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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 29, 2010

Fantasy focus: Freddy Garcia

He's a 34-year-old pitcher.

From 2007 to 2009, he started only 23 games and was 5-10.

Even when he won 17 games in 2006, he had a 4.53 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

It only makes sense, then, that in 2010 -- aka The Year of the Pitcher, Jose Bautista, Paul Konerko, Troy Glaus, Vladimir Guerrero and Corey Hart -- Freddy Garcia again is a fantasy factor.

It's been a goofy season (Bautista and Konerko are tied with Miguel Cabrera for the major-league lead in homers; Guerrero and Hart are tied for third in RBI), and Garcia is back to compiling some wacky numbers.

His ERA is 4.66 and his WHIP is 1.34. Yet he's 8-3, has won five consecutive decisions and is 8-1 in his last 10 starts.

Another surprising number: As of early Tuesday night, Garcia was available in more than 88 percent of the leagues on

He's not going to provide much help to your team ERA -- in fact, he might hurt it. The same goes for your team's WHIP. His strikeout numbers (51 in 85 innings) aren't much better.

If you need wins, however, Garcia should be near the top of your waiver-wire wish list.

In his last six starts, Garcia is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. Since May 5, he's managed to go 8-1, even with a 4.21 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.

Even with the gaudy season ERA, Garcia has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his last 10 starts.

He knows how to win, obviously, as his career statistics show (Garcia has had 12 or more victories seven times in his career).

I wouldn't start him in 10- or 12-team mixed leagues. In deeper mixed formats (14- and 16-team leagues) and in AL-only leagues, Garcia is a starting option.

Before you make the move, consider if you can afford the hit to your team ERA. And keep in mind Garcia's 4.66 is inflated by two poor outings (starts in which he allowed seven earned runs in three and 2 1/3 innings).

Take away those two losses and Garcia is 8-1 with a 3.39 ERA in 12 starts.

He might soon realize he's 34 and fortunate to be winning so frequently. Or he might win 16 games.

In a season in which Bautista is on pace to play in all 162 games, hit 42 homers and drive in 105 runs, would you really be surprised if Garcia accomplished the latter?

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Time to trade Strasburg?

Stephen Strasburg is 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA and more than eight times as many strikeouts (41) as walks (five) in his first four major-league starts.

Counting 11 starts in the minor leagues, the 2009 overall No. 1 pick is 9-3 with a 1.45 ERA and 106 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.

Naturally, it's time to trade him in fantasy.


It's seems ridiculous to even contemplate, until you read the comments from Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.

Strasburg has thrown 94, 95, 85 and 95 pitches in his first four starts. He's pitched 7, 5 1/3, 7 and 6 innings. The Nationals, smartly, are being very careful with a 6-foot-4, 220-pound pitcher who is still a couple of weeks away from his 22nd birthday and has already accomplished what once seemed more improbable than Jhonny Peralta ranging 20 feet to his left to snag a hard-hit grounder -- he's made baseball matter in Washington again.

Rizzo told recently the team has two options for Strasburg after the All-Star break.

Option A: Push back his starts one day, giving him extra rest between games.

Option B: Give him a couple weeks off in September, then have the rookie return to pitch the rest of the month.

Option A seems to be the most likely scenario, and this quote from Rizzo is encouraging for fantasy owners who are worried Strasburg won't pitch at all in the season's final month: "We want him to get through the month of September because he's never done that before," the GM said.

Which brings us to the possibility of trading a pitcher who could be the game's best as soon as next season.

Two quick points:

1. Strasburg's value isn't going to get any higher this season. He has been so dominant, even in his lone defeat, that owners might be willing to mortgage much more than they should to acquire a lights-out pitcher.

2. The Nationals have said Strasburg is expected to throw between 150 and 160 innings this season -- counting his time in the minors.

He's already at 80 2/3. If he pitches six innings per start, you might get 12 or 13 more starts out of him, and the extra-rest plan means you might not have many two-start weeks from Strasburg this season.

If you need help elsewhere and have enough pitching, you can trade a very good player who might only play once per week for an everyday stud -- and possibly one or two more pieces.

Week 22 of the regular season will run from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. In most leagues, the playoffs will begin the week of Sept. 6-12. If Strasburg takes the first half of September off, you might not have him in the final week of the regular season and the first week of the playoffs.

