Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Diamonds In The Rough

As the major league baseball trading deadline draws near, I thought it might be a good time to try to unearth a few more "diamonds" for your fantasy teams...

1. Mike Cameron (OF-SD) 69% owned in CBS Sportsline leagues - For a player who has hit 20 or more homers five times and stolen 20 or more bases eight times in his first 10 full major league seasons, Mike Cameron is certainly a guy who should be getting a little more respect in fantasy circles. Just how many consistent 20/20 guys are there out there? Not many!!! Cameron got off to a slow start this year, with his batting average being as low as .200 as late as May 13th. A very streaky hitter, Cameron got his average all the way up to .266 by the end of June, but he has only hit .194 this month so far to bring his average back down to .253. He has homered twice in the past eight games. With Cameron, you know the hot streak is always right around the corner. The key is to get him as it's starting. I think now just might be that time!

2. Matt Garza (SP-MIN) 65% owned - With the way Matt Garza just absolutely tore through the minor leagues last year (a 14-4 record and a 1.995 ERA combined at 3 levels), there was little doubt he would do just fine once he was brought up to the majors. Last year, he struggled with a 5.76 ERA in 50 innings with the big club. So far this year, he's been nothing short of magical. In his first four games with the Twins his year, he's only allowed three earned runs in his first 20 1/3 innings for a sparkling 1.33 ERA. As with any young pitcher, expect some bumps along the way, but he is looking like just another arm that the amazing Twins pitching staff is going to be able to rely on for a very long time.

3. Ryan Freel (OF/3B-CIN) 45% owned - With steals such a precious commodity in fantasy leagues, it's quite surprising that a guy who has racked up 110 steals over the past three years is still so available today. A remarkably consistent hitter, batting .277, .271 and .271 over the past three years, Freel missed a month due to injury, but since his July return, it's been the same old Freel as he's stolen seven bases in his past 15 games. His batting average only stands at .246 at the moment, and you what they say about the law of averages... I'd expect to see his batting average climb closer to the .270 mark from here on out, and if you can use 15 or so steals the rest of the way, you might have your guy!

4. Matt Kemp (OF-LA Dodgers) 35% owned - You probably remember this guy real well from how he burst onto the scene last year for the Dodgers - 7 homers in his first 15 games to go along with a .378 (17-for-45) batting average. Pitchers soon figured the young rookie out though, giving him a steady diet of breaking balls as he only hit .202 (22-for-109) without a homer the rest of the way. The Dodgers worked extensively in the off-season with Kemp in helping him hit the off-speed stuff and so far so good... They are having a very hard time keeping him out of the lineup. In 119 at bats so far this year, he's hitting .361 with 6 homers, 23 RBI's, 23 runs and 3 steals. Kemp is playing almost every day now... If you project his numbers out over a full season, you get some very gaudy looking figures - 30 homers, 115 RBI's, 115 runs and 15 steals. It appears that he is handling the breaking ball just fine these days and I believe he's ready to become a fixture in the Dodgers outfield for many years to come.

5. Pedro Martinez (SP-NYM) 28% owned - As many of you know, I am a HUGE fan of Pedro Martinez... I mean he used to pitch for my Dodgers before they traded him to the Montreal Expos for whom again? One of the worst trades in major league history... Pedro has been responsible for much of my success in the fantasy game this past decade... and all reports indicate that he still has a little left in the tank. His rehab is coming along well, and he's scheduled to make his return to the Mets sometime towards the mid-late part of August. If you have a free bench or DL slot, now is the time to get him. Pedro is a fearless competitor who claims to feel better health-wise than he has in several years. He just might be the guy who in September who will be the difference between your team winning or losing.


No comments: