Blogs > N-H Fantasy Sports

News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fantasy baseball: News and notes from Week 2

The Indians are off to another awful April start. Their starting pitching has been dreadful, and their bullpen is a Kane Davis or Jorge Julio sighting from being even worse.

None of that will stop us from our best Eric Wedge impersonation today. We're going to keep our eyes on the prize, stay focused, continue to grind it out and look at the positives. OK, we're just going to look at the positives -- the Tribe's surprising offensive numbers (stats that are skewed by their 22-4 win over the Yankees on Saturday in The House That George Built and Hitters Love).

Through Sunday, the Indians rank seventh in the major leagues in batting average (.280), are second in runs scored (83), home runs (22), on-base percentage (.380) and OPS (.875). The Indians lead the big leagues in doubles (33), are tied for third in RBI (79) and, here's a shocker, have rung up the most strikeouts (115 in 13 games).

All of which means the following from a fantasy perspective:

-- Every-week starters: Grady Sizemore, Victor Martinez, Mark DeRosa, Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta. Sizemore is striking out as much as ever (17 in 54 at-bats) and is batting only .259, but you can't sit that combination of speed and power. ... Martinez's power has returned (he has four homers, which is double his 2008 total), and his .466 OBP doesn't hurt. ... Don't bench DeRosa strictly because of his batting average (.236). The versatile infielder has three homers and 15 RBI in his last eight games. ... Hafner has four homers and eight RBI, but isn't as much of an asset in points leagues that penalize for strikeouts (14 in 42 at-bats). ... Peralta has yet to hit a homer, but he's batting .333 and has an OBP of .404.

-- Backups: Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera. Choo has three homers and eight RBI in 43 at-bats, and he's a rare member of the Tribe who has more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight). ... Cabrera has been surprisingly effective (.333, 10 runs scored, one homer, seven RBI and two steals), but should only be started in deeper leagues in which you need infield help.

-- Not much help: Ryan Garko, Kelly Shoppach and Ben Francisco. Garko is batting .300 with a .447 on-base percentage, but he doesn't play every day and has just one homer. That's not enough power at a position as loaded as first base. ... Shoppach, who hit 21 homers last season, doesn't play enough (24 at-bats in 13 games) and has already struck out nine times. ... Even Wedge couldn't find something to like in Francisco's stats (.211, one homer, four RBI).

That sound you just heard was Nick Swisher coming back to earth. The Yankees outfielder, after starting the season 11-for-24 (.458) with four homers and 11 RBI, is 3-for-18 with one run, zero RBI and six strikeouts in his last four games.

Tick, tick, tick ... Fantasy owners who took a chance on Alex Rodriguez in the second, third or fourth rounds might be rewarded sooner than originally thought. A-Rod is already taking batting practice and fielding ground balls, making the original May 15 timetable for his return from hip surgery seem pessimistic. I'm no doctor, and I don't play one on the Internet, but here's a guess: A-Rod will be in all fantasy lineups by the start of Week 6 on Monday, May 11 -- at the latest.

You don't need me to tell you to bench Chien-Ming Wang. But I wouldn't drop him, as is happening in many leagues, even with that slow-pitch softball ERA (34.50).

Pick three

In the fantasy baseball column that was published in Saturday's editions, I wrote about three free agents who were worth picking up in deeper leagues (Kyle Davies, Chris Duncan and Randy Winn), with the rule of thumb that each player must be available in more than half of the leagues on

Let's look at three more:

Denard Span, OF, Twins -- He's young (25), fast (three stolen bases this year, and 18 in 347 at-bats last season) and drives in a decent amount of runs (nine this season, 47 in a little more than half a season in 2008). He's also batting .300 and has been so effective that the playing time of Carlos Gomez (.200) and Delmon Young (.212) has suffered.

Jason Kubel, DH, Twins -- He hit for the cycle on Friday, which only jumped his ownership percentage to 7.4 entering Sunday night on The fact Kubel is only a DH limits you, but he'll hit for power (a combined 33 homers in 881 at-bats in 2007 and '08) and his batting average (.333) and OPS (.939) are too good to pass up as a low-end starter in 12-team leagues.

Zach Duke, SP, Pirates -- His poor outing Sunday notwithstanding, Duke has resembled his 2005 rookie self (8-2, 1.81 ERA), not the 18-37 train wreck from 2006-08. The lefty is 2-1 with a 2.95 ERA. The negative: He won't help you much in the strikeout department (11 in 20 2/3 innings this season, and 314 in 613 career innings).

That does it for this week. Good luck, keep your head up and (channeling my inner Eric Wedge) remember there's a lot of baseball left to be played.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home