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Bringin' the Noise: Patience

In an age of leather and Lycra, when Aquanet-teased hairstyles put Marge Simpson's towering beehive to shame and the exaggerated use of concert pyrotechnics threatened puffed bangs everywhere, glam rock ruled the metal masses.

Whether you donned a black T-Shirt with Motley Crue, Whitesnake, or, for the ten people out there who would admit to it, Winger, plastered across your chest, at some point all glam fans were subjected to their favorite band's ode to the ladies, the monster ballad.

Through the colorful tattoos, cigarette haze and lead singer sashays, one band's acoustic serenade defined the importance of keeping an even temper.

Here's a hint: It's the only rock song that made whistling cool – sorry Scorpion fans.

"Patience, yyyyyyeeeeeaaaahhhhhh!"

If the original members of GN'R – Slash, Duff, Izzy, and the drummer without a memorable name, Steven Adler – were knowledgeable fantasy owners today, they would have taken Axl's advice and not traded Mark Teixeira back in April.

Since his abhorrent 21-for-91, two-homer, six-RBI April, Big Tex has taken my Y! Friends and Family League team down to the Paradise City. And yes, the grass is green, the girls are pretty and power numbers are aplenty.

First in the AL in May RBI, second in home runs and near the top in BA (.373), slugging (.711) and OBP (.430), Teixeira has bounced back from a shower-filled April and emerged the second round fantasy rose we all drafted him to be.

So, the next time eagerness entices you to undersell a likely 35-HR, 100-RBI Carlos Delgado, Paul Konerko or Richie Sexson, simply cue up a little "Patience," press your lips together and blow. In time your diligence will be rewarded.

Here are this week's flames, lames and grande dames:

