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Friday, April 24, 2009

April showers...

Over the last couple of days in various leagues I have acquired Brandon Phillips, Chris B. Young, and Daisuke Matsuzaka.  One may assume this suggests I've been very actively seeking trades, when in fact all I've had to do is make my daily trip to the waiver wire.  These are some pretty exceptional players to find in the free agent pool and their previous owners will undoubtedly be kicking themselves a few months from now.  Although Brandon Phillips is the extremest example I've every seen, every spring I find myself staring in wonderment at the booty available to me because some sap is too impatient to wait for the inevitable warm weather hot streak from his high-round draft pick.  First and foremost, don't be that guy!!!  Secondly, even if you can't pick up one of these players for the paltry price of Mike Fontenot or Fred Lewis, you may be able to exploit a competitor's impatience via trade.  Here are a few slow-starters I would recommend targeting.

David Ortiz - DH - Boston Red Sox

There is a whole lot of hubbabaloo over at the world-wide leader about how scouts are concerned about David Ortiz.  Those of us with memories longer than six weeks, however, recall a similar stream of Big Papi pessimism last April and May.  In his first 16 games in 2008 Ortiz his .111 with one lonely long ball.  However, from mid-April until he hurt his wrist at the beginning of June, Papi hit .313 with a dozen bombs and 39 RBI in 38 games.  Throughout his career April has been Ortiz's weakest in both AVG and OPS.  Although he still hasn't gone deep in 2009, he is 5-for-12 with four extra-base hits and 4 RBI in the last three games.  The numbers are going to be there in August, which means that now is the best possible time to go get him.

Alexei Ramirez - SS - Chicago White Sox

Let's face it, winter in Cuba and winter in Chicago are very different seasons.  Last April the White Sox mysterious off-season acquisition had a laughable 354 OPS.  He took over as the starter at second on May 16.  From that point on he hit .304 with an 833 OPS.  There are probably owners out there who are prepared to declare Alexei a fluke.  The way I see it, his April OPS in 2009 is 60 points higher than in '08 and I think that's a reasonable improvement to expect in the month which follow.

Brandon Phillips - 2B - Cincinnati Reds

I've never disguised my man-crush for Phillips, so my faith shouldn't be a surprise to anybody.  One thing particularly stands out to me about his statistics so far.  He's already taken eleven walks.  In the entirety of '08 he had 39 walks, which was a career high!  When a hitter dedicates himself to working counts he often suffers a slump, but in the long run it facilitates major improvements.  As such, this slump could actually be a good sign for Phillips owners.

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