Finally, Adam Dunn! Eight home runs and 21 RBIs in his past 18 games, including a home run in five straight. As a multi-team Dunn owner, I can't say I was worried about a start that included just three home runs and a .192 batting average in his first 24 games. But, as one who has often left himself short on power in fantasy leagues in recent years, I was getting a little anxious about categorical free-falls in HR and RBI. Alas, to paraphrase Denny Green, former Arizona Cardinals head coach, Adam Dunn is still who we thought he was.
A Dunn and Prince Fielder combo was my insurance plan this season to guard against a power shortage repeat. I figured 90-plus home runs out of two players ought to keep me in business. Dunn's finally holding up his end of the equation. Now it's time for Fielder to step up. And, folks, I hear your concerns about Fielder's new vegetarian lifestyle. Last year's 50-home run hitter has just six long balls through 43 games this season. Milwaukee doesn't employ a dietician on staff, like some teams, but you'd think that that would have been the first thing they would have done when they heard their prize slugger had sworn off dead animals. Fielder does have four extra-base hits (including a home run) in his past three games, so perhaps he, too, is about to start proving that he still is who we thought he was. But, I think we'd feel a lot better if we knew that the Brewers were secretly starting to mix bacon grease into the salad dressing in the clubhouse buffet. That said, let's take a look at some of the meatier developments around the league in the past week:
BARGAIN BIN: Top players available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues
• Jose Guillen, KC, OF
The less-than-20 percent owned Guillen has been cleaning up in the Royals' clean-up spot over the past month. He ranks No. 48 in the Y! game during that span, and his 24 RBIs in the past month are good for fourth-best in the league. Guillen is an established run producer with mid-20s power (he's hit 20-plus home runs for four different teams). In fact, since mid-April of '03, Guillen's 162-game averages are .285, 28 HR and 102 RBI. Don't let an anemic start to the season (.162, 0 HR in first 17 games) camouflage the good thing that Guillen has going right now. He's offering power production for those in the market.
• Hong-Chih Kuo, LAD, P
Kuo, the Dodgers' hard-throwing lefty hybrid long reliever, seems to have tackled his control issues that have plagued him in the past. This month, he has an 18:1 K-to-BB ratio in 13-plus innings to go with three wins and a 1.38 ERA. Overall, he's the fourth best set-up man in the Y! game, with only Carlos Marmol, and Oakland's Santiago Casilla and Joey Devine ahead of him. And because he occasionally fills in as a starter, he owns that eligibility in the Y! game, which makes him a convenient guy to plug into a SP spot when owners don't have a player starting on a particular day.
PROSPECT WATCH: Top players down on the farm
- Chase Headley, SD, 3B/OF (ETA – late-May)
You can't say Headley doesn't have good timing. He's hit four home runs this past week for Triple-A Portland, this coming just prior to San Diego GM Kevin Towers' recent comments that he is considering making wholesale changes to the last-place (16-30) lineup. Considering left-field options Scott Hairston, Paul McAnulty and Justin Huber have combined to hit near the Mendoza Line this year, you can bet one of those changes would be to call-up Headley and let him play regularly. Headley, who has been moved from third base to the outfield because he's blocked by Kevin Kouzmanoff at the hot corner, was ranked as the Padres' top prospect heading in to the season by "Baseball America." The switch-hitter has 20-plus homer upside and shows a nice ability to draw walks. But he strikes out too much and offers nothing on the basepaths. When he arrives, he'll be worth a speculative add in NL-only leagues and very deep mixed leagues. But his 12-team mixed league impact may take a while to develop.
MARKET MOVERS: Charting player values
- Adam Dunn