If he pitches every six or seven days, you will -- for five to seven innings per week.

Don't give him away. Don't trade him if you're in contention and you really need pitching. And especially don't trade him if you're in a keeper league.

Strasburg might be the best pitching prospect in a long time. Until the Nationals take the kid gloves off, though, he is a part-time player who can bring huge value in a trade -- and now is as good of a time as any.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Shortstop replacement options

If there is good news regarding Troy Tulowitzki's wrist injury, it's that the Rockies shortstop might return as soon as six weeks -- in plenty of time for you to have him back for the stretch run of the regular season.

If you're a Jhonny Peralta fan (all three of you), there is another reason to smile, but more on that in a bit.

Let's look at 10 potential replacements for Tulowitzki in deep leagues (all stats are through Monday):

The 50-percent-and-over group

The only player who is owned in more than 50 percent of the leagues on who might be readily available is the Braves' Yunel Escobar. The 2009 standout missed 13 games with a leg injury before returning in mid-May, and many owners gave up on Escobar after a brutal start to 2010 (.215 batting average in April and .207 in May).

Escobar -- who batted .299 with 89 runs, 14 homers, 76 RBI and five steals last season -- has heated up this month. He's batting .328 with two steals and an .847 OPS, but he has scored only seven runs and has no homers and five RBI.

If he's available in your league and you need help at short, he's the best option on this list.

Not a shortstop, but ...

The Tribe's Peralta -- much to our delight -- is no longer playing the marquee defensive position in baseball, but he is eligible at shortstop in some leagues because of 2009 qualifications. That alone makes him relevant in fantasy.

If you can play him at his former position, he's the No. 2 option here, thanks to a June in which he's batted .314 with 11 runs scored and 11 RBI in 70 at-bats. As poor as he can be in the field and on the basepaths, in fantasy what matters is he can hit for power (Peralta averaged 20 homers, 77 RBI and 89 runs from 2005-08) and drive in runs. Peralta is available in more than 79 percent of the ESPN leagues.

Nos. 3-10

3. Mike Aviles, Royals (owned in 18.4 percent of the leagues on Aviles is a second baseman, but he's started seven games at short and is eligible there in many leagues. He won't help you much in homers and RBI, but he's batting .339 in June and he hit .317 in May.

4. Ian Desmond, Nationals (21.1 percent): He's struggled this month (.242, no homers, six RBI, .613 OPS), but has four homers, 33 RBI and four steals on the season. In 309 career at-bats, he's driven in 45 runs.

5. Clint Barmes, Rockies (3.2 percent): He has taken over at short for Tulowitzki, and he had a productive 2009 in the power department (23 homers, 76 RBI). The bad: He hasn't homered since May 28, he's batting .222 on the season and he's hitting .255 this month. Regardless, he has 31 RBI and 20-homer potential, which is better than most candidates you'll find on the waiver wire.

6. Cristian Guzman, Nationals (30.9 percent): He's batting .300 with 31 runs, but is of no help in homers (1) and RBI (20). Guzman -- a second baseman who has started 13 games at short -- batted .380 in May, but has struggled mightily this month (.240, .603 OPS). In 2008 and '09, he batted .301 with averages of eight homers, 54 RBI, 75 runs and five steals.

7. Starlin Castro, Cubs (31.9 percent): The rookie tore up National League pitching in May (.310, two homers, 12 RBI), but he's received a reality check in his second month in the big leagues (.196, no homers, four RBI and a .527 OPS in June).

8. Yuniesky Betancourt, Royals (14.8 percent): He has decent numbers in runs (32), homers (5) and RBI (32), but he's hitting only .246 in June.

9. Jeff Keppinger, Astros (18.0 percent): He's a decent hitter (.284), but isn't much of an asset in the other categories (one homer, 22 RBI, one steal).

10. Alcides Escobar, Brewers (38.2 percent): At least he's consistent. Escobar, amazingly, has batted .250 each month, including June. He's in his third year and can help you in steals (five this season), but isn't very useful in the other categories.

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Five hitters to acquire on the waiver wire

The Jhonny Peralta bashers are well aware the Tribe traded Kevin Kouzmanoff -- who could have been the third baseman of the future -- and pitcher Andrew Brown to San Diego for Josh Barfield prior to the 2007 season.

Said haters might not be aware Barfield -- after batting .245 in 473 at-bats over three seasons with the Indians -- is currently toiling in Triple-A with the Portland Beavers, an affiliate of the Padres.

They likely are aware, however, that Kouzmanoff is on track to have his best season in 2010. It's been so good, in fact, he leads our list of five batters to acquire on the waiver wire (I'm sure he's thrilled). The following players are available in more than 60 percent of the leagues on and should be starting candidates in deeper mixed leagues and AL- and NL-only formats.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Athletics (owned in 35.5 percent of the leagues):
Through Thursday, the former Lake County Captain is hitting .290 with six homers, 35 RBI and 29 runs scored. Kouzmanoff had his 15-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday, but he is hitting .448 with three homers, eight runs, 10 RBI and a 1.131 OPS in 58 at-bats this month.

From 2007-09, when Barfield totaled three homers and 45 RBI with the Tribe, Kouzmanoff averaged 20 homers and 82 RBI. He's a career .265 hitter who likely won't continue to be above .290, but his run production is suitable for a regular corner infielder in deeper leagues.

Jeff Francoeur, OF, Mets (owned in 32 percent of the ESPN leagues): Prior to Thursday's game against the Tribe, he was batting .275 with seven homers, 36 RBI, 30 runs and six steals in 218 at-bats. Francoeur has had at least a hit in 18 of his last 19 games, and he entered Thursday batting .453 with two homers, 11 RBI and eight runs in 53 at-bats since May 29.

The move to the Big Apple has been good for Francoeur, who had been awful in 2008 (.239, 11 homers, 71 RBI) and 2009 (.250, five homers, 35 RBI in 304 at-bats) with Atlanta. In 507 at-bats since being traded to the Mets last season, he is hitting .296 with 70 runs, 17 homers, 77 RBI and seven steals.

He might never again be the player who averaged 24 homers and 104 RBI with the Braves in 2006 and '07, but he's a decent source of power in deep leagues.

Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Giants (19.6 percent):
Spring training is overrated in Sanchez's case. Since being activated from the disabled list following offseason shoulder surgery, the veteran is hitting .343 with 14 runs, 14 RBI and an .818 OPS in 99 at-bats. In 54 at-bats this month, he's hitting .352 with seven RBI.

Sanchez has always hit -- his career average is .301 -- and you know if you play him you're sacrificing power (38 homers in 2,831 career at-bats) and steals (10 in his career). But if you need help in batting average and runs scored, he's a quality choice.

Carlos Guillen, 2B, Tigers (14.0 percent):
The move to second base has made Guillen relevant again. He's hitting .305 with 17 runs, four homers, 20 RBI and an .851 OPS in 128 at-bats.

In 52 at-bats this month, the former outfielder/designated hitter is hitting .346 with two homers, 11 RBI and eight runs. The player who was so prolific in 2006 and '07 (a .308 batting average with averages of 20 homers, 94 RBI, 93 runs and 17 steals) is no longer a five-category threat, but he's a good hitter who can help you in the power department in the middle of the infield.

Gaby Sanchez, 1B, Marlins (5.4 percent):
Prior to Thursday's game, Sanchez's numbers in his first full major-league season were a .284 average, seven homers, 28 RBI, 32 runs and an .813 OPS in 222 at-bats.

The 26-year-old is hitting .347 with three homers, seven RBI, a 1.013 OPS and two more walks than strikeouts (7-5) in 49 at-bats in June.

Sanchez's minor-league statistics show it's not a fluke. In 1,749 at-bats (roughly three full seasons) down on the farm, he batted .302 with 62 homers, 308 RBI, 305 runs and an .878 OPS. He also stole 45 bases (he has two this season) and walked three more times than he struck out (246-243).

For more fantasy sports updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

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Fantasy baseball: Start and sit

In the first two months of the season, Jose Bautista was a find more rare than an uplifting TMZ video: A waiver-wire acquisition who was an everyweek starter.

The last two weeks, he's been the fantasy baseball equivalent of Paris Hilton trying to parallel park in between the paparazzi.

Since hitting a pair of home runs against the Yankees on June 4, Bautista is 2-for-36 (.056) with one run scored, zero RBI and 13 strikeouts.

