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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.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fantasy baseball: Fausto Carmona, Carl Pavano and more notes

Next week, we're going to start concentrating heavily on football, but first we need to empty the baseball notebook.

-- Not so fast: Fausto Carmona, who was banished to the bottom of the Tribe's minor-league system in June, has a 2.45 ERA in two starts since returning to the Indians. Look a little further, though, and you see these stats: Carmona has four more strikeouts (seven) than walks (three) in 11 innings, and he's thrown 197 pitches (17.9 per inning) with a WHIP of 1.55 in that span.

The latter numbers are reminiscent of his prior struggles -- a two-year run in which Carmona has 21 more walks (118) than strikeouts (97) since winning 19 games in 2007. He's still owned in 53 percent of the leagues on, but I wouldn't rush to put him in my lineup.

-- Not so fast II: Friday's trade of Carl Pavano to Minnesota does make the right-hander slightly more intriguing from a fantasy perspective. Pavano led the Tribe in wins and is going to a team that is contending in a Central Division that's weaker than the ailing Grady Sizemore's throws from center field.

Then there's this: Since finishing 5-1 in May, Pavano has started 10 games. In that span, he's 4-4 with a 5.46 ERA. He's allowed 77 hits in 62 2/3 innings, with a WHIP of 1.39. Pavano has struck out four batters or fewer in seven of the 10 starts.

He's owned in only 6.2 percent of the ESPN leagues, a number that should rise after the trade. But, like Carmona, I wouldn't start him.

Start 'em

-- Roy Oswalt, SP, Astros:
Assuming he returns Monday or Tuesday from a back injury that has sidelined him since July 28, I would reinsert him into my lineup. Since June 24, Oswalt is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings. He's allowed only 29 hits in that span, a seven-game run in which he has yet to yield more than three runs.

-- Jose Lopez, 2B, Mariners: He's owned in more than 83 percent of the ESPN leagues, but he's often used as backup. If you need power from your second baseman and aren't worried about OPS, runs scored or steals, Lopez is your guy.

In his last eight games prior to Friday, he had three home runs and 13 RBI in 31 at-bats. For the season, he's batting .278 with 15 homers and 65 RBI. The negative: His on-base percentage (.306), steals (two) and runs (45), all of which are very low for his position. Power or speed? You make the call.

-- Gavin Floyd, SP, White Sox:
I've seen some goofy ESPN ownership percentages this season, but Floyd's might be Manny Ramirez on the bizarre scale. How is a 26-year-old who won 17 games last season and has been great since June owned in only 48.2 percent of the leagues?

If that's the case in your league, acquire Floyd and start him. Since June 1, he's 6-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 12 starts. He's averaged more than seven innings per start, and he's struck out 71 in 84 2/3 innings and has an outstanding 0.96 WHIP.

Sit 'em

-- Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins:
This has nothing to do with the addition of Pavano and everything to do with the former wonderkid's spiraling stats. Liriano is in danger of losing his spot in the Twins' rotation, has been bothered by a forearm injury and will have his next start skipped as he attends to a family matter. When he does return, I'd keep him and his 4-11 record and 5.63 ERA on my bench. Since winning two straight starts at the end of June, Liriano is 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in five starts.

-- Brad Penny, SP, Red Sox: John Smoltz was cut by Boston on Friday, securing Penny's spot in the rotation for the time being. Still, since beginning the season 5-1, Penny has been brutal. In his last 12 starts, he is 2-5 with a 4.66 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.

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