Fantasy Flames
Player Team Pos Y!RK Y!%
Scott Baker
SP 480 0.39
'07 Stats: W, 8.1 IP, 6 H, 5:0 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Forget Toaster Strudel, this Baker is cooking up a four-cat fantasy feast that would make the Pillsbury Doughboy rub his tummy erotically. Listed as a top-five prospect in the Twins organization two years ago, Baker has had composure troubles with runners on base (7.11 ERA in 63.1 IP) and has been pounded by the long-ball (24 HR allowed in 124.1 IP) in his short career. In other words, he's what Rich Hill was. Known for his mid-90s sinking heat, plus change and impeccable minor league command (41:4 K:BB in 42.2 Triple-A IP this year), he's always had the tools to be a successful, 13-15 W, 150 K pitcher. Superb against the surging Brewers on May 19, he'll be a sub-4.00 ERA innings-eater in his second big league stint. Fearless Forecast: 8 W, 3.85 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 100 K.
Randy Wolf
SP 284 67.1
'07 Stats: 6 W, 60.0 IP, 3.75 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 66:17 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Sell
Lowdown: If Duran Duran's Simon Le Bond played fantasy he'd certainly be hungry for this Wolf. Elbow woes derailed Wolf for two seasons, which made him a low-risk, high-reward stab-in-the-dark in drafts. One Tommy John procedure and a cross-country move later, he's back in 2003 form. Wolf has been troubled by walks in the past, but his stupendous 2.5 BB/9 is a sign of maturity. Sure his healthy K totals (30 K in his past 24 IP) and the pitcher-friendly environs of Dodger Stadium are harbingers for continued success, but his horrifying .331 BABIP suggests an ERA climb is imminent. After another quality start on Tuesday, now is the time to cash in.
Kazuo Matsui
2B 732 6.4
'07 Stats: .341 BA, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 6 SB, 5:2 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Sidelined by back spasms for the past several weeks, flippant Matsui owners should have instituted a "wax on, wax off" approach. In a brief minor league rehab stint, he stole two bases and was clocked at a Speed Racer 3.85 seconds from home to first. Last year, the 31-year-old import played brilliantly in Colorado notching a .385 BA with 19 RBI and 8 SBs in 114 at-bats. If he can improve his strike-zone recognition (19.1 career K%), 20-25 steals and abundant runs is a foregone conclusion. Two-for-four in his return to the lineup on Monday, Matsui will be the Rockies equivalent to Ryan Theriot, with 4-6 more homers. Nostradomus Noise: .285 BA, 4 HR, 58 RBI, 65 R, 21 SB.
Mark Reynolds
3B 1001 0.02
'07 Stats: .333 BA, HR, 6 RBI, 4 R, 7:3 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: Unlike another Reynolds known for his greasy moustache, abbreviated laughs and idiotic SNL Jeopardy responses, Arizona's version is no short-term "Turd Ferguson." Scouts have said Reynolds' tremendous bat speed, keen eye (26 BB% in minors) and raw power are reminiscent of a young Jeff Kent. If that doesn't whet your appetite, in just three years of pro ball he's averaged a gaudy home run in every 6.5 at-bats. Recent news that Chad Tracy (ribcage) has not been cleared to resume baseball activities secures Reynolds as an everyday player for at least the next couple of weeks. Probably the only middle-of-the-order hitter available on a majority of waiver wires in 12-team leagues, the 23-year-old's scorching desert start (8-for-23, 5 RBI in 7 G) labels him a quality source of HR and RBI. Frustrated Scott Rolen owners patiently waiting for a turnaround should give the 'Zona rookie an audition.
Angel Pagan
OF 975 0.67
'07 Stats: .370 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 9 R, 3 SB, 3:2 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: With an oxymoronic name that would make Pat Robertson's head spin, Pagan is celestial bliss in NL-only formats. Now that Alfonso Soriano has shifted back to left and with Felix Pie sharpening his offensive skills in Iowa, Pagan has started in center in four of Chicago's past eight games. Pagan has below-average power, but is a consistent contact hitter with elite speed. Sweet Lou loves the hot hand – see Ryan Theriot – and because of Pagan's exceptional leather, he should net three-to-four starts per week with an opportunity for more if he continues to mash. For now, consider him a speed buy in NL-only formats, but keep him in the crosshairs in deep 12-team mixed leagues – he once stole 52 bags in the Mets organization back in 2002.
Fantasy Lames
Player Team Pos Y!RK Y!%
Andruw Jones
OF 37 99.8
'07 Stats: .220 BA, 6 HR, 31 RBI, 22 R, SB, 51:27 K:BB
Market Value: Moderate Buy
Lowdown: On Sunday, Braves fans watched their All-Star centerfielder punch his card for the platinum sombrero club (5 Ks in a game). In a contract year, Jones better reverse his fortunes quickly – he's currently in a 5-for-32 slump – if he wants to command Trump cash this winter. Bobby Cox dropped him out of his customary cleanup spot to sixth in the order on Monday and plans to keep him there until his bat revives. Jones has complained of back tightness since mid-May, which has sapped much of his power and is the likely culprit for his soaring strikeout rates ('07 K% – 32.1, '06 K% – 22.5). Until he's 100 percent, his BA will travel further south over the next couple of weeks, making Jones a great buy-low candidate. If you own him, remain optimistic. He'll get healthy and finish close to 30-35 HRs and 100 RBI.
Corey Patterson
OF 703 64.7
'07 Stats: .219, HR, 15 RBI, 13 R, 6 SB, 20:11 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Buy
Lowdown: Mired in an 0-for-17 slump, "Peppermint" Patterson might as well roam Camden Yards in leather sandals and a striped T-shirt. Never shy of a high fastball, interestingly, Patterson has trimmed his K% by nearly six points and has seen a three-point rise in BB% from '06, yet he's still flirting with Mendoza. Even more bizarre, Patterson, who sports a career .232 BA versus southpaws, is hitting a robust .286 against LHP this year. In a marvelous turnabout, Patterson's weaknesses have become his strengths. Perplexing isn't it? On a positive note, these are great indicators of plate maturation, which makes a rebound in BA probable. Owners in need of 35-40 SB speed should take advantage – he was dealt straight up for fallen stars Frank Thomas and Adam LaRoche in Y! leagues this week.
Miguel Tejada
SS 183 99.8
'07 Stats: .305 BA, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 23 R, SB, 20:16 K:BB
Market Value: Hold
Lowdown: If CP is "Peppermint Patty," it's only fitting Tejada would be "Marcie" – daydreams of rolling around in a bed of roses with Patty not included. Tejada has collected a meager four hits in his past 25 at-bats and has not reached the bleachers in 94 box steps. On the backside of his peak at 30 – he turns 31 on May 25 – the days of 30 homers are probably gone, but his outstanding BB:K splits (20:16 K:BB) and elevated BABIP (.335) points to a repeat of '06. Despite the downturn, Tejada has sustained Tier 1 SS value, attracting the likes of Magglio Ordonez, Joe Nathan and Dan Uggla in recent Y! trades. Sell him only if he solicits equal return. Survey says: .320 BA, 23 HR, 98 RBI, 95 R.
Josh Hamilton
OF 137 72.5
'07 Stats: .261 BA, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 20 R, 3 SB, 25:13 K:BB
Market Value: Hold
Lowdown: After I heard Hamilton was hospitalized with gastroenteritis, the crude bathroom scene from "Dumb and Dumber" corrupted my mind. On Tuesday, Hamilton was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 19. Since his two-homer, three-RBI outburst versus Colorado on May 6, "The Natural" is an awful 5-for-34 with one RBI and seven strikeouts. Because of Jerry Narron's bewildering ways, Hamilton's PT is not guaranteed when he returns. A reinvigorated Edwin Encarnacion (.413 BA, 3 HR, 7 RBI in 11 Louisville games) was recalled on Tuesday and will see regular time at third while Ryan Freel shifts back to center. If Easy E wields a fiery stick over the next couple of weeks, things will get complicated. For now, utilize your DL spot for Hamilton until Narron tips his hand.
John Maine
SP 60 99.7
'07 Stats: 5 W, 55.0 IP, 2.77 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 49:30 K:BB
Market Value: Strong Sell
Lowdown: Here's an intriguing stat: Maine has one more strikeout this year (49) than Danny Amante's great, great grandfather, Julio Franco has years on earth. What lies beneath Maine's George W. Bush smirk (see left) and radiant 2.77 ERA is a starter who's already begun a doomful turn. In his past three starts, Maine's inability to get ahead of hitters consistently has ballooned his ERA 1.40 points. He doesn't possess overpowering stuff and must rely on an array of offspeed pitches to generate outs. Thus, when his command falters, walks pile up and he gets tattooed. On pace for a revolting 113 walks, the free passes suggests a continued increase in ERA. Rick Peterson may indeed be a mound guru – look what he did for my boy Oliver Perez – but I'd maximize profit on Maine before his ERA surges over 4.00.

