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Cincinnati Reds’ Starter Edinson Volquez Eyeing a July Return To MLB


Edinson Volquez, or is it Edison Volquez, or Julio Reyes? Ah, Whatever. Number 36 on the Cincinnati Reds is ready to put Tommy John surgery, a 50-game suspension and not knowing his own name behind him. He is tentatively set to return to MLB action around the All-Star Break barring any further setbacks.


Fantasy baseball owners in need of starting pitching should take immediate action. 


For the forgetful ones:


In 2007, Edinson looked at his birth certificate for the first time and realized his name had an “n” in it. He asked the Texas Rangers to change his name from Edison, to Edinson. Shortly after, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds with Daniel Ray Herrera for Josh Hamilton. It has yet to be determined if the Rangers dealt Volquez because of his spelling ability or his value. 


in 2008, Volquez’s debut season for the Reds, Edinson exploded onto the scene with a 17-6 record in 32 starts. His numbers were filthy. He finished with a 3.21 ERA in 196 innings pitched, 206 strikeouts, a trip to the All-Star Game and three second place votes for National League Rookie of the Year.


In 2009, Edinson Volquez was just 4-2 in nine starts before his season ended. He was placed on the 60 day DL which eventually led to the ever so famous “Tommy John” surgery. While rehabbing, Volquez received a 50 game suspension in April 2010 for using performance enhancing drugs. Luckily, he was able to serve this suspension, rehab and practice spelling concurrently. 


This month, Edinson took the hill for his first round of rehab assignments with the Lynchburg Hillcats, the Class A Advanced affiliate of the Reds in the Carolina League. Volquez allowed hits to the first two batters of the Potomac Nationals then proceeded to retire the next nine Nationals consecutively. Edinson finished his first appearance with three innings pitched, two hits allowed, three strikeouts and no walks.


In Volquez’s second rehab outing for the Lynchburg Hillcats, he pitched five scoreless innings, struck out four batters, allowed only one hit and didn’t surrender a walk. 


Edinson made his third rehab start Tuesday, 6/22, for the AAA Louisville Bats of the International League. Volquez pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking none, striking out one and earning his second minor league win of 2010.


If you are one of the lucky managers with an open DL spot, stash Volquez now in hopes that he returns to 2008 form. This move should allow you to add an additional player until Edinson is activated from the disabled list.


Don’t worry about his spelling abilities, this kid can flat out deal. Expect Edinson to get 12-15 starts, 3.75 ERA and strikeout seven to eight batters per nine innings. 

Edinson Volquez is currently owned in 16 percent of Y! leagues.


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Article by Alan Harrison exclusively for Check back weekly for more great fantasy insight, analysis and occasional nonsense from Alan.

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In-Depth A-Ball Report: Plus Aaron Hicks … The Next Torii Hunter?

Player reports from Advanced A & A ball. Get in-depth stats and reviews of the biggest young players in the game. Plus a close look at the unanimous top prospect in A ball, Aaron Hicks. Deep keeper and dynasty owners circle these names!


Aaron Hicks, CF Minnesota Class A Line – .256, 5 HR, 22 RBI
The unanimous top prospect in A ball. Hicks possesses all the tools scouts drool over, including a 93-95 MPH fastball, but he chose the route of the position player. The switch hitter is blessed with excellent patience and a feel for the strike zone. He drew 41 BB in 251 AB in ’09 and 48 in 238 AB thus far in ’10. So despite his pedestrian average, his OBP is .378. He’s still a work in progress with the stick, thus his relatively low production numbers. Hicks is unpolished on the base paths as well, being CS 8 times against 6 SB. Patience is a virtue.. The next Torii Hunter?

Grant Green, SS Oakland Advanced A Line – .320, 5 HR, 30 RBI
The A’s 2009 first round pick has not disappointed in his first full season of pro ball. A .359 career hitter at USC, his quick adjustments at the plate have been impressive. Lefties are not getting him out, collecting 33 knocks in 76 AB (.434). He’s slugging .466 with 18 doubles and three triples. He is red hot in June hitting .381 with three HR and 11 RBI. Grant will turn 23 in September, but his ceiling is still quite high. A quick advance through the ranks seems likely.

Engel Beltre, CF Texas Advanced A Line – .326, 5 HR, 32 RBI
After hitting .227 in the California League in ’09, Beltre has restructured his approach this season. He’s raised his BA nearly 100 points and his K rate is way down. He’s struck out 29 times in 233 AB (1 per 8 AB). Last year he went down on strikes every 4.6 AB. After hitting .233 in April, he’s responded with a .347 May and .436 June. His SB total is down, with 7 swipes in 13 attempts. Perhaps it’s finally starting to click for the talented outfielder. 

