Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Diamonds In The Rough

It's been quite a while since I spotlighted some players that just might be available in leagues that can help your fantasy teams... with a light schedule of games last night and with my teams having a couple of key injuries (Mark Teixiera & Aramis Ramirez) this past week, I figured now was as good of a time as any to offer you some more "Diamonds In The Rough."

1. Dave Roberts (OF-SF) 27% owned in CBS Sportsline leagues - You all know that Dave Roberts does one thing REALLY well and that is steal bases... I spotlighted him in my "Don't Forget To Remember Me" column a few weeks back, and yesterday he came back with a vengeance, stealing two bases. If healthy, he's a good bet to steal 25 or more bases the rest of the way. If speed is what your fantasy team needs, then you have your man!

2. Antonio Alfonseca (RP-PHI) 20% owned - You talk about coming back from the abyss, well that would be the story of the new closer for the Phillies, Antonio Alfonseca. Perhaps more famous for having six fingers on each hand than his pitching, Alfonseca last closed in 2002 for the Cubs. In 2000, he saved a career high 45 games for the Florida Marlins. There's no doubt that he hasn't forgotten how to finish off games as he's five for six in save opportunities since he took over closing duties in Philadelphia. No, he won't get you a lot of strikeouts and the saves will often be messy ones, but if you need 20 or so of them the rest of the way, he's a real good bet to do that without causing too much harm to your other numbers.

3. Corey Hart (OF-MIL) 43% owned - Yes, those of you that remember the 80's music scene obviously know that there was also a singer of this same name, famous for his hit "Sunglasses At Night." This Corey Hart has no musical talent, but he can certainly hit a baseball and run! A highly regarded prospect for many years, Hart produced pretty good numbers in his callup last year with nine homers, 33 RBI's, five steals and a .282 batting average in 237 at bats. Hart's biggest obstacle last year was his plate patience as he struck out three and a half times as many times as he walked. (58 K's/17 BB's). This year, he's clearly matured as a hitter with a very nice ratio of only 22 strikeouts to go with 16 walks in 136 at bats. In addition to the vast improvement in plate patience, Hart also has already stolen 10 bases this year. A potential five tool player, this may be your last chance to get in on this very promising prospect!

4. Dmitri Young (OF-WAS) 56% owned - At the opposite end of the age spectrum from Hart, we find the Washington Nationals' rejuvenated Dmitri Young. "DY" has absolutely been on fire lately, hitting .507 (39 for 77) since May 17th with three homers and 19 RBI's. Young now finds himself hitting in the cleanup slot for the Nats behind their best hitter, Ryan Zimmerman... so this means he'll continue to see some good pitches to hit. Injuries, personal problems and playing time issues have always limited him in the past, but he seems to be in a very good situation in D.C., looking to more than likely be their respresentative in next month's All-Star Game as he is second in the senior circuit in hitting with a .342 batting average. There's no telling how long this hot streak of his will last, but ride him as long as he remains red hot!

5. Edwin Encarnacion (3B-CIN) 56% owned - Another highly regarded prospect, Edwin Encarnaction showed flashes of brilliance last year, to go along with some really tough times at the plate. Very typical of the young hitter and the growing pains they will usually go through... I always say that when you're drafting youth, you better be ready to stomach some really bad stretches - in other words, grabbing prospects is NOT for the faint of heart (can you say Alex Gordon???)... Encarnacion's last 10 games provide an example of just how streaky youngsters are - He was 16-for-27 (.593) the first seven of those games, and only one-for-12 (.083) in the final three... With a very promising campaign of 15 homers, 72 RBI's and a .276 BA in only 406 at bats last year for the Reds, there is little doubt that the 24-year old is a future star... it wouldn't be a bad time to get him before the rest of your league mates notice!


On a personal note, just wanted to let you all know I'll be going to the Dodgers/Mets game tonight!!! It should be a lot of fun - I'll be going with my friend Dave Gomberg (a.k.a "Weatherman Dave") and a few of his co-workers from the weather service... Hopefully, the Dodgers will be able to produce their second straight win of the series... and you all know that I'll have some pictures to be posting tomorrow!


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