May 10, 2010
Fantasy Clicks
The Mother Of All Perfect Games
Dallas Braden: Jed Jacobsohn/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 -- Rays @ Athletics -- was the obvious selection for Mother's Day:

Oakland 4, Tampa Bay 0
What I Liked: The Athletics' top four hitters -- Cliff Pennington, Daric Barton, Ryan Sweeney, Kevin Kouzmanoff -- accounted for most of the damage on Sunday, totaling two RBIs, three runs and eight hits. For the year, each member of the quartet is hitting .275 or above -- not bad for a team that's counting down the seconds until uber-prospects Chris Carter, Grant Green, Jemile Weeks and Michael Taylor possibly make their ballyhooed debuts later in the summer.

What I Loved: A's pitcher Dallas Braden, who was more famous for challenging Alex Rodriguez to a fight prior to Sunday's game, recorded the 19th perfect game in Major League Baseball's illustrious history. It was also the Athletics franchise's first perfect game since Catfish Hunter in 1968 (almost 42 years to the day). And before anyone accuses the Rays of trotting out a 'B' lineup for a getaway game, Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, Ben Zobrist, Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria all saw three at-bats against Braden.

What I Loved, Part II: Of all days, Braden enjoyed the greatest pitching performance of his lifetime. His grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, was in the stands at Network Associates Coliseum, and his late mother (warning: sappy-time coming) was undoubtedly in his heart, as Braden fanned six Tampa Bay hitters and cruised -- without much drama -- to perfection. For the record, Braden threw 77 strikes in 106 pitches and only reached "Ball 3" three times. Truly amazing stuff!

What Makes Me Indifferent: I'm not really sure what to think of James Shields at this point. Yes, he only allowed two earned runs in six innings and posted a superb 6/1 K-BB ratio, as well; but what's up with the 11 hits against a club that's hardly a juggernaut-in-waiting? For now, I'll think the 22 strikeouts from the previous two starts represents the Shields we'll consistently experience in the summer months. At the very least, Sunday's performance provides ample evidence to grab Tampa Bay's redoubtable No. 1 pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson off waivers -- just in case, Shields, Jeff Niemann or Wade Davis should lose their way before October.

What Made Me Indifferent, Part II: Believe it or not, the Rays are the first club in major league history to be victimized by perfect games in consecutive seasons (in 2009, Mark Buehrle went 27-for-27 against Tampa Bay in Chicago). But who's to say whether this will impact the collective psyches of Longoria, Crawford, Zobrist and Pena, My guess: The players and coaches had already forgotten about Braden's perfecto by the time the team plane landed in SoCal (Rays-Angels on Monday night).

What I Loathed: Eric Patterson should thank Braden for taking the pressure off him from Sunday's debacle. The fantasy persona non grata outfielder had two strikeouts and left seven -- count 'em, SEVEN! -- runners on base in a game that was over in just 2 hours, 7 minutes. That's a lot of badness in a very short time window.

What Left Me Scratching My Head: In the & Friends league, I made five waiver claims to replace A's 2B/3B Adam Rosales on Sunday ... and failed to land all five in our blind-bidding auction. I guess someone up there is trying to tell me that Rosales (2 HRs, 7 runs, 12 RBIs, .271 average this season) deserves more super-utilityman time on my roster. Either that, or the fantasy world has suddenly gone mad over Fred Lewis.
Fantasy 2-Pack: Pitchers

These potentially gold pitchers are scheduled for two starts in Week 6 (May 10-16):
Ricky Nolasco, Marlins
Colby Lewis, Rangers
Chad Billingsley, Dodgers
Barry Zito, Giants
Matt Garza, Rays
John Lackey, Red Sox
Tommy Hanson, Braves
Cliff Lee, Mariners
Brad Penny, Cardinals
Javier Vazquez, Yankees
Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays
Ted Lilly, Cubs
Bronson Arroyo, Reds
John Maine, Mets
Wade LeBlanc, Padres
Scott Olsen, Nationals
Brett Myers, Astros
Joel Pineiro, Angels
Rick Porcello, Tigers
Jonathan Niese, Mets
Aaron Cook, Rockies
Trevor Cahill, Athletics
Dontrelle Willis, Tigers
Nate Robertson, Marlins
Jake Westbrook, Indians
Kyle Kendrick, Phillies
Brian Bannister, Royals
Doug Davis, Brewers
Ross Ohlendorf, Pirates
Rodrigo Lopez, Diamondbacks
David Hernandez, Orioles
Greg Smith, Rockies
Luis Atilano, Nationals
Carlos Monasterios, Dodgers

The Starlin Vocal Band

Perhaps you heard about Starlin Castro and his scintillating one-HR, six-RBI night on Friday in Cincinnati ... the greatest RBI debut performance in major league history? Well, as if Castro wasn't getting enough love from savvy fantasy owners who already viewed him as the National League-version of Elvis Andrus prior to his call-up, the acquisition rat race has quickly gone up a few more notches. Take the & Friends league, for example: Knowing that owner Lonny Krasnow had spent $44 of blind-bidding money on Rangers prospect Justin Smoak in Week 3, could Castro -- a speed-first shortstop stud for the Cubs -- possibly surpass the power-hitting Smoak in FAAB value?