Anthony Gose, OF Philadelphia Advanced A Line – .268, 2 HR, 13 RBI
Gose has the potential to absolutely wreck a game with his speed. He stole 76 bags in ’09 and has 24 this year. His caught stealing totals are alarming, however, being thrown out 19 times in ’10. He also has 10 triples. His 72 strikeouts in 272 AB need to be cut down. Gose is still very raw at the plate, but he’s shown a willingness to work counts and a take a free pass (23). With his incredible athletic gifts, it’s difficult to put a ceiling on this 19 year old. 

Eric Hosmer, 1B Kansas City Advanced A Line – .356, 3 HR, 42 RBI
Hosmer underwent LASIK surgery in the off-season and the 2008 #3 pick has come back a new hitter in ’10. He’s raised his BA 115 points from the .241 he posted last year. His BB:K ratio is an outstanding 33 to 27. Last season that ratio was 53 to 90, at the exact same level. While he’s only connected on 3 dingers, he’s still slugging .529, with 24 doubles and 6 triples. The LHH Hosmer is hitting .376 in 93 AB versus LHP, including an 11:10 BB to K ratio. Unlike last season, he’s seeing the ball scary well. He’s too classy to remain at this level. 

Brett Jackson, CF Chicago Cubs Advanced A Line – .298, 4 HR, 33 RBI
Jackson has begun to light it up. He’s batting .333 in June with 2 HR and 17 RBI, and over his last ten he’s at .400 with 2 HR and 14 RBI. On the season he’s sporting a .471 SLG% with 16 doubles and 7 triples. After drawing 31 BB in ’09, he’s already up to 42 in ’10. His OBP is a robust .408. Jackson has good wheels as well, swiping 12 in 18 tries.
Mike Trout, CF LA Angels Class A Line – .370, 6 HR, 35 RBI
Trout is putting up video game type numbers. He’s slugging .553 with 15 doubles and 7 triples. His OBP is .449 with a 33:39 BB to K ratio. He’s hit at least .355 in every month. This after hitting .352 between Rookie ball and A ball last season. He’s on absolute tear. And his prowess doesn’t end with the bat, he’s stolen 34 bases (6 CS) in 66 games. Trout has 21 hits in 50 AB (.420) with RISP. What else does he have to prove in the Midwest League?

Wilmer Flores, SS New York Mets Class A Line – .278, 7 HR, 44 RBI
At only 19 years of age, Flores is in his third season in the Mets system. His plate discipline is much improved. After recording a 22:72 BB to K ratio in 2009, he’s already drawn 23 walks in 2010. He’s flashing more power as he continues to grow into his 6’3 frame. He’s driven in 44 runs in 66 games, compared to 36 in 125 games last season.
William Myers, C Kansas City Class A Line – .287, 10 HR, 43 RBI
Myers is slugging .502 (16 doubles) and has drawn 45 walks for a .408 OBP. Seven of his ten HR have come with runners on base, and he’s batting .361 with RISP. His OPS is 1.083 in June and 1.118 over his last ten games. Myers provides speed at the catcher position with 9 thefts.  


Aaron Miller, SP LA Dodgers Advanced A Line – 2-4, 2.77 ERA, 75 K
On the same minor league club with arms Ethan Martin and Nathan Eovaldi, Miller is taking center stage. In 74 2/3 innings he’s allowed merely 53 hits and opponents are hitting .201 against him. A left handed pitcher, he’s held RHH hitters to a .190 mark. Command a bit shaky, issuing 35 free passes. Walked six in five innings on June 9th. He features a fastball that cuts in on right handers and a sharp slider. Terrific athlete, was projected as an OF out of High School. 

Julio Teheran, SP Atlanta Advanced A Line – 3-1, 1.38 ERA, 49 K
The 19-year old Teheran has absolutely blown away the SAL and Carolina Leagues. In 78 1/3 combined innings he’s allowed just 11 ER. In 39 innings in ’10, he’s given up 31 hits, walked seven and struck out 49. He’s pitching to a 1.38 ERA, and has surrendered one run or less in four of six GS. In his last start, on June 16th, he went seven innings allowing two hits, two BB and striking out 12. Fragility and stamina have been concerns with his 150 pound frame. The ball explodes out of his hand, topping out at 98 MPH. 

Matt Moore, SP Tampa Bay Advanced A Line – 3-7, 5.13 ERA, 98 K
Moore is having an interesting 2010 campaign. He’s given up 69 hits in 73 2/3 innings, and struck out a staggering 98 batters. The problem is he’s lost seven games and his ERA is over five. Why? Look no further then the base on ball. Moore has walked 40 batters, or one batter every 1.8 innings. Success is difficult to come by when you’re constantly in the stretch. Moore walked 70 in 123 innings in ’09, so this is not foreign territory. If he wants to move up the chain, he needs to start throwing strikes. 

