by Moonlight Graham

Just Three Weeks Left in the Fantasy Baseball Season

With just three weeks left in the season, things are getting pretty tight in the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie Leaguefieldwithballmoon where Chris Aucone’s R Farters remain atop the standings. The Farters have led the pack since early June and have only recently been challenged by Bobby Carr’s Master Batters and Lou Carducci’s Mean Street Posse. However, neither has been able to get within three points of the leader and may not be able to as they battle each other in several categories. Mindful of how last season’s title was, literally, decided on the season’s final pitch, all three have been active on the transaction wire; hoping to grab that one rookie with a hot bat or a flamethrower with one three hit shutout up his sleeve. Rest assured, they’ll be perusing the following lists looking for any help they can get. You should too.

Streaking

We’ve loved Nick Swisher all year and there’s no reason to get off the Yankee OF’s bandwagon now. He’s been on fire in September and, despite hitting in the lower part of the order, will always have RBI opportunities in that lineup… Despite mediocre Won-Loss records, Javier Vasquez and Jair Jurrjens have been Fantasy Baseball studs in Atlanta. Don’t let the poor offensive support and bad bullpens of the Braves force them out of your lineup… Jake Fox will likely get most of the AB vacated by Alfonso Soriano when the slumping Cub’s OF finally decides to have surgery. Fox has become the Cubs’ best power bat of late… Funny how the Cubs continue to struggle while having so many on this list. Carlos Marmol, after finally getting the closer’s job, has 10 S… Ted Lilly, despite a month on the DL, is the Cubs’ leading winner and has turned in four straight gems since he returned… Rockies’ OF Seth Smith has 4 HR and 10 RBI in September…

Stalling

ChiSox C A.J. Pierzinski will start to lose AB to prospect Tyler Flowers as soon as Chicago decides it’s out of the divisional picture. Memo to Ozzie Guillen: That time is now… The White Sox have also started to sit OF Alex Rios, who’s been a major disappointment since coming over from Toronto… Detroit’s Fernando Rodney will serve a three game suspension for throwing a ball into the stands… At some point, Alfonso Soriano will get his balky knee scoped. Don’t allow him to think about it on your roster… Don’t go crazy over Mat Gamel’s return to Milwaukee as he won’t just be handed the 3B job. Casey McGehee has been hitting the ball well and manager Ken Macha plans to stay with him… Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo will have his next turn skipped as the Brew Crew tries to limit his IP. Yeesh… Ever hear of a closer with an ERA over 7.00? Hard to believe Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel won’t start looking somewhere other than Brad Lidge as the playoffs draw near. He’s been abysmal… And what Stalling list would be complete without a nod to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who this week set a North American professional sports record with their 17th consecutive losing season.

Sick Bay

Rockies’ SS Troy Tulowitzki was pulled from the lineup earlier this week with back spasms… Corey Hart returned to the Brewers’ lineup after missing a month because of an appendectomy… Tim Lincecum was scratched from his last start with spasms on his lower left side.

By Moonlight Graham

Fantasy baseball standings: Details, Details

The first week of September usually finds only three or four fantasy baseball teams in contention.  Many of the also-rans have long since turned their attention to fantasy football, leaving all but a few scrambling for that extra point or two that could make the difference between second place and a fantasy baseball league title.  One way that you can pick up an easy point or two might be to stay on top of the aforementioned fantasy owners at the bottom of the standings.  Make sure they keep their fantasy baseball rosters current.  Even though they may have fallen out of the race long ago, they still have a bearing on the way things finish.  For instance, the eighth place team in your league might be trailing the leader by just two SB.  It then becomes incumbent upon him to replace an injured base stealer.  Unfortunately, owners buried in the standings sometimes look to keep their transaction totals down in order to save money and end up adversely affecting those in the title chase.  There is absolutely nothing more frustrating then watching a rival get a free point due to another’s negligence.

Any other miniscule point gains are garnered by old fashioned attention to detail.  Keep a watchful eye on MLB September callups, especially those made by rebuilding teams like the A’s , Giants and Nationals; all of whom may take a look at minor leaguers who could fit into their 2009 plans.

RISING

One player who jumps out as one who could be immediately helpful in the SB category is Oakland OF Najeh Davis who has already accumulated 24 SB in just 165 AB.  He registered his first 4 hit game last weekend and looks like he’ll get regular playing time throughout the rest of the season.  After spending much of the last two seasons unhappy with his role, Brett Myers has turned in three straight dominating performances for the Phils.  While he has struggled mightily for most of the year, don’t forget that he has been a 200+ K pitcher in the past.  Mark DeRosa is enjoying a career season with the Cubs and has been hot of late, recently homering in four straight games.  Raul Ibanez is staging his annual hot September in Seattle as he and Adrian Beltre seem to be the only M’s not playing out the string.

FALLING

Tigers’ 3B Carlos Guillen sat out a few games last week to rest a sore back that has been troubling him all year.  He has a mere 10 HR and only 54 RBI while not running at all on the basepaths.  While the Cubs have been marching through the NL Central, someone seems to have misplaced Derek Lee’s power bat.  The big 1B has endured a long and severe power drought.  Brandon Lyon has allowed 10 R in his last 5 1/3 IP.  With the D’Backs in a pennant race and Jon Rauch and Chad Qualls as options, Lyon is a bad outing away from being replaced.

GRAB BAG

The Rockies have chosen to keep Jorge De La Rosa in the rotation after two solid performances.  Brandon Morrow returns to Seattle after being sent down for a conversion to starter.  His outstanding K ratio could give your staff a quick boost.

DROP ZONE

Livan Hernandez has been relegated to the Rockies’ bullpen.  Aaron Heilman has been unable to step forward as the Mets’ closer and will get fewer opportunities as rosters expand.

SICK BAY

- Evan Longoria is targeting an early September return to the Rays’ lineup.  Justin Upton returns this week to the D’Backs roster having K’d 22 times in 51 rehab AB.  Reds’ hurler Johnny Cueto is suffering from elbow soreness and could miss a start.

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