OpinionMay 27, 2007


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Swing and a Miss: Round Four

By Jamaal Gilbert

So it is fantasy week eight and not only am I eating my words on a Carlos Silva recommendation, but my Twins are a good ways back in the Central Division. Regardless of how much anguish I feel with regard to my home team, the column must go on; so here I am.

Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about good ways to improve my team without spending a ton, and I came up with something that could work quite well if you’re in a good position to do it. I call it the “ambulance chaser” method, and if anyone has a better name for it, I’ll take it.

Basically, you take two or three of your bench spots and claim the injured arms who will be back this season – you know, guys like Mark Mulder, Jason Schmidt, Clay Hensley, Josh Johnson, Jason Jennings, Kevin Millwood, or Jon Patterson. You could even think long term with players like Pedro Martinez or Kenny Rogers. A good portion of these guys are on rosters already, but you should be able to get them at a discount with the comfort of knowing you have a solid option once the player gets a few starts under his belt. The importance of a midseason spark cannot be understated, and this is a good spot to look.

Let me qualify this by saying that I’m not a big fan of Kenny Rogers (never have been), and that teams trying to stay afloat need not employ this method, as they’ll likely fall beyond repair while waiting for their injured ace to return.

If you aren’t big into scouring the injured-pitcher pool, I also compiled a nice list of buy-low candidates for you to feast on. Take a look:

1) Richie Sexson, 1B, Seattle Mariners – Over the past three full seasons Sexson has played, he has put up an average of 39 home runs, 117 RBI along with respectable AVG, OBP, and SLG numbers.

2) Bobby Abreu, OF, New York Yankees – A perennial top-10 outfielder, Abreu has let down his owners of late, batting .200 over the past eight games and .220 with just one stolen base in the in the month of May. Snap him up from an unsuspecting owner before he heats up again.

3) Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees – You’ve heard the following all too often I’m sure, “He’s old”, “He’s struggling”, or “He’s lost his ability”. He’s also saved over 30 games in nine of the past ten seasons and played this same game last year before dominating once again.

4) Ervin Santana, SP, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – The other Santana took a big step forward last year, but has struggled in ‘07 so far. Look for him to stop messing around and regain the sometimes-brilliant form of a year ago.

5) Carlos Delgado, 1B, New York Mets – With only nine home runs in July of 2004, Delgado finished the season on a tear, smashing 24 dingers in the final 2 1/2 months. Do you really doubt he can get the mojo working again this year with just three jacks in seven weeks? I don’t.

6) Andruw Jones, OF, Atlanta Braves – Jones always has a slump, and this year it’s coming early in the season. Expect big numbers from him again as he enters free agency this winter.

7) Garrett Atkins, 3B, Colorado Rockies – Hitless in eight of his past thirteen games, Atkins is starting to get the label of “one year wonder” from some owners, but his season is far from over. Atkins struggled in May 2006 as well, dropping 27 points in his average, but then turned it up from there. Expect him to dust off and get it going as we move forward.

8) Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox – Just because he’s struggling a bit, I’m not going to just forget his past three years of 39-homer, 110-RBI production, and neither should you.

9) Mike Cameron, OF, San Diego Padres - He’s finally starting to heat up, and it’s possible Cameron will be available in your free agent pool.

Now let’s end this column with a bang.

I’ve been perusing game summaries over the past week and came up with a few people who made me chuckle or could stand to have their first amendment rights revoked for a week or so.

#1 – The first one is from Houston first baseman Lance Berkman, who talked to reporters about missing Friday’s game against Arizona.

“I don’t know how this team’s going to cope without my .265 average and my six extra-base hits,” Berkman said. “But I think they’ll get along for one night.”

From what I’ve heard, Berkman’s always good for a sarcastic quip or two.

#2 – Our second misspeak comes from Colorado reliever Jorge Julio, who hasn’t done anything worth writing home about in 2007.

“It’s not my night,” Julio said. “It’s not my day. So tomorrow is another day to keep working.”

With an ERA of 11.12 and a out of control WHIP of 3.176 so far this year, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Chances are Julio’s “day” won’t come anytime soon, regardless of how much work he puts in.

#3 – Lastly, Cincinnati Reds Manager Jerry Narron made this ridiculous generalization about catcher Javier Valentin recently: “Javy is one of the better pinch hitters in baseball. Every time he goes up there, you feel he has a chance to hit the ball out of the park. I feel pretty good with him coming up there.”

Who is this guy trying to kid? Apparently Narron hasn’t taken a look at the stats on his player, as Valentin is 2-for-11 in pinch-hit opportunities this season, with his only home run coming in the May 21 game this quote was taken from.

Lastly, a bit of housekeeping business: Thanks to those of you who wrote something for the mailbag idea a couple of weeks ago, and I’ll be doing it once every three weeks from now on, if people continue to comment of course. I had fun with it and hope you all did too.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

 
Jamaal Gilbert is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Jamaal in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of jamastaballa.
 
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