StrategyAugust 27, 2009

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Cool Cats: Help Out Your Categories

By R.J. White

With the season winding down, there’s precious little time left to make a move in your standings. You have to be unforgiving with the dead weight on your team — now is the time to make some cuts. Check out your standings and see in which categories you can do the most damage. If you’re deep in last place in one category, cut bait with the players that are supposed to be helping you out there.

Some examples: In one league, I’m in last place in average (thanks Carlos Pena) and the only category I can make up a decent bit of ground is in steals. As a result, I picked up any SB threats I could find in free agency, with the high-average-but-little-else hitters the first to be dumped from my roster. Intrigued? What players are out there that can help you in a few categories?

HRs + RBIs

Chris Davis (1B/3B) – The disappointing Rangers 1B made an adjustment to his batting stance in Triple-A and proceeded to go on a tear. He’s been recalled and will start over Hank Blalock most days. If you remember his second-half explosion in 2008, you know he can be a difference maker over this last month.

Adam LaRoche (1B) – Back at home with the Braves, LaRoche is going on his customary post-ASB tear. In the past month, he has seven homers and is batting .353. Expect more of the same in September.

Hideki Matsui (OF) – I was able to snag Matsui off the FA list earlier this week, dumping Carlos Quentin in the process. Matsui has eight homers in August, with only one coming in the friendly confines of the New Yankee Launching Pad. Available in about half the leagues out there, he makes an excellent pickup.

SBs + Runs

Rajai Davis (OF) – He’s burning up the base paths, stealing 14 bags over the last month while hitting .333. He’s setting a great pace, stealing more than a base per 10 plate appearances. Over the last month, that could mean another 10 SBs to your total, which could equal a handful of points in your standings.

Everth Cabrera (SS) – A Rule-5 pick, Cabrera has actually been holding his own with the stick, posting a .269/.359/.405 line in 242 at-bats. For the Padres, that’s more than acceptable. Cabrera stole 10 bases in July and has six steals in August (a month in which he’s getting on base almost 40% of the time).

Scott Podsednik (OF) – The Alex Rios acquisition hasn’t cut into Scotty Pods time at all. He’s hitting .298 this year with 20 steals, three of which came in consecutive games last weekend. Since skipper Ozzie Guillen prefers Podsednik at the top of his lineup, don’t expect him to cede much playing time in September.


Scott Feldman (SP) – Owned in under 50% of Yahoo standard leagues, Feldman is rocking a 13-4 record despite a mediocre K/BB ratio. I wouldn’t expect the sub-4.00 ERA to continue, but you can’t argue with the success thus far.

Jorge de la Rosa (SP) – Another guy owned in far too few leagues, de la Rosa has benefited from the Rockies huge surge (52 wins in the team’s last 75 games). He’s 12-2 in his last 15 starts, and Colorado has earned him wins even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, like in his last outing against San Francisco.

Carl Pavano (SP) – Pavano is 2-1 in four starts since joining the Twins. He’s had an excellent K/BB ratio all season, but he was too hittable while with the Indians. He’s only allowed one hit per inning in his 25 innings with Minnesota, so he looks like he’s on the right track for success the rest of the way.


Brett Anderson (SP) – Anderson has seemed to regain his form in his last two outings, striking out 14 batters in 14 innings while walking only two. Owned in only a quarter of standard leagues, the Oakland pitcher could be a big help in Ks, ERA, and WHIP — just don’t expect too many wins.

Gio Gonzalez (SP) – On the other hand, if all you need are strikeouts, this Oakland pitcher should suit your fancy. Gonzalez has 73 Ks in 67.1 innings this year, although a massive amount of walks has caused him to have an inflated ERA and WHIP.

Neftali Feliz (RP) – Plagued by control problems in the minors, Feliz has been very impressive in his first work with the Rangers. He has six holds and a save in nine appearances, striking out 21 batters in August. He can help you at three spots the rest of the way.

R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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