The slump has dropped his batting average to .227 -- which is only 10 points off his career norm of .237 -- and the Blue Jays' outfielder/third baseman has struck out 58 times in 229 at-bats (also in line with his career average of one K per four at-bats).

If you had Bautista in your lineup for many of his 18 home runs and 45 RBI, consider yourself fortunate. For a while, it seemed as if he might be the 2010 version of 2008 Carlos Quentin -- a waiver-wire acquisition who racks up 25 to 30 home runs and drives in 100.

Considering Toronto has only played 66 games, Bautista is still on track to exceed those numbers. But it's difficult to play a poor hitter who's mired in a terrible slump.


Unlike Bautista, Delmon Young started the season by gaining our interest, hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs in his first five games. While Bautista excelled in May, Young faded.

In 61 at-bats spanning 19 games following his five-game start, Young had all of one homer and four RBI. Since May 26, however, he's been hotter than a TMZ showdown with Kanye West.

In 63 at-bats, the Twins outfielder is batting .365 with four homers, 20 RBI and 11 runs scored. The torrid stretch has lifted his season average to .292, and he has eight homers and 41 RBI in 192 at-bats. Also impressive: Young has struck out only 22 times, an average of one per 8.7 at-bats -- 3.5 better than his career norm of one K per 5.2 at-bats.

In 2007 with Tampa Bay, Young batted .288 with 13 homers, 93 RBI and 10 stolen bases in his first full major-league season. In 2008 and '09, he didn't have more than 12 homers or 69 RBI.

Now, he's locked in. Start him -- but first you might have to acquire him. As of late Wednesday night, Young is owned in only 42.6 percent of the leagues on

For more fantasy sports updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Where Carlos Santana ranks at catcher

You probably know about Carlos Santana's minor-league resume, which includes a 196 at-bat stretch in Triple-A this season in which he batted .316 with 13 homers and 51 RBI.

You know he's the Indians' top prospect, and you likely were incensed the Tribe waited until last Friday to call him up from Columbus.

What you probably didn't know -- since you weren't crazy enough to actually write down the stats of the notable fantasy catchers (it wasn't one of my finer moments) -- is catcher is such a weak position in fantasy that Santana is a legitimate top-10 choice at the position if he's anything close to decent as a rookie.

Entering play Tuesday night, three catchers had 30 or more RBI, and two are named John Buck and Rod Barajas. Three had at least 10 home runs -- Barajas, Buck and Mike Napoli.

In his first four games (through Tuesday), Santana is batting .214, but he has a homer, three RBI, two runs, an .853 OPS and two more walks than strikeouts (3-1).

In 1,787 at-bats in his minor-league career (roughly three full seasons), he batted .290 with 75 homers, 360 RBI and 348 runs scored. Maybe even more impressive was the fact he had 11 more walks (333) than strikeouts (322).

Since Friday was Santana's first major-league game, you know he will go through stretches in which you'll wonder why he's in your lineup. But you also know there will be weeks -- maybe months -- in which he rakes.

All of which brings us to a brief analysis of fantasy's best catchers.

Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez are the clear Nos. 1 and 2 at the position. Assuming he's healthy (and that often isn't the case), the Yankees' Jorge Posada, who is batting .291 with eight homers and 23 RBI in only 127 at-bats, is No. 3.

Arizona's Miguel Montero, who seems to be recovered from knee surgery, likely is in the top five, as is Atlanta's Brian McCann.

Quick question: Who's next?

The Mets' Barajas, who has 11 homers and 30 RBI, but is a career .240 hitter? The Rockies' Miguel Olivo, who has been very good thus far but is a career .247 batter? The disappointing Russell Martin, the Blue Jays' Buck (.238), Ryan Doumit, Kurt Suzuki, Ronny Paulino, Napoli or Yadier Molina? The batting-average-but-nothing-else Pudge Rodriguez?

Without overanalyzing all the numbers and based on the hot starts by Barajas and Olivo -- and assuming you can't play another phenom, the Giants' Buster Posey at catcher (the rookie is playing first base, but will be moved behind the plate at some point) -- I'd rank the top eight in this manner: 1. Mauer, 2. Martinez, 3. Posada, 4. McCann, 5. Montero, 6. Barajas, 7. Olivo, 8. Santana.

Each of the mid-level candidates has obvious flaws, but Santana, even if he bats .260 as a rookie, should be more productive than most of them.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Time to sit Zack Greinke?

