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Thursday, June 16, 2011

FANTASY BASEBALL HIT AND RUN: RETURN OF THE GOLDEN OLDIES



Trending Up

Mike Morse:  Morse has been hot as hell for the last month now and this is the guy we all ran to the wire for in spring training when he hit 12 home runs.  The interesting thing here is that Morse has hit lefties as well as righties and his average seems to have settled in the .300 range which makes him even more valuable.  We all know home run hitters like this are more valuable due to scarcity and Morse looks to me like the next Adam Lind.

Aramis Ramirez:  Ramirez has finally found his home run stroke with 5 in the last month but its likely too late for many owners who gave up on him after his lackluster start.  I have mixed feelings about Ramirez who looks like he is on the decline and injuries are always an issue but any kind of production at third base this season makes him a decent value.

Jsutin Smoak:  Smoak is now up to 12 home runs and he is fulfilling the potential that the Mariners saw in him when the pulled the trigger on trading for him last season.  His average has been shaky of late but he is right on schedule now in his arrival as a power hitter corner infielder.

Trending Down

Shin-Soo Choo:  Choo has now been dropped to sixth in the order as his big time bust of a season continues to see his value shrivel up.  The DUI issue has been a distraction but I cant see that being the sole reason he has been this poor.  Just an awful return on a big time investment.

Brandon Phillips:  Phillies hasn't been bad this season but he has failed to make many impact plays.  He is stuck on only 5 home runs and 2 SB and so he has a lot of work to do to avoid missing his second consecutive 20/20 season.

Brett Gardner:  When Derek Jeter went on the DL with the strained calf, it was assumed the speedy Gardner would be planted in the leadoff spot for the duration of his absence.  Instead Gardner was benched on Wednesday when facing a lefty and so on and on it goes in this very disappointing season for a guy we all thought would at least steal 40 bags.
 
The Golden Oldies of 2011 Fantasy Baseball:  Where Do We Go From Here?

The 2011 fantasy baseball season has a central theme of dominant pitching.  It is crystal clear that those who throw the baseball for a living are earning success at a level that hasn't been seen in decades.  Clearly moving away from the post-steroids era has had something to do with it.  Despite all of this, there are still some hitters who are doing their thing and in an even more surprising twist, the gray-beared veterans have been among the most successful at trying to even out the battle between the pitcher and those who swing the bat.  One only has to look at the MVP numbers that are being put up by St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman at the age of 35 and off a season where he looked like one of the worst hitters in the game a year ago.  With that in mind, here is an in-depth look at the graybeard sluggers who have turned back the clock and put up top notch numbers.

Berkman:  What Berkman is doing this season is even more impressive than what David Ortiz is doing with Boston.  At least Ortiz was an All Star last season after that horrible start but Berkman had the look of a guy on his last legs in a miserable 2010 season split between the Astros and Yankees.  He couldn't hit for power and he was useless against lefties along with being more and more prone to injuries.  Fast forward to present day and Berkman is among the league leaders in home runs (17) and RBI (48).  He has been tremendous all season and has shown no sign of slowing down.  He went through a funk at the start of May but he rebounded to go back to being red hot once again.  Its obviously helping that Berkman is hitting in prime position behind Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday so he will continue getting good pitches to hit.  I do think he will tire as we get into August so the sell high time period is likely at the end of July in order to maximize profit here.  All in all though Berkman has been quite possibly the best value in the game.

Ortiz:  Ortiz has been a monster this year in every sense of the word.  Yeah he hit home runs at a very good clip last season but not with the superb average to go with it.  I have no doubt that the power will continue all season but I am not buying the average.  In fact Ortiz has been helped by a somewhat lucky BABIP so look for the average to fall soon enough.  The power though makes him someone you really cant get rid of since we are living in the dead ball era.  Keep him around.

Todd Helton:  Not many have mentioned it, but Helton has been very good as a CI or UTIL bat for fantasy baseball owners this season.  He has 9 home runs and is hitting .320.  That's the Helton we all know and love back in the day and since cumulative averages are way down this season, he deserves to continue being put out there while he is healthy.  The 40 homer Helton hasn't been seen in over a decade and he is not coming back but he actually could get to 20 home runs this season which is an improvement on what he has done the last five years plus.  He is more for the deeper league crowd but overall Helton once again is showing is bat to be of use.

Carlos Beltran:  Yeah his ballpark stinks and he is always hurt but Beltran is finding a way to stay on the field this season and is contributing with 9 home runs and 40 RBI.  He is hitting a solid .281 and so far his legs are holding up.  There is no doubt the Mets will ship him out by the trade deadline and so Beltran will see an immediate boost by escaping New York's cavernous park.  I would try to hold here if you can.

Chipper Jones:  Jones swatted his 7th HR of the season Thursday night and he is driving in runs from his customary three spot/  He always deals with aches and pains but Jones is acquitting himself well at his advanced age and has been a nice source of relief for those who have dealt with injuries to Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright, and Evan Longoria.  I like Jones but long term I dont think he holds up.  Sell high on this aging vet.

So ther you have it,  Some good stuff but the older generation this season and so it really makes you re-think the strategy of ignoring these guys are the end of drafts next season in favor of upside plays.  There is without question value to still be had from these bats and so those who took advantage are ahead of the game this season.  Good work.

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