Bringin' the Noise: Myers Meltdown

Brad Evans
Yahoo! Sports

In 29 years, these eyes and ears have bared witness to several traumatic events: the Steve Bartman folly, an eight-pound bundle of joy extracted from my wife and, most life-altering of all, a Phil Collins concert … during the torturous Disney ballad years.

Although permanently stained on my cerebral cortex, those scares pale in comparison to the horror I endured last Wednesday.

73 pitches, 2.2 IP, H, 2 K, 3 ER and 7 (expletive) walks

Stupid Oliver Perez.

Intoxicated by his seven-inning, one earned run, zero walk, six strikeout opening week performance in Hot-lanta, I should've known Perez, a player I idiotically gravitate to in the eleventh hour of drafts every year, had simply teased my fantasy libido yet again. And like some deranged sadomasochist, I'll foolishly stick with him.

You see, for those "Office" fans out there, Perez is my love-hate version of Michael Scott. I drafted him in the 20th Round of my local 14-team mixed keeper league in 2004 and instantly fell head-over-heels for his blazing 97-mph fastball and skyward K/9 rates. Heck, who didn't?

Signing him to a three-year extension in '05, he became a key member of my fantasy family – only to put me through an unimaginable hell of bloated WHIPs, astronomical ERAs and nights of heavy Jack Daniels consumption.

Now in the final-year as a member of the "Mighty Mullets," my glass-is-half-full viewpoint on Perez has remained hopelessly optimistic.

As the old adage says, "hope springs eternal," and given Perez's age (25), run support and resurgence in velocity – his fastball has regularly touched 92-93 MPH – I'll continue to be a stubborn slave to his inconsistency, which will probably lead to my demise.

That is, unless Uncle Jack doesn't destroy my liver first.