I stuck with Zack Greinke in May, even as he went 1-4 with an uncharacteristically high 4.10 ERA.

I figured his luck had to change, knowing all too well he pitched for Royals, whose ineptitude will trump luck any day of the week and twice on doubleheader days.

Consider this a change of heart.

In two starts this month, Greinke is 0-2 with an 8.18 ERA. In 11 innings, he's allowed 19 hits and walked four -- good for a WHIP of 2.09.

He is now 1-8 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.30 WHIP a year after going 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 229 1/3 innings.

Could it be that the lack of support has beaten him down?

In Greinke's first 11 starts this season, he allowed three earned runs or fewer nine times. The Royals scored three runs or fewer in seven of those 11 games. In the 26-year-old's six May starts, Kansas City scored once or was shut out on three occasions.

He has to be nearly perfect to win, and he's been far from it.

You might have chosen Greinke in the third round, and you likely can't get much of value for him in a trade. That leaves you with two choices: Continue playing him and risk him piling up 15 or 16 losses, or bench him.

I'm in the latter camp, at least until the Royals prove me wrong once or twice.

I might be waiting a while.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Stephen Strasburg's debut and Week 10 pitchers to start

Stephen Strasburg's major-league debut, set for Tuesday against the Pirates, has been likened to LeBron James' first game with the Cavaliers.

Forget the hype for a second, however. As fantasy owners, we're concerned with results, which is why three names come to mind for comparisons to the Nationals' can't-miss rookie pitcher: David Price, Tim Lincecum and Mark Prior.

Price, who is 8-2 with a 2.29 ERA this season, was the top overall pick of the 2007 draft by Tampa Bay. He started 19 games in the minor leagues in 2008 before getting called up to the Rays. In Tampa, he made five appearances that year, and four of them were in relief. In 2009, Price's true rookie season, he was 10-7 with a 4.42 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings.

A year later, he's destined to be an All-Star at age 24.

Lincecum, the No. 10 overall pick in 2006 (nine selections after the Royals took Luke Hochevar), was on a minor-league track that more closely resembles Strasburg's. The Giants' two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner made his big-league debut in May 2007 after all of eight games down on the farm. That season, he was 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA and an impressive 150 strikeouts in 146 1/3 innings.

In 2008, the year he turned 24, the player they call Franchise was 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA, striking out a ridiculous 265 batters in 227 innings. The following year, he was 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA and 261 Ks in 225 1/3 innings in repeating as the National League's top pitcher.

Prior, the No. 2 overall choice in 2001, threw nine games in the minors (two fewer than Strasburg) before getting promoted to the Cubs in May 2002. He was 6-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 116 2/3 innings. In 2003, he was an All-Star, compiling an 18-6 record with a 2.43 ERA and 245 Ks in 211 1/3 innings.

Injuries ruined his career before it ever got on its Hall of Fame path, but Lincecum and Price are doing just fine.

The same should be said about Strasburg, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound righty who "needed" 11 starts in Double- and Triple-A. Many felt he was ready coming out of spring training, but the Nationals waited until he was 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings in the minors before making the call -- thus delaying Strasburg's arbitration clock and allowing him to make his debut this week against a pair of offensive jugger-nots.

Tuesday, Strasburg has a home start against the Pirates, who entered Sunday ranked 29th in the majors in batting average (.238) and last in runs scored (181 in 55 games, an average of 3.3). Pittsburgh's OPS of .670 ranks 27th among MLB's 30 teams.

Start No. 2 for Strasburg will come Sunday, June 13 at Progressive Field against David Huff and the Indians. The Tribe entered Sunday ranked 25th in batting average (.245), 26th in runs scored (215 in 54 games, 4.0 per contest) and 26th in OPS (.687).

If you drafted Strasburg and were savvy enough to keep him, you're starting him this week. If Lincecum and Prior are accurate indicators, you can keep him in your lineup and expect a record in the .500 range and plenty of strikeouts -- think Fausto Carmona, times two.

All of which brings us to our breakdown of the remainder of the two-start pitchers for Week 10. These are the less-obvious choices among the group. You already know to start Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez and Barry Zito, and if you want to play Kyle Davies or Huff, I'm not going to stop you.