Shelby Miller, SP St. Louis Class A Line – 1-3, 4.79 ERA, 56 K
The Cards 2009 first round selection has four potentially plus pitches, but he needs refinement. When Miller makes mistakes they’re getting hit (44 hits in 41 1/3), but when he makes his pitches A ball hitters won’t get a sniff (56 K). His 1.37 GO/AO ratio and two HR allowed are encouraging. His 15 BB (one every 2.7 innings) is not. Right handed batters are hitting Miller at a .290 clip.  

Tyler Matzek, SP Colorado Class A Line – 0-0, 2.28 ERA, 27 K
The Rockies 11th overall pick in 2009 has made a powerful impression in his first five professional starts. In 23 2/3 innings, the left hander has given up 17 hits and opposing batters are hitting .207 against him (LHH .150). His fastball sits in the mid 90’s. He’s been touted for his pitching intelligence at a young age and should be a quick riser. Matzek’s command has been shaky early on (16 BB). 

Kyle Heckathorn, SP Milwaukee Class A Line – 5-4, 2.34 ERA, 55 K
After a rough 6.04 ERA in six Pioneer League starts in ’09, Heckathorn has been dazzling this season. In nine GS, he’s worked to a 2.19 ERA in 53 1/3 innings, allowing 44 hits and walking just 11. The 6’6 right hander is holding lefties to a .188 average, and all batters to a .216 mark. His GO/AO ratio is a spectacular 2.59 as a starter thanks to a good sinking fastball.


Jason Kipnis, 2B Cleveland – Kipnis was promoted to AA after posting a .300, 6 HR, 31 RBI line at the Advanced A Carolina League. He’s hitting .355 with a 1.090 OPS in eight games.
Tyler Chatwood, SP LA Angels – Chatwood recorded an 8-3 mark with a 1.77 ERA in 13 California League starts. His GO/AO ratio was 2.93. In his first AA start he was bombed for eight hits and six runs in 2 2/3 innings.
Arodys Vizcaino, SP Atlanta – The 19 year old from the Dominican Republic was promoted from the SAL, where he went 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA, to Advanced A ball. In two starts since the step up in competition, he’s lasted 8 2/3 combined innings, allowing 13 hits, six ER, striking out seven and walking three.  

Written by Adam Ganeles for The Fantasy Fix. Check back weekly for Adam’s awesome insight on MLB and MiLB Fantasy Baseball!

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Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun Lead 2010 MLB 30 HR/30 SB Candidates

Power and Speed, two of the five essential “tools” or skills that baseball players are said to possess, and they are lethal when combined. Players like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Bobby Bonds, Dale Murphy, Barry Bonds*, Daryl Strawberry, Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and Hanley Ramirez all have used their unique combination of power and speed to join one of the most elite fraternities in Major League Baseball. The 30/30 Club. 


A player who hits 30 homers and steals 30 bases is said to have joined the 30/30 club. The 30/30 club has been achieved 54 times in the modern era of baseball. Barry & Bobby Bonds combined, have accounted for ten of them.


The more elite and rare club is the 40/40 club, which has been achieved by Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano. The 50/50 has never been reached, but Alex Rodriguez is said to have come closest in 1998 when he went 42/46 as a member of the Seattle Mariners.


Ian Kinsler was the only player in MLB to achieve 30/30 in the 2009 season with 31 jacks and 30 stolen bags. Unfortunately, Ian started off the 2010 season on the disabled list, likely keeping him from back to back seasons in the 30/30 club.

The following have the best chance to join the elite 30/30 club in the 2010 season:


Ryan Braun (OF-MIL)


This kid is legit. Through 67 games, Braun has put 10 balls in the seats and swiped 11 bags. Projected over the course of an entire season, Braun should reach the 30/30 plateau. Last year, Braun didn’t steal his sixth base until mid-June, so he was a month ahead of schedule in that category. He has since slowed down a bit. My Guess: 34/31.


Matt Kemp (OF-LAD)


Like Ryan Braun, Kemp is one of the brightest young talents in the big leagues. In 2009, Kemp came very close to joining the 30/30 fraternity, finishing the season with 26 HR & 34 SB. While he finished just shy in the HR category in 2009, he sure is off to a nice start this year, as he currently has 11 HR in 69 games. This pace, projected over the course of a full season would put him in the 30+ HR range. In 2008 & 2009, Kemp stole 35 & 34 bases respectively. Expect Kemp to join the elite 30/30 club in 2010. My Guess: 32/34 .