Fantasy Flames
Player Team Pos BNR Y!%
Ryan Theriot 2B 22 1.3
'07 Stats: .344 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, 4 SB, 5:2 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: Meet Ryan Freel's twin brother. Smacking 11 hits in his past 23 at-bats with three RBIs and three steals, "The Riot" is sizzling. Only eligible at 2B in Yahoo! leagues, Theriot (pronounced Terry-o) is a mere three starts shy of gaining eligibility at third and could log time elsewhere. With Alfonso Soriano nursing a tender hammy and Aramis Ramirez and Mark DeRosa banged up, Theriot, an excellent contact hitter who draws walks and possesses electric 25-30 SB speed, should be a lineup staple over the next couple of weeks. Lou Piniella is enamored with his sparkplug play and it wouldn't be a shock if he starts four times per week splitting time between 2B, 3B, OF and possibly SS – although Felix Pie could complicate things. Because quality MI production is sparse even in some 12-team leagues, he's worth a pickup. With 450 at-bats: .300 BA, 3 HR, 50 RBI, 65 R, 24 SB.
Adam Lind DH, UTIL 5 0.52
'07 Stats: .333 BA, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 0 SB, 5:0 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Lind – no relation to former Pittsburgh infielder "Chico" Lind who destroyed NL-only teams in the 90s – is on a meteoric path to fantasy fame. With the announcement that Reed Johnson is out until at least July, the richly talented Lind will roam LF for much of the season. A fairly disciplined hitter with 20-25 homer power, Lind is equipped with a baby smooth, short swing, which helped him rake a .319 BA in the minors. Look for John Gibbons to bat him second against RHP and in the bottom third against LHP. No matter where he hits, the 23 year-old has the tools to be a stellar source of BA and RBI. If he logs 500 at-bats: .310 BA, 13 HR, 70 RBI, 65 R.
Chris Duncan OF 40 52.9
'07 Stats: .385 BA, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 8 R, 1 SB, 8:5 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Built like a white icing long-john at 6-foot-5, 230-pounds, Duncan "Doughnuts" has been a sugary sensation. Overshadowed by "Phat" Albert, Duncan has quietly tallied eight hits and two homers in his past 15 at-bats. A RHP crusher, the 25-year-old hook has tremendous raw power to all fields and has a laser-accurate eye (10.7 BB% in '06). Although his feeble success against LHP makes him occasional bench material, as the two-hitter in front of Pujols, he'll undoubtedly be a .290, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 80 R contributor. Amazingly still available in nearly half of Y! leagues, Duncan is a dynamite No. 4 OF in 12-team mixed formats.
Jason Frasor RP 20 35.1
'07 Stats: 1 SV, 1 W, 1.23 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, 7.1 IP, 9:2 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Frasor might be this year's J.J. Putz. Despite his diminutive 5-foot-10 frame, Frasor's fastball registers in the mid-90s consistently and he boasts one the most underrated curves in the AL. Experienced in the ninth – he saved 17 games in 19 attempts for the Jays in 2004 – Frasor has notched a solid 9:2 K-to-BB ratio in seven appearances this year and has the demeanor to be a successful stopper. It took A.J. Burnett eight weeks to recover from a similar elbow strain as Ryan's in '06, so expect B.J. to be sidelined until at least early June. Yet another reason why you avoid closers early, don't be shocked if Frasor totals 8-10 saves with ample strikeouts. After his door-shutting 1.1 inning effort versus Boston on Tuesday, he's destined for saves sainthood.
Derrick Turnbow RP 37 30.5
'07 Stats: 0.00 ERA, 0.50 WHIP, 6 IP, 11:1 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: Potential cast member for a "Dazed and Confused" sequel – check out the mop – Turnbow's stuff is smokin' once again. In attendance for the St. Louis/Milwaukee clash on April 14, I was blown away by Turnbow's renewed swagger and command. Touching 99 MPH twice, he beamed a two-seamer past Scott Rolen and baffled Scott Spiezio with four straight tight, inside curves. That was the filthy, nearly unhittable Turnbow who saved 39 games in 2005 that I witnessed. With a sick 11:1 K:BB ratio in six innings, he's one Francisco Cordero elbow strain away from becoming an end-game dominator once again. Until then, the shaggy dog will be a top-flight source of Ks in NL-only and mixed 14-team formats in middle relief. If you have a deep bench, it might be wise to stow him away.
Fantasy Lames
Player Team Pos BNR Y!%
Edwin Encarnacion 3B 16 19.2
'07 Stats: .186 BA, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R, 2 SB, 11:6 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: Encarnacion is the antithesis of Charlie Hustle. Benched last week – and mysteriously twice this week – for failing to run out an infield fly, Encarnacion, mired in a 1-for-32 slump, has officially succumbed to frustration. Dropped from cleanup to sixth in the order, its clear Double-E is in Jerry Narron's doghouse. One of my favorite draft day sleepers, now is the time to deal for his services. His fantastic bat speed, 25-30 HR power and low-double digit steals potential will pull him out of the fantasy latrine quickly. I still have faith his fantasy value will be higher than Joe Crede, Scott Rolen and Eric Chavez come September. Bargain shop.
CoCo Crisp OF 50 65.7
'07 Stats: .150 BA, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 SB, 10:3 K:BB
Market Value: Hold
Lowdown: Breakfast companion to Tucan Sam, Crisp has gone soggy. Trapped in an offensive black hole, Crisp is 6-for-39 with three RBI and one stolen base. Terry Francona recently commented that Crisp's woeful start has made him "not very happy," but the Boston manager remained steadfast that "things will even out." Much of his ineptitude stems from poor pitch recognition, however a 2-for-3 night in the two hole in Toronto on Tuesday is a positive step. At 27, he should be entering his offensive prime, but because he will bat eighth most often, Crisp is a speed-driven No. 5 OF who should finish around .285 BA, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 70 R, 20 SB. If the depression drags on, look for Wily Mo Pena to steal time in center, while Sox fans cascade him with boos and chuck pepperoni slices in his general direction.
Brett Myers SP 16 97.4
'07 Stats: 0-2, 9.39 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 15.1 IP, 19:9 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: More absurd than Sanjaya's longevity on American Idol, flippant manager Charlie Manuel, evidently fuming still about Tuesday's media meltdown, has hastily moved his No. 1 starter, who's won 54 games in that role since 2002, into the pen in favor of old goat Jon Lieber. Absolutely preposterous. To say the Phillies pen has struggled is a gross understatement, but this is complete lunacy. In his past two rough outings (7.2 IP, 13 ER, 7 BB combined) Myers has complained his fastball has "leaked back over the plate," which is the main reason why his ERA stands at a bloated 9.39. However, even with his erratic control, amazingly, Myers continues to rack abundant punchouts (11.3 K/9). Myers' reassigned role as a setup man and mop up closer has to be a short-term solution. Once he fixes his mechanical flaws it would only make sense a return to the rotation would be imminent. For now, he's expendable in shallow-benched 12-team mixed leagues. Otherwise, hang onto to him in all other formats until the Phillies front office realizes an inmate is running the asylum.
Ryan Zimmerman 3B 8 96.1
'07 Stats: .207 BA, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 0 SB, 10:3 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: A paltry 12-for-58, the Nationals' cherished youngster has played more like Don Zimmer than an All-Star cornerstone. The third hitter in a woeful lineup, Zimmerman has received little protection, which has caused his numbers to suffer initially. However, the promotion of Dimitri Young to cleanup should help Zimmerman find his stroke. Still, without Alfonso Soriano at leadoff, his 110 RBI total from '06 certainly won't be matched, but a slight surge in homers is a possibility along with a .290 BA. Another terrific buy low candidate, he's the best fantasy option on an otherwise treasonable Nationals team.
Stephen Drew SS 15 82.7
'07 Stats: .213 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 6 R, 1 SB, 4:10 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Snake bitten by a quadriceps pull and the flu Week 1, Drew is off to a poisoned start. Sure his .213 BA is wretched, but with an incredible 4:10 K-to-BB ratio the downturn won't last long. For the advantageous, Drew's April showers could facilitate a rosy lowball deal with a glib owner. Bob Melvin is an ardent supporter of keeping Drew at leadoff given his outstanding OBP upside (.357 OBP in '06). The 24-year-old lefty-swinger has .300 BA, 100 R, 70-plus RBI, 15-20 HR tools who should create a spark quickly and emerge a top-15 shortstop this season.

