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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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Start or sit -- Shin-Soo Choo

We expected a relieved Shin-Soo Choo would be even more productive this season.

Freed from a two-year military obligation in his native South Korea after leading his country to a gold medal in the Asian Games last offseason, we had Choo ranked as the No. 7 outfielder and No. 23 player overall in fantasy baseball entering 2011.

Thus far, he's been more Russell Branyan -- minus the power -- than Shin-Soo Choo.

Choo is batting .207 with 10 runs, two home runs, four stolen bases and a .569 OPS in 82 at-bats for the Tribe. Worse, he has struck out 22 times, an average of one K per 3.7 at-bats that is similar to his 2009 rate.

That season, Choo struck out 151 times in 583 at-bats. But he also batted .300 with 20 homers, 86 RBI and 22 steals.

In 2010, he cut his Ks down to 118, averaging one per 4.7 at-bats, and had his best season. He hit .300 with career-high totals of 22 homers, 90 RBI and 22 steals.

Obviously, you're worried, especially if you play in a points league that deducts for strikeouts. In our News-Herald points league -- in which strikeouts are minus-1 -- Choo has scored all of 37 points in 21 games, ranking in a tie for 59th place among outfielders.

So should you bench him?

Of course not.

I would give Choo at least a couple of weeks before relegating him to a reserve role.

In 2009 and '10, one of his best traits was his consistency. In that span, he batted .300 both years and had norms of 21 homers, 88 RBI, 22 steals and an .884 OPS. His batting average each season was the same, and his totals in every other major category increased just a bit from 2009 to '10. Choo's home runs increased by two, his runs scored by six, RBI by four, steals by one and his OPS two points (from .883 to .885).

He will hit, and it should be soon.

If you're more pessimistic, consider Choo has an RBI in four of the Indians' last six games and a hit in nine of his last 11. In the latter span, he has eight RBI and four steals.

Take a cue from Eric Wedge and stay the course. Grind it out. Be patient.

You get the idea.

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