Monday, April 2, 2007

Diamonds In The Rough

Starting today, and every Monday going forward I'll be spotlighting a few players who may be available in your fantasy baseball leagues who will be able to help you win your league. The players I'll be recommending are typically going to be players that are available as free agents in more than 10% of CBS Sportsline leagues... Here are week 1's Diamonds:

1. John Patterson (WAS-SP) - (87% owned). After posting a 3.13 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 2005 with 185 K's, many expected Patterson to be a Cy Young Award candidate in 2006. Injuries limited him to only 40 2/3 innings last year, but he was as good as ever with a 1.119 WHIP and 42 K's (and a misleading 4.478 ERA). He is healthy now and will be the opening day starter for the Nationals and looks poised to put up numbers that will be Cy Young worthy.

2. Jorge Julio (FLA-RP) - (56% owned). In this game, closers are a very scarce commodity so the fact that the Marlin's new closer is available in nearly half of all leagues is a bit surprising. With 86 K's and a very respectable 4.227 ERA and 1.318 WHIP last year in 66 innings, this is someone who should be a safe bet for 30+ saves this year.

3. Wily Taveras (COL-OF) - (67% owned). Speed Kills - or so the adage goes here in Fantasyland... Taveras is now an every day starting outfielder for the Rockies, and he's leading off. With Matt Holiday, Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins hitting behind him, the potential is there for 110+ runs and 50 steals. Needless to say, this guy SHOULD be 100% owned if he can produce anything close to these numbers.

4. Morgan Ensberg (HOU-3B) - (82% owned). Ensberg had a breakout year in 2005 with 36 HR and 101 RBI to go with a .283 BA. He got off to a great start in 2006 with an impressive 17 HR, 36 RBI, 38 runs and .273 BA/.402 OBP/.610 SLG as of May 29th. Injuries hampered him the rest of the way - he only played 76 games over the final 4 months as he posted this abysmal line: .200 BA/.391 OBP/.333 SLG with 6 HR and 22 RBI. He is now fully healthy and with Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman hitting ahead of him, expect A TON of RBI opps.

5. Chris Duncan (STL-OF) - (73% owned). Many of you may have noticed that Duncan did not start the Cards opening day game against the Mets. I'm sure there have been a few quick trigger DROPS of him in leagues and some of his remaining owners may be a little panicked... those panicked owners shouldn't be you! Think of this as an opportunity - if he's available in your league, go get him! If his owner is not valuing him as highly as 24 hours ago, try to get him in a trade for a discount. He was only sitting because a tough lefty (Tom Glavine) was pitching for the Mets. Even with only 500 AB, the potential is there for 120 runs and 40 homers...


I also want to give some congratulations to Morgan Pressel on winning the Kraft Nabisco Dinah Shore championship yesterday. At 18 years of age, Pressel becomes the youngest winner of a Major in professional golf history! Pressel began the day four strokes back of the leaders at even par. A bogey-free three under par 67 made her the clubhouse leader and 2nd overall - three strokes behind Suzann Pettersen. Pettersen, however, had a disastrous stretch at the end losing 4 strokes to par on 15,16 and 17 before missing her tying birdie attempt on the 18th hole. The tournament made for some compelling drama. It was also very nice to see Pressel's reaction afterwards - quite literally she was speechless!

Speaking of golf, this is the first week of April so that means only one thing to us golf fans - THE MASTERS! Tiger Woods looks to take the green jacket back from Phil Mickelson - they have traded the Masters title back and forth for the past three years... will one of them win again, or will someone else surprise and take the title? It should make for some compelling drama again... and of course, who does not love that Augusta National Golf Course? There is not a more beautiful golf course anywhere in the world.

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