Commentary

Bonderman looks to stay hot

Updated: May 31, 2010, 9:21 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Daily Notes
Sometimes fantasy owners confuse me. Isn't it weird that Jeremy Bonderman, one of those classic "can't miss" pitching prospects who is only now really capitalizing on his potential, is owned in just 6.3 percent of the ESPN universe? He still has all the talent that made him such a great prospect in the first place, and he's a still-youthful 27, so it's not like he's over the hill. It could just be a hot month, or it could be a late breakout. Maybe it's a case of having too good a memory, as most people who have been playing fantasy baseball for a while have been burned by Bonderman in some way or another. But for a day at least, you can find him right near the top of our daily rankings:

For starters

Selected notes:

Barry Zito owned the Rockies last year, posting a 0.95 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in four starts, and the dominance has continued this year; he pitched eight strong innings while allowing two runs and eight baserunners in a start earlier this season. So it's a fortunate break that just when Zito appeared to be slipping, allowing nine runs in his past two starts, he again draws the Rockies, a team hitting .195 off him in 226 at-bats. Indeed, now that Dexter Fowler was optioned to Triple-A, Todd Helton's .250 average is the highest on the team, and not a mark to write home about. To put it succinctly, expect a strong bounce-back start from the southpaw.

• If Jeremy Bonderman can keep his walk rate around his current 3.05 batters per nine innings, success should be commonplace, so it was nice to see him respond from the eight walks he allowed against the Athletics -- a patient team, no doubt, but not a particularly dangerous one -- by allowing only two against the Mariners. He'll face a weak offense for the third consecutive start, this time the Indians, but at home, where he has a 1.89 ERA through three starts (tiny sample size obviously). He's still available in nearly 94 percent of ESPN leagues. Don't bet against him to have another great outing.

• A few weeks ago I noted that Rich Harden was merely a spot starter nowadays. Well, he'll be hard-pressed to find a more favorable matchup than the White Sox, because in 80 at-bats the team is batting .188 against him. In a start versus the Sox earlier in the season, Harden wasn't great, walking five and striking out only two, but the Sox could still muster only four hits against him, and in the end, Harden walked away with a quality start. This time around I expect the results to favor Harden much more definitively, hopefully one of those dominating starts of yesteryear. The only rub, however, is that Harden is unable to work deep into games, limiting his chance at a win even in his best outings.

• The last time Joel Pineiro had a favorable matchup, he tossed a shutout. Expecting that against the Royals is obviously a bit much, but it illustrates a point: He's still pitching well, he just needs a few good matchups to get back on track. The Royals aren't an awful offense by any means -- they're actually middle-of-the-pack in OPS -- but they're definitely conquerable, so throw Pineiro out there with confidence.

• It's been three starts now since John Lackey has struck out more batters than he's walked. Come on now, really? If he can't get back on track versus the A's, a team he has always owned (2.76 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in nearly a season's worth of innings, 189, lifetime), then you have permission to panic. Can't he just pretend he's in an Angels jersey or something?

Now batting

Hitters' count:

Ty Wigginton, 1B/2B/3B, Orioles: Wigginton hasn't gone deep since May 22, but he has reached base in eight straight. And when you combine how bad Javier Vazquez has been this year with Wigginton's track record against him -- a .355 average in 31 at-bats, with three home runs as well as two doubles -- he could correct that recent power outage.

Magglio Ordonez, OF, Tigers: Since a day off on May 19, Maggs has been batting .353 with a pair of home runs in 34 at-bats. He's been able to hit for more power than usual against Jake Westbrook as well, with five extra-base hits in 37 at-bats, including three home runs.

Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays: Lind has just two hits in his last 19 at-bats, but here's hoping a matchup against Jeff Niemann can get him back on track. He's 5-for-11 lifetime off Niemann, picking up a double and even taking him deep once.

Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves: Jones is 5-for-11 with a double in his past three starts, which isn't amazing but is a start. He should be able to display some power versus Cole Hamels, though, taking into account that he's 9-for-22 (.409) with four doubles and two long balls off the southpaw.

Josh Willingham, OF, Nationals: Guess who's hot again? Although in reality he hardly slowed down, he was available in enough leagues where 21.8 percent could pick him up in the past week. Expect him to keep streaking against Brett Myers, a hurler he's swatted four extra-base hits off in just 20 at-bats.

Manny Ramirez, OF, Dodgers: Manny's dominance against Dan Haren is definitely worth noting, both because few batters have owned Haren quite like Ramirez has and because Manny has been in a sick slump of late, hitting .196 in May. As a .548 hitter with three home runs off Haren in 31 career at-bats, Manny is a safe bet he'll get back on track for at least a day.

Pitchers' count:

Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees: You probably know by now that Granderson is not to be played against lefties, so consider this a heads-up that he'll face Brian Matusz on Tuesday. Matusz hasn't been great against southpaws (they're hitting over .300 off him) but Granderson hit below the Mendoza Line versus lefties last season and is hitting .212 this year, so Granderson's problems go a bit deeper than whoever he's matching up against.

Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays: Yes, even in Wells' revival season he has a kryptonite, and thy name is Jeff Niemann. He's mustered just a single off Niemann in 11 career at-bats, including an 0-for-3 mark this season.

Carlos Pena, 1B, Rays: Pena has gone down swinging in nearly half of his at-bats against Brian Tallet, piling up six K's in 13 at-bats, and is hitting .154 overall against the lefty.

David Ortiz, DH, Red Sox: This isn't the old Ortiz, but it's a pretty good impersonation of him. That said, the 34-year-old version can't hit quality southpaws, and Gio Gonzalez is holding left-handed batters to a .156 average this season.

Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox: This is definitely one-sided: Rich Harden has held Konerko to a single in 17 at-bats, striking him out five times along the way. Indeed, Harden has owned most of the White Sox (A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Rios are a combined 4-for-26), albeit without the strikeouts he's posted against Konerko.

Miguel Olivo, C, Rockies: It's kind of shocking that Olivo has struck out seven times in 13 at-bats against Barry Zito, although up and down the Rockies' lineup it's a common occurrence; Zito really has their number. But we'll pick on Olivo primarily because he's been a hot add in recent weeks. Unfortunately he's just 2-for-13 (.154) off Zito, although his backup, Chris Iannetta, hasn't been much better (five K's in 10 at-bats; one hit but seven walks).

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals: Zimmerman went 14 games in between home runs before blasting two Sunday, but he'll try to make it three consecutive games with a homer when he faces Brett Myers on Tuesday. He's batting .361 off of Myers in 36 career at-bats, and eight of his 13 hits have been of the extra base variety, including two dingers.

Triage

Injury list: Out

Nelson Cruz, OF, Rangers (15-day DL, hamstring)

Kendry Morales, 1B, Angels (15-day DL, leg)

Injury list: Day-to-day

Jason Bartlett, SS, Mariners (hamstring)

Scott Hairston, OF, Padres (15-day DL, hamstring)

Torii Hunter, OF, Angels (hand)

Bobby Jenks, RP, White Sox (calf)

Placido Polanco, 2B/3B, Phillies (elbow): The MRI only showed a contusion on his elbow, so he should return sometime this week.

Joey Votto, 1B, Reds (neck)

Weather concerns

Contests in Toronto (Rays-Blue Jays), Houston (Nationals-Astros) and Seattle (Twins-Mariners) are weatherproof.

A forecast of thunderstorms permeates the Bronx (Orioles-Yankees), Miami (Brewers-Marlins), Boston (Athletics-Red Sox) and Atlanta (Phillies-Braves), although no area has greater than a 50 percent chance of showers.

Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.