Nelson Cruz (OF-TEX)


In 2009, Nelly went 33/20 in just 128 games. Nelly got off to a fast start in 2010 with 10/7 in just 32 games.  However, Cruz hit the disabled list with an aggravated hamstring, putting his potential bid for a 30/30 or even a 40/40 season in jeopardy. I hope this kid gets healthy soon; he’s one of the most exciting players in the game. My Guess: 35/26   


Next In Line: Carlos Gonzalez (OF-COL)


CarGo, as he’s well known throughout the media, fits the same mold as Braun & Kemp. Although CarGo doesn’t have a full MLB season under his belt yet, he did manage to hit 13 HR and steal 16 bags in 86 appearances in 2009 for the Rockies. While I don’t think he will be able to achieve 30/30 this season, I believe he’s only one year away. The fact that three former Rockies are 30/30 members (Walker, Burks & Bichette) lead me to believe that playing home games at Coors Field will enhance his chances. My Guess: 28/32.


Is it any coincidence that Braun and Kemp were probably drafted in the first round of your fantasy baseball draft? I think not. There is no evidence to support that the first two will slow down and the latter two won’t continue to get better. Get them on your team any chance you get. They will lead you to the “Fantasy Promise Land!”


Do you have any other potential 30/30 candidates?

Please leave feedback with a comment, or hit us up on Twitter!


Article by Alan Harrison exclusively for Check back weekly for more great fantasy insight, analysis and occasional nonsense from Alan.

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Week 11’s Must or Bust: Waiver Wire Gems? Justin Smoak, Max Scherzer and More

A quick look at Week 11’s Fantasy Baseball top performers and least owned players on the waiver wire. Justin Smoak is smoking the ball and Max Scherzer dominates twice. Can they really keep it up for another week?

Check out who’s a Must or a Bust.


John Buck40 percent of Y! Leagues
4 R / 3 HR / 8 RBI / .389 BA
With all the hype surrounding catchers this year, most owners seem to overlook guys like Buck. If you are a win-now kind of fantasy player, then having Buck on your team may benefit you over a player like Matt Weiters. Buck’s problem has always been hitting for a decent average. So far, he’s 33 points above his career numbers. He also has three multi-homer games already, and he could easily hit 25 by season’s end.

Chipper Jones53 percent of Y! Leagues
5 R / 1 HR / 7 RBI / .471 BA
Yes, he’s older and hitting 50 points below his career .306 average. But he’s still one of the best third basemen of the past 20 years. If Troy Glaus can have a comeback year, then Chipper can too. Expect better numbers in the second half, assuming he doesn’t battle injuries like he has over the past few seasons.

Scott Podsednik53 percent of Y! Leagues
5 R / 1 HR / 7 RBI / 2 SB / .286 BA
I’m so tempted to call the Royals the worst team in the league, but the truth is that the Indians and Orioles are certainly worse. Regardless, Speedy Scotty is back to his old form, running the bejeezus out of the bases. Injuries have really dropped Podsednik off the radar. But he’s healthy this year and on track for at least 40 stolen bases.

Justin Smoak13 percent of Y! Leagues
5 R / 2 HR / 8 RBI / .320 BA
After a dismal start, Smoak has put together a solid last month (15 R / 4 HR / 21 RBI /.278 avg). With the influx of all the call-ups, owners have forgotten to come back around to take a look at what Smoak is doing. He won’t be available for much longer. Go get him.

Angel Pagan33 percent of Y! Leagues
3 R / 5 RBI / 2 SB / .417 BA
Pagan has been on fire the past month, batting .327, with 15 runs, 13 RBIs, and nine SB. I seem to be less and less worried about Beltran coming back and squeezing Pagan out. Angel really has been at the center of the revitalized Mets.


Carl Pavano16 percent of Y! Leagues
16 IP / 2 W / 7 K / 2.25 ERA / 0.63 WHIP
Despite Pavano’s 8-6 record, this is actually his best season since 2004. There’s still plenty of time for Carl to get back to his usual mediocre numbers. But right now, he is pretty much holding career bests in ERA, WHIP, and BAA. His last game was a gem against the struggling Phils. Pavano went nine innings and only gave up one run. Ten of his 15 outings have been quality starts!

Max Scherzer34 percent of Y! Leagues
13 IP / 2 W / 17 K / 2.77 ERA / 1.15 WHIP
This kid has so much talent. Owners were expecting a lot more out of Scherzer this year, and a few have jumped back on the boat since his return. In five games since returning, he has a 3.48 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 41Ks. If you lack strikeouts, Mad Max is your guy!

