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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.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Pick Three

NFL draft? Bulls-Cavs?

How about a Pick Three for fantasy baseball?

Just as I thought: The people demand it.

The following are three players who are available in more than 70 percent of the leagues on and should be starters in deeper mixed leagues:

Austin Jackson, OF, Tigers (owned in 29.5 percent of the ESPN leagues): Heading into a late game Thursday night, Jackson had a hit in 12 of his first 14 games and had scored a run in nine of 14 contests. The rookie can help you in runs scored and stolen bases, and he's off to a .311/.373/.816 start in batting average, on-base percentage and OPS. He should be a starter in AL-only leagues and is an asset in deeper mixed formats.

Ty Wigginton, 3B, Orioles (19.1 percent):
He's played second and third because of injuries to Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada, respectively. When Tejada returns from quad and groin injuries on Friday, Wiggington should return to second. If you need temporary help there, he's a quality choice.

Wigginton, a .271 career hitter, has five homers and 11 RBI in his first 13 games. He has a 1.009 OPS and is capable of helping you in the power department (Wigginton hit a combined 45 homers in 925 at-bats in 2007 and '08). When Roberts returns, Wigginton's status is much more iffy -- but you probably have a couple more weeks before you need to worry about that.

Alberto Callaspo, 2B, Royals (12.5 percent):
The presence of Chris Getz at second base and Alex Gordon at third negated Callaspo's pre-draft value, despite 2009 statistics of 73 RBI, a .300 batting average and .813 OPS. With Getz (who hasn't played since April 14 because of a strained oblique) injured, Callaspo has continued to hit. He's batting .288 with three homers and 11 RBI in 59 at-bats.

Considering one-time phenom Gordon is off to another slow start and he's a .250 hitter in his four-year career, the Royals figure to find a place in their lineup for Callaspo even when at full strength.

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