April 2009 Archives

MLB Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 30

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Players of the Night

Pitching

Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers
vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
8 IP, 11 K, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, W

Not only did Gallardo throw an absolute gem, but he also hit a solo shot against the Pirates that ended up being the game winning run in a 1-0 ballgame.

Now, I'm sure that most of your leagues don't give you added bonus points for this amazing feat. But that stat line is a thing of beauty rarely seen outside of the Carlos Zambrano's of the world.

The Brewers were desperate for a guy to stand up in place of the departed CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets.

Looks like Gallardo is that guy.

Batting

Billy Butler, Kansas City Royals
vs. Toronto Blue Jays
4-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 4 R, 1 2B

Don't look now, but the Kansas City Royals have become a fantasy juggernaut.

Led by staff ace Zach Greinke, the Royals have a roster chocked full of young talent that is ready for their turn in the spotlight. Butler could be the next in line.

Only 23, Butler is still too inconsistent to be considered for a spot on any fantasy roster. But keep the name in mind as the season progresses. He's got a knack for punishing left handed pitchers and the longer he stays up in the bigs, the better chance he'll have to prove himself worthy of the DH spot.

More to come after the jump...

MLB Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 29

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Players of the Night

Pitching

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
vs. Chicago White Sox
8 IP, 9 K, 0 ER, 4 H, W

King Felix is once again trying to establish himself as one of the best young arms in baseball. With performances like this, he's well on his way to doing just that.

Hernandez has battled through injuries in the past few years, derailing his shot at fantasy stardom. But he's in the midst of 19 consecutive scoreless innings with a record of 4-0 and 36 strikeouts.

If Hernandez can stay healthy this season and the Mariners early season successes aren't a fluke, you could have a potential 20 game winner on your hands.

Batting

Jorge Cantu, Florida Marlins
vs. New York Mets
3-3, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R, 1 BB

Battling a wrist injury is never a good thing for a hitter. You can't explode through the zone like normal and trying to turn over on an inside pitch becomes a test in pain endurance.

Despite all of that, Cantu went yard twice Tuesday night to power the Marlins past the amazing mediocre Mets. Overall, Cantu's season has been very impressive, raking to the tune of a .357 AVG, 5 HR, 17 RBI and .429 OBP.

More to come after the jump...

Players of the night

Hitting

3B Ryan Zimmerman - Nationals
@ Phillies
2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB

Raul Ibanez stole the show in Philadelphia last night, but Zimmerman gets the nod as the fantasy player of the night.

It must be kind of nice for Zimmerman this year to get to play with some other legitimately good hitters. Just check out the meaty part of Washington's order. Zimmerman is raking as always, but so are Adam Dunn, Nick Johnson, and Elijah "You Dead, Dawg" Dukes.

Players of the night

Hitting

1B Albert Pujols - Cardinals
Vs. Mets
3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 4 R, 1 SB, 1 BB

Before A-Rod tarnished himself this winter, there was probably some debate over who the best hitter in the game was. Not any more. Pujols is off to a scorching start, leading the NL in homers and RBI, all while hitting a cool .345. In fantasy terms, he'll give you everything but steals.

Oh, and he reads my friend Daniel's blog! Probably!

MLB Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 23

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Players of the Weekend

Pitching

Dan Haren, Arizona Diamondbacks
vs. Colorado Rockies
7 IP, 9 K, 0 ER, 6 H, 2 BB

Brandon Webb may be known as the ace of the Diamondbacks staff, but in reality, the distinction should land squarely upon the shoulders of Dan Haren.

This kid is absolutely filthy, averaging a shade over six strikeouts per game, a 1.38 ERA and a microscopic 0.88 WHIP. The only thing that would dissuade you from my claim about his ace status is the 1-3 record he's sporting in this young season.

But look closer and you'll see that it's a lack of run support that's doing Haren in. In his 19 innings pitched, Haren has given up a grand total of 4 ER. In that same time span, the Diamondbacks have scored a total of ONE RUN.

Batting

Hunter Pence, Houston Astros
vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R, SB

Last night Pence showed off the full range of attributes that make him such an attractive option in the outfield.

Going deep one inning, hitting a double the next and stealing his third base of the season are the kinds of things only so many players can do for your squad.

More to come after the jump...

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is G-E-T-Z, Getz! Getz! Getz!. Come behold the power of screen shots, after the jump...

