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Don't Forget The Trees

The old saying is, "don't miss the forest for the trees." However, the trees are important, too. What the heck am I talking about? Simply put: Trends. Don't always look at season totals when you are shopping for players. 

Since we are roughly eight weeks into the season, for reality's sake, most players have established themselves. In other words, you will keep seeing the same names on any ranking list: Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds, Ichiro Suzuki, and Juan Gonzalez. Don't get me wrong: if you can get those guys, be my guest. Unfortunately at this point in the season, they are guarded more than Anna Kournikova's cell phone number. 

There is a way around this--other than resorting to trading your first born. Look at trends like the last 30 days or the last two weeks, though I would stick to the 30-day rankings. [A 30-day ranking is available at most fantasy web sites or mlb.com.] A 30-day ranking will show you a different view of who is hot, sifting out many of the monsters that tend to jump out to a great March/April but level off as they put their season on cruise control. Frankly, many players start out slow, but that doesn't make them bad fan players. Also, we are beginning to see some of the young talent that is filling in for injuries and which will stay in the bigs even after the veteran comes off the DL. Remember, in all cases, we are only concerned with today--not last month or last year. 

Here are some of the gems you can find in a 30-day ranking:

OF Preston Wilson (Flo) hitting .389 in the past 30 days, .349 overall, with 8 HRs and 30 RBI.

OF Lance Berkman (Hou) hitting .373, .352 overall, with 14 HRs and 38 RBI.

1B Fred McGriff (TB) hitting .371, .307 overall, with 8 HRs and 32 RBI.

1B Ryan Klesko (SD) hitting .352,  .302 overall, with 12 HRs and 46 RBI (and 10 SB).

2B Damion Easley (Det) hitting .365, .302 overall, with 12 HRs and 46 RBI (and 28 SB).

OF Ben Grieve (TB) hitting .344, .265 overall, 3 HRs and 19 RBI.


SP Jeff Weaver (Det), 3-1 with a 1.55 ERA (overall 4-5 with a 3.09 ERA).

SP Matt Morris (Stl), 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA and a complete game (overall 7-3 2.47 ERA).

SP Tony Armas (Mon), 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA (overall 5-5 3.05 ERA).

SP Randy Wolf (Phi), 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA (overall 4-4 3.51 ERA)

SP Jason Johnson (Bal), 3-0 with a 2.51 (overall 4-2 3.49 ERA)

SP Kevin Tapani (CUBS), 4-0 with a 2.70 (overall 7-1 3.63 ERA)

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. The idea is that you need to ferret out the diamonds in the rough. 


Tip of the Hat

Barry Bonds is simply "en fuego," hitting .311 with 26 home runs and 49 RBI so far on the season. He recently broke the 500-homer barrier--a cinch for the hall of fame--moving him into 13th place on the all-time list. That is not the best of it. Truly the most amazing stat is 476--the number of his career stolen bases. Realistically, Bonds will become the only player ever with 500 HRs and 500 stolen bases.



Since I wrote about SP Tom Glavine (Atl) leading the majors in walks, he has really focused on taking care of this issue. In his last 4 starts, Glavine has only walked 6 batters. Unfortunately, he's been ignoring everything else, going 1-2 with a 5.43 ERA over those same 4 games. Fan Spin: don't give up yet.

Ichiro Suzuki is the only major leaguer with a name other than his last name on his jersey. Suzuki requested to be referred to as Ichiro and the Mariners have changed his jersey to his first name. I guess they listen--after you have a 23-game hitting streak. The Mariners also have a mirror web site entirely in Japanese for all his fans in Japan.


Locker Room is written by Michael Skordeles


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