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August 22, 2005

ESPN Column

Prospects Not On The Way
With the Rangers firmly ensconced in Loserville, fantasy owners might be looking for fresh blood to infuse life into their teams. Alas, at this time, Texas does not offer much in the way of promising pitchers and hitters. Other than Adrian Gonzalez (see below), no prospective hitters are expected to make their way to Arlington before September, and their arrival might be further delayed by AAA Oklahoma’s potential playoff run. OF JASON BOTTS and catcher GERALD LAIRD are the most likely arrivals. I fear that neither will play often enough to have much use even in AL-only leagues. Botts probably will supplant MARK DEROSA in right field (yes, DeRosa’s been playing RF – quality roster management, gentlemen) against lefties and DH on occasion.

Laird will join the catching rotation but probably won’t start more than half the time at best. 2B IAN KINSLER is firmly blocked by ALFONSO “Give Me Second Base Or Give Me Death? SORIANO, who apparently did not entice enough in return to consummate a trade. Texas has several promising pitchers in the minors (really) and might recall one or two for some September hi-jinks, but they’re just plain old promising, not “King Felix? promising.

Gonzalez Up Again, Nevin Semi-Demoted
Texas recalled ADRIAN GONZALEZ for what must be the seventeenth time this season, the difference now being that they actually plan to play him. Gonzalez should start against righties, while ironically titled “designated hitter? PHIL NEVIN is reduced to a lefty-only role. Active AL-only owners should take a flyer on Gonzalez with the understanding that daily roster management will be necessary. As for Nevin, moving from Petco Park to a hitter-friendly park in the American League has accomplished nothing. He has as many double plays as RBI. Nevin is an easy drop in mixed leagues, and, like Gonzalez, he’ll require daily roster management in AL-only leagues. If Texas sticks to its guns (a dubious proposition, I know), Gonzalez will start about twice as often as Nevin.

Stay The Course

Nobody among MARK TEIXEIRA, HANK BLALOCK or KEVIN MENCH is having much of a second half. Mench in particular has tailed off. Just keep playing them. I’d stick with Blalock even though he has a history of weak second halves. Blalock is batting a tepid .248-22-7-17 since the break, but those 22 homers rank fourth among third basemen, the seven homers are tied for eighth best in MLB and the 17 RBI rank twelfth. You won’t find a replacement for that on the waiver wire.

Rotation
CHRIS YOUNG awoke from a two-month nap last week and pitched eight innings of shutout ball against Cleveland. I wouldn’t lie to you by suggesting he’s turned a corner or that his slump is in its last throes. However, Young does face a light-hitting Seattle squad, and those willing to take a risk ought to consider him. Opponents have battered KENNY ROGERS in three starts since his truncated suspension, and you might say he deserves it. Whether he does or not (he does), the matter at hand is his ability to help a fantasy team. Rogers will next face Minnesota and Chicago, two good teams with unimpressive offenses (relative to their home parks, both are worse than Seattle). As with Young, I grudgingly recommend him to owners needing to make a move and willing to risk abject failure.

JUAN DOMINGUEZ should start for Texas the rest of the way. Statistically, Dominguez is the condensed version of Chris Young. Young alternates between dominating and atrocious performances, while Dominguez usually displays both within the space of a few innings. At this stage, Dominguez offers more potential than actual production. He might strike out ten batters and permit twelve baserunners. Only the least risk-averse of AL-only owners need apply. Healthy or not, RICARDO RODRIGUEZ may not join rejoin the rotation until September, and the local dailies indicate he may have fallen out of favor with management. Don’t bother with JOAQUIN BENOIT or anyone Texas might recall from the minors next month.

Schedule Fair and Balanced

In their last 39 games, Texas plays fourteen against basement dwellers (Seattle and Kansas City) and sixteen against playoff-bound teams (Chicago, LA and Oakland), with the rest versus Minnesota and Baltimore. They also have 23 home games and sixteen on the road.

Posted by Lucas at August 22, 2005 12:56 AM