MLB Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 22

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Players of the Weekend

Pitching

Jarrod Washburn, Seattle Mariners
vs. Tampa Bay Rays
7 IP, 9 K, 2 ER, 5 H, 3 BB

At first I had to do a double take just to make sure I was reading Washburn's 2009 stats correctly. There's no way the 34-year-old southpaw could be 3-0 with a miniscule 1.17 ERA and 0.86 WHIP.

That's crazy talk.

But the numbers don't lie and it might be time to seriously consider adding Washburn to your rotation.

Batting

Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
vs. Philadelphia Phillies
5-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R

For some reason, there are those out there who don't believe Braun should be considered as one of the elite young talents in baseball. I'm shocked by this because I'd happily take on a kid who smacked 71 HR, drove in 203 RBI and averaged .304 at the plate in his first two years in the league.

Braun's worth and potential could actually be considered low at the moment if you are one of those who believe a player only gets better with age. This means bad things for the folks who reside in the NL Central, and also for those in your fantasy league who aren't fortunate enough to have him on your roster.

Next up for Braun and the Brew Crew are the remaining two games against the Phillies, and back to back three games sets against the Astros and Pirates.

Should be a great end of April for Braun.

More to come after the jump...

Player of the night

2B Dustin Pedroia - Red Sox
Vs. Balt
4-for-6, 3 R, 3 RBI

It has been a slow start for the reigning AL MVP, so yesterday's breakout performance is refreshing for Pedrioa owners. I have him in my big AL-only keeper league, so he gets extra points for that, as well.

Don't look now but after losing three in a row, the BoSox have won five straight. Craziness starts Friday when the Yanks invade Fenway.

More stuff, after the jump...

Players of the Weekend

Pitching

Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
8 IP, 13 K, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB

After two dreadful appearances this season, the pressure was on Lincecum to deliver a start reminiscent of his dominating 2008 season.

And deliver he did against the lowly Diamondbacks.

Lincecum coasted through eight innings of work, piling up 13 strikeouts in only 98 pitches. There's no doubt he could have lasted through the ninth, but at that point it really didn't matter much because the Giants defense is atrocious. Still, getting the W certainly would have been the cherry on top of Lincecum's dominant day at the ballpark.

Batting

Mark DeRosa, Cleveland Indians
vs. New York Yankees
6-12, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 4 R

I still have absolutely no idea why the Cubs decided to go in a different direction and leave DeRose out there for the taking.

But he's really more of a representative for the Indians ridiculous weekend outburst in the new and improved Yankee stadium. They dropped 22 runs in the fourth inning against the Yanks on Saturday, breaking records along the way.

The Indians cranked out six HR, 25 H, 7 2B and 6 BB...a fantasy feast we won't see again anytime soon.

More to come after the jump...

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is Boston Massacre. Come behold the power of screen shots...

MLB Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 17

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Player of the Night

Cody Ross, Florida Marlins
vs. Atlanta Braves
3-3, HR, 4 RBI, R

With last night's performance, Cody Ross saw his average jump from an abysmal .115 to .207. You got to love baseball in its infant stages of play.


Up until this point Ross hadn't done much of anything to contribute towards the Marlins' impressive 8-1 start of the season. And even worse, the 5.1% of you who actually own the journeyman center fielder were getting ready to pull your hair out.

There's not much to talk about when Ross' name gets brought up in the fantasy world. He's coming off a career year that could be considered average at best by most fantasy baseball standards.

But if you're a man down in the outfield and the pickings are slim, Ross could net you somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 HR, 60 RBI by season's end.

Is that something you might be interested in?

More to come after the jump...

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 16

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Players of the Night

MLB

Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers
vs. Baltimore Orioles
6-6, HR, 4 RBI, 5 R, SB, 2 2B, 3B

Hitting for the cycle is one of the most impressive feats in all of sports. And for guys like us, it's a fantasy feast that only comes along every once in a great while.

There's no doubt about it, Kinsler can straight rake for a second baseman. He's coming off his best year as a pro and it looks like his 2009 season could be even better. In the first week of any season, there are going to be plenty of proven and no-name players who fill up stat sheets like crazy.

Most of the time I'd suggest you sell high and get something while you can for players like Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. But Kinsler is in a world of his own and I would have to be presented with a Loch Ness Monster-sized trade offer to part with him.

