36. Pablo Sandoval, Giants -- 37
37. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 37
38. Ty Wigginton, Orioles -- 37
39. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- 37

Lightning-Fast Trivia Answer

Hall of Famer Richie Asburn (a 5-time All-Star, .308 lifetime average) accidentally hit a woman in the stands on consecutive foul balls during his time with the Phillies. How do I know this? It's all part of highly entertaining Harry The K: The Remarkable Life of Harry Kalas, Randy Miller's best-selling sports biography posthumously chronicling the surreal life and times of legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas (also the voice of NFL Films from 1975-2009) ... and his hilarious Phillies TV/radio sidekick, Richie Ashburn, aka 'Whitey.'

Analyze This

Well, it happened. After three weeks of teasing my fellow & Friends league owners with the promise of a smooth negotiation, I finally bequeathed Alex Rodriguez to Cory McCartney's club, spearheading a landmark 8-player deal. But which team won out or will win out? We'll let the mathematical geniuses at Accuscore be the interim judge:

Cory gets ... Alex Rodriguez/Hunter Pence/Magglio Ordonez/James Shields
A-Rod (Accuscore yearly estimates -- April 26-Oct. 1)
30.4 HRs, 92 runs, 109.3 RBIs, .293 batting average, 14.4 steals

Pence (Accuscore yearly estimates)
19.6 HRs, 66.7 runs, 58.1 RBIs, .265 batting average, 11.9 steals

Ordonez (Accuscore yearly estimates)
14.2 HRs, 69.7 runs, 65.6 RBIs, .310 batting average, 2.5 steals

Shields (Accuscore yearly estimates)
10.2 wins, 4.20 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 148.3 strikeouts

My team brings in ... Michael Young/CC Sabathia/Nyjer Morgan/Matt Capps
Feldman (Accuscore yearly estimates -- April 26-Oct. 1)
19.5 HRs, 71.4 runs, 64.5 RBIs, .308 batting average, 7.6 steals

Morgan (Accuscore yearly estimates)
2.7 HRs, 82.5 runs, 43.9 RBIs, .300 batting average, 47.7 steals

Sabathia (Accuscore yearly estimates)
16.6 wins, 3.35 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 165.5 strikeouts

Capps (Accuscore yearly estimates)
1.4 wins, 35.2 saves, 4.58 ERA, 1.68 WHIP, 45.6 strikeouts

Verdict: From name recognition alone, this one's a victory for Cory. But when you factor in my desperate need for saves and steals -- and that my club now boasts our 15-team league's best rotation of Sabathia, Zack Greinke, Josh Johnson, Matt Garza, Kevin Millwood, Daisuke Matsuzaka and strikeout whiz Colby Lewis (10 against Detroit on Sunday) -- perhaps this megatrade will become a win-win venture for both sides. After all, Michael Young collected 5 RBIs on Sunday ... right after he found time to cut the ribbon at my team nickname/logo change party.

The Missing Links

Need a helping hand with your fantasy baseball research? Well, here are the Web sites I check every morning (and night) -- all in the name of 24/7 roster improvements:

**Baseball America
**Baseball America's 2010 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)

Depth Of Knowledge

For AL- and NL-only leagues, there is no greater draft-day resource than the official (and up-to-date) depth charts for each MLB club. In no particular order...

National League
Marlins | Braves | Mets | Phillies | Nationals

Reds | Pirates | Cubs | Brewers | Cardinals | Astros

Dodgers | Diamondbacks | Padres | Rockies | Giants

American League
Red Sox | Orioles | Rays | Yankees | Blue Jays

White Sox | Tigers | Indians | Royals | Twins

Rangers | Angels | Athletics | Mariners

Stock Report

In case you care, here's a weekly update for the much-discussed AND highly volatile & Friends fantasy league. It's your typical 15-team, 5x5, roto-style setup:
1. Ruxin's Rabbits (Brandon Marcus) -- 95.5 points (a stunning rise from dead-last to 1st place)
2. Han(ley) Shot First (Cory McCartney) -- 93 points (now has A-Rod/Hanley on same squad)
3. The Youkileles (Lonny Krasnow) -- 91.5 points (just dropped $44/FAAB on Justin Smoak)
4. Tulo's Dirtbags (Scott Wraight) -- 87.5 points (it'll be a major upset if he doesn't win Steals)
5. TEAM COCO Crisp (Micah Hart) -- 85 points (wait till Strasburg/Chapman get called up!)
6. Kershawshank Redemption (Danny Lampson) -- 83 points (who in the heck is Juan Castro?)
7. Albert's On The Big Mac Diet (Andrew Lamb) -- 82.5 points (needs divine intervention with Ks)
8. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 82 points (taking a major bath in Wins, ERA and Whip)
9. Pinstripes Are Slimming (Jay Clemons) -- 81.5 points (Matt Capps, fantasy savior?)
9a. Crotch Bats (Jeff Ritter) -- 81.5 points (already breaking hearts in NYC; not fantasy focus)
11. From First To Worst (Jon Machota) -- 81 points (a virtual halfway-house for MLB stars on DL)
12. Milwaukee Schlitz (Jeff Lewis) -- 76.5 points (even this Brewers homer loathes Corey Hart)
13. Cabrera's Cannibals (David Komer) -- 64 points (a karmic payback for stealing 'Revelations')
14. Bronx Bulldogs (Charlie Kight) -- 63.5 points (Jose Bautista is his best player -- 'nuff said!)
15. Lenny Loves Twizzlers (Drew Packham) -- 52 points (the foundation for a comeback's there -- it might go even faster if he got 3-4 studs back, via trade, for either Chase Utley or Dan Haren)

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