Oops, I did it again
I got lost in the game
Yes, I'm opening with a lyrical snippet from a Britney Spears song. And, yes, it's very embarrassing to do so. But, I used this space to confess a roster management gaffe about a month ago in which I left Edinson Volquez on my bench when travel-related distractions got the best of me. So, as I pondered coming clean about failing to use my top waiver spot in the Y! Friends and Family League on Clayton Kershaw this past weekend – I was on an unplugged Memorial Day weekend camping trip, I celebrated a birthday along the way, beers were involved and … well, you get the idea – those words to Britney's ditty came to mind. To be honest, Kershaw wouldn't have satisfied any dire needs – I'm running in the top three in the starting pitching categories. But, as Andy Behrens demonstrated this past week in this league, a big-buzz prospect can be flipped for a nice return – he was able to deal Jay Bruce and Erik Bedard to Michael Gehlken for David Ortiz. Surely, Kershaw would have been easy to cash in for my true need, speed. Oh well, I guess I can still wait for Pittsburgh to call up Andrew McCutchen, or Milwaukee to call up Matt LaPorta, or Tampa Bay to call up David Price, etc. But I'd have been much better off going the Kershaw route. What can I say? You think I'm sent from above? Well, I'm not that innocent … God, that's terrible. Let's just move on.
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
• Kevin Kouzmanoff, SD, 3B
Since May 20, the Padres' slightly over 50 percent owned hot corner has hit .379 with five home runs in seven games – good for the most home runs in the league during that span. Kouz has hit over .300 in the 25 games since enduring a 4-for-31 (.129) seven-game stretch near the end of April. His 44-to-7 K:BB ratio is still wince-worthy, but he has drawn three of those free passes in his past four games. Considering that he's still just 26 years old and comes with minor league 162-game averages of .332 and 27 home runs, it's prudent to take his current run seriously. If you jumped off this train in late April, now's the time to jump back on board.
• Jason Bergmann, Was, SP
Not too many owners are taking Bergmann's current streak of 19.2 IP without allowing a run seriously. He was owned in less than four percent of Y! public default leagues as of Memorial Day, and he's been a relative no-show on the "Buzz Index Adds" leaderboard for the past couple days. What owners should take seriously, however, are the 22 Ks during this shutout stretch. Bergmann has been pretty close to a K-per-inning producer during his professional career – 0.86 K-per-IP in 684.1 career innings. And if you look at his past 11 starts dating back to last September, he's posted a 5-2 record with a 3.92 ERA and a 62-to-20 K:BB rate in 64.1 IP. Bergmann generates nice, loose action from his 6-foot-4 frame on a quality fastball, curve, slider, changeup arsenal – there's definite upside here. Certainly he's worthy of a speculative play – start with a spot-start and see where it leads. And if strikeouts are what ail you, he's got to be on the short list.
PROSPECT WATCH: Top players down on the farm
- Seth Smith, Col, OF (ETA – now)
The Rockies' No. 12 prospect for '08, according to Baseball America, got called up over the Memorial Day weekend and has been inserted into the outfield as a starter for the team's past four games. He's produced a home run, a stolen base and a .267 batting average in 15 at bats, so far. In 45 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs, Smith was hitting .321 with six home runs, 30 RBIs, 36 runs and 11 steals. He also ranked fourth in the PCL with 34 walks, helping to boost his OBP to a stellar .442 rate. A former backup QB to Eli Manning at Mississippi, Smith has 20/20 upside and should see steady playing time for the next couple weeks while Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday, both on the DL, nurse themselves back to health. He's definitely an NL-only factor, but he could be a short-term option in deeper mixed leagues – again, he plays his home games in Colorado.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values