NBA

Anthony Morrow, Golden State Warriors
vs. Phoenix Suns
33 points, 12 boards, 3 dimes, 3-for-5 from long distance

Well my fantasy friends, that'll do it for the regular season of fantasy basketball. It's been a good run and we've had one hell of a season to enjoy from a fantasy perspective. Next year is going to be very interesting with so much young, promising talent around the league that will make draft day that much more difficult.

With that in mind, I give you Anthony Morrow of the Golden State Warriors. Despite the negative connotations about a player that produces gaudy stats in a Don Nelson led offense, in fantasy we embrace the Nellie offense.

Morrow has thrived in the system this season, showing flashes of impressive offensive abilities every month. Last night against the Suns, in March against the Mavs (29 points), in November against the Blazers (25 points) and Clippers (37 points, 11 boards), Morrow showed what he is capable of.

Consider him a sleeper for the 2009 NBA fantasy draft.

More after the jump...

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 15

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Players of the Night

MLB

A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees
vs. Tampa Bay Rays
8 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 9 K

I thought CC Sabathia was supposed to be the ace of this staff?

Despite being relegated to the shadows of other Yankees free agent signings Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, Burnett has been sensational. Yesterday he shut down the Rays, notching nine strikeouts over eight innings of work.

With questions surrounding the defense playing behind him, Burnett's ability to throw and miss the opposition's bat makes him that much more valuable. Taking the burden off of the defense is a luxury the Yankees will take advantage of and once that offense kicks into high gear, Burnett may end up with 15-plus wins.

NBA

Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
vs. Los Angeles Lakers
25 points, 13 dimes, 4 boards

In the final month of the season, Williams' averages of 23 ppg and 11.3 apg are worthy of being considered the second best fantasy point guard in basketball.

Chris Paul of the Hornets is the clear cut number one and rightfully so, averaging 28.6 ppg and 11.4 apg this month. I don't think you can find a basketball authority not hailing from Illinois that would look you in the eye and say D. Will is better than Paul.

But that's not a knock on Williams so much as it is an indication of how special Paul truly is.

More after the jump...

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is Xavier My Savior. Come behold the power of screen shots...

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 14

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Players of the Night

MLB

Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox
vs. Detroit Tigers
3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, BB

Anyone else want to doubt CQ this season?

After struggling the first couple games, Quentin has caught fire in the past four contests with 4 HR, 8 RBI and 8 R. It's tough to imagine the White Sox picked up this kid for a bag of balls from the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2008 season. Now, he's a legitimate 40 HR, 110 RBI caliber player the fantasy world is drooling over because of his long term potential.

Now let's just hope he doesn't do anything stupid again to cut short what could be another All-Star season.

NBA

J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets
vs. Sacramento Kings
45 points, 1 dime, 4 boards, 11-for-18 from long distance.

About once a year you'll see J.R. Smith get into the zone like this. He set a Nuggets franchise record by connecting on an unthinkable 11 three-pointers last night against the Kings.

Last night's performance capped off an impressive run for Smith in the month of April. He's had three games in which he's drained at least seven three-point baskets, scoring 28, 34 and 45 in those contests respectively.

He's become a deadly three-point shooter over the years and might be a relatively inexpensive option for your playoff fantasy roster.

More after the jump...

NBA

Player of the Night

G Dwyane Wade - Heat
Vs. Knicks
55 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

How great has Wade been this season? I now think all Dwayne's spell their name Dwyane. Wade finished one point away from tying the franchise record for points in a game, held by Glen Rice (of "NBA In the Zone '98" fame). He may finish second in MVP voting to LeBron, but when you factor in the total package (points, assists, blocks), perhaps no player is more valuable fantasy-wise than D-Wade.

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is Bleed Cubbie Blue. Come behold the power of screen shots...

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 10

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Players of the Night

MLB

Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals
vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
7 IP, 7 K, 1 H, W

If he's available in your league, I suggest you scoop up Carpenter without hesitation. Tagged with the injury prone moniker after missing the better parts of 2008 and 2007, Carpenter is finally healthy and ready to regain his status as one of the game's best.

Carpenter looked like his dominant self yesterday while making his first start of the young season. Cardinals fans have to feel optimistic about their chances with Carpenter back in the mix and to the fantasy owners who took a chance on the 33-year-old right hander, a big kudos to you.

NBA

Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
vs. Denver Nuggets
27 points, 19 boards, 3 dimes

The past month or so, Gasol has been an absolute beast for the surging Lakers.

With double-doubles in 10 out of the last 12 games, Gasol is starting to hit his stride just as C Andrew Bynum makes his way back into the lineup. This is nothing but a good thing for the Lakers as they prepare for the postseason, but it spells disaster for fantasy squads hoping to close out with a bang.

