Commentary

Vlad still ov-er-at-ed

When it comes to Angels hitters, Vladimir Guerrero is down TMR's 'must-have' list

Updated: August 14, 2009, 2:34 PM ET
By Matthew Berry | ESPN.com

The Talented Mr. Roto
Seems like it has been quite a while, which is as good an excuse as any for another round of "Just Saying." So without further ado, I'm just saying …

… That whatever "supplements" Bronson Arroyo (21 percent ownership in ESPN standard leagues) is taking are working. He is 3-3 with a 2.49 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 12 walks in his past 50.2 innings.

Troy Tulowitzki
Ron Chenoy/US PresswireAfter a slow start to the season, Troy Tulowitzki has 23 homers, 62 RBIs and 15 steals.
… That if you're looking for a trade (in those non-ESPN standard leagues, since that trade deadline has already passed), there might not be a shortstop in the game I want more down the stretch than Troy Tulowitzki. He's hitting .529 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his past four games, and hitting .347 since the All-Star break.

… That Tulowitzki's teammate Clint Barmes (31 percent) also is heating up. Barmes is hitting .400 with three home runs and eight RBIs in his past six games.

… That I have one more Rockie to highlight, and that's Carlos Gonzalez (2 percent), who is hitting a ridiculous .424 in August with two home runs and seven RBIs.

… That Ryan Howard hit his 27th homer of the season Thursday night. That's only seventh among first basemen, and he is hitting .266. Remember in the preseason when I said, "I hate Ryan Howard." That's why.

… That as long as we are talking predictions, I got a ton of e-mails about last week's column, in which I said to drop Vladimir Guerrero. Of course, Vlad responded with a few home runs, prompting many folks to write. Look, keep him if you want. Fine. But even during his recent hot stretch -- he has hit .343 over his past nine games -- he has had just four RBIs. As in, his four home runs resulted in four RBIs. Nate Ravitz and I talked about this on Wednesday's Fantasy Focus Baseball podcast. I'm just not convinced Vlad is a top-50 outfielder the rest of the way. In fact, I'd take no less than four other Angels outfielders -- Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera and Kendry Morales (who qualifies in the outfield) -- over Vlad the rest of the way. Fifth on his own team! I maintain he's a decent power guy with no speed and will wind up with a .290-type average, and there are better guys out there.

… That, in case you haven't noticed, the aforementioned Morales has hit .367 with 10 homers in 90 at-bats since the All-Star break.

… That damn, it would have been nice if Vlad had waited a week to go nuts. Ugh.

… That speaking of guys who should be dumped, Ryan Dempster is owned in 85 percent of leagues and has a 4.70 ERA over his past five games. He does have a decent strikeout-to-walk rate over that time, so there's hope, but there are many more solid guys available.

Francisco Liriano
Kyle Terada/US PresswireFrancisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch at Texas in his next start.
… That before everyone gets all excited about the Francisco Liriano start the other day, it should be noted that it was against the Royals. Let's see him do it against a decent hitting team.

… That since joining the Twins, Orlando Cabrera (62 percent) has eight runs and seven RBIs in 11 games, and is hitting .327.

… That since April 25, when Scott Feldman (10 percent) rejoined the Rangers' rotation, only Justin Verlander has more wins than Feldman's 12. (Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia also have won 12 games since that date.)

… That Feldman's teammate Marlon Byrd (7 percent) is hitting in the middle of the lineup and has a .319 average in August.

… That according to our Player Rater, over the past 15 days, only four players in all of fantasy baseball have been better than Rajai Davis (13 percent).

… That another darling of the Player Rater whom no one seems to be paying attention to is Chris Coghlan (6 percent), who is hitting .366 with four home runs, 14 RBIs and two steals since the All-Star break.

… That Neftali Feliz (3 percent) has three holds in four games and 13 strikeouts in just six innings.

… That Alcides Escobar (2 percent) was just called up by the Brewers to replace J.J. Hardy. He had 42 steals in Triple-A and already has a steal in his first four at-bats, and if you are looking for speed in your middle infield, he has it.

… That since joining the Yankees, Jerry Hairston Jr. (7 percent) is hitting .389 with one home run and five RBIs in 12 games. He is playing most days, and qualifies at shortstop, third base and the outfield.

… That Jayson Nix will play every day with Chris Getz out, but I'm not at all excited about that.

… That deep AL-only leaguers should note that Justin Duchscherer is returning soon for the A's, and deep NL-only guys should note that Tim Hudson is coming back soon.

… That I am aware this column isn't particularly funny, is short and is a day late. My former father-in-law, Joe Bendavid, passed away Wednesday. He was as good a man as I have ever met. Kind to everyone, funny, generous, with a great spirit, and an amazing father and husband. He touched everyone who knew him, and I'm telling you, I could not have asked for a better father-in-law. While I was married to his daughter (and even after), he was one of the first (and certainly the most consistent) to encourage me to work for a career in sports, and he still e-mailed and called me after the ex-Mrs. Roto and I split up to check in on me. The world is a sadder place without him in it, and I am going to miss him terribly.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is a five-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend

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

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