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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, 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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