Friday, May 04, 2007

Phanatic Phantasy Update

By Michael Rushton & Greg Wiley
Phanatic Magazine

The nice thing about fantasy baseball -- or its downfall given your attention span -- is that it is a long season. It's not like football, where a four-week losing streak can knock you out of the playoffs just like that.

Remember, it's too early to panic, but not too early to make some moves. Now is a good time to decide if any of your long-shot picks aren't working out.Also, it is a good time to buy low. Mark Teixeira can't be this bad all season, right?

Rushton's hot list:

Adam Dunn, OF, Cincinnati Reds: Dunn is returning to his 40-home run form,swatting four long balls in the last week. However, that translated into just seven RBI. As long as strikeouts don't hurt you in your league, Dunn is always a solid bet to help your power numbers. Just get a contact hitter to offset his low average. Added bonus: stole two bases last week.

Gary Sheffield, OF, 1B, Detroit Tigers: Sheffield found his way unto my disappointing list two weeks ago, but finally appears to be turning a corner. He is hitting .421 over the last week, and found some power with a pair of homers while swiping three bags. Here's hoping it only gets better from here.

John Maine, SP, New York Mets: You can't have loyalty in fantasy baseball, and even though I'm a Phillies fan, I'm impressed with Maine. Maine has yet to lose this season (4-0) and leads the NL with a 1.35 earned run average. Congrats if you took a chance on him.

Rushton's cold list:

Robinson Cano, 2B, New York Yankees: Cano has only four hits in his last 23at-bats with no home runs and just three RBI. Cano is expected to help dominate a weak fantasy position, but struggled like the rest of the Yankees last week. Are his numbers last year just a product of a good lineup?

Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers: Weeks started off on fire and with some new-found power, but over the last week is hitting only .190 with one run scored and two RBI. He also hasn't homered.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, SP, Boston Red Sox: Someone around the office finally said it today. Dice-K equals fraud? Matsuzaka has picked up wins in his last two decisions, but has seen his ERA rise to 5.45 over his last three starts, and has yet to allow less than four runs per outing in that span.

Okay, now let's see who Wiley can jinx this time around. Here are players, who are probably available in your league, to keep an eye on and even pick up if they are available. For the most part, we're not talking about the obvious players.

On the top of his game:

Tom Gorzelaney, SP, Pittsburgh Pirates: The young lefty has come into his own this season. He is an impressive 4-1 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. He's not just lucky early on either, he has a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and opponents are hitting just .241 against him. His last time out, Gorzelaney got the win against the high-powered Brewers offense. He allowed just two runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three, in seven innings. If you are in need of some pitching help, it's time to pick up Gorzelaney and insert him into your lineup.

Others - Oliver Perez, SP, NYM; Chad Gaudin, SP, OAK; Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX.

Looking for a rookie?:

Tim Lincecum, SP, San Francisco Giants: Lincecum is the future of the Giants rotation and will be making his season debut on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. At Triple-A Fresno, the right-hander was 4-0 with a0.29 ERA in five starts. Over 31 innings, he yielded just 12 hits, walked 11 and struck out 46. The Giants are excited about this guy and so should you. If he's there, pick him up immediately. I missed out because he was drafted in my league.

Others - Billy Butler, OF, KC; Hunter Pence OF, HOU; Felix Pie, OF, CHC; Phil Hughes, SP, NYM; Tory Tulowitzki, SS, COL.

Best is yet to come:

Mike Cameron, OF, San Diego Padres: Cameron is off to a horrid start. Through27 games the starting center fielder is hitting just .193 without a homer and just four RBI. Cameron has 20 homer, 80 RBI and 20-plus stolen base potential.Keep an eye on him, if he looks to be getting hot, take a flyer if you're in need of some outfield help.

Others - John Patterson, SP, WAS; Jeff Francis, SP, COL; Aubrey Huff, 1B, BAL.

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