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June 27, 2008

Reds droppable prospect Bruce

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AP Photo/Al Behrman
Jay Bruce's MLB debut has been a wild ride so far. His first seven games produced a .577 average, 12 runs, 3 HR's, and 7 RBI. However he has batted in the .160's the last 17 games and his average has plummeted to .288.

Some fantasy owners were lucky enough to trade Bruce when he was the hot prospect who looked to be putting up Ryan Braun numbers. Now those owners are stuck holding onto him, guessing as to whether or not he's going to break out of this slump. A few games back Bruce got ejected after a called third strike; clearly he is frustrated.

In a few shallow leagues I am close to dropping him. Still haven't, but he has not been in my active roster for a week or so. He has not had a multi-hit game in 17 games after having 7 in his first 12, and Bruce has but 3 RBI in the last 17 games.

That is generally how it goes for rookie pitchers or hitters. Players like Ryan Braun last year are the aberrations.

June 8, 2008

Kinsler, Milton Bradley, Rangers

Over the last month, there are a few Texas Rangers that have been scorching hot. And we're not just talking about Josh Hamilton, because Hamilton has been raking balls all year. Anyway, over the last month Josh Hamilton is ranked #1 in Yahoo! Baseball, with Kinsler #2, and Milton Bradley #5.

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AP Photo David Pellerin

Ian Kinsler started off last year with a ton of home runs and some stolen bases, and ended as a decent yet not top-end second baseman. Then 2008 started, and Kinsler decided he was going to steal a ton of bases this year. Kinsler stole 23 bases in 25 attempts last year, and has stolen 17 bases in 17 attempts and half the 2008 season is left.

Ian Kinsler has been #2 in Yahoo the last month because of this. He is still not getting on base as much as he should, with just a .350 OBP. He had a .350 OBP last year and he hit .263 instead of .305! Kinsler has a whopping 53 runs already, in so small part to the quality bats behind him in the lineup.

Which brings us to the mercurial Rangers Outfielder Milton Bradley. Normally he is getting suspended or injured, but Bradley has proven that when he plays he has all-star potential, with a great eye for getting on base. Milton is batting an absurd .364 last month, with a ton of power. For the season, Bradley has posted a .337 average, an insane .450 OBP, 13 home runs, 41 RBI and 41 runs. Ride the wave but be wary of something coming up in the future as he has not been able to sustain performance for a full year.

We would be remiss not to mention David Murphy, who has really came out of nowhere. Bradley, Hamilton and Kinsler were at least known entities; David Murphy had a little over 100 at bats to his name before this year. However Murphy has produced at a Top 50 overall, top 20 outfielder clip. David Murphy is undoubtedly a huge piece in this resurgent Rangers lineup hitting 5th or 6th as an almost .300 hitter with 7 home runs 39 RBI 35 runs and 5 steals. A bad sign is the 45 strikeouts to 16 walks rate, but if you stole him in a deep league for nothing you have to be feeling good about yourself.

May 29, 2008

Fantasy Baseball Stud Outfielders

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AP Photo/Paul Beaty

Coming into the year most fantasy experts assumed it would be a deep field for Outfielders. Many proven veterans were still performing at elite levels while younger outfielders were emerging as full time players. This has held true throughout the 1st half of the 2008 MLB season, but some of the top end talents have not put up the expected numbers. Meanwhile some unexpected studs have came out of no where to lead outfielders.

Top 5 Surprise Stud Outfielders

5. Ryan Ludwick (St. Louis Cardinals) - .333 avg, .413 obp, 13 home runs, 32 runs, 39 RBI. Batting behind Albert Pujols really means something, clearly. We have seen other Cardinals players batting around Pujols have career paces for a time (like Rick Ankiel, Chris Duncan). Can Ludwick keep it up? He had a solid season last year in St Louis with 300 quality at bats with 14 home runs and a .267 average. As the #13 player in the Yahoo! fantasy game you will want to ride this as long as it lasts. He seems to have the talent and while he won't bat .360 like he has the past month, you can expect a solid outfielder who looks to be a solid bet for 30 home runs and close to a .300 average.

4. Ryan Church (New York Mets) - .309 avg, .376 obp, 9 home runs, 34 runs, 32 RBI. Ryan Church is another guy who is the beneficiary of a quality lineup around him. Prior to this season with the Washington Nationals he had shown flashes of power, but this season he has shown he can hit for average as well. People were talking about that trade with the Nationals / Mets as a heist for the Nationals, but Lastings Milledge has not produced even close to Church so far. That said you will probably want to expect a dip in Church's stats from here on out but that still is a career best for him.

3. Nate McLouth (Pittsburgh Pirates) - .311 avg, .397 obp, 12 home runs, 43 runs, 39 RBI, 5 SB. This guy has cooled down a bit otherwise he might be #1 here. McLouth's first month was wild as he was #1 overall at times, but has since cooled down with his average but he has been consistent providing solo home runs still. Another guy who's stats will begin to go down probably, as his average is already slipping. But since Pittsburgh plays him so much and he started off so well, he will still compile quality all around roto statistics by the time the year is finished.

2. Carlos Quentin (Chicago White Sox) - .296 avg, .402 obp, 14 home runs, 35 runs, 47 RBI, 4 SB. Here is a player who just needed a fresh start after not being able to stay in the lineup for the Diamondbacks earlier in his career. In Chicago he is in a masher's lineup so he is protected in the middle of the order and has been driving in a ton of runs, like the guy below. Not only that but he has had clutch home runs, defeating John Lackey and the Angels all by himself the other day. His .402 obp is not a fluke as he has had a great eye for a long time and at this point 30 home runs 110 RBI looks like it might be a light projection.

1. Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers) - .324 avg, .369 obp, 13 home runs, 35 runs, 58 RBI. Josh Hamilton is absolutely tearing up the American League since he joined the Texas Rangers. He has never walked much as evidenced by his obp but he has so much raw talent swinging the bat that it does not matter. Like Quentin, Hamilton has won a few games himself off of clutch home runs. The 58 RBI speak for itself, leading an upstart Texas Rangers club with guys in front of him like Kinsler and Michael Young getting on base. It is just a matter of staying healthy for Hamilton who has suffered from multiple injuries throughout his career.

These guys were all off the map for the OF's in early April drafts. Some of these players were probably picked up off the waiver wire in your leagues, especially Ludwick.