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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 9, 2009

Fantasy baseball: Pick Three

This week, it's more of a six-pack -- don't worry, there's no charge, though I do ask that you refrain from imbibing until you view one of the following: an uncomfortable Eric Wedge expression or a disturbing post-basket look from Kobe Bryant.

Our weekly look at three players who are available in a majority of the leagues on ESPN.com and should be an asset in deeper category leagues (all statistics are through Monday):

-- J.A. Happ, SP, Phillies (owned in 11.1 percent of the ESPN leagues): The 26-year-old lefty was 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA prior to Tuesday night's start against the Mets. He made 12 relief appearances before earning three starts, and he was 2-0 with a 2.46 ERA in 18 1/3 innings in the latter role entering Tuesday. If you're in one of those goofy 5x5 category leagues in which you have to start a handful of relievers, he's even more valuable because you likely can play him at reliever even though he starts. Tuesday was only his ninth career start, so you have to expect the hitters to catch up with him, but Happ will help you in strikeouts (he had 545 in 528 innings in the minor leagues) and he pitches for one of baseball's best teams.


-- Jose Guillen, OF, Royals (9.2 percent):
I stumbled upon Guillen's low ownership rate while researching Monday's blog, and I still don't get it. His stats are mediocre (.255, six homers, 25 RBI), but he's a power hitter who is capable of batting .270 with 20-plus home runs and 90 RBI. In 2007, he hit .290 with 23 homers and 99 RBI, and he had 20 homers and 97 RBI last season. If this was a real clubhouse, then I can see why you wouldn't want to take the risk. Otherwise, Guillen is an asset as a No. 3 outfielder in mixed leagues.

-- A quartet of closers: Ryan Madson, Phillies; Andrew Bailey, Athletics; Randy Choate, Rays; and Mike MacDougal, Nationals. The closer's role continues to be fantasy baseball's most volatile, as the four are their teams' second, third, third and fourth choices, respectively, to finish games.

A quick breakdown of each, in order of current value:

1. Madson (owned in 4.8 percent of the ESPN leagues): He won't hold this job long, but until Brad Lidge returns from a 15-day stay on the disabled list because of a sprained knee, Madson has considerable value in category leagues. He has 31 strikeouts and a 2.22 ERA in 28 2/3 innings, and he should get a couple of save opportunities per week playing for Philly.

2. Bailey (31.0 percent): He's blown three saves in eight chances, but is 3-for-3 in June, throwing five scoreless innings and striking out six in that span. The rookie has 44 K's in 37 1/3 innings, and he's 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA. If you need someone for the rest of the season, he's the best of the four.

3. Choate (2.3 percent): He's recorded three of the five saves since Troy Percival was injured, and he seems to be the Rays' best option. The 33-year-old hasn't pitched more than 16 major-league innings in a season since 2004, so don't expect the second coming of Mariano Rivera, but Choate does have value in AL-only and deep category leagues. A few more words of caution: His three saves have been of the one-, two- and one-out varieties, meaning he's clearly not the runaway winner in a competition that's even less compelling than the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback race.

4. MacDougal (1.7): You mean only 1.7 percent of you have jumped at the chance to acquire MacDougal on the waiver wire? Joel Hanrahan has lost the closer's job for the second time since April, giving the role to a 32-year-old who saved 27 games for the Royals in 2003. Since being released by the White Sox, MacDougal has had five consecutive scoreless appearances for the Nationals, which is that bullpen's equivalent of DiMaggio's hitting streak, and he could be a cheap source of saves in 12-team category leagues.

A quick reminder: Check the News-Herald's online sports section Saturday for more fantasy football draft talk, including a breakdown of who should be the No. 2 overall pick behind Adrian Peterson.

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1 Comments:

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June 15, 2009 at 4:35 AM 

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