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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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fantasy baseball: Pick Three and Sizemore update

We're really digging with this week's edition of Pick Three -- the three players who follow are owned in 11.2 percent or fewer of the leagues on Each could be an asset in deeper leagues.

Scott Hairston, OF, Padres (owned in 11.2 percent of the ESPN leagues): Entering Tuesday, he had homered in three consecutive games, and half of his home runs this season have come at spacious Petco Park (four in 72 at-bats). Hairston, once a highly rated Diamondbacks prospect, has a less-than-impressive .257 career batting average. But he hits for power (25 homers in 471 at-bats with the Padres since the start of last season), he's batting .331 this season, has an OPS of .969 and he's even stolen six bases. I wouldn't expect him to continue to hit .330, but he has very productive in the minor leagues (.322 with 93 homers and 352 RBI in 1,806 at-bats) and is playing too well to ignore. He's worth starting in NL-only leagues and is a decent No. 3 outfielder in deeper mixed leagues.

Matt Palmer, SP, Angels (4.7 percent): The ownership percentage is surprisingly low for a pitcher who won his first five starts. Palmer is winless in his last three appearances (one of which was a relief outing that occurred between May 24 and May 30 starts). He's 30 years old and a career minor-leaguer, but his last start was impressive (seven shutout innings in a no-decision May 30 against the Mariners) and he's pitching for a team that should win more than it loses. Palmer won't help much in the strikeout department (27 in 44 1/3 innings), but I would consider him in deeper leagues when he's starting twice in a week.

Scott Feldman, SP, Rangers (1.9 percent): As I said, we're really trying to find guys who are available in most leagues. This 26-year-old has been a reliever for the majority of his major- and minor-league career. That should change with his seven-start tenure in 2009: 4-0 with a 2.59 ERA in 41 2/3 innings since April 25. Feldman's strikeout-to-walk ratio in that span (20-to-13) is a cause for concern, but he is backed by an offense that leads all of baseball in home runs and is ranked sixth in runs scored, which should help him reach double figures in wins. Like Palmer, he's not going to rack up a lot of strikeouts (Feldman had 153 in 289 1/3 innings in the minors). And Like Palmer, he's not a bad option in weeks in which he is scheduled for a couple of starts.

Sizing up Sizemore's chances: Owners who spent a first- or second-round selection on Grady Sizemore should begin to consider what their outfield is going to look like without the Tribe center fielder for the next eight weeks. As you know by now, Sizemore has an inflamed left elbow. If two weeks of rest don't help, Sizemore might need surgery, which would keep him on the DL for another four to six weeks. All of which means he might not return until late July.

The only good news here is Sizemore's position does at least afford the deepest pool of talent while searching for possible replacements. The aforementioned Hairston would be an ideal sub in mixed leagues. In AL-only leagues and mixed leagues of at least 12 teams, the player who is manning center in Sizemore's absence -- Ben Francisco -- is another option if you really need help. Francisco has stolen a career-high nine bases and had a good May: .295, three homers, 13 RBI and six steals. He's owned in only 4 percent of the leagues on (although all of that 4 percent might be because of leagues in Northeast Ohio).

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