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.

Jack Cust will be nothing more than this year's Chris Shelton. – Jimmy, Derry, NH

Answer: False. Cust is a stocky hook whose associations with Shelton end at pasty whiteness. Unlike Shelton, who sported a disgusting 107:34 K:BB last season, Cust showcases a watchful eye (22:19 K:BB) and a Mark McGwire RBI Baseball-like brawn. His gargantuan strikeout totals are legendary (154 Ks in 481 Triple-A '05 at-bats), but, in his power prime at 28 and in an ideal situation, Cust's 30-35 HR upside is very seducing. Given his power track-record in the minors and plate aggressiveness, value him similarly as bash brother Nick Swisher. Fantasy forecast: .278 BA, 30 HR, 89 RBI.

Cole Hamels will finish the season with 20 wins and the NL Cy Young. – Anthony, Charleston, WV

Answer: False. Instead of fatty tissue, Cole "The Camel" has a storehouse of weapons in his humps – a hellish change, deceptive low-90s fastball and lethal curve. On pace to win 22 games and strikeout 281, Hamels' nearly flawless two-hit, 11-strikeout demolition of the Brewers on May 16 proves he deserves to be recognized alongside Brandon Webb in value terms. Sure his improvements in BB/9 and GB% are a plus, but his 38.4 FB%, although down from '06 (43.4%), will get him in sporadic trouble toeing the rubber another 10-plus starts in a long-ball haven (Citizen's Bank Park). Seventh in the NL in run support, he has plenty of bats behind him and the stuff to win 20, but I think he'll fall just short of the milestone. As for Cy Young talk, unless Jake Peavy is swallowed whole by David Wells, the bronze plaque is his. Hamels hunch: 18 W, 220 K, 3.45 ERA, 1.22 WHIP.

Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Richie Sexson? 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?

Did Sam from Santa Cruz (Last week's Noise) really tell you to stick to "proper journalism" and "stick to the facts?" If he wants the facts he should just go to the player rankings and look at the stats. I want outlandish predictions about hunches you have. It doesn't mean that I have to act on them, but it helps me think about potential moves. Keep up the good work and don't let those left-coast know-it-alls bring you down.

David, Somerville, MA

Evans, don't let those knuckleheads get to you. I'm a Giants fan so I'm a Bonds defender, and I'm still a Big Noise fan, opinions are opinions. The Vick analogy is perfect in every way. All of these emailers and bloggers think they're experts because they picked up J.J. Hardy and B.J. Upton before anyone else. Truth is, anyone can do well in a league if they pay attention and get a little luck. An expert is someone who proves their knowledge over an extended period of time and that's you dude. Keep bringin' the noise.

Jackson, Charlotte, NC

Yeah, you're Sherlock Holmes alright – after four bottles of Nyquil and a few lines of Ketamine. Give us a break. It's funny how in your breakdown of your own success rate you didn't put your advice not to take Bonds or to pick up all the D'Back rookies to your streaming list of endlessly bad advice. I could flip a coin and be right as often as you. It's perfectly clear that when you're on, it's blind luck.

Johan, St. Paul, MN

You're right two-thirds of the time? Give me a break. Have you looked at your current standing in the Friends and Family League? It's abysmal. My little sister has a better overall performance percentage than you. Oh I see now, you're a fantasy genius because you predicted a solid season for Rich Hill. A retarded monkey could have made that prediction. You are a legitimate moron. How in the name of God did you get a job writing fantasy columns for Yahoo? You would be better served writing columns for US Weekly. Seriously, I'm interested, how the hell did you get this job anyway? Did Funston stroll down to your community college one day and pluck you up after English I? You would be ate up and spit out if you played in one of my leagues. I can't believe you haven't been fired. You can't even hold Andy Behrens' jockstrap. I dare you to print this.

Matt, Weymouth, MA

Noise: I double dare you to admit that you still prance around in He-Man pajamas and share a bunk-bed with your fantasy savant little sister. When shirtless I may have ape-like tendencies, but when it comes to spewing fantasy knowledge, I'm no orangutan – at least 70 percent of the time. How did Yahoo! find me? Funston contacted me through my My Space page. He was thoroughly impressed with my GED background, ability to recreate Khufu's "Great Pyramid" from empty beer cans and my fortuitous claim that Jose Reyes "will be good in '07." In all seriousness, I've played fantasy sports since 1995 and have written professionally since 2004. Believe it or not, along with a Bachelor's in History, I have a Master's in Geoscience, with a meteorology emphasis. If my weather prognostications were anything like my fantasy outlooks, I could make Jim Cantore cry. Hey, I guess I'm attracted to professions where being wrong half the time doesn't limit upward mobility.

Why do you insist on continually citing the most ridiculous, lopsided trades made in Y! leagues on a weekly basis? This is not evidence that a player misvalued. The utter volume of owners that are on Y! makes absurd trades a virtual certainty. You are pointing to the fringes of applicable data in order to prove that the bell curve is skewed. Please stop with the rhetoric and stick to logically sound arguments. You do have a modicum of talent for analyzing useful information.

Tim, Rushville, MO

Noise: The trade comparisons are used as a spin doctor tactic to emphasize a point. Remember, I'm in the business of selling opinions. Yes, the world's largest league database is at my disposal, but every trade muttered is pulled from Plus Leagues, which usually have a higher fantasy IQ than freebies. Look at it this way, even most longstanding leagues have a village idiot and noting a player's value ceiling can be advantageous to those who sense man-passions. Why not try to maximize profit? Since I respect and understand your stance, I'll employ a more "fair and balanced" approach going forward. Hey, it worked for the Dick Cheney/Fox News Network, right? But, please don't call me the Bill O'Reilly of fantasy.

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