We've all seen these seemingly ambiguous statements on exams and quizzes since elementary school, now the classic test teaser gets a fantasy makeover. Each week, I'll tackle pressing diamond topics with a direct, succinct answer. Please, keep your eyes on your own paper.

Josh Willingham will round into a .285, 30 HR, 100 RBI guy this year. – Peter, Raleigh, NC

Answer: True. Man, if only J-Will donned the catcher's gear just one more time. Willingham is a tireless worker with tremendous raw power who, despite 10 Ks in 47 at-bats already, is a patient, yet aggressive hitter that works counts (54 BB in '06). With close to 600 MLB at-bats of experience, prime power age (28) and a spot in the Marlins order behind mini-Pujols Miguel Cabrera, he's a sleeping giant who could have similar totals to big-ticket Jason Bay, minus the steals.

By season's end, the newest Cub (outside of Alfonso Soriano) with the biggest positive impact to his fantasy value will be Mark DeRosa. – Dan, Cincinnati, OH

Answer: False. Unless your name is Barry Zito, generally speaking, when AL pitchers switch to the senior circuit they shave about a point off their ERAs (i.e. Bronson Arroyo last year). With that in mind, Ted Lilly will leave an indelible mark on fantasy rosters as a top-notch No. 3 starter. Lilly is a power/finesse combo hurler with better-than-advertised stuff. His spectacular 24:3 K:BB mark in 19 IP is a great indication of his full potential. Sure he's always been superb in April (3.60 career ERA), but, if he continues to limit the free passes, Lilly should turn an enormous profit for those late-round SP vultures. Projection: 15 W, 3.75 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 170 K.

Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Adam LaRoche? Do you question why on earth you're not a fantasy expert? This is the place for you to vent your thoughts, tirades and frustrations. Can you bring the noise?

Brad, what's wrong with you? You seem like a talented professional, but you lost your cool on Chris from Phoenix (last week's Notable Noise). Why do you have to go off on this guy? Saying he plays in a "kiddy pool league where everyone is an All-Star" and tell him to "move out of his parents' basement" isn't cool. What happened man? I read your column regularly and enjoy it, but that's not funny. Maybe he doesn't like your work, so what? You didn't have to go off on him like that. Come on man, keep it together.

Will, Atlanta, GA

Evans! … On the wire in my 16-teamer, Termel Sledge, Josh Hamilton and Russell Branyan were/are available. I consider all three of these to be better than Travis Buck. Punch-and-Judy hitters at the bottom of terrible lineups are not something to put in an article! Loved the flame back however. Regardless of the flame, I won a football league this year solely based on some of your advice on "Fantasy Football Live." Thanks for that.

Chris, Phoenix, AZ

Noise: See Will, no harm, no foul. There's a reason why this column is titled "Bringin' the Noise." Call it my abrasive alter-ego. Due to my competitive nature, when someone rattles the cage I respond with megaphone in hand. I figure if someone dishes it, they can take it. There's nothing unprofessional about that. Oh, and Chris, Travis Buck, whose hit safely in eight of his first 10 games, is definitely worth more than Branyan and his Rob Deer-esque .233 career BA.

Come on, Brad. Rich Hill the best LHP in the NL? Pinpoint control? Have you seen him pitch more than one game? He lacks control and is a two-pitch pitcher at this point. Your Cubby bias is bleeding through. He's not even the best lefty on his own team and that's saying something when that guy is Ted Lilly.

Sean, Yorkville, IL

Brad, I won't rip you for taking Crawford over A-Rod since I understand one occasionally drinks as they draft. However, please, sir, stop drinking while you're writing your fantasy columns. The Rich Hill "best fantasy lefty in the NL" line was monumentally insane. Stop the friggin' insanity, Evans. You're going to kill somebody's fantasy squad with that nonsense.

Mike, Pensacola, FL

You have some nerve to call Rich Hill the best fantasy lefty in the NL. I do respect your fantasy advice greatly – I never drafted a pitcher until Round 8 in nearly all my leagues and am currently in first or second in each – but Hill is not better than Cole Hamels. Hamels will have 10-20 more Ks, more wins, a lower ERA, and a comparable WHIP. It's clear you have a man-crush on the guy, but I don't see him having a better fantasy value than Hamels.

Matt, Boulder, CO

Dude, quit taking credit for saying Rich Hill is a sleeper. Everyone and their mama was on Hill, Dice-K, Alex Gordon and Ian Kinsler. Get off it already and make some real predictions. You're nothing. I should be writing these damn articles. You're nothing but a George Costanza.

Anton, Rochester, NY

Noise:Serenity now! Sure, I might be a neurotic, insecure, sexually eccentric man who once had ambitions of being a hand model, but I'm no Costanza. For all of you Hill doubters, compare the splits between Richie Rich and Hamels since July of '06:

Hill: 94 IP, 2.49 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 2.6 BB/9
Hamels: 106.2 IP, 3.39 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9

Outside of reasonable differences in ERA and K/9 they are nearly indistinguishable. However, with the nastiest curve in the majors, a low-90s fastball, effective change and 14 straight scoreless innings to open '07, if Hill isn't the best fantasy southpaw in the NL by year's end, my real name is Art Vandelay.