by Moonlight Graham

We’ve all heard the opinion espoused by Fantasy Baseball Owners everywhere: No championships are won on Draft Day. However, whether you agree with that or not, most titles ARE won in April. Too many of us put in a ton of work preparing for the Fantasy Baseball Draft only to make the fatal mistake of ignoring our squads during the season’s first few weeks. Don’t be one of those guys.

Every year, even in the deepest of leagues, there are Major League Baseball players on the verge of a Fantasy Breakout season that go undrafted. Last season, alone, Miguel Montero and David Aardsma were just two who were integral parts of many Fantasy League championships despite being left unselected on draft day. The key for you, as an owner, is to identify those hidden gems as early as possible and incorporate them into your daily lineup.

That’s only half the battle, however, as t is just as critical to cut ties with drafted players not performing up to expectations. Daily perusal of the box scores and injury reports is the first step in this process; followed by the much more difficult one that forces you to admit you may have been wrong about a player. Once the draft is over, forget preferences and simply evaluate performance. Continue reading »

Keep an eye on Royals’ hurler Gil Meche over his last few starts.    Sunday, in his first outing since throwing a career high 132 pitches in going the distance vs. Arizona , Meche was lit up by the Cardinals to the tune of 9 ER in just 3 IP… Look for the Cubs’ slumping young hitters to get a little boost with the addition of hitting coach Von Joshua.    After firing Gerald Perry, Chicago reached into its farm system to promote Joshua, who established strong relationships with the likes of Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot as they rose though the Cubs’ system… Yovani Gallardo, despite another stellar performance on Sunday vs. the Tigers, lost his fourth of the season.    With any kind of offensive support, (he gained a 1-0 win against the Pirates in which his HR was the only run), Gallardo might be 10-1… Have to wonder how long the Padres can remain competitive without starters Jake Peavy and Chris Young, both on the DL… Looks like Seattle ace Felix Hernandez has finally decided to live up to his “King Felix” moniker…Cito Gaston is the latest AL’er to whine about losing a pitcher during Interleague play after losing closer Scott Downs to injury after Downs was hobbled running the bases in Philly.   Gaston, in much the same rant as Hank Steinbrenner after the Yankees lost Chien Ming Wang last year, bemoaned the fact that AL pitchers are not used to running the bases.   A professional athlete not used to putting one foot in front of the other?! C’mon, Cito…

Buy Low- Gotta love the warmer weather and the affect it has on players dealing with wrist and hand issues.    In Chicago, Derrek Lee has been on fire; adding a power stroke to supplement his rising BA… In Boston , David Ortiz has started to calm the fears of Boston fans thinking he might be through.    Not only has he popped 5 HR over the last two weeks, his Sunday blast was over the Green Monster, something he wasn’t able to do early in the season as he dealt with the lingering effects of a hand injury…Casey Blake is the latest Dodger to step up and fill the void left by steroid cheat Manny Ramirez… In St. Louis , Adam Wainwright has been pitching like the ace of the staff for the last month.    At an unspectacular 7-4, he might be able to be had… Moonlight followers jumped on Cliff Lee a few weeks ago while his poor won-loss record was camouflaging a stellar season.    This may be your last chance to acquire the Cleveland ace… Kevin Millwood, the leader of a Texas rotation that has the Rangers in contention, struck out 10 on Sunday in lowering his ERA to 2.62…

Sell High- Time to cut your losses and sit Jay Bruce for a little while as the Reds’ OF has seen his BA drop as low as .215… Vernon Wells, mired in a season long slump that may or may not have to do with his health, may be losing the confidence of his manager.

Grab Bag- The Pirates seem to have lost all patience with Brandon Moss as indicated by the increased playing time of Delwyn Young; a nice grab in an NL only league… Can’t find a reliable starter in you AL only league?    Why not turn to O’ middle man, Brian Bass, instead?    He’s 3-0 1.117 over his last 23 IP an could eventually find himself in the Birds’ rotation…

Drop Zone- Arizona ’s Doug Davis has not only been cuffed around in his last few starts but has a very uneasy relationship with new D’Backs’ manager A.J. Hinch.     Davis may be the odd man out when Brandon Webb returns to the rotation… Don’t know if the Giants can afford to remove Jonathan Sanchez (2-7 5.43) from the rotation but you can’t afford not to…

Sick Bay- Edinson Volquez is about ten days from returning to the Reds’ rotation as he continues to rehab his elbow… Brad Lidge will be back in the Phillies’ bullpen sometime this week… Jake Peavy could be out as long as three months with an ankle injury… Carlos Quentin will likely not return to the Chi Sox until the All Star break and, even then, will still be at risk of a recurrence of the plantar fascitis that has plagued him… Tigers’ OF Carlos Guillen may be facing shoulder surgery…

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