May 25, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Sunday Night Revelations
Joe Mauer (left) and Justin Morneau: AP

In the interest of making Clicks bigger and better than ever, we'll spotlight each Sunday's most fantasy-friendly game, NFL Revelations-style. This week, we're featuring the border war between Minnesota and Wisconsin -- along with two of the hottest hitters on the planet:

Twins 6, Brewers 3
What I Liked: Minnesota starting pitcher Scott Baker (who's had his share of bad finishes this season) pitched a masterful 8 1/3 innings on Sunday, allowing only six hits and one earned run -- at least until ...

What I Liked, Part II: ... Prince Fielder launched a moon shot into the right-field stands that made the score 6-3 and relegated Baker (6 Ks on the night) to the bench to watch Twins closer Joe Nathan put the game away, in a non-save situation.

What I Loved: In addition to Fielder, four other prominent fantasy players -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Joe Crede, Mike Cameron -- busted out the whupping sticks before a national TV crowd. In fact, Mauer now has more homers this season (10) than he had in all of 2008; and he stands just three dingers away from equaling his career-high of 13 from '06.

What I Loved, Part III: Speaking of Mauer (2 hits, 2 runs, 1 RBI on Sunday) and Morneau (1 hit, 1 run, 4 RBIs), the M&M Boys are hitting .438 and .343 on the season, respectively. Not only are they viable candidates for AL MVP again, but each has a great shot at landing the coveted fantasy MVP title at season's end.

What Makes Me Cringe: Brewers outfielder Corey Hart (1-for-4) is only hitting .245 on the season. In fact, since April 25, he has only racked up 1 HR, 11 RBIs, 2 steals and a paltry .225 hitting clip -- numbers that force one to wonder if his modest streak of back-to-back 20/20 seasons will come to an end in '09. On the flip side, IF he's going to make it three straight 20/20 seasons, that means he's due for an offensive rampage (or two) after June 1 -- and that he'd be the perfect 'Buy Low' trade marker.

Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 8 (May 25-31). Hence, they're potential gold in weekly leagues:

Justin Verlander, Tigers
Javier Vazquez, Braves
Yovani Gallardo, Brewers
Zack Greinke, Royals
Ryan Dempster, Cubs
Aaron Harang, Reds
Max Scherzer, Diamondbacks
Chris Volstad, Marlins
John Maine, Mets
Francisco Liriano, Twins
Edwin Jackson, Tigers
John Danks, White Sox
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
Jon Lester Red Sox
Ervin Santana, Angels
Wandy Rodriguez, Astros
Matt Garza, Rays
Gil Meche, Royals
Paul Maholm, Pirates
Kevin Millwood, Rangers
David Price, Rays (more on him later)
Brad Penny, Red Sox
Fausto Carmona, Indians
Sean Marshall, Cubs
Matt Harrison, Rangers
Jarrod Washburn, Mariners
Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies
Doug Davis, Diamondbacks
Jonathan Sanchez, Giants
Jeremy Guthrie, Orioles
John Lannan, Nationals
Brian Tallet, Blue Jays
Eric Stults, Dodgers
Nick Blackburn, Twins
Dallas Braden, Athletics
Carl Pavano, Indians
Jamie Moyer, Phillies
Brett Anderson, Athletics
Kris Medlen, Braves
Micah Owings, Reds
Chad Gaudin, Padres
Eric Milton, Dodgers (remember this blast from the past?)

Today's Special

For every baseball Clicks, I will select the best mixed-league pitching prospect -- likely available on the waiver wire -- who's also taking the mound that day or evening. The 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 Eric Stults can be had in any mixed league around the world right now:

Jorge De La Rosa, Rockies (vs. Dodgers)
**Has allowed 3 or fewer runs in four of his last five starts
**Had a 22/1 K-BB ratio from starts on May 9 and May 15
**Has a 32/11 K-BB ratio since April 25
**He won't kill you with walks, and subsequently, a higher WHIP
**Seems to enjoy pitching at Coors Field 13-16 times a season
**At 0-4, he's wayyyyyyyyy overdue for a victory