Gasol has average 37.1 minutes per game this season, more than teammate Kobe Bryant.

The reason I mention this is that Phil Jackson would love to give Pau some time to rest before the battle begins for the NBA crown.

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 9

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Players of the Night

MLB

Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
vs. Toronto Blue Jays
3-4, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R,

This is what had become to be known as the norm and not the exception for this pudgy slugger in Detroit.

Miggy had one of the quieter 37 HR 127 RBI seasons in 2008, primarily because his teams finished in the cellar of the AL Central after being picked by so many to run away with the division.

He's off to a fast start with seven hits in ten at-bats and has yet to go down on strikes. The Tigers have one game left in the series against the Blue Jays today, but keep your eyes on Miggy starting Friday. With the Texas Rangers coming to town for the Tigers home opener, Cabrera has to be licking his chops.

NBA

Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
vs. Boston Celtics
33 points, 12 boards, 5 dimes, 5-for-9 from long distance

Is Vinsanity here to stay?

No, sadly it's not. Carter still shows flashes of the explosiveness that made him one of the game's most popular players, but that's about it.

He's become more of a facilitator in the offense as his career has progressed, evidenced by the consistent drop in scoring average the past five years. And now, with his team out of the playoffs, Carter is playing hard on principles alone and that was enough to deliver one last great fantasy performance of the season.

Until next year VC.

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is Trib pwns Sun-Times. Come behold the power of screen shots...

MLB & NBA Fantasy Wakeup Call - April 8

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Players of the Night

MLB

Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox
vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
7 IP, 2 H, 10 K, 1 ER

The ace of the Red Sox staff had nothing but question marks about how he'd return from an injury plagued 2008 campaign. Beckett wasted no time in trying to answer them with a gem of a performance in his season opener against the Rays.

He looked dominant through seven innings of work and is still arguably the best big game pitcher in baseball. Same too goes for fantasy, being a strikeout machine with a miniscule ERA is all you can ask of a starting pitcher you probably were able to draft a little bit later than in other years.

NBA

Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
vs. Miami Heat
26 points, 9 dimes, 9 boards, 6 steals, 1 block

In a game that would secure a playoff berth, CP3 was back to doing his thing and looked untouchable on the court. His court vision is unmatched and the way he can fill up a stat sheet is the best indicator of how complete a player Paul truly is.

He's the best point guard in the NBA and hands down one of the Top 10 fantasy players in the game.

But beware of a letdown in the next five games. Now that the Hornets have clinched, there may not be much for Paul to play for.

More to come after the jump...

As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is The Dynasty. Come behold the power of screen shots...

Player of the Night

Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays
vs. Detroit Tigers
4-5, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 2 R

Is Lind going to finally take advantage of the talent that had many believing he was one of the elite prospects in the game?

If last night was any indication Lind may be primed for a breakout season.

Player of the night

F LeBron James - Cavs
Vs. Spurs
38 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists

To say LeBron James is really good is an understatement. Apparently. At age 24, James looks like he has his first MVP all but sewn up. Could his first title be far behind?


As you may have heard, Matt and I finally got around to setting up our own fantasy league. We held our first ever fantasy baseball draft last month, and it was a lot of fun. Nothing like some quality smack talk to start off the year. In the days leading up to the start of the season, we'll be taking a quick look at each team in our league.

Next up is the San Diego Swingers. Come behold the power of screen shots...

Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 2

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Player of the Night

Monta Ellis, Warriors
vs. Sacramento Kings
42 points, 9 boards, 9 dimes, 2 steals, block

Welcome back to the fantasy world Mr. Ellis.

5. SP Scott Baker

Baker took the type of jump that is expected from young starters in 2008. He improved his numbers across the board from a season before, and established himself as one of the better young arms in the American League. His ERA and WHIP were great last season, and he gets enough strikeouts that he won't kill you.

Fantasy Wake Up Call - April 1

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Player of the Night

David West, New Orleans Hornets
vs. Sacramento Kings
40 points, 9 boards, 6 dimes, block,

Mr. West makes his first appearance as our Player of the Night while playing through an ankle injury that's slowed him down some recently. Is there a better player in the NBA that doesn't get the kind of recognition he deserves than West?

About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for suntimes.com and editor of CenterstageChicago.com. He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2009 is the previous archive.

May 2009 is the next archive.

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