• New York Yankees starter Kevin Brown may be 7-1, but he�s one of the better �trade �em while you can� guys. He�s 39 years old and is out until at least Thursday with a back ailment, often the cause of his numerous trips to the disabled list in recent seasons. Besides that, he�s striking out only 5.39/9, or 2.53 fewer than last season. And take out his four starts against Tampa Bay, and Brown has a 5.36 ERA and a 1.442 WHIP.
• Another guy to sell high on is Braden Looper. He didn�t allow an earned run until May 21st, but since then, he has allowed 7 in 11.2 IP, good for a 5.72 ERA. He�s not going to lose his job � at least not until Royce Ring is ready � but you can probably get more than Looper is really worth.
• JC Romero was arguably the top middle reliever for fantasy owners just two years ago, when he posted a 1.86 ERA with plenty of Ks. But things have grown so bad that the Twins sent him to the minors to get back on track, though it isn�t likely to happen anytime soon. In his five full seasons in the bigs, Romero has posted an ERA over 5.00 four times. It looks like this guy only had one good season in him, and he isn�t worth your troubles anymore.
• When the New York Mets took Aaron Heilman 18th overall in the 2001 MLB draft, a lot of people thought he would develop into a solid mid-rotation pitcher. However, the chances of that happening don�t appear very good anymore. After getting walloped in 13 big league starts last season, the 25-year-old Heilman returned to AAA-Norfolk, but with disastrous results. He�s currently 0-7 with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.524 WHIP. At this rate, he�s probably not even a prospect worth holding on to, and it�s a surprise he hasn�t been sent down to AA Binghamton.
• A lot of people think Joe Blanton is the next Athletics pitcher to be called up, but what about Mike Wood? Wood is 9-3 with a 3.08 ERA for AAA Sacramento, while Blanton is 3-2 with a 3.87 ERA. Wood hasn�t only been one of the best pitchers on his team, but also in the entire hitter friendly Pacific Coast League. The A�s don�t seem as high on Wood as they do on Blanton, so I wouldn�t be shocked to see Wood shipped for offense around the trading deadline. He�s well worth watching.
• San Diego catcher Ramon Hernandez followed up his breakthrough season last year by hitting .217 in April. Even though he posted a mark of .277 in May and is currently batting .321 in June, his average still looks bad at .259. A great time to get him, because it�s clear he�s adjusted to the National League after being acquired from Oakland.
• Please come back, Mike Lowell? He�s hitting .136 in June and has had one month in each of the last three seasons in which he has hit under .226. Every hitter has slumps, but it�s pretty frustrating when you can expect a stud like Lowell to have one gutter month on an annual basis.
• Another guy in a massive slump is Daryle Ward, hitting .182 in June after raking for a .375 mark in May. It was fun while it lasted. His overall numbers still look good, so perhaps you could still manage to get something decent for him.
MY ALL STAR BALLOT
I usually don�t bother to vote for the All Stars, since ignorant fans ruin it by voting in the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, who has barely played this year. But I figured I might as well give it a try, so without further delay:
As much as I�d like to vote for Victor Martinez, Ivan Rodriguez is the guy here.
Mike Piazza normally would get my vote, but he�s not even a catcher anymore. Thus, my vote went to Johnny Estrada. That Millwood deal looks terrible, doesn�t it?
AL FIRST BASE
This was tough, because two deserving guys in David Ortiz and Ken Harvey have played considerable time at DH, so I don�t really count them as 1Bs. That said, I voted for Rafael Palmeiro.
NL FIRST BASE
Sean Casey and Lyle Overbay were oh-so-deserving, but not as much as Albert Pujols.
AL SECOND BASE
NL SECOND BASE
With Marcus Giles out, this is such an easy vote. Luis Castillo has come on strong in June, but it�s gotta be Jeff Kent.
Michael Young � with apologies to Miguel Tejada.
It came down to Royce Clayton, Jack Wilson, and Cesar Izturis. In the end, I went with Jack Wilson, just barely over Izturis. Who could have foreseen that argument?
AL THIRD BASE
Melvin Mora � with apologies to Hank Blalock.
NL THIRD BASE
Scott Rolen, who else?
Vladimir Guerrero is an obvious vote, as is Manny Ramirez. Gary Sheffield beat out Jose Guillen, Vernon Wells, Carlos Beltran, and Alex Sanchez as my third man.
Barry Bonds is one, Lance Berkman is two, while Ken Griffey Jr was my third. It�s great to see Junior back in an All Star game.
Ryan Fay has previously written for several other sites, including the now-defunct fantasybaseball.com. He can be seen in the Cafe Forums as RFay8585.
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