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September 01, 2005

ESPN Column

September 1st Brings Little Change
Texas made only one roster move on the first day of roster expansion, recalling catcher GERALD LAIRD from AAA Oklahoma. For the next few days and probably through the PCL playoffs if Oklahoma retains its hold on first place, outfielder JASON BOTTS and second baseman IAN KINSLER will stay on the farm. Texas hasn’t indicated how often Laird will start. I’d guess not as often as ROD BARAJAS, swell for his owners but a disappointment for those who’d like to see the ostensible “catcher of the future? start some games in the present. Barajas will see a cut in his playing time, but not enough to cut immediately into his value too much. Laird might start more often as the season enter the final two weeks or so.

Ranger Hurlers Dominate!
After setting the game of baseball back 100 years during a 1-12 road trip, Texas finished its homestand 7-3 via six quality starts and two additional strong five-inning efforts. All for the sole purpose of frustrating my vain efforts to advise fantasy owners. With Texas playing the hopeless Royals (“Batting fourth, outfielder Terrence Long.?) over the weekend in pitcher-friendly Kaufmann Stadium, any Ranger starter merits consideration. CHRIS YOUNG starts Friday and is obviously the best choice. He suffered through a terrible six weeks in which his home run rate approach infinity, but since then he’s allowed one run in three starts. JUAN DOMINGUEZ pitches Saturday. He’s gifted, but who knows what he’ll do. Maybe six scoreless innings. Maybe six runs allowed in three innings.

Those needing help in AL-only leagues should give him a try. He might even have some value in mixed leagues for this particular start, but only to owners with desperate pitching situations. Don’t bother with JOAQUIN BENOIT, who belongs in relief. EDISON VOLQUEZ made a shaky but promising debut on Tuesday. The 22-year-old has split the season between high-A and AA, and though he struck out a million batters he also had a four-plus ERA. Don’t mess with him this year. KAMERON LOE has made two excellent starts in the past week, albeit against rather weak Twin and White Sock batters. He’ll face Minnesota on the road next. As with Dominguez, he could help an AL-only owner, but I can’t recommend him outright. He has yet to start on the road and doesn’t have much stamina.

Line Up
DAVID DELLUCCI and ADRIAN GONZALEZ play only against righties, while PHIL NEVIN and MARK DEROSA face lefties. The other non-catchers start every game. Dellucci is batting only .247 in August but otherwise has strong numbers (18 runs, 5 homers, 13 RBI). Remember to platoon him with another outfielder to maximize his value. Gonzalez hasn’t hit well of late but still should assist AL-only owners. Nevin is still owned in 49% of mixed leagues. He belongs in 0%.
With the Rangers facing several lefties lately, RF MARK DEROSA (yes, right fielder) has started more frequently and is hitting fairly well for once (.289 with two homers in August). He might offer a smidgen of help in larger AL-only leagues for a week or so, but he should (he’d better) hit the bench once Botts and friends arrive.

Cordero Okay
FRANCISCO CORDERO missed a couple of games with a stiff forearm and back, but since then he’s pitched and recorded saves in two of the last three games. He saved only three games in August, but that’s (mostly) not his fault. Owners needn’t worry about him.

Posted by Lucas at September 1, 2005 01:56 AM