**Now for the bad news ... his last start (vs. Atlanta) was an all-time stinker (7 ER, 5 BB in 3.2 IP)
**Facing a Dodgers team that's starting to break out of their post-Manny-suspension funk

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare remarkably well against average-to-subpar pitching throughout Week 8 (May 25-31):

Ian Kinsler, Rangers (vs. Yankees, vs. A's)
Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Nelson Cruz, Rangers
Chris Davis, Rangers
Marlon Byrd, Rangers
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Rangers
Michael Young, Rangers (assuming he's healthy)
Josh Hamilton, Rangers
Carlos Beltran, Mets (vs. Nationals, vs. Marlins)
David Wright, Mets
Jose Reyes, Mets
Daniel Murphy, Mets
Gary Sheffield, Mets
Fernando Tatis, Mets
Jason Giambi, Athletics (vs. Mariners, @ Rangers)
Adam Kennedy, Athletics
Kurt Suzuki, Athletics
Matt Holliday, Athletics
Ryan Sweeney, Athletics
Jack Cust, Athletics (his annual hot streak appears imminent)
Orlando Cabrera, Athletics
Nomar Garciaparra, Athletics
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees (@ Rangers, @ Indians)
Mark Teixeira, Yankees (more on him later)
Derek Jeter, Yankees
Johnny Damon, Yankees
Brett Gardner, Yankees
Robinson Cano, Yankees
Nick Swisher, Yankees

Tough Road Ahead

On the flip side, these hitters are likely headed for a mini-slump in Week 8 (May 25-31), 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:

Mark Teahen, Royals (vs. Tigers, vs. White Sox)
Billy Butler, Royals
Alberto Callaspo, Royals
Jose Guillen, Royals
Coco Crisp, Royals
Mike Jacobs, Royals
Miguel Olivo, Royals
Brian McCann, Braves (@ Giants, @ Diamondbacks)
Kelly Johnson, Braves
Jeff Francoeur, Braves
Yunel Escobar, Braves
Chipper Jones, Braves
Jordan Schafer, Braves
Garret Anderson, Braves
Casey Kotchman, Braves
Pablo Sandoval, Giants (vs. Braves, vs. Cardinals)
Emmanuel Burriss, Giants
Bengie Molina, Giants
Travis Ishikawa, Giants
Fred Lewis, Giants
Randy Winn, Giants
Aaron Rowand, Giants
Edgar Renteria, Giants

Feeling A Draft In Here?

With MLB's first-year player draft on the horizon (June 9-10), here are the first 15 picks from's most recent mock draft. You'll notice that 12 pitchers are going quite high, meaning 2009 serves as one of the weakest-hitting classes in recent memory ... or the single-greatest group of pitching phemons in draft history:

1. Nationals: P Stephen Strasburg, San Diego State
2. Mariners: OF/1B Dustin Ackley, North Carolina
3. Padres: OF Donovan Tate, Cartersville HS (Ga.)
4. Pirates: P Aaron Crow, Fort Worth Cats (independent)
5. Orioles: P Tanner Scheppers, Fresno State
6. Giants: P Alex White, North Carolina
7. Braves: P Tyler Matzek, Capistrano Valley HS (Calif.)
8. Reds: P Shelby Miller, Brownwood HS (Texas)
9. Tigers: SS Grant Green, USC
10. Nationals: P Zach Wheeler, East Paulding HS (Ga.)
11. Rockies: P Kyle Gibson, Missouri
12. Royals: P Jacob Turner, Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.)
13. Athletics: P Matt Purke, Klein HS (Texas)
14. Rangers: P/IF Matt Leake, Arizona State
15. Indians: P Andy Oliver, Oklahoma State

Luck Of The TV Draw

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: All fantasy baseball owners must have access to either 3-10 TVs at work or DirecTV's MLB Extra Innings package (luckily I have both), because these luxuries can be the difference in your pursuit for a fantasy championship. The latest example stems from Akinori Iwamura's knee injury on Sunday against the Marlins. Within seconds of seeing Chris Coghlan's way-too-high take-out slide at second base -- in hopes of breaking up a double play -- I knew Iwamura was probably out for the year (his planted left leg collapsed under the weight of Coghlan's slide) and immediately grabbed Rays infielders Willy Aybar and/or Reid Brignac off waivers in my AL-only leagues ... wayyy before the AP wire or fantasy sites had broken any news on the injury. (Note: The Rays have made no official announcement on Iwamura's status as of Sunday night, but I'll be shocked if he's back in three months).