J. J. Putz3 percent of Y! Leagues
3 IP / 1 W / 1 SV/ 3 K / 0.00 ERA / 0.33 WHIP
It’s truly amazing how quickly relief pitchers fall from grace. From 2006 through 2007, Putz amassed an amazing 76 saves with just a 1.86 ERA. Those days are long gone and J. J. has been reduced to a set-up guy, just silently waiting for Jenks to get injured or implode. Unless you are in a crazy deep league, there are better middle relievers out there.

Joel Pineiro27 percent of Y! Leagues
8 IP / 1 W / 5 K / 1.12 ERA / 0.50 WHIP
I feel like a broken record saying this, but Pineiro is a roller-coaster ride. He pitches well against the tough teams then blows-up against clubs like the Royals. There is no rhyme or reason to whether he will have a good game or not, and so I’ve always stayed away.

When he is on though, he can be as good as they come. In his last two games, Pineiro has pitched 17 innings, and allowed just eight hits, two runs, while striking out 12 against only two walks!

Like clockwork, though, Joel will have a bad game at some point in his next one or two outings, regardless of who he is facing.

Jason Vargas29 percent of Y! Leagues
7.2 IP / 1 W / 4 K / 1.17 ERA / 0.65 WHIP
After his first game, Vargas has put up a quality start in all of his games since (one game was only five innings, but he still only gave up two runs). Honestly, if the Mariners we’re any better, we could be looking at 9-2 record instead of a 5-2 line.

Vargas’ season ERA is under 3.00, his WHIP is just above 1.00, and batters are only hitting .225 against the pitcher. In his fifth year, Vargas may have finally figured it out.

Who do you think is the best waiver wire pickup of the week? Can Smoak keep it up?
Leave a comment at the top or reply to us on twitter.

Article by Evan Marx exclusively for Evan writes a Must or Bust article and a few other gems weekly. He likes long walks on the beach and quoting Ivan Drago at least once a day.

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Brett Wallace and Madison Bumgarner Are ‘Next In Line’


If you’ve missed out on some of the impact call ups which have taken place recently, take a look at some of the remaining prospects that will get the call soon.


Brett Wallace 1B TOR, August 26, 1986 –  Traded to Oakland for Matt Holiday and then swapped for Michael Taylor after the Roy Halladay deal, Wallace has hit 27 HRs since being promoted to AAA last year.  Coming up in the Cardinals system, Wallace figured to play 3B.  But the Blue Jays have depth at 3B, so he’s played 1B exclusively this year. 


Lyle Overbay stands directly in his way and he’s being paid almost $8 million.  If Wallace does get the call it will be at 1B or DH, so he’s call will depend on the play of Overbay and Adam Lind.  Although neither player has put up amazing numbers, it’s unclear if the organization is ready to make a move.

Madison Bumgarner P SF, August 1, 1989  –  The Giants came into camp this spring and slotted the 10th pick of the 2007 draft into the 5th rotation spot, by the time season started, Bumgarner was in AAA Fresno.  There was a lot published about his dip in velocity and his personal issues he dealt with in the off-season, but that’s all behind us now. 

Since April 19th Bumgarner has been brilliant including a 0.94 ERA in the month of May.  He had one hiccup in June which included an ejection and a 3 game suspension that brought back some of the personality concerns.  The Giants put Todd Wellemeyer on the DL recently, but they used their roster move to add Joe Martinez instead of calling up Bumgarner. 

The Giants plan on skipping the 5th spot next time around to give Wellemeyer a chance to come off the DL.  If Wellemeyer can’t come off the DL, Bumgarner could get the call this month.

Brandon Allen 1B ARI, Feb 12, 1986   –  Late last year the Diamondbacks traded away one of their best relievers in Tony Pena for 1B prospect, Allen.  He made a big splash in AAA Reno and found a lot of playing time with the Diamondbacks late last year.  His numbers were not good and the organization signed 1B Adam LaRoche to a 1 year deal in the offseason.  

Allen started the year in AAA and took a while to get going.  But in the last few weeks he has performed quite well.  His BB/K rate is very encouraging for someone with the power of Allen.  He is seeing the ball well and stands to get a look with the big league club soon. 

With the trade of Conor Jackson and quotes from management, the Diamondbacks will be part of quite the fire-sale this year.  LaRoche would make for a nice fit for many clubs and should be moved very soon.  With that move, Allen should see the majority of the time at 1B 

One last player to keep an eye on is Dayan Viciedo who was just called up by the White Sox.  The 21 year old Cuban defector is going to have to earn his playing time, but he has a lot of upside.  His career BB and K rates need to improve, but if he produces when he plays he could be the White Sox 3B for the next 10 years.

