By Andy Behrens
May 3, 2007
Roto Arcade This Week : April 30
| May 1
Maybe it was Jesse Foppert, maybe it was Kurt Ainsworth. Can't remember. For me, they've basically morphed into one dude, Jessurt Foppworth. But it wasn't so many years ago that one or both of them – or possibly the hybrid – hit waivers in Yahoo! leagues and caused a stir.
There are always prospects who do this. Most of those guys, like Foppworth, don't actually decide league championships. In fact, their contributions are typically so mixed, if not downright harmful, that they don't affect your league standings in any obvious way. Yet every so often a call-up has an immediate and overwhelmingly positive impact, like Dontrelle Willis in 2003 or Jered Weaver in 2006. Because of those guys, we preserve waiver priority and invest it wherever we think we can find the best possible collection of stats.
Wednesday, while contributing to a Yahoo! SportsStream segment, I found myself offering the standard caveat – "Nobody's a can't-miss prospect" – during a discussion of a Triple-A pitcher who, to be perfectly honest, seems like he can't miss. While it's true that no one is guaranteed major league success, it's also true that in fantasy, excessive skepticism will undermine a season. You should aggressively pursue the best of the call-ups. That waiver investment you made in Phil Hughes can still pay off. Park him on the DL once he's eligible. Don't drop him. In a 12-team mixed league, there are available free agents who can satisfactorily fill in over the next six weeks.
And yeah, you should pursue Houston's Hunter Pence and Kansas City's Billy Butler, too. My preference is Pence for the stolen base potential. He swiped 17 bases at Double-A last year and, batting in front of light-hitting Adam Everett, you'd think the Astros would let Pence run. Butler seems monolithic in left field; he has "UTIL" written all over him. Both guys can hit, though, and both are worth test-driving. Are they more valuable than, say, Ryan Braun? Well, they're up, so that's a point in their favor. Beyond that, it's a question of positional and category need.
Ryan Zimmerman is probably the subject of one out of every five emails I've received via the feedback link. What, exactly, did you expect from him? Obviously not a month of .236/.288/.327 hitting. But I dropped him in a league last year after he hit .242/.325/.411 in April, and ultimately regretted the move. If you're projecting a 20 to 25 HR season from a player, which would be a reasonable expectation for Zimmerman, the guy isn't going to hit a home run every week – there are 26 weeks in the MLB regular season, just so you know.
An item on the Astros' website announced "Clemens sweepstakes officially begin." To absolutely no one's surprise, the three teams that appear to be in the running are the one he'd probably like to play for (Houston), and the two that have the most money (New York and Boston). He's still available in 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and the 44-year-old's return seems inevitable. Hard to believe there are mixed leagues in which he's not roster-worthy.
Hope you held onto Brett Myers, though not everyone did. He began the week 82.5 percent owned. Tom Gordon reportedly has shoulder "discomfort," and he didn't travel with the Phillies to San Francisco. Myers should be universally owned.
Corey Hart, who may or may not have a wrist injury, started Wednesday, went 1-for-4, and stole a base. It was his fifth steal on the season. He's only 1.9 percent owned in Yahoo! leagues. Playing time, of course, remains an issue, but it's hard to believe he won't end the season as the Brewers regular right fielder.
The following things have all happened with the Indians over the past few days: Jake Westbrook broke (abdominal strain), Andy Marte (hamstring) broke a little further, Ryan Garko homered (he's 4-for-8 in May), Fausto Carmona (2-1, 3.76 ERA) was sent down and is likely to now be recalled, and Fernando Cabrera continued his brilliance in relief (2.2 IP, 0 ER, 4 K on Wednesday). Oh, and Cliff Lee is returning.
Speaking of Lee, this is the last day you'll be able to add him and stash him on the DL. He makes his 2007 debut against Dustin McGowan and the Blue Jays on Thursday. If you add Lee right now, he can just sit there harmlessly on your DL for a few days. He should get two starts next week: at Los Angeles on Tuesday and at Oakland on Sunday. Both teams are in the bottom half of the AL in runs scored.
Andy Behrens has written for ESPN.com, the Chicago Sports Review, NBA.com, the Chicago Reader and various other publications. In all likelihood, Andy owns more Artis Gilmore memorabilia than you. Follow him on Twitter. Send Andy a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Thursday, May 3, 2007 6:04 pm, EDT
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