The verdict: Castro actually went for $34 ... but that's still a hefty price for a 20-year-old whose slight body is more reminiscent of Alfonso Soriano, circa 2001 with the Yankees than Alex Rodriguez, circa 1994 with the Mariners.

Running A Little Hot

For obvious reasons, I have been flooded with Troy Tulowitzki-centric trade offers in the last few weeks, which begs the question: Is it ever cost-feasible to part with an elite-level shortstop at baseball's most anemic position? Here are some possible trade scenarios involving the remarkably consistent Tulo (.314 average, 1 HR, 12 RBIs, 23 runs, 2 steals since April 10):
*Tulowitzki for Robinson Cano
*Tulowitzki for Justin Morneau
*Tulowitzki for Ryan Zimmerman
*Tulowitzki for Chris Carpenter

*Tulowitzki for Heath Bell/Colby Rasmus
*Tulowitzki for Ian Stewart/Ricky Romero
*Tulowitzki for Ty Wigginton/John Danks
*Tulowitzki for Cameron Maybin/Elvis Andrus

*Tulowitzki/Francisco Liriano for Jason Bartlett/Dan Haren
*Tulowitzki/Ubaldo Jimenez for Albert Pujols/James Shields
*Tulowitzki/Neftali Feliz for Joey Votto/Leo Nunez
*Tulowitzki/Casey McGehee for Brandon Phillips/Andre Ethier

The Road To Wellville

These hitters should fare well against average-to-subpar pitching in Week 6 (May 10-16):
Ryan Howard, Phillies (@ Rockies, @ Brewers)
Chase Utley, Phillies
Jayson Werth, Phillies
Shane Victorino, Phillies
Placido Polanco, Phillies
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
Raul Ibanez, Phillies
Shin-Soo Choo, Indians (@ Kansas City, @ Baltimore)
Grady Sizemore, Indians
Travis Hafner, Indians
Matt LaPorta, Indians
Jhonny Peralta, Indians
Lou Marson, Indians
Matt Wieters, Orioles (vs. Mariners, vs. Indians)
Adam Jones, Orioles
Luke Scott, Orioles
Matt Wieters, Orioles
Nick Markakis, Orioles
Miguel Tejada, Orioles
Ty Wigginton, Orioles

Trouble Ahead

On the flip side ... here's a list of hitters who are likely headed for slow starts in Week 6 (May 10-16), 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:

Joe Mauer, Twins (vs. White Sox, @ Yankees)
Justin Morneau, Twins
Denard Span, Twins
Jason Kubel, Twins
Orlando Hudson, Twins
Michael Cuddyer, Twins
Delmon Young, Twins
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (vs. Yankees, vs. Red Sox)
Johnny Damon, Tigers
Austin Jackson, Tigers
Magglio Ordonez, Tigers
Scott Sizemore, Tigers
Brandon Inge, Tigers
Brennan Boesch, Tigers
Cliff Pennington, Athletics (@ Rangers, @ Angels)
Rajaj Davis, Athletics
Ryan Sweeney, Athletics
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Athletics
Adam Rosales, Athletics
Kurt Suzuki, Athletics (assuming he's back from the DL)
Daric Barton, Athletics
Hunter Pence, Astros (@ Cardinals, @ Giants)
Michael Bourn, Astros
Carlos Lee, Astros
Jeff Keppinger, Astros
Lance Berkman, Astros
Pedro Feliz, Astros

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)

Total Bases Recall
Carl Crawford: J. Meric/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 May 9):

1. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays -- 84
2. Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays -- 79
3. Andre Ethier, Dodgers -- 77
4. Miguel Cabrera, Tigers -- 76
5. Jayson Werth, Phillies -- 75
6. Ryan Braun, Brewers -- 74
7. Marlon Byrd, Cubs -- 74
8. Robinson Cano, Yankees -- 74
9. Paul Konerko, White Sox -- 71
10. Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks -- 70
11. Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- 69
12. Albert Pujols, Cardinals -- 69
13. Evan Longoria, Rays -- 68
14. Justin Morneau, Twins -- 68
15. Austin Jackson, Tigers -- 67
16. Alex Rios, White Sox -- 67
17. Jose Guillen, Royals -- 65
18. Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- 65
19. Chase Utley, Phillies -- 65
20. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs -- 64
21. Ty Wigginton, Orioles -- 64
22. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins -- 63
23. Joey Votto, Reds -- 63
24. Jorge Cantu, Marlins -- 62
25. Vladimir Guerrero, Rangers -- 62
26. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- 62
27. Shane Victorino, Phillies -- 61
28. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox -- 61
29. Alberto Callaspo, Royals -- 60
30. Carl Crawford, Rays -- 60
31. Michael Cuddyer, Twins -- 60
32. Ryan Howard, Phillies -- 60

