Monday, May 31, 2010

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Spot starters for June 1, 2010

Now that June is here, I am going to start putting up a daily list of spot starters I like for the following day.  Spot starters will be guys owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, who I like for a solid game.  I'll also keep a running tally of how my picks are doing:

- Ted Lilly (48% owned) - Lilly has struggled early this season, but is coming off a 7 shutout inning no decision vs. the Dodgers.  He had 5 K's and only gave up 3 hits against a potent lineup.  Look for another solid performance against Pittsburg tomorrow.

- Rich Harden (43% owned) - Many people have given up on Harden this year, but I like him tomorrow against the White Sox.  The White Sox offense has been non existent this year, and historically June is Harden's best ERA, WHIP, Batting Average Against, and K/9 month.  I'm a little worried about facing Buehrle in Chicago... but I have a good feeling about Harden.

- Nick Blackbun (23% owned) - Blackburn is coming of 5 straight wins, and is one of the truly underrated starters out there.  He does give up his share of hits, but has only given up 2 homeruns in his last 5 starts (37.1 innings - including a complete game).  He also gets a lot of ground balls and is 2nd in the majors in getting batters to ground into double plays, making his 1.41 WHIP a bit less worrysome.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tough break...

Hello all you Angels fans and Kendry Morales owners… how’s your Memorial Day weekend going? I don’t mean to rub it in, but only in baseball do injuries like this happen. Morales just hit a walk-off grand slam only to break his ankle while jumping on home plate as his teammates mobbed him… I guess technically it’s not a walk-off homerun if you are taken off the field on a stretcher…

So, what’s done is done. Now what? Before you start offering crazy deals to the guy with two stud first baseman, or taking this as a sign that you are spending too much time of fantasy baseball and mailing in the rest of the season, consider some of the following options:

1) Paul Konerko – currently owned in 81% of Yahoo leagues. Started the season on fire, and has cooled off a lot. If he’s available take him. If not, see if the current owner wants to dump (I doubt he’s anyone’s #1 1B, and with his current struggles, they are probably willing to move). Konerko is better than his .256 average and only strikes out about 89 times/full season. His HR production has dropped a bit over the last few years, but he has 14 already this year. His best power months over his career are June and July, and his best Batting Average months are June and August.

2) Nick Swisher – currently owned in 71% of Yahoo leagues. Swisher has good power, which becomes great power hitting at Yankee Stadium, and this year is hitting .327 on the road as well. Anyone on the Yankee offense is a safe play, but Swisher has been hot of late, and adds versatility with OF eligibility as well. His average probably won’t stay above .300 all year, but he’ll probably be good for 30-35 homeruns.

3) Adam LaRoche – Currently owned in 55% of Yahoo leagues. LaRoche has been a consistent performer all season. He had 25 HR, and 83 RBI last year while bouncing around with 3 different teams. His strikeouts are a little high, but he’s a good option compared to a lopsided trade.

4) Ike Davis: Mets prospect has been pretty good right out of the gate. Hitting over .270 in the cleanup spot. Big strong lefty bat with tons of potential. He’s a little young at 23 years old, but has tremendous upside.

Guys I would avoid:

1) David Ortiz – If he’s still available in your league, pick him up. Otherwise, don’t offer any value in a trade. Odds are, whoever has him picked him off of waivers and is looking to sell high. He’s still technically in a platoon situation against lefties, which makes him one slump away from losing AB’s.

2) Troy Glaus, Todd Helton, Jose Lopez, Mark Teahen… All past their prime and not worth the risk.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jesus is coming...

I took a small hiatus, but now I’m back. Currently in 1st place in my 10 team total points league, and 4th place and gaining in my 10 team head-to-head dynasty league (come on Prince Fielder!). Let’s get this rolling again.

So the calendar is just about to turn June. This is the time when many teams prepare to roll out their can’t miss, hopefully-ready-for-the-big-time studs that they’ve been saving on the shelf in order to keep under their control for one extra year. Enter Stephen Strasburg. Expect to see Strasburg make his MLB debut around the first weekend of June.

Nicknamed “Jesus” by future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez because when he throws the ball, everyone says “Jesus!”, Strasburg brings a lot of hype with him. He also brings a triple-digit fastball and a 12 to 6 hammer that freezes batters a la Pedro Martinez. While the sample size is still small, his domination of the minor leagues is undeniable. In 9 minor league starts, he boasts a 6-1 record, 0.99 ERA, and 54 K’s in 45 1/3 innings. His AAA starts are even more impressive with a 3-0 record, 0.39 ERA (1 earned run in 23 1/3 innings) and opposing batters are hitting .139 against him. In short, this kid is ready. Dwight Gooden/Tim Lincecum ready. I’d like to see him struggle just once in the minors, just to see how he comes back from it, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. Not by next week anyways.

Chances are, he’s not available in your league (owned in 81% of Yahoo leagues on 5/27). But if he is, grab him now. Even if he takes a couple major league starts for him to get comfortable, he will be worth it. There are hot prospects, and then there are rare talents, and few people in baseball history could do what this kid can do. I just hope playing in Washington doesn’t hold him back.