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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 29, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Pick Three

It was a lofty goal, but I figured if LeBron James can shoot a key free throw left-handed, I can attempt to find three players on the waiver wire in fantasy baseball who are useful, despite being owned in fewer than 15 percent of the leagues on

Hence, this week's Pick Three -- a trio of players who are lower-level starters in deep mixed leagues or AL- and NL-only formats (all stats are through Wednesday):

-- Kevin Correia, SP, Padres (owned in 13 percent of the ESPN leagues): He's won four of his first five starts, but apparently many of you aren't buying it.

There is one stat that seems even more out of place than Correia's record: His 26 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. In his eight-year career, he's averaged 6.6 strikeouts per 9 innings, so I wouldn't expect him to average anywhere near a K per inning.

Despite the mediocre career strikeout numbers, Correia was effective in 2009, his first full season as a starter, finishing 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 198 innings.

He's allowed four runs or fewer in each of his five starts and two runs or fewer three times. Considering the struggles of some big-name pitchers this season (see Peavy, Jake; Beckett, Josh; Verlander, Justin; Greinke, Zack; and more than a few others), Correia is a decent option, especially in weeks in which he starts twice (see Week 5).

-- Ike Davis, 1B, Mets (10.6 percent): The 23-year-old, a first-round pick of the Mets in 2008 (No. 18 overall), received all of 33 at-bats in Triple-A before getting the call to the Big Apple.

The 6-foot-4 left-hander batted .355 with five runs scored, a homer, six RBI and .981 OPS in his first 10 games.

Before you get too excited, remember Davis is a rookie who has only 677 at-bats in the minor leagues. From 2008 to this year, he batted .288 with 83 runs, 22 homers and 92 RBI down on the farm.

Quality numbers? Yes. But he has a tendency to strike out almost every four at-bats and he likely will endure some growing pains in his first big-league season.

-- Jose Bautista, 3B, OF, Blue Jays (5.7 percent): In 787 at-bats since 2008 with the Pirates and Jays, Bautista has 32 homers, 110 RBI and 109 runs scored.

He's available in almost every league because he's a career .238 batter who entered Thursday night's game against the Oakland with a .222 average and .787 OPS in 22 games.

Regardless, if you can afford the dip in average, Bautista will give you a homer and RBI (16 in 81 at-bats this season) boost in deeper leagues, and he should be eligible at both third base and the outfield.

Best of the rest:
Ervin Santana, SP, Angels (14.8 percent); Randy Wells, SP, Cubs (11.5); Brandon Inge, 3B, Tigers (11.3), David DeJesus, OF, Royals (7.8); Carlos Silva, SP, Cubs (7.2).

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