The Wire Troll: The Return of Royalty
Sidney Ponson, New York Yankees, SP: When the Yankees signed Ponson, recently cut by the Texas Rangers, it further illustrated the serious shortage of quality pitching facing most major league ball clubs. Having worn out his welcome at every stop, the 31-year-old Ponson finds himself getting yet another opportunity. In his first start Friday, Ponson held the Mets scoreless over six innings en route to his first victory for the Pinstripers. Will he last? Probably not, but pitching for the Yankees, he has the potential in AL-only formats to be a decent acquisition until the ultimate implosion.
Kurt Suzuki, Oakland, C: Heading into the 2008 season, Suzuki was on many sleeper lists and is starting to demonstrate why. Over his last ten games, he has hit two HR, produced ten RBI and is hitting to the tune of a .432 batting average. The beginning of a trend upwards for the 24-year-old backstop? I believe that to be the case and with Suzuki still sitting on waiver wires in 40 per cent of all CBS leagues at this time, I recommend adding him to your fantasy roster in all formats.
Casey Blake, Cleveland, 1B/3B: Now here’s a nice little bonus I found this past week: Blake, who qualifies at both first and third base, is currently owned by only 50 per cent of all teams in CBS leagues. In his last ten games, he’s hitting .378 and for the season is on pace for a career-high 90 RBI. For those looking to add some power at the corners, Blake is a solid acquisition in all formats.
Eric Stults, Los Angeles Dodgers, SP: Since his promotion June 17 from Triple-A Las Vegas, Eric Stults has been virtually flawless. He’s won both his starts and the key to his success has been his ability to limit the base-on-balls to a total of one in each of his two starts. The Dodgers are apparently going to run with a six-man rotation through to the All-Star break to give the 28-year-old Stults further opportunity to show his stuff. Coming off a complete game, four-hit shutout of the White Sox in his last start,he is a fine option in NL-only leagues and deeper mixed formats.
Chris Davis, Texas, 1B: If I’m not mistaken, didn’t I mention that Hank Blalock, despite the injury woes, would be a fine addition heading into this past week? Well, the woes have continued and it looks like the most recent setback suffered by Blalock (badly bruising his injured wrist diving for a ball) has delayed his return for at least a couple of weeks. The Rangers have decided to give 22-year-old Davis an opportunity to at least temporarily show his stuff. Davis has had a great year at both Double-A and Triple-A , amassing combined stats of 23 homers, 73 RBI, seven steals, and a .333 BA. He will hit for power and in all probability strike out way too often, but with the window of opportunity now open, Davis is a solid grab in AL-only leagues and deep keeper formats.
David Bush, Milwaukee, SP: Bush was thought by many to be a great sleeper pick heading into the 2007 season, and over the the past month or so appears to be finally waking up. A terrible 2007 and start to this year pushed Bush to the bench and waiver wire, but with five quality starts in six tries and only six walks over that same period, Bush is emerging as a viable option in both NL-only and mixed formats. In his past two starts, he has pitched a four-hitter over seven innings and an eight inning, two-hit gem. It looks like the ship has been righted and we might finally be witnessing some of that potential that Bush demonstrated prior to 2007.
Braden Looper, St. Louis, SP: Very quietly, Looper has been putting together a very nice year for the surprising St. Louis Cardinals. The former Mets closer has now amassed nine wins to go along with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Looper is coming off a run of four out of five quality starts and by limiting the free passes is putting himself in position to be successful. Currently owned in 52 per cent of all CBS leagues, Looper is a solid add in NL-only and deeper mixed formats.
J.P. Howell, Tampa Bay, SP/RP: This 25-year-old southpaw is enjoying a very solid year in middle relief for the upstart Rays. In 50 2/3 innings pitched, Howell is currently sporting a 3.02 ERA and 1.34 WHIP to go along with six wins. For those of us playing in leagues that count holds, Howell is a solid addition to our fantasy bullpen.
Jim Edmonds, Chicago Cubs, OF: After being released by San Diego, the Cubbies gambled on Edmonds and to date have been rewarded very nicely. Thought to have lost his bat speed after the disaster on the West coast, Edmonds is currently enjoying a renaissance patrolling centrefield in Chicago. He was signed by the Cubs May 15 and is sporting a very nice .293 BA, to go along with seven home runs and 22 RBI since, with five of those long-balls being hit in the past week. Edmonds is a solid acquisition in both NL-only and deep mixed formats.