Which of these do you think has the greatest fantasy baseball value in 2010? 2011?
Leave a comment at the top or reply to us on twitter.

Article by James Weston exclusively for Check back weekly for more great fantasy insight and analysis from James.

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Colby Lewis and Week 12’s Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Pitchers

Fantasy Baseball’s Pitching Line of the Week: 

Colby Lewis (SP-TEX) 9 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, W 

Lewis pitched his first career complete game on June 19 against the Houston Astros. He picked up his third consecutive win while allowing only one earned run on two hits, striking out nine, and walking none.

Straight dealing!

Originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first round of MLB’s amateur draft in 1999, Colby saw action with the Rangers, Tigers, and Athletics before heading to Japan.

Colby seemed to reinvent himself while playing for the Hiroshima Carp of Japan’s Central League. Lewis led the league in strikeouts and finished second in wins and ERA in 2008. In 2009, he led the Central League in strikeouts for the second consecutive year.  

Instead of playing a third year in Japan, Lewis was given another chance in MLB by Texas, the team that originally drafted him.

He has been a pleasant surprise for both the Rangers and fantasy baseball owners alike. His numbers are filthy.

Colby is sporting a 3.01 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .193 BAA, .233 BABIP, and is striking out 8.6 batters per nine. Lewis is currently owned in 69% of Y! leagues.

The “Double Dipper” is a starting pitcher who makes two starts in the same week. Each Sunday, we will preview top three options in each league and highlight streaming options for players owned in less than 50% of Y! leagues. 

Top 3 NL Double Dippers:

Tim Lincecum/SF (@HOU, vs. BOS) – The Freak is Groovin’ Again. 2-0 and 17 stikeouts in his last two outings. 

Clayton Kershaw/LAD (@ LAA, vs. NYY) – The New Ace in LA has a 10.27 K/9, and has won three of his last four starts.

Jaime Garcia/STL (@TOR, @KC) – Filthy 1.59 ERA and 84.4 LOB percentage. 

Top 3 AL Double Dippers:

Jon Lester/BOS (@ATL, @FLA) – Hasn’t lost in last 11 outings. 9.39 K/9. In the race for CY?

Justin Verlander/DET (@ NYM, @ ATL) – Won last three starts.

John Danks/CWS (vs. ATL, vs. CHC)
– Won last two, sporting a .229 BAA. 


Warning: Streaming can be lethal. The following are owned in less than 50% of Y! leagues. 

Anibal Sanchez/FLA (@BAL, vs. SD)
– Won five of last seven. Two nice match-ups. 

Gio Gonzalez/OAK (vs. CIN, vs. PIT) – Two excellent match-ups, .239 BAA 

Jonathon Niese/NYM (vs. DET, vs. MIN) –  Won last three, 15:3 K:BB over that span. 


Don’t Touch ‘Em 

Rodrigo Lopez, Bruce Chen, Zach Duke 


Week 10 One Start Stars Owned in 50% or Less 

Trevor Cahill/OAK 25% Y!
– Saturday vs. PIT (Lincoln) – Hasn’t lost in last seven. Helpful ratios. 

Kris Medlen/ATL 16% Y!
– Friday vs. DET (TBA) – Hasn’t lost in seven starts since being moved to the rotation.

Kyle Kendrick/PHI 1% Y! – Wednesday vs. CLE (Westbrook) – Solid vs. NYY on 6/17. Deep mixed league use only. 


Who will win the pitching duel of the week: Lester vs. Lincecum? 
Who will be the best Two-Start Pitcher owned in 50% or less in week 12? 

Leave a comment, or reply to us on Twitter

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Aramis Ramirez: Getting a Grip…Literally!

Later this week we will hopefully see the return of Aramis Ramirez . It’s been a rough year for fantasy owners, having to either drop the All-Star third baseman or painfully hold on and possibly waste a DL spot. Somehow I’ve ended up with Aramis two years in a row and I literally punch a wall overtime I see an article about how his poor thumb hurts him.

Get a freaking Band-Aid!


Numbers don’t lie. Sports is analytical and looking at career numbers can tell you a lot. Aramis’s career average is 83 runs, 30 homers, 108 RBI’s, and a .282 average. These numbers aren’t inflated either—this isn’t a guy who who hits 50 homers one year and then 20 the next. From 2001-2008, Ramirez really was as cornerstone of the corner.

Last year was a huge test. A separated shoulder early on kept Ramirez out for two months and owners didn’t know what to expect when he returned.