Sweet Relief

Here's my list of the 10 best non-full-time closing relievers in fantasyland right now:
1. Tyler Clippard, Nationals (their best pitching talent NOT named Strasburg)
2. Fernando Rodney, Angels (worked wonders in his fill-in closer stint for Brian Fuentes)
3. Luke Gregerson, Padres (HAS to be the heir when the Padres trade Heath Bell)
4. Joel Zumaya, Tigers (no one can touch his knee-buckling curve/blazing fastball combo)
5. Evan Meek, Pirates (Octavio Dotel oughta be worried about this kid)
6. Matt Thornton, White Sox (good luck naming the only batter he's walked all year)
7. Tim Stauffer, Padres (example #2 of why no one scores in the latter innings)
8. Clay Hensley, Marlins (the other Tyler Clippard of the NL East)
9. Daniel Bard, Red Sox (perhaps the best future closer amongst the group)
10. Hisanori Takahashi, Mets (until today's Clicks, I had never heard of this cat -- and that's a ME problem)

Who Is This Guy?

I'm not sure what more Casey McGehee must accomplish to prove his worth as a viable major leaguer and borderline superb fantasy stud. In the last two seasons with Milwaukee -- spanning 145 games -- the second-year standout has 141 hits, 74 runs, 22 HRs, 94 RBIs, a .303 batting average and a slugging rate of .516. If that's not enough, he also has 2B/3B eligibility and virtually no competition at third base in 2010 (thanks to Mat Gamel's injury).

And yet, just three weeks ago, the savviest of fantasy owner could've gotten him for the trade equivalent of a bag of balls ... or even these magic beans.

Analyze This

To the delight of many, there is never a slowdown period with trades in the & Friends league. Whether it's BIG ones involving Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, or little ones involving Brandon Wood and Aaron Harang, there's always something going down between the graveyard-shift hours of 2-6 a.m. ... which, in turn, gives us an excuse to let the mathematical geniuses at Accuscore be the knee-jerk judge and jury:

Team A gets ... Chone Figgins/Matt Thornton/Nate Robertson
Figgins (Accuscore yearly estimates -- May 10-Oct. 1)
2.9 HRs, 84.2 runs, 39.7 RBIs, .269 batting average, 34.4 steals
Robertson (Accuscore yearly estimates)
5.8 wins, 5.26 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 106.8 strikeouts
Thornton (Accuscore yearly estimates)
2.5 wins, 1.7 saves, 2.82 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 51.2 strikeouts

Team B gets ... Todd Helton/Brandon Morrow/Tom Gorzelanny
Helton (Accuscore yearly estimates -- May 10-Oct. 1)
8.4 HRs, 58.9 runs, 55.8 RBIs, .312 batting average, 0.0 steals
Morrow (Accuscore yearly estimates)
5.3 wins, 5.02 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 169 strikeouts
Gorzelanny (Accuscore yearly estimates)
10.7 wins, 3.95 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 155.0 strikeouts

Verdict: As a point of parliamentary procedure, Team A acquired Nate Robertson as a throw-in only, and immediately dumped him for Blue Jays phenom Brett Wallace, who could easily see time in the majors around June 1; that said, Team A's clear intentions were getting better in runs/steals (Figgins) and shedding two starting pitchers from a league that has a mandatory 200-start ceiling. As for Team B, which is way under the 200-start projections, the club picked up two solid starters with interesting strikeout potential, along with a sturdy, one-trick pony in Helton (batting average). Normally, we'd pick a premature winner in this forum, but this swap has all the makings of a rational win-win trade. For now, let's call it a push.

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. Pinstripes Are Slimming (Jay Clemons) -- 106 points (not thrilled with leading so early)
2. TEAM COCO Crisp (Micah Hart) -- 97.5 points (one closer away from dominating league)
3. Tulo's Dirtbags (Scott Wraight) -- 95 points (could a team dead-last in HRs really win it all?)
4. From First To Worst (Jon Machota) -- 92.5 points (enjoying the wizardry of Tyler Clippard)
5. Crotch Bats (Jeff Ritter) -- 91 points (Dallas Braden's perfecto covers up many holes)
5a. The Youkileles (Lonny Krasnow) -- 91 points (Figgins trade bolsters strong offense)
5b. Bronx Bulldogs (Charlie Kight) -- 91 points (loyalty to DL'd Kurt Suzuki knows no end)
8. Dominican Lous (Cory McCartney) -- 90.5 points (living the dream with A-Rod/Hanley)
9. Kershawshank Redemption (Danny Lampson) -- 89 points (last of the fearsome second tier)
10. Cabrera's Cannibals (David Komer) -- 71.5 points (has only $41 left on blind-bidding auction)
11. Ruxin's Rabbits (Brandon Marcus) -- 70 points (poor kid's been all over the map)
12. Being Kenny Powers (Bobby Kight) -- 60 points (mad fantasy scientist running out of steam?)
13. Albert's On The Big Mac Diet (Andrew Lamb) -- 59 points (slips below Mendoza line)
14. Milwaukee Schlitz (Jeff Lewis) -- 54 points (1s/2s great with binary code -- not cat-rankings)
15. Lenny Loves Twizzlers (Drew Packham) -- 42 points (admitted to the world he's ready to blow the Twizzlers up ... and build a new mousetrap)

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