Commentary

The Talented Mr. Roto: Busting out of a slump

Updated: May 23, 2008, 4:40 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

Drastic.

It was clear that drastic measures needed to be taken.

Sure, I'd struggled before. Dangled one too many participles here, analyzed the wrong trend or two there. But this was something new.

I was in a slump. A full-on, can't-shake-it, down-in-the-dumps slump.

Mischa Barton gets photos taken of her that make her look like she's 80, and what do I do with that? Nothing. I recommended Garrett Olson against the Yankees. Twice. And, the straw that broke the camel's back, I went out on a date and the woman was smart, cute and completely normal.

Matthew Berry
ESPN.comOne day, they'll write Matthew Berry's life story, and this chapter will be called "How The TMR Got His Groove Back." But more likely, it will be called "Luckily. I'm Used To Awkward Stares."
Clearly, I had hit rock bottom. Then, the solution hit me.

Like you, I've tried to live my life by one simple rule: What would Jason Giambi do?

So when I read the news that Jason Giambi uses a gold lamé thong to break out of his slumps and that it had also been worn by Johnny Damon, I was sold.

I'm not gonna lie. Wearing the thong to work was a little weird, but luckily I'm used to awkward stares.

The tougher part was actually getting the thong. Because, while this may come as a shock to you, I didn't know where you go to buy a gold lamé thong. I asked many friends and co-workers. Luckily, I'm used to awkward stares.

Eventually we found a place and so there we were, ESPN.com fantasy producer Andrew Feldman and I, looking for a thong. You want to know something? Two grown men, in the female undergarments section of a department store, sifting through different colored thongs? Not creepy at all.

Luckily, I'm used to awkward stares.

But it's worth it. Stuff works, man. I'm wearing it right now. And you can already see the results. Guys I recommended on Thursday's show -- like Randy Wolf in a spot start -- are starting to come around. Wednesday on "Baseball Tonight" I talked about Corey Hart's power (it's coming) and Hanley Ramirez needing to get back to the leadoff spot. The Fish move Hanley back and Hart jacks his fourth home run. (Remember, Hart had only one home run on June 1 of last year. He's actually ahead of last year's pace!).

Jose Guillen, Aaron Laffey and Matt Joyce, all featured in last week's column, continue their terrific play. Two weeks after getting all sorts of flak for talking patience with Ryan Howard, he now has seven home runs in his past 13 games and is hitting .308 for that time frame.

Could your fantasy team use a collective thong? What players are out there that, if you could wear them over your pants, would help improve your team? Could that analogy be further-fetched? Luckily, I'm used to awkward stares.

Working the wire

Here are some players who have recently seen an increase in value and may be available in your league. The number in parentheses is the ownership percentage in ESPN.com standard leagues.

Bartolo Colon
AP Photo/Charles KrupaBartolo Colon and Matthew Berry have a long-standing love/hate relationship.
Big Fat Bartolo Colon, P, Red Sox (43 percent): Mentioned him last week as well. He pitched well in the minors this year and his velocity is back to the low 90s. He pitched decent against the Royals in his debut. He will get wins and strikeouts. His WHIP and his assaults on the postgame buffet won't be pretty, but if you can stomach those two things, Colon can be useful. (See what I did there? Stomach? Hah! I'm telling you Jerry, this thong is gold! Gold, I tell you! Ha! Did it again!)

Darrell Rasner, P, Yankees (29 percent): I am required by ESPN law to talk Yankees whenever I talk Red Sox. Despite pitching better and with more of a sample size, Rasner is owned in fewer leagues than Colon. He's now 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP and 11 strikeouts to just two walks. And now that the Yankees have back a third baseman that you may have heard of, I expect the wins to continue.

Andrew Miller, P, Marlins (8 percent): And here's why Florida traded Miguel Cabrera for him and others. I've mentioned him before as well, but in his four May starts, Miller now has a 1.44 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 25 innings with just seven walks. He just dominated the Diamondbacks, picking up the win and 9 strikeouts in 7 innings Thursday night.

Salomon Torres, P, Brewers (26 percent): My Mom always taught me if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. Hmmm. Well, Torres is going to be the guy with Eric Gagne banged up again. And he has 30 career saves. And he won't pitch enough that his 1.41 WHIP will hurt you that much. And, uh, I hear he's nice to kids and animals. And … well … Yeah, that's all I got.

Chris Snyder, C, Diamondbacks (8 percent): If you need help at catcher, consider that Snyder is hitting .354 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in his past 16 games.

Brian Giles, OF, Padres (8 percent): Hitting .400 with seven runs and a steal in the past two weeks.

Manny Parra, P, Brewers (3 percent): In his past 3 starts, Parra has a 2.08 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and 14 strikeouts in just over 17 innings. That's not a fluke. In the minors last season, he racked up 106 K's in 106 innings.

Daniel Cabrera, P, Orioles (29 percent): Two splits worth noting here. First, he's lights out away from Camden Yards. In six starts on the road, Cabrera has a 2.23 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP. He's also been pitching very well in the month of May. He has a 2.67 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in four starts this month with 20 strikeouts and only three walks in just over 30 innings. Somebody check his locker for evidence of lamé.

