Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Enough Runs to Go Around

There were only 4 games yesterday, but we had totals over 10 in each of them.  So, we scoured the box scores, tirelessly questing for that next big bat, and, well, most of the names that popped up we've seen before.  It's not so much that we enjoy tooting our own horn, it's just that when things go as predicted, it's worth noting.  Thus, while everyone else is busy with the Cavaliers moving onto the next round of the playoffs, and the Mavs somehow managing to cling to the side of their tiny tugboat, we'll look at one player from each of yesterday's 4 baseball contests.

JHONNY PERALTA - A week back we noted that he was well below his career average, and was showing signs of waking up.  A man can accomplish quite a bit in one week.  Peralta is still not quite at his normal numbers, but his average is up almost 50 points, as the shortstop with the misplaced "h" picked up 3 hits yesterday, and drove in his 12th man of the season.  Clearly, he's not going to go flying off the waiver wire with those numbers, but sometimes the short term is the most important term of all.  Peralta has 10 hits in his last 5 games, good enough for an average near .440, so to say he's hot is a pretty stark understatement.

CASEY KOTCHMAN - His availability isn't quite as predictable as the other names on this list.  Kotchman has a recognizable fantasy place, not necessarily because of his accomplishments, but because he was traded for Mark Teixeira last season, and everyone just assumed he would be amazing.  Kotchman is a lefthanded 1B that generally hits for a high average with less exciting power numbers.  Most feel his ceiling has yet to be reached in the power department, and that's why he's on this list today.  He's only bopped 2 homers, but Kotchman's 13 doubles are reason to be optimistic.  Add a few more feet on some of those, and they might start leaving the yard.  Kotchman is a good pickup for BA and OBP for now, but keep a close watch.

ERIC BYRNES - The D'backs got squished by the Reds last night, but Byrnes had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game.  He's always been streaky, so I'm not sure now is the best time to hop on the bandwagon, but it seems like Byrnes might be starting to feel healthy again.  My guess is he stays hot for another day or two, raises his average into the .230-.240 range, then hovers in that neighborhood for a few weeks.  At that point, it may be time to capitalize.  When Eric shows signs of his next blistering hot streak, then it may be time to start the beast for the rest of the season.  I'll admit, I'm getting darn close to doing that even sooner, given my personal team's unbelievably disappointing start.

EMMANUEL BURRISS - The Giants promoted Burriss to the leadoff spot yesterday, and Emmanuel proceeded to hack his way to an 0-for-5.  That said, he's been spraying hits all over the field in a notoriously Juan Pierre-like fashion (2005 edition).  Burriss has stolen 9 bases despite playing predominantly from the 8-hole in the lineup, and Manager Bruce Bochy likes his chances of swiping a few more at the top.  He'll have better protection behind him now (an actual hitter instead of the pitcher), and the team won't immediately bunt him into scoring position.  If Burriss shows he can comfortably get on base from the top position, roll him into your lineup and start counting the steals.

And remember, each of the names in the list above is now a hyperlink to their Yahoo! statistics, so you can do a little research on each before blindly grabbing.  If history has taught us anything, it's that blind grabbing will only result in sexual harassment suits and scratched knuckles.  Click on those names, learn a bit about the player -- become their fantasy pal -- then improve your team.

I hope you've been enjoying the wild ride through baseball's first month-plus of betting, as well.  It's a bit of a learning process for all of us, but we're in the positive, and hopefully will continue to grow that money pile.

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