Of course, I want to be wrong about Aki's injury. I would love nothing more than to see him miraculously bounce back after a few days off and return to Tampa Bay's lineup. But the sad reality is he's likely gone ... and we'll have to press on in fantasyland.

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
Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
Jason Bay, Red Sox
Evan Longoria, Rays
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Carlos Beltran, Mets
Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Aaron Hill, Blue Jays
Adam Jones, Orioles
Nick Markakis, Orioles (should've been here much earlier)
Torii Hunter, Angels
Carlos Quentin, White Sox
Carl Crawford, Rays
Joe Mauer, Twins (a 9th-round steal for risk-taking owners)
Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Victor Martinez, Indians
Jermaine Dye, White Sox
Grady Sizemore, Indians
David Wright, Mets
Raul Ibanez, Phillies
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
Joey Votto, Reds
Hanley Ramirez, Marlins (back on the list)
Adam Dunn, Nationals
Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
Prince Fielder, Brewers
Ryan Braun, Brewers
Albert Pujols, Cardinals
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Justin Morneau, Twins
Chase Utley, Phillies

Starting Pitchers
Johan Santana, Mets
Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
Zack Greinke, Royals
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Erik Bedard, Mariners
Tim Lincecum, Giants
Edwin Jackson, Tigers
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Josh Johnson, Marlins
Dan Haren, Diamondbacks
Jake Peavy, Padres
Justin Verlander, Tigers (there's no knocking him when he's white-hot)
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers (back on the list)

Relief Pitchers
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
Joe Nathan, Twins
Francisco Rodriguez, Mets
Matt Capps, Pirates (encouraged by Sunday's 3-K, 1-save outing)
Francisco Cordero, Reds
Mariano Rivera, Yankees
Heath Bell, Padres
Jonathan Broxton, Dodgers
Joakim Soria, Royals (grab Juan Cruz while he's on the DL)

He Walks Among Us

At 6:05 p.m. Monday, approximately 30 minutes after your sixth hot dog and eighth beer from a Memorial Day barbecue, feel free to turn on the TV and catch David Price's seasonal debut with Rays. The highly touted phenom (No. 1 or No. 2 on all prospects listings, splitting fame with Matt Wieters) will be facing the hot-and-cold Indians batters in one of the most-anticipated outings of the young season. Realistically, Price isn't a rookie (something we learned in last year's ALCS against the Red Sox), but Monday's turn will hopefully serve as his official coming-out party -- and I'm not just saying that because I own him in five fantasy leagues. Yes, Price hasn't gotten past the 5th inning in any AAA game this season. Yes, the franchise has been delaying his major-league clock for financial reasons (down the road, of course). And yes, Price will likely struggle in his first two or three starts (like most rookies). But this kid is legit, a redoubtable No. 1 starter, as evidenced by his statistical past (and repertoire of world-class pitches):

**32 appearances (minors/majors) since 2008, 158.2 innings, 146/54 K-BB ratio, 2.54 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Total Bases Recall
Adrian Gonzalez: 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 (with ties) in total bases (through May 24):

1. Raul Ibanez, Phillies -- 122
2. Aaron Hill, Blue Jays -- 111
3. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 111
4. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 111
5. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals -- 111
6. Victor Martinez, Indians -- 103
7. Adam Jones, Orioles -- 100
8. Ian Kinsler, Rangers -- 99
9. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 99
10. Adrian Gonzalez, Padres -- 98
11. Jason Bartlett, Rays -- 96
12. Jason Bay, Red Sox -- 95
13. Johnny Damon, Yankees -- 95
14. Michael Young, Rangers -- 95
15. Carlos Beltran, Mets -- 94
16. Carlos Pena, Rays -- 94
17. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 93
18. Torii Hunter, Angels -- 93
19. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 92
20. Adam Dunn, Nationals -- 92
21. Orlando Hudson, Dodgers -- 92
22. Mike Lowell, Red Sox -- 91
23. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 91
24. Nick Markakis, Orioles -- 90
25. Mark Teixeira, Yankees -- 90
26. Justin Upton, Diamondbacks -- 90
27. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 89
28. Miguel Tejada, Orioles -- 89
29. Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- 88
30. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 86
31. Nelson Cruz, Rangers -- 86
32. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 86

