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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, July 19, 2011

Fantasy baseball: Jeff Keppinger analysis

Because he was traded from the worst team in baseball to the reigning World Series champions, Jeff Keppinger will be much more popular on the waiver wire in the coming days.

Keppinger, who was sent from the Astros to the Giants for two prospects on Tuesday, is batting .307 in 163 at-bats since May 27, when he made his season debut following foot surgery. Keppinger is owned in 3.5 percent of the leagues on, but that number likely will double or triple by the end of the week.

If you're looking for help at second base, Keppinger can provide a batting average boost. Aside from that, however, he isn't much of an asset.

Keppinger has four homers, 20 RBI, 22 runs and a .755 OPS this season. In 514 at-bats with Houston in 2010, he hit .288 with 62 runs, six homers, 59 RBI, four steals and a .744 OPS. In 2008 and '09, he batted .266 and .256, respectively (though he is a .284 career hitter).

Entering San Francisco's late game Tuesday night, Keppinger had two home runs in his last three games -- a number that is more deceiving than LeBron James' collection of MVP trophies.

The 31-year-old Keppinger's career highs are as follows: seven homers, 59 RBI, four steals and 62 runs.

Translation: Acquire him only if you play in a category league and need to improve your team's batting average.

A name to remember following the Houston-San Francisco trade (but likely not this season): Jose Altuve.

Altuve, 21, will take over at second base for the Astros. He's a .327 career hitter in the minor leagues. In 1,466 at-bats -- never above Class AA -- he has 30 homers, 208 RBI, 117 steals and 276 runs.

This season, Altuve batted a combined .389 in Class A and AA.

Could he be a fantasy fixture? Absolutely, but it's unlikely Altuve will do so in 2011 after never getting an at-bat in Triple-A.

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