Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Top Pick Ups Around The Diamond- Week 7

We head back around the majors and look at the most added lists in popular fantasy leagues and determine if the player is for real or not.

C- Chris Iannetta-

Has more or less taken the starting role from incumbent Yorvit Torrealba by playing well while Torrealba has struggled. Iannetta is hitting .327 with 3HR 14RBI and 8Runs scored. To be honest I expected to start writing this, glance at the numbers and give quick, "don't go nuts" review, that was until of course, I actually looked at the numbers to see that there might be something here.

He has hit for a bit more power than one could have expected, but he produced batting averages well over .300 in parts of 2006 and 2007 while in the minors. Of course the thing I like to stress is that Iannetta knows how to draw a walk and has sported an OBP of well over .400 in that same time frame.

Iannetta will have his benefits; he is hot right now, plays for a good offensive team and is getting the majority of the playing time behind the plate. Another benefit is that he is only 25 and still growing as a hitter, while Torrealba is pushing 30, and has already really, topped out as an offensive player. A negative, however, will be that Torrealba, who helped the Rockies get to the World Series last season, lingers on the bench, waiting for an Iannetta slump, so he can reclaim his starting role.

FSE VERDICT- It is appealing, but hold off for now. Keep an eye on the situation and at the very least you could have the great heads up on a sleeper at catcher for next season.

C- Paul Bako

I avoided writing this for as long as I could, but I cannot ignore the hot Bako any more. I realize it's a great story and he is having a career season, and there are even websites pushing for his birth on the All-Star team. However lets realize threethings. 1) He is 35, 2) has never played this well before and 3) He is still Paul Bako.

FSE VERDICT- Nice story early on, but so was No Country For Old Men, and we all know how that ended. A lot of weird glances, confused, angry faces who feel like they were missing something when it was all over.

1B- Joey Votto

Cincinnati's young slugger started the season in a 'the hotter hand plays' platoon with Scott Hatteburg. Soon after though, and as April turned into May Votto's early season struggles ended and he took the step forward into being the everyday starter. He is now a lock to play just about everyday at first, and will put up some solid Kevin Youkilis type numbers in his first season. As an added bonus, based on his minor league numbers, he should even be good for about 10-15SB.

FSE VERDICT- Go get him.

1B- Carlos Delgado

Probably should have sold high after his 2HR game in April, but his May stats indicate there might still be something left in his old bat. So far in 10 May games Delgado has 11H, 2HR, 5RBI, a .306AVG and a .915OPS. A positive is that at very worst, it looks like Mets will continue to give Delgado the lion's share of at bats at first base. So, he will always have the opportunity to hit in productive spots no matter how badly he is slumping or struggling.

FSE VERDICT- You still should have sold high after the 2HR game.

2B/3B- Akinori Iwamura

Has been on a tear since the beginning of May with 18H, 6RBI, and 8Runs scored. He plays on a dynamic Ray's offense, and showed the ability last season to be able to steal a base when the situation calls for it. The fact that he can fill a decent utility role on your fantasy team won't hurt any either.

FSE VERDICT- A bit streaky, but a solid addition that can fill a few spots.

3B- Blake DeWitt

Playing over his head right now, but he is hot and quite frankly there is no one else in LA to take at bats away from him. He has always hit for decent average in his minor league career, he never did anything to separate himself or make him seem like anything special. However it was his ability to stay healthy this spring that helped him nail down the starting 3B job.

FSE VERDICT- If you are hard up for a 3B you could do worse.

SS- Stephen Drew

I have got to be honest I realize scouts and baseball people know a lot more about talent and upside than I do, but I am going with my gut. I don't like Drew all that much. He, at best will end up being serviceable, but right now he isn't even there yet. He has hit for decent power for a SS this season with 4HR already and 14RBI to go along with 21Runs. He plays on the dynamic D-Backs offense, so he should have some decent numbers by default. But please do not expect the All-Star top SS projections some keep predicting for him.

FSE VERDICT- You can play the upside game, but I'll play the reality game. He isn't worth it.

SS- Jeff Keppinger

Just broke his kneecap (5/13). See you in 4-6 weeks.

FSE VERDICT- Still better than Juan Uribe

OF- Garret Anderson

Was underrated for years and when he finally started getting fantasy love became brittle and injury ridden. In my opinion he has once again become underrated and is worth owning in most leagues. You must keep an eye on him and the injury list in your league if you own him, but he puts up numbers that can make it worth it, especially if he is a FA in your league.

Right now, he is on pace for 20HR and 89RBI, which aren't the All-Star numbers we remember from years past, but are as solid and consistent as you will find as FA in most leagues.

I like him a bit more than our next guy because of his history of being a consistent power threat and because he can hide in the DH's spot if he gets banged up at any point during the season.

FSE VERDICT- Is a fine addition if you have some banged up bodies in the outfield and need some offense.

OF- Mark Kotsay

Has hit over .300 just once in his career, doesn't hit for power, doesn't steal many bases, has a bad back, and yet because he played in Oakland and replaced Andrew Jones in Atlanta, people get confused and think he is good. He is off to a hot start in the ATL, but don't fall for it and think this is the start of something good and that he will be able to continue it throughout the season. Even if he keeps up his numbers he is still on pace for only 72R, 13 HR and 81RBI, to go along with a .300AVG. Keep in mind that is assuming everything breaks right, and his chronic back injuries of years don't flare up again.

FSE VERDICT- If you can't tell I have nothing nice to say about him.

OF- Carlos Gomez

He has shown tremendous speed already having 16SB on the season and has managed to be a spark plug on a rather otherwise stagnant Twins offense by scoring 21Runs and has even added a bit of pop with 2HR. The batting average is only at .268 so far, and actually think it will go down before it goes up further, but still the numbers across the board will be nothing to frown at.
He is still only 22 and from what people in the Twins organization say he is still raw as a player, but isa good listener and has grown in leaps and bounds sinse spring training began. He will continue to grow as a player throughout the course of this season, but don't be surprised if that doesn't show its greatest reflection on his production until next season.

FSE VERDICT- Like him a lot this season, if he is not already owned in your league. Love him in your 2009 draft.

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