Welcome Back, Take II

I didn't turn my back on Cards pitcher Chris Carpenter in his comeback from elbow surgery. So I'm definitely not abandoning him after a little oblique injury. He's slated to have two starts in Week 8, which is a good news/bad news proposition when working on the reality-based assumption he'll need at least one (poor?) start to get his timing down. Therein lies the problem with weekly or head-to-head fantasy leagues: There's always a cross to bear for eventual fantasy goodness.

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)
SS Jhonny Peralta, Indians (now 3B-eligible)
3B Hank Blalock, Rangers (should be 1B-eligible by mid-June)
C Ramon Hernandez, Reds (now 1B-eligible)
3B 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/1B Carlos Guillen, Tigers (now OF-eligible)
1B Conor Jackson, Diamondbacks (now 1B-eligible)
1B Pablo Sandoval, Giants (now 3B-eligible)
2B Mark DeRosa, Indians (now 3B-eligible; should be OF-eligible by June 1)
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 (should be 1B-eligible by June 1)
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 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)
OF Jerry Hairston, Jr., Reds (now SS-eligible)

Running Hot

In a surprise to no one, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira has caught fire since May 10, racking up 12 runs, 7 HRs and 18 RBIs, while hitting .396 (21-53) for a club that's won nine of 11 games. After all, Tex had become the poster child for Bad April/Great May/Blistering June long before he donned the pinstripes for a cool $180 million. But now that he's seemingly back on track for 100 runs, 140 RBIs and a .310 average ... perhaps we should speculate on his trade value -- both for 1-on-1 swaps and 2-for-1 blockbusters:

*Teixeira for Jason Bay
*Teixeira for Alex Rodriguez
*Teixeira for Chase Utley
*Teixeira for Carlos Lee
*Teixeira for Chad Billingsley/Shin-Soo Choo
*Teixeira for Josh Johnson/Jermaine Dye
*Teixeira for Brian Roberts/Johnny Cueto
*Teixeira for Nelson Cruz/Matt Garza
*Teixeira for Jonathan Papelbon/Kendry Morales

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 Arizona Republic writer Nick Piecoro's engaging insight on Diamondbacks Justin Upton, Chris Young, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, Dan Haren, Chad Qualls, 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. Packham Mortuary (Drew Packham) -- 98.5 points (the same leader in consecutive weeks)
2. The Farmer John Family (Scott Wraight) -- 90.5 points (rejected Paps, Votto, V-Mart, via trade)
3. Being Kenny Powers (Bob Kight) -- 89.5 points (top-4 in four categories ... solid all the way)
4. Pete Rose's Best Bet (Tim Dwyer) -- 87.5 points (top-5 in six categories; needs HRs badly)
4. The Funcookers (Jeff Ritter) -- 87.5 points (he owes this standing to Sunday's 8-point surge)
6. Hackensack Bulls (Cory McCartney) -- 78.5 points (his downfall could be batting average/steals)
7. Prestige Worldwide (Charlie Kight) -- 77 points (for a 7th-place team, very few holes)
8. Teixeira's Slow Start (Jon Machota) -- 72 points (needs to auction off Justin Verlander)
9. This Week's TWIB Notes (Jay Clemons) -- 71 points (that sucking sound you hear is me)
10. The Brandon & Jason Show (Marcus/Schwartz) -- 70.5 points (gawd-awful in Runs/Steals)
11. Hoboken Highlanders (David Katz) -- 61.5 points (stuck in fantasy No Man's Land ... yikes!)
12. Downtown Killer B's (Mike Bernaiche) -- 61 points (fast-rising from 'horrible' to 'mediocre')
13. Capital City Goofballs (Josh Wymer) -- 56.5 points (not one dead-last category ... hooray!)
14. Krasmanian Devils (Lonny Krasnow) -- 48.5 points (the king of indifferent 'autopick' owners)

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