Lames: Stanton's inflated worth will come back to earth


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On Tuesday, astronomers in Fantasyland were overly concerned.

Two monstrous prospects with explosive qualities jettisoned from the Pujols Nebula on a path destined for Earth. Upon impact, craters the size of Barry Bonds'(notes) ego were instantly created.

Imaginary axis shifted. Stegosaurus went extinct. Angels cried. Mass hysteria ensued.

A new era had begun...

Uber-talents Stephen Strasburg(notes) and Mike Stanton have generated a buzz in the fantasy community not felt in decades.

Both were sensational in their debuts. Washington's alien life form punched out an unforgettable 14 Pirates over seven innings. Meanwhile, Dave Winfield's modern day twin slapped three hits, scoring twice, in his first five big league plate appearances – not quite ‘Burgasmic, but respectable.

Though each left an indelible mark on the statistical landscape, only the former will actually maintain a fevered fantasy pitch.

As Comcast SportsNet Chicago's Rob Steingall discussed earlier this week, Stanton is a grossly overpriced commodity in yearly leagues. Blessed with the physique of Tony Gonzalez, the 20-year-old undoubtedly possesses Herculean power. The muscular outfielder averaged a homer once every 13.56 at-bats in the minors. In terms of skill set, he's Jason Heyward's(notes) right-handed equal.

However, his homer upside will come at an unsavory BA price.

After a dynamite debut, galactic expectations have stupidly replaced cautious speculation. The opposite should be true. Stanton's worrisome 31.0 strikeout percentage at Double-A Jacksonville (this year and last) lends considerable pause. In terms of BA potential, at least initially, the kid is Adam Dunn(notes) light. He's a year or three away from entering the Miguel Cabrera(notes) class of polished power hitters. From MLB.com:

"Michael is a guy with power who is starting to develop into a hitter," Marlin's minor league coordinator John Mallee said.

With such a big body, Stanton will have the challenge of "staying small." A key for him will be to not expand his strike zone, looking to be overly aggressive by chasing pitches. If he keeps a compact swing, watch out, because he has sensational bat speed.

No one doubts Stanton's future All-Star appearances. Within 3-5 years, not reaching the 35-homer mark would be a monumental failure. However, owners with an eye toward winning in 2010 should separate potential from immediate mediocre contribution. "Developing" is the operative word.

Fellow Arcadian Andy Behrens remarked Tuesday a Dave Kingman-esque four months would be welcomed. But instead owners may be gifted Pete Incivigla ‘89. As Heyward experienced earlier this season, in the age of advanced scouting setbacks aren't a possibility, they're a certainty. Periods of massive peaks and valleys should be anticipated. Possible upside: Mark Reynolds(notes) '07. Probable downside: Chris Davis(notes), any year.

Stanton will unquestionably vie for home run crowns down the road. However, his tender age, unappetizing minor league contact rate and RBI-bland seventh spot in the Marlins lineup arrows to 2010 disappointment. Based on the unbelievable names he's attracted in one-for-one Y! trades this week – Neftali Feliz(notes), Curtis Granderson(notes) and Michael Young(notes) – opportunistic owners should feast on the bullish.

In the epic words of Flavor Flav, "Don't believe the hype!"

That is, in the short-term.

Fearless Forecast (rest of season): 331 at-bats, .248 BA, 16 HR, 54 RBI, 45 R, 2 SB

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CATEGORY KILLER
Vampiristic commodity sucking the life out of your team owned in more than 75 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Adam Lind(notes), Tor, OF (85-percent owned): One would surmise applying a team-wide swing first approach would benefit the organization's best power hitter. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened. Lind has socked his supporters square in the face. His less selective approach (27.0 K%), unsurprisingly, has wreaked havoc on his batting average. Right now, it seems he couldn't nail the Jolly Green Giant with an oversized sledgehammer. Baffled by pitches he crushed a season ago, particularly fastballs, he's on pace for just 21 homers and 81 RBIs. Mentally drained, he's attempting a less-is-more approach to right the ship. Because of his previous track-record, there's still hope for a turnaround. But until he becomes more selective, last year's consistency king will continue to wear a tarnished crown.

3...2...1...IMPLOSION!
Widely owned starter who will soon maim an innocent Gatorade cooler

Zack Greinke(notes), KC (6/13 at Cin, 98-percent owned): Detailed by the Piano Man on Wednesday, the reigning AL Cy Young winner has struggled immensely this season. He's notched a Harang-like 1-8 record with a 4.05 ERA and 7.43 K/9. Underneath the surface, several key skills have eroded – fastball velocity, dramatic increase in outside contact rate and rise in fly-ball percentage. Given the matchup the profile reversal is very worrisome. Cincinnati could seemingly post a six spot on Nolan Ryan right now. The Reds have averaged an NL leading 5.1 runs per game. Based on the unfavorable atmosphere and Greinke's declining peripherals, disappointment could continue on Sunday.

SABER SLEUTH
Uncovering fantasy's lucky bastards one decimal place at a time

Nick Swisher(notes), NYY, 1B/OF (78-percent owned): The colorful Swisher, whose Twitter feed is highly recommended, has been one of the Yankees' most dependable run producers this season. On pace to demolish previous career benchmarks in BA and homers, he's currently the 15th-most valuable outfielder in the Y! game. However, storm clouds are building. Because of his fortunate .369 BABIP, increased strikeout-to-walk disparity and low BA history, a major correction is coming. Make no mistake, he has the power to surpass 30 homers, especially playing half his games in the Bronx Bandbox, but sage owners should maximize profit. As his rest of the season ZiPS forecast predicts (.258-16-58-54), he could soon suffer from a serious case of the 0-fers.

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Image courtesy of US Presswire

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