Tuesday, April 10, 2007

2 For Tuesday #3: "Idol Worship" & More Diamonds

As a lot of you know, I'm really into music... Needless to say, that means American Idol is one show that I just have to make time for every week. I have to admit that I've been watching since season one when Kelly Clarkson won. The show is a proven hit producer as the successes of many artists - both winners and non-winners - will attest.

We all know how successful Kelly has been - four #1 singles, a 2x Platinum selling debut and a six times Platinum follow-up. Carrie Underwood (who has the distinction of being the only contestant I've ever voted for) has produced four consecutive #1 hit singles on the Country chart with her 5x Platinum "Some Hearts" debut. Additionally, "Before He Cheats" has crossed over to become a Top 15 hit on both the Pop and Hot Adult Contemporary charts. Carrie has become so big that she's even on the cover of this month's Cosmopolitan magazine! Chris Daughtry, despite not winning last year, has had by far the most success of any contestant from last year's Idol. His first single went to #1 on both the Pop and Hot AC charts, and his debut album has already shipped in excess of 2.5 million units.

The question is can any of this year's contestants duplicate the success of Kelly, Carrie or Chris? At this point, I'd have to say I'm really not sure. The two best singing talents in this year's competition are probably Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones. Will either of them win though? Last year, I somehow correctly predicted that Taylor Hicks would win when the field was down to 20. This year it's really tough to tell who is going to win, and with the whole Sanjaya controversy clouding things who knows if someone with some actual singing talent is going to win AI6. Regardless, I'll definitely be watching again this week. Jennifer Lopez (not Martina McBride as I erroenously reported earlier) coaches the eight remaining contestants on tonight's show and performs tomorrow night.


Time for some more "Diamonds" in the rough... these are guys that may just be available in some of your fantasy baseball leagues and should be able to help your teams.

Ian Snell (SP - Pit) 87% owned in CBS Sportsline leagues - Snell was one of my prime sleepers for this year, especially based on his strong finish last year. So far Snell has performed very well in 2007 with a 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 14 K's in only 13 IP. The Pirates are off to a fast start, and it's not at all unreasonable to expect a 3.50 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 15 wins and over 200 K's out of him this year.

Dan Wheeler (RP - Hou) 61% owned - Given the struggles of closer Brad Lidge in 2006 and in spring training this year, the savvy owner who drafted Lidge also picked up Wheeler as insurance. In 2007, Lidge has produced numbers in his first two outings which more resemble commodities prices than baseball stats: a 16.20 ERA and a 4.80 WHIP. Wheeler has been great for the Astros the past two years, producing 2.21 and 2.52 ERA's over that time with nearly a strikeout an inning. Wheeler may stay in the role for awhile (picking up his first save yesterday), so he is a must pickup in all formats.

Ryan Church (OF - Was) 32% owned - Church was someone everyone wanted in last year's drafts after producing a .287 BA, 9 HR & 42 RBI's in 2005. Injuries slowed him last year, but he managed to produce a .276 BA, 10 HR & 35 RBI in only 196 AB. Project that out to 600 AB and you get 31 HR & 107 RBI... Needless to say those are VERY nice numbers to get from your #1 outfielder, let alone someone
who in most leagues wasn't even drafted! Church is healthy this year, and so far he's producing exactly as I expected - a .292 BA, 2 HR & 4 RBI through the Nationals' first seven games. Get him NOW before someone else does!

Orlando Hudson (2B - Ari) 77% owned - I have to admit that Hudson was one of my "fall back" guys in my fantasy drafts this year. As some of you know, I'm not an advocate of drafting based on "positional scarcity." Consequently, you won't be finding Chase Utley or Robinson Cano on many of my teams. Why pick Cano in round 5 or 6 when I can get someone like Hudson in round 20 or 25??? Quietly, Hudson produced a .287 BA, 15 HR, 67 RBI, 87 runs and 9 SB in 2006. Cano almost won a batting title last year with a .342 BA, hitting 15 HR, drove in 78, scored 62 times and stole 5 bases. When you compare the numbers, they were nearly a wash fantasywise. This leads to the question of why Cano was going 15-20 rounds earlier than Hudson in drafts? So far, 2007 has been great for Hudson - a .394 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI and 10 runs scored. At 29 years of age, this is a player who is just coming into his prime. He may be poised to score 100 times, while hitting 20 homers this year with a solid .280-.290 BA.

Maicer Izturis (3B - LAA) 10% owned - Talk about flying under the radar, well that would be the Angels' Maicer Izturis. Last year, in only 352 AB, he managed to hit .293, score 64 runs, drive in 44 runs and steal 14 bases. Project that out to a full 600 at bats, and you get 109 runs, 75 RBI and 24 steals to go with that .293 batting average. Needless to say, these are numbers that can help any fantasy team. Given the Angels have lost Chone Figgins for up to another month to injury, any questions about Izturis' playing time have been put to rest. So far so good for Maicer in 2007 - a .400 BA through the the games of Tuesday night, with 6 RBI, 2 runs and 2 steals.


Shakin'!!! : Well about 22 minutes ago, we had an earthquake here... Thankfully, it was not a very big one - a 3.5 on the Richter scale and centered about 10 miles southwest of me... Here's the USGS site with the write up on the event: 4/10/07 earthquake

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