Mike Cameron, OF, Brewers (25 percent): Another guy I feel like I've mentioned a million times, but since three quarters of you aren't listening, I'll mention him one more time. Even with the missing month, did you know he is currently on pace for 34 homers, 95 RBIs and 14 steals? Crazy numbers. And no, I don't think he does that. But I do think he continues to hit for power and speed while not killing your batting average; It's bad now, but he's a career .250 hitter who has been in pitcher's parks for the past eight years. He has two bombs in his past six games and hit .308 in that span.

Pedro Feliz, 3B, Phillies (3 percent): One of my preseason favorites, it's clear he's also wearing a thong. He's hitting .324 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in his past 19 games.

From the obvious name department

Carlos Delgado
AP Photo/Kathy WillensWe imagine the conversation went something like this: "Sure, I got robbed of a homer, but what really bothers me is what this will do to Matthew Berry's fantasy team, which I'm on, you know!"
Carlos Delgado, 1B, Mets (56 percent): That's right. As brutal as he has been, he's getting better. Three home runs and nine RBIs in his past 18 games and we all know that should actually be four homers and 11 RBIs. But more importantly, this is right in line with what he always does. He is traditionally a slow starter (43 batting-average points better after the All-Star break in '07) and while the average won't be much above .250, he won't hurt you there while still hitting for legit power.

David Murphy, OF, Rangers (62 percent): This is what I wrote about Murphy in this column on April 4: "He hit .359 this spring and tied for 11th in the majors with 17 RBIs. He has been playing every day for the Rangers. He has a little bit of pop, nice speed, and even two first names (always a crowd-pleaser). He'll hit for a nice average, drive in some runs and not hurt you anywhere." First, you're welcome. Second, it's six weeks later and Murphy has continued to play well. He's hitting .291 with six home runs and four steals this year and is hitting .351 the past two weeks.

Julio Lugo, SS, Red Sox (34 percent): Couple of surprising things here, starting with the fact that Lugo is owned in fewer than 40 percent of leagues. Add to that that Lugo is hitting .293 with six steals. Then consider that the normally run-shy Red Sox are No. 7 in the majors in stolen bases. And finally, Ashley Olsen makes the Maxim Hot 100 list (No. 47) and Mary-Kate doesn't? I don't think Ashley's on the list at all, but if you're putting one on, don't you have to put the other? Can you even tell them apart? Which one's Ashley? Seriously, I'm asking.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B, Padres (39 percent): "The Kouz," as he is known to pretty much only me, is a slow starter. But three home runs and 11 RBIs in his past three weeks suggests he has found his inner thong. He's hitting .303 in that time frame and knows that Chase Headley, whom the Padres have played at third base in Triple-A this week, could just as easily take his job as he could one of the outfielders not named Brian Giles.

Just below the mendoza line

Here are some guys you should keep an eye on or consider adding in deeper leagues.

Michael Aubrey, 1B, Indians (0 percent): Two games, two home runs. He used to be a very elite prospect before getting injured. There's no guarantee he sticks to the roster if the Indians need to send someone down to make room for Joe Borowski, but a lot can happen between now and then.

Eddie Guardado, P, Rangers (7 percent): 184 career saves and the handcuff you want for C.J. Wilson.

Gregor Blanco, OF, Braves (0.3 percent): Playing a lot more than Matt Diaz for the Braves these days, he's hitting .279 this season and has two steals in his past six games.

Jorge Campillo, P, Braves (7 percent): Now in the starting rotation for Atlanta, Campillo has been terrific this year. With his 0.99 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, he has 24 strikeouts and only five walks in 27 innings.

Ubaldo Jimenez, P, Rockies (6 percent): In his past four starts, he has a 3.16 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings.

Taylor Buchholz, P, Rockies (3 percent): A 1.42 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP and 10 holds this year. And oh yeah, Brian Fuentes blew his third save of the year on Wednesday.

Jacque Jones, OF, Marlins (0 percent): He's hit over 20 home runs three of the past four years and will get some playing time.

Mark Hendrickson, P, Marlins (20 percent): I've never been a big fan but at some point you have to start paying attention. He's 6-2 with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. I hate his strikeout-to-walk rate (31-to-20 in 53 innings) but that's why he's in the Mendoza section.

Alexi Casilla, IF, Twins (0 percent): Recently recalled, he's got some speed; 74 steals in the past two years in the minors and he stole 11 in 56 games last season with the big club.

Jeremy Reed, OF, Mariners (0 percent): Just recalled when Seattle sent Jeff Clement down, Reed was hitting .349 with 6 home runs and 6 steals in 38 games at Triple-A.

David Price, P, Rays: The Rays took him No. 1 overall last year and there's talk he might get the call. I can't wait for the first "Price is Right" headline, can you?

Clayton Kershaw, P, Dodgers: He was the Dodgers' top pick in the 2006 draft, and it's looking like he'll make his debut very soon.

That's all we got, kids. I've got a thong to wash and you've got a weekend to enjoy. I'm off for Memorial Day and there won't be a TRUM next week, so I'll see you in a week.

• Senior Fantasy analyst for ESPN
• Member, FSWA and FSTA Halls of Fame
• Best-selling author of "Fantasy Life"

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