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Unheralded Fantasy Baseball Players Who Can Help Your Team Out

Posted by Condo on April 10, 2007

Alright, so you think you’re a fantasy baseball expert, try answering these questions, and if you get them all right WITHOUT looking it up, then MAYBE you can label yourself a fantasy baseball guru.

Question 1:
Who leads the MLB at this point in the season in batting average?

Question 2:
What Texas Rangers pitcher is TIED for the MLB lead with a 0.00 ERA?

Question 3:
Who was the National League Strikeout Champion in 2006 AND who was the National League Batting Champion in 2006?

I’ll answer those questions shortly, but first, with players such as Hideki Matsui, Chris Carpenter, Victor Martinez, Randy Johnson, & Pedro Martinez on the DL to either start the season, or just recently placed there, here are some players that can help your team out and make you look like a fantasy genius.

– Oliver Perez (SP- New York Mets)
Oliver is a 25 year old pitcher who has been around the block. Back in 2004 he had his best season with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was said by some to be the second coming of Fernando Valenzuela. He was 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA, 239 K’s and only 81 BB in 196 innings of work. The past 2 season however he has struggled with his command as apparent by his walk total in 05′ and 06′. This season however, Perez seems to have found his command and it showed in his first outing versus a potent Atlanta lineup in which he threw 7 innings of 5 hit ball yielding only 1 run while striking out 6 and walking zero. Add to the fact he’s playing for one of the best offensive teams in baseball and Perez is due for a big season. Grab him while you still can and reap the rewards.

– Mike Jacobs (1B- Florida Marlins)
Mike was a late bloomer getting to the major’s in 2005 at the age of 25, but when he finally got his chance with the Mets, he raked 11 homers in 30 games and only 100 total at bats. He was traded to the Marlins last season and finally received his shot full-time at 1st base in the majors. Jacobs struggled a bit only hitting .262 with 20 HR and 77 RBI in 136 total games. However, this season he seems to have found his stride early hitting .385 with 2 HR and 5 RBI in his first 7 games. Look for Jacobs to rebound this season and hit anywhere from 25-30 HRs with a .280+ average and around 100 RBIs. Hitting behind a stud like Miguel Cabrera helps a little bit too.

– Akinori Iwamura (3B- Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
Believe it or not there’s another Japanese player making waves in his rookie season in the bigs and his name is NOT “Dice K.”! Iwamura signed this off-season with Tampa to be the team’s everyday 3rd baseman, but nobody seemed to care because all of the attention was on “Dice K.” This kid is only 28 and had previously produced three consecutive seasons with a .300+ batting average and 30+ home runs in Japan before landing in Central Florida. Iwamura struggled in spring training but hit the ground running once opening day came calling. Through his first 6 games A.I. is hitting .500 with a home run, 3 RBIs, 7 Runs scored, and 2 stolen bases. I doubt if he puts up the HR totals that he had in Japan, but a .300+ average and 80+ RBIs is certainly not out of the question for this Japanese import. Also expect to get some quality numbers in the steals and runs department as well.

– Joel “Zoom Zoom” Zumaya (RP- Detroit Tigers)
“Zoom Zoom” may not yet be the Tigers closer but if Todd “Roller Coaster” Jones isn’t careful, Zumaya may very well zoom by him and take the closers job right out of his hands. Zumaya dubbed “Zoom Zoom” because of his 100+ MPH fastball, is a great addition to any fantasy team for a couple of key reasons. Number one, he is the Tigers setup man, which means he’s going to get the ball in the 8th inning of games and sometimes be given an opportunity to close down some games. Secondly, he WILL keep your team ERA down while improving your team’s strikeouts on an almost nightly basis. Last season in 62 appearances, “Zoom Zoom” compiled a 6-3 record with 1 save, a 1.94 ERA and 97 K’s in only 83.1 innings pitched. Setup relievers with stats like this are great additions to any fantasy baseball teams, but most owners just don’t realize this. Keep that in mind and go try and get this guy from the free agency list before someone else reads this article and catches on.

– Shane Victorino (OF- Philadephia Phillies)
Victorino got his first shot last season at everyday playing time and did not disappoint. He first filled in for the injured Aaron Rowand in center field and then became the y right fielder once the Phillies traded Abreu to the Yankees. Shane hit .287 with 6 HR, 46 RBI last season, which may not sound like great stats, but consider where he hit in the order last season compared to where he’s hitting this season. Last season, he hit more towards the back of the order, this year, he’s hitting #2 behind Jimmy Rollins and in front of Ryan Howard AND Chase Utley. This means plenty of opportunities to score runs, get good pitches to hit, and steal some bases. Victorino so far is hitting .286 with a pair of stolen bases, RBIs, and runs scored. Expect Victorino to steal plenty of bases, as he stole 182 in his career down in the minor leagues. Shane is a great addition to any fantasy team, especially one that is need of runs scored and stolen bases.

That’s all I have for today’s fantasy baseball coverage. If you have any other fantasy baseball related questions feel free to e-mail them to me at The_Sports_Guys@yahoo.com.

And now, here are the answers to the trivia questions I asked at the beginning of this segment:

Question 1: Trot Nixon (OF- Cleveland Indians) .556 avg.
Question 2: Robinson Tejada (SP- Texas Rangers)
Question 3 (part 1): Aaron Harang (SP- Cincinnati Reds) 216 Ks.
Question 3 (part 2): Freddy Sanchez (2B, 3B, SS- Pittsburgh Pirates) .344 avg

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