Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Top Pickups Around the Diamond- Week 8

C- Mike Napoli

We might really have something here. Napoli plays on a good offensive team and is getting the man's share of starts behind the plate. Surprisingly enough he leads the team in HR with 10, already matching his total from a season ago. While he is currently on pace to hit 35HR, it is doubtful he will be able to keep up his early run. Look for something closer to 25-30HR, still a very good total for a catcher.

He hit 6HR in April, but only batted a paltry .212. Thus far in May Napoli has 4HR and is hitting .324, with 12RBI. Don't expect a batting average like that for the rest of the season, his track record suggests he is more of a .250-.260hitter, but the power is no fluke and will be there at the end.

FSE VERDICT- I think I just talked myself into liking him. Go out there and get him, he'll have the power numbers by the end of the season to make him worth it.

1B- Dmitri Young

DA MEAT HOOK! An old favroite here at FSE, Young is on his way to play himself back into everyday at bats at 1B, while Nick Johnson is on the DL. He was the DH for a few days, while he tied to get his swing back, and on Tuesday was penciled into the 4hole in the line up.

Young had a bounce back season last year hitting .320 with 13HR and 74RBI. Credit the
Nats for taking a risk on in 2007, but do not expect that kind of production again in 2008. Dmitri will play decently enough, but he was hurt at the end of last season and was banged up early this season. The injuries will certainly hinder Young at the plate, as they are beginning to pile up quickly and with his large frame, and aging body (35 in October), Young will have a tougher and tougher time staying out on the field.

FSE VERDICT- We like Young the baseball player. We DO NOT recommend Young the fantasy baseball player. Keep an eye on Chris Duncan, who has been dropped in many leagues, and has more of an upside for the fantasy season going forward.

2B/3B/0F/SS?- Jerry Hairston

Interesting name here. Hairston was an underachiever for years, and over the last few seasons has found a niche as a utility man. Hairston is currently hitting .314 with 1HR and 4SB, more or less the MO of his career, with a batting average about 50 points higher than we are used to seeing.

Hairston won't hit for much power, and is certainly playing over his head right now, but at least he is playing, and that makes him a good stolen base threat. With both Alex Gonzalez and Jeff Keppinger on the DL, Hairston will get the starts at SS despite his defensive shortcomings. If isn't already eligible at SS in your league, he should be soon. I am a big fan of being able to have a guy on your roster who is eligible at so many positions, in case of off days, injury, or an anticipated day of rest for one of your regular starters.

FSE VERDICT- I don't want to overrate Hairston and make him seem better than he really is. Expect .270 with 7HR, 25SB and 50RBI if he actually continues to get starts at different spots in the line up. That being said with Keppinger and Gonzalez due back sooner or later, Hairston could see his role diminish if he is unable to keep up his current pace. Personally, I think he is worth an add in most leagues, if you are low on depth, or could use some stolen base help in the immediate future. Just don't expect him to be contributing this much come August of September.

3B- Troy Glaus

Remember when he was good? Glaus was once an elite slugger at 3B and was a lock for 35+HR and 95RBI. It looks like injuries have caught up to Glaus a bit and while he is no longer the elite slugger he once was, he is still productive and wield a dangerous bat.

Now in the NL with the St. Louis Cardinals, Glaus only has 2HR , but has managed a decent amount of RBIs so far knocking in 28, putting him on pace for 90. Not the triple digit RBI count we are use to seeing from him in the past, but still a serviceable amount for any 3B.

FSE VERDICT- I would take the risk on Glaus if he is available in your league. I think he is still getting his swing back after an injury plagued 2007. The power will comeback at some point and it might be that it takes him half of the season to get there, but it will happen.

SS- Cristian Guzman

Has hovered around that .300 make all season and looks reborn again playing with the
Nationals. He doesn't have the speed he once did early in his career, and for a few seasons he looked totally useless. However, last season (before he got hurt) and early this season Guzman looks reborn and seems as if he has regained his ability to handle the bat and be a productive player.

He is still only 30, and has scored 33Runs on the season, putting him on pace to score well over 100 this season. As an added bonus, he still might be able to go double digits in HR and SB, don't expect anything crazy, but certainly something serviceable enough in all leagues.

FSE VERDICT- Go out and get him if you need the help at SS or are hard up for Runs scored in your fantasy league.

OF- Jay Bruce

Stud center fielder and the jewel of the Reds' minor league organization. Bruce has 20/20 potential and most expect him to get the call for the major leagues in early June.

FSE VERDICT- I don't like rookie hitters and I don't like people picking them up before they are in the majors. You need players who are actually playing and putting up stats to be successful. Bruce might be able to help you in a few months, but until he is actually in the majors, I wouldn't give him any serous consideration.

OF- Jose Guillen

Similar to last season Guillen had a very slow April. There were reasons for for the slow start, one was the off season controversy of a pending 15 game suspension for purchasing steroids and HGH at various points throughout 2003- 2005. The suspension was overturned, but one could argue that the mental damage was already done to Guillen. Another reason for the slow start was that Guillen, admittedly, showed up to spring training out of shape and had to work his way into playing condition.

As the season has gone along April showers have bloomed and become May flowers for Jose who managed to become the AL's Player of the Week last week with 13RBI and 2HR. You might not like Jose Guillen the baseball player, but you have to like Jose Guillen the fantasy player.

FSE VERDICT- Guillen is a good outfield bat who will be available still in some leagues. He is definitely worth an add in most leagues, if he is still available. He might be a bit streaky, but in rotisserie leagues streaky doesn't matter, it all evens out in the end. In Head to Head leagues he might cause you a few extra week- to- week headaches so be weary of those up and down times.

OF- Matt Joyce

A developing minor league slugger has been called up to the majors by Detroit because, quite simply, there is no one else. He was getting his fair share of at bats as the DH and has now shifted to LF to in place of the oft injured Gary Sheffield. He has 4HR in only 30 at bats to go along with 5R, 6RBI and a .266average. He'll be 24 in August and still has plenty of growing and developing to do as both a hitter and major league player.

The numbers look impressive early on, and he could turn into a decent major league player. Again, I am never a big fan of rookies, but down the road I could see him being a perennial .250 with 25HR and 85RBI bat, especially playing around the caliber of players that will be in Detroit for the next few seasons.

FSE VERDICT- I have my reservations this season, but going forward I think he actually might develop into a decent fantasy player. (Note: I have no idea why I think this, I am just going with my gut.)

Quick Hits

OF- Ben Francisco

With Cleveland's offense struggling so badly they need a spark from anywhere, and Francisco is hoping to be just that. He has started 4 straight games and with a .372 batting average, is forcing the issue to be an everyday starter for the rest of the season. Go grab him if you need a quick fix, with season long production potential.

OF- Randy Winn

Always does just enough to remain on the fantasy radar. He is playing well this season and is a guy who can be a long term solution for teams in need of a decent bat. A .295average with 12HR and 20SB, are right on par with what he normally does, and should be expected again this season. He is a bit underrated, and should be available in your league as a good pick up if you need some speed.

2B- Mark Grudzielanek

Going into this season I felt that 2B was a remarkably deep position for fantasy, despite what many had believed. It is because of this that Grudzielanek doesn't get noticed in many leagues, but if you get the chance to look at his career stats, he is remarkably consistent. .3ooBA, 55RBI, 8HR, almost every season. Seeing the numbers I can't tell if those numbers are a good thing or a bad thing, but at least they are consistent.

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