Well, he returned with a passion and finished the season relatively strong with 46 runs, 15 homers and 65 RBI’s in only 306 AB. Owners in 2010 never saw this coming…


The season didn’t start with the finger injury—just really really poor hitting. So far, Ramirez has 17 runs, five homers and 22 RBI’s in 179 AB. Plus the dreaded .168 average—Ramirez is a career .282 hitter for God’s sake! Every time owners saw a sparse home run this year they thought, “yeah, this is the game he needed, he’ll turn it around now”, only to be hugely disappointed the game after.

Enter the thumb injury.

I joked earlier calling him a big baby. Honestly getting a good grip on the bat is almost as important as seeing the ball. Trainers have changed his grip and padding to relieve the discomfort and hopefully get him back on track. The hard part for Ramirez will be fully adjusting to the new specs after holding his bat the same way for 13 seasons.

I personally still have faith in the big boy. He’s been really good for a long time and this is just a hiccup that will hopefully be forgotten in a few months. He’s still only 31 and has a good five+ years left in him. For all you fantasy owners out there who have stuck it out – God bless you. If Ramirez is on the waiver wire in your league, now is a good time to make the pickup.

Brighter days lie ahead!

Do you think Aramis will turn it around in 2010? 
Comment here or hit us up on Twitter: or

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Jason Hammel & Angel Pagan: Fantasy Baseball’s Waiver Wire Winners

Every week, aside from my standard Fantasy Baseball dealings, I practice a little exercise to improve my research and team management skills.

On Sunday evenings I comb through who is available on the waiver/free agent wire, regardless of need, to familiarize myself with the current inventory.

Next, I try and create an entire starting team from all available players to compete against my current starting squad. This helps me on a broad spectrum for watching the trends of potential replacements, upgrades, and the occasional spot starter.

Below are the players I feel have the best chance of competing against my Starters.  FYI: It’s a Yahoo – 12 Team – H2H – 5X5. 

Included are the previous four weeks stats:

Week 12 Hitters (R-HR-RBI-SB-AVG)

C = Ronny Paulino FLA  (11-1-15-1-.333): With John Baker on the 60-day DL until August, Ronny has been very productive playing every day, and is worth the start with the hot bat.

1B = Lyle Overbay TOR (10-3-11-0-.298): Lyle has had four mutli-hit games in the past ten days. I’ll take that over the inconsistency of rookie Justin Smoak, even though his numbers are better over the month.

2B = Neil Walker PIT (12-2-9-2-.299): WHO??? That’s right Neil Tops my list at a VERY weak position. He was the 11th overall pick in 2004, but is still only 25. Needing runs from this position, he fits the bill because of his ability to get on base while hitting 2nd in the order.

3B = Kevin Kouzmanoff  OAK (11-3-14-1-.327): Finally….Kouz since May 31st has raised his BA 41 points from .244 to .285.  It didn’t hurt that he had seven multi-hit games in nine days over the last two weeks.

SS = Cliff Pennington OAK (11-0-3-3-.213): Anther Athletic making the list here.  Rookies like Cliff have stats that are Volatile and Inconsistent. I’ll ride the bullish bat in a current five game hit streak and seven of eight.

OF = Delmon Young MIN (15-4-26-1-.360): Ninth HOTTEST hitting Outfielder in ALL of baseball right now.

OF = Angel Pagan NYM (16-1-13-9-.311): Pick a Met, any Met (I can’t believe I’m saying that). You get a little bit of everything with Pagan. The stolen bases are especially nice.

OF = Jason Kubel MIN (12-6-22-0-.277): The law of baseball averages is never wrong…it was only a matter of time. Hitters will hit.

Week 12 Pitchers (IP – W – SV – K – ERA – WHIP)

SP = Jeremy Bonderman DET (40.2 -2 -0-30-3.32-1.20): Good to see him back to form. 

SP = Mark Buehrle CWS (32.2-3-0-23-3.86-1.47): Probably the most consistent in baseball. One of only a few TRUE Aces.

SP = Bronson Arroyo CIN (40.2-3-0-16-4.20-1.43): Ground ball pitcher is finally getting run support & Wins.  Can’t rely on him for many or any strikeouts he’s just not overpowering enough.

SP = Scott Feldman TEX (39.1-4-0-24-4.35-1.53): 17 Wins in 2009, but only five in 2010. The good news, four have been in the last month, and the Rangers are winning lots of games. May still get to 15 this season.

SP = Jason Hammel COL (41.1-4-0-32-1.74-1.16): WOW I can’t believe this guy is not on a roster.

RP = R.A. DICKEY NYM (32.1-5-0-29-2.78-1.39):
There are NO closers available, so I felt that R.A. deserved the final spot on my roster.  As my reliever (Duel Eligibility SP/RP) he has more wins than any of my starters over the past month with five.  And oh yeah…. Pick a Met, any Met.