For a complete list of pitching matchups for the week, check out ESPN's Fantasy Forecaster.


Johnny Cueto, Reds (Monday, Giants; Saturday, Royals); Armando Galarraga, Tigers (Tuesday, at White Sox; Sunday, Pirates); Edwin Jackson, Diamondbacks (Tuesday, Braves; Sunday, Cardinals); Kevin Slowey, Twins (Tuesday, Royals; Sunday, Braves); Stephen Strasburg, Nationals (Tuesday, Pirates; Sunday, at Indians)


Two-start pitchers with one favorable and one difficult matchup (the more risky plays):

Brett Anderson, Athletics (Tuesday, Angels; Sunday, at Giants); Fausto Carmona, Indians (Monday, Red Sox; Saturday, Nationals); Jeff Francis, Rockies (Tuesday, Astros; Sunday, Blue Jays); Kyle Kendrick, Phillies (Tuesday, Marlins; Sunday, at Red Sox); Ted Lilly, Cubs (Tuesday, at Pirates; Sunday, White Sox); Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox (Monday, at Indians; Saturday, Phillies); Kris Medlen, Braves (Tuesday, at Diamondbacks; Sunday, at Twins); Randy Wells, Cubs (Monday, at Pirates; Saturday, White Sox)


Scott Feldman, Rangers (Monday, Mariners; Saturday, at Brewers); Gavin Floyd, White Sox (Tuesday, Tigers; Sunday, at Cubs); Scott Kazmir, Angels (Monday, at Athletics; Saturday, at Dodgers); Wade LeBlanc, Padres (Monday, at Phillies; Saturday, Mariners); Colby Lewis, Rangers (Tuesday, Mariners; Sunday, at Brewers); Clayton Richard, Padres (Tuesday, at Mets; Sunday, Mariners); Wandy Rodriguez, Astros (Monday, at Indians; Saturday, at Yankees); Ben Sheets, Athletics (Monday, Angels; Saturday, at Giants)

For more fantasy updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fantasy focus: Buster Posey

As fantasy owners, we tend to overreact.

One big game. One bad one. One walk-off celebration that results in a broken leg.

When Buster Posey -- the Giants' catcher of the future and one of baseball's top prospects -- was 3-for-4 with three RBI in his 2010 debut on May 29 against Arizona, we all took notice.

And many of us scrambled to get to our league's waiver wire.

Posey, who is eligible at catcher in most leagues, even though he's playing first base for the Giants this season, already is owned in 49.2 percent of the leagues on and 47 percent on Yahoo. Because catcher is such a goofy position this season -- the home-run leaders at the position are Rod Barajas, John Buck, Chris Snyder, Mike Napoli and Miguel Olivo -- the guess here is Posey is starting in most of the leagues in which he's been acquired.

If you're one of the instant believers, don't get too excited by the fast start of the No. 5 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Posey entered this season with all of 17 major-league at-bats, and it wasn't long ago we expected instant offense from Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. In Year 2, Wieters is batting .246 with four homers (half of the total for Buck, Snyder, Napoli and Olivo), 12 runs and 16 RBI.

Posey has hit everywhere he's been. He was tearing up Triple-A this season -- a .349 average, six homers, 32 RBI and a .994 OPS in 47 games.

In 2008 and '09 in the minors, he batted .327 and had 94 runs, 19 homers, 86 RBI, six steals, 36 doubles and a .959 OPS in 459 at-bats. Then there was spring training with San Francisco this season, when Posey batted .315 with a homer and nine RBI in 54 at-bats.

Will he be a stud? Probably. But the same goes for Wieters, who turned 24 on May 21.

The latter is about 10 months older than Posey and played less than two seasons in the minor leagues. In a combined 578 minor-league at-bats in 2008 and '09, Wieters batted .343 with 32 homers, 121 RBI and a ridiculous 1.014 OPS.

On the day Posey made his triumphant 2010 debut, Giants veteran Aubrey Huff jokingly referred to him as "Jesus Christ" because of the hype.

Posey then had three hits and RBI No. 4 in his second game of the season. Counting Tuesday night, he was 1-for-7 in his next two contests.

Posey eventually should be a fantasy player to covet. If you can play him at catcher, he has some value now.

At this point, however, we'd settle for the 2010 Posey being compared to Rod Barajas at the plate.

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