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July 07, 2006

ESPN Fantasy Column

Quick Pre-ASB Advice
Texas faces Francisco Liriano Saturday and Johan Santana Sunday. Consider benching your marginal Ranger hitters, assuming you have an adequate replacement. Since both pitchers are lefties, it’s possible that catcher Gerald Laird and (insert long, weary sigh here) Jerry Hairston could start both of those days in lieu of Rod Barajas and Brad Wilkerson. They’ll almost certainly get at least one start.

Hairston has played more often than I ever would have imagined but still won’t start more than 50% of the time in the long run. Given his typically anemic bat, he’s still worth only a pittance in just about any conceivable fantasy format. Yes, yes, I know he’s played excellent outfield defense as a Ranger, but having a guy with a career OPS of .698 on an outfield corner makes my skin crawl.

Minnesota has won 21 of 25 and scored six runs per game in the process. Neither John Rheinecker and John Koronka, this weekend’s Ranger starters, look like especially solid plays, particularly given their mound opposition. In theory, much of the benefit of owning any Texas starter comes from the increased probability of a win, courtesy of the high-octane Ranger offense. That is, an extra three or four wins can offset the mediocre ERA. Trouble is, the Rangers doesn’t have a good offense. They rank seventh in the AL with a shrug-worthy 5.1 runs per game.

Kevin Millwood won’t pitch this weekend while nursing a sore biceps. The team expects him healthy and available after the break. A couple of bad starts have pushed his ERA back up to a queasy 4.83. He’s better than that, but not by much. In mixed leagues with ten or fewer teams, he’s of marginal value.

Mark Teixeira promptly began an oh-for-fifteen run the day after I declared him “hot.? For whatever reason, he’s hitting .215/.307/.339 his first time up against a pitcher and .337/.382/.526 in subsequent appearances. Yell at me if you like, but keep him in your lineup.

Adam Eaton may return by the end of July, probably at the expense of Kameron Loe, who himself is on the DL and about two weeks from returning.

Posted by Lucas at July 7, 2006 08:17 PM