Who could you use to beat your starters?  
Post a comment with your thoughts and your Free Agent Roster. 
I’ll post the results next Sunday night.

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Troy Tulowitzki’s Tough Luck: Filling the Void

Disaster struck today when the Colorado Rockies placed Troy Tulowitzki on the DL with a broken wrist.  He is expected to miss six to eight weeks or approximately 30-40 percent of the entire fantasy baseball regular season.  

At an already top-heavy position where the drop-off is significant after the elite players, fantasy owners need to make a quick decision.  You don’t want to put yourself in a position where you have to pick up a new SS every week because of lack of production. This strategy just wastes moves and fuels frustration.

Let’s not waste any time and get to business…I’ve done the homework, you make the decision.  

Below is a look at who will potentially be available and where I believe they should be ranked
 (last 30 days stats: Runs-HR-RBIs-Avg.-At Bats).

Alexei Ramirez  CWS (18–4–12-.293-99 ABs) Prime age of 28. He has a great swing and starting to heat up, could be in line for a big second half. 

Marco Scutaro BOS (17-2-15-.321-109 ABs) Great team with lots of lineup protection, aged 35, consistent career producer—mediocre. 

Jason Bartlett  TB (Just off DL  4-1-2-.167-36 ABs) Fresh off DL, may need a week to work on timing. Players reliant on speed need healthy legs…this was the break he needed. 

Miguel Tejada BALT (11-0-4-.270-111 ABs) Consistent veteran, true professional hitter, very friendly hitters park, decent protection at top of lineup by Nick Markakis. 

Mike Aviles  KC (16-0-9-.284-88 ABs) Good source of runs combined with okay average.  Mike has been troubled by injuries the past two seasons after a monster second half in 2008.  Sleeper potential. 

Replacing Troy Tulowitzki is truly impossible (19 Runs-8 HR-19 RBI-.323-93 ABs–4 SB). These numbers rank him ninth overall over the past month under Yahoo Rankings. This does not mean Colorado’s season is over, though. Making the correct decision now can keep them in the playoff/championship hunt.  

Tulo Owners: Who is available on your wire? How do you plan on replacing Troy?

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THE YEAR OF THE PITCHER: Jimenez, Halladay, and Wainwright

In less than half the year we’ve had some amazing, and I mean amazing games by pitchers. Three no-hitters from Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, and Dallas Braden, with the last two being perfect. Technically we’ve had three perfect games if you count Armando Galarraga’s, which I think we should. Have the pitchers finally taken the lead in fantasy value over batters? Lets take a look…

3 no-hitters (Jimenez, Halladay, Braden)
5 complete game one-hitters (Matt Cain, Johnny Cueto, Jon Niese, Mat Latos, Armando Galarraga)
4 complete game two-hitters (Adam Wainwright, Jamie Moyer, Jeff Niemann, Justin Masterson)
3 one-hitters in eight innings pitched (Matt Cain, Brett Cecil, Ted Lilly)

2 no-hitters
4 CG one-hitters
12 CG two-hitters
2 one-hitters in eight IP

2 no-hitters
5 CG one-hitters
8 CG two-hitters
1 one-hitter in eight IP

As you can see, in less than half the games, we already have more complete game no-hitters and one-hitters than 2008 and 2009. So again the question is are pitchers more valuable in fantasy terms this year?

Out of the top 25 ranked players eight are ranked under 25 (Chris Carpenter is No. 26 so I’m including him too). Of those eight, two are relief pitchers. Not even making the top 25 list are some names who are having unreal years too like David Price (33), Jon Lester (36), Latos (37), Andy Pettitte (38), Phil Hughes (42), Mike Pelfrey (44), and Jaime Garcia (46). This gives us a total of 15 in the top 50. Here’s the best part, Tim Lincecum isn’t even on the top 50 yet, but we know that will change by years end.

In comparison to 2009, there were nine top-25 and 14 in the top 50. For 2008 there were only five in the top 25 and only 12 in the top 50.

Okay, so the rankings weren’t a tell-tale sign of how good the 2010 pitchers are but a quick look at ERA definitely shows us the truth:

The 2006 MLB league average ERA was 4.53
The 2007 MLB league average ERA was 4.47
The 2008 MLB league average ERA was 4.32
The 2009 MLB league average ERA was 4.32
The 2010 MLB league average ERA was 4.18

All in all, it’s still early in the year and you never know what will happen. Jimenez could go down with an injury tomorrow and offset the whole league’s ERA.

So why the huge drop in ERA? Are pitchers actually getting better or are batters getting worse? Did the steroid era catch up with us and are batters are finally human again?

Let’s hear your thoughts.
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