Friday, April 20, 2007

Phanatic Phantasy Update

By Michael Rushton and Greg Wiley
Phanatic Magazine

Well, the baseball season is underway which can only mean one thing; Wiley is pulling out more hair as his fantasy squad gets off to a typical slow start. As for myself, Mr. Rushton's squad is hovering around the middle of the standings due to no power and horrid pitching.

It should be noted for all future reads the Wiley plays in a head-to-head league, while I am in a roto standings league.

So, let's dive into some hot and cold players through the first weeks of the season, shall we? Sure, most of these guys are already on a roster so they can't help you unless they are on your team already, but we thought we would rub it in anyway.

Rushton's hot list:

Ian Kinsler, 2B, Texas Rangers: Kinsler is the only Ranger hitting right now,and boy is he ever. A promising rookie last season, Kinsler has a team-high seven homers and 14 RBI so far this year and is hitting .318 to pace an overall weak position. Injury derailed the early part of his season last year which is why he flew under the radar.

Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets: Reyes emerged as a high fantasy pick this year and is delivering so far. He is spreading his stats over four categories with 18 runs, 12 RBI, eight stolen bases and a .356 average. A possible MVP candidate? Only one homer so far, but he shouldn't be relied on for power anyway.

Tim Hudson, SP, Atlanta Braves: Hudson is returning to Oakland form with a 2-0 mark and 16 strikeouts. As if that wasn't good enough, he is sporting a 0.86 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Congrats if you took a chance on him.

Wiley's hot list:

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees: There isn't a player in this universe right now who is as good as A-Rod. His blistering starts has fantasy owner foaming at the mouth. "Mr. April" has 10 homers, 26 RBI, scored 17 runs and is hitting .351. Do I even need to say that Rodriguez will continue to have a monster season? He is single-handedly carrying some fantasy teams, but keep in mind that you still might want to sell high on A-Rod. Let's see what his numbers are a couple weeks before the All-Star break and you might be able to fill two or three needs with.

Carlos Beltran, OF, New York Mets: The switch-hitting center fielder has been anchoring an otherwise powerless Mets lineup this season. Yes, the Mets havebeen scoring runs, but homers have been a little hard to come by. As a teamNew York has only 12 homers, four of which have come by Beltran. He also has17 RBI and a .351 batting average. However, the best news is that he's stealing bases again. He's already swiped three bags and has apparently re-committed himself to the stolen base. The really good news here is that Beltran is only going to get better when the players around him start producing as well.

Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies: Rollins is a top-10 player andsecond-ranked shortstop so far in fantasyland, thanks in part to him facing Tom Glavine twice this season. He has six homers, 12 RBI, 13 runs scored and a.302 average through 14 games. His one stolen base is a little disappointing, but with him getting on base so much it's hard to complain. If he can keep this going when Utley and Howard get going, owners are going to reap the rewards.

Rushton's disappointing list:

Mark Teixeira, 1B, Texas Rangers: Teixeira went through a horrible power slump to begin last year, but at least he was hitting. Not so in 2007. He has yet to homer and is batting just .192 with two RBI. Could be a good guy to buy low, however.

Gary Sheffield, 1B, OF, Detroit Tigers: And you wanted him in Philly? Sheff is batting an eye-popping .132 with one homer and five RBI. Don't sell him short yet though, he does have one stolen base. Ugh!

Carlos Zambrano, SP, Chicago Cubs: If you subscribe to the Greg Wiley contract-year theory, this guy should be lights out. However, he has been torched his last two starts and is 1-2 with a 7.77 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. Maybe he could learn a thing or two from Rich Hill.

Wiley's disappointing list:

Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs: He has owners feeling really Sorry-ano nowa days. The Cubs center fielder is off to a slow start and is actually sitting right now with an injured hamstring. In 12 games before the injury, Soriano was hitting just .245 with six runs scored, no homers, one RBI and one stolen base -- hardly the numbers you expect from a 40-40 guy a season ago. Owners of Soriano need to be patient. The cold weather has wreaked havoc on all the big-boppers this season. Once it starts to get warm, expect Soriano to heat up.

Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies: Need we go into detail about him? He has just one homer, seven RBI, seven runs scored and a .213 average. Philadelphia fans are well aware of his slumping start. Owners of Howard, myself included, are hoping that these few games he is sitting out with an injured knee gets him back on the right track. Not only does the Phillies season depends on it, but more importantly my fantasy season could hang in the balance. Unlike Soriano, though, Howard is someone you might want to trade once his numbers start to increase. In other words, sell high once he gets there. Don't hold on to him.

Lance Berkman, 1B/OF, Houston Astros: The Astros first baseman is another slugger who is off to a horrid start. He has just one homer, five RBI, seven runs scored and a .213 average through 14 games. One thing the MVP candidate has working in his favor is that Carlos Lee has been one of the top performers in the league thus far and is protecting him in the lineup. Sooner or later, teams are going to have to pitcher to Berkman and pitch around Lee.

Dis-honorable mention: Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals; Chase Utley, 2B, Phillies; Travis Hafner, Util, Indians; Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox

Surprise, Surprise List

Rushton - Josh Hamilton, OF, Cincinnati Reds: Hopefully having put his personal problems far aside, Hamilton has worked his way into the Reds' starting lineup and has five jacks with 11 RBI and 10 runs scored. Add in a.333 average and he could be a stud who is still available. Take a chance on the once highly-regarded prospect.

Wiley - Eric Byrnes, OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: It Byrnes so good for some fantasy owners this season, as the Arizona outfielder has been tearing it up. A mid-level fantasy player for most of his career, Byrnes currently ranks in the top-10 with three homers, 10 runs scored, 13 RBI, five stolen bases and a .306 batting average. Owners should be thinking three things for Byrnes right now: sell, sell and sell. He'll have a decent year, but if you can upgrade with a closer or somewhere else, don't hesitate to pull the trigger.
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