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Go for Gonzales

What's in a name, you say? With the exception of platoon catcher Wiki Gonzales (SD), all the Gonzales' are hitting over .300 - while Juan and Luis are downright tearing up their respective leagues.  That may surprise some of you, but it shouldn't.  

OF Luis Gonzales (Ari) is having a stellar April, smacking 13 HRs for the season and tying him for the most home runs ever hit in the month of April. Fan Spin: Again, this should not be a surprise considering he has put up solid fantasy numbers, with a 3 year average of .305 BA, 26 HRs and 98 RBI.

CLICK TO ENLARGE (Through April 27, 2001, stats from mlb.com)

The now-happy OF Juan Gonzales (Cle) is pretty much carrying the Indians, much like this predecessor Manny Ramirez (Bos), after a bad rap year in Motown. This guy didn't win 2 AL MVPs for being a nice guy.  Fan Spin: Hitting behind Lofton, Vizquel and Robbie Alomar is a definite boost for anyone's numbers (see also A. Belle and Ramirez).  Look for this torrid pace to continue as long as he's healthy.

Then there is the tail of two Alexes.  As if it wasn't bad enough that Toronto's AGon was confused with not being ARod, now he's confused with the Marlins shortstop - AGon.  The American-born SS Alex S. Gonzales (Tor) is batting .302.  Fan Spin: He's there for his glove; he's a .245 lifetime hitter.  The relatively unknown Venezuelan-born SS Alex S. Gonzales (Fla) has a .322 BA. At one point, he was one of the Marlin's best prospects.  In '99, Alex became the 2nd rookie shortstop ever named to the National League All-Star team.  Fan Spin: this could be a breakout year, however, he has the injury bug: Nov. 1999 he suffered a hairline fracture of his left forearm in winter ball; spent 31 days on the DL due to a knee injury in 2000.

If your name were Wiklenman, you'd go by Wiki, too! 

Reevaluating Talent

OK, it's week 4 for you fantasy leaguers. Time to start reevaluating your talent. 

What? But I just drafted these guys!

As the fantasy old timers say, "It's early but it's getting late."  And forget about any sort of affinity toward players like "but I drafted him early" or  "he's on my favorite/a good team."  The draft is over, pal.  And think how dumb that you will feel if you kept that dog with fleas ALL SEASON. It's not too late to make up for draft flops or miscues. Also, depending on your league, pretty soon you will have to play the cards you're dealt. In other words, you have to do a top to bottom team evaluation.  Successful fantasy owners will do a full team evaluation at least once every 4-6 weeks during the season.

What's a full team evaluation?

Simply put, it is looking to see if you can acquire a better player to replace a current roster spot for each position.  Notice that I said, "acquire."  Don't be scared to make a trade to fill your needs, however it is usually easier to make a pick up than a trade. Back to my dilemma. Since I needed lot of starting pitchers at the draft, I waited too late to draft a quality catcher.  I selected C Todd Hundley (Cubs) and C Dan Wilson (Sea) - due to salary constraints since my league has a strict salary cap. Hundley decided to go 1-18 to start the season and is now hitting a paltry .207 BA. And after hitting .405 in spring training, Wilson has a.213 BA.  Sure, some players start slowly but you can't wait to do something.  Yes, there might be a nagging injury or reduced playtime that is the cause but WHO CARES - he's not producing. Time to shop for a catcher (assuming, of course, that you don't have Piazza, Leberthal.  First, decide which current player you're keeping.  Ask yourself: which guy has a chance to comeback.  [I drafted Hundley for his power numbers. He's averaged roughly 30 HRs the last five years, not counting the '98 when he was injured. He's a proven vet.] Major search criteria: make sure he's the starting catcher.  It's bad enough that they take 2 days off a week, you want someone that will get some hits for you.  Here are some catching options:

C Brent Mayne (Col) - .375 BA; hit .301 in 335ABs; last year with the Rockies.

C Paul Loduca (LA) - .368 BA; drove in 54 runs in 78 games for Class AAA Albuquerque last season.

C Tom Lampkin (Sea) - .333 BA; journeyman catcher, be careful that he doesn't slip back to his career average of .243.

C Einar Diaz (Cle) - .300 BA; .274 lifetime hitter, now Tribe's everyday catcher.

Below are some players that you might want to take a peek at:  

  • RP Jeff Fassero (Cubs) - Chances are he was ignored in your draft too, but since Tom Gordon is injured, Fassero has 9 Saves as the Cubs unlikely closer.

  • RP LaTroy Hawkins (Min) -  saves and a1.80 ERA for the streaking Twins (?!); Had 14 saves in '00.

  • SP Wade Miller (Hou) - 4-1 with a 2.15 ERA and 44 SO.

  • SP Esteban Loaiza (Tor) - 4-1 with a 2.77 ERA

  • SP Willis Roberts (Bal) - 4 wins and a 1.95 ERA; Essentially a Rookie.

  • 1B Doug Mientkiewicz(Min) - .368 BA, 5 HRs and 19 RBI after spending most of '00 in the minors; rookie year was 1999.

  • 1B/DH David Ortiz (Min) - 309 BA, 5 HRs and 16 RBI

Locker Room is written by Michael Skordeles

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