AL Tout Wars
• Ryan Raburn: $5 Matt Berry of ESPN ($4)
The River Thames: With Marcus Thames on the disabled list in Detroit, Raburn (be sure to leave out the "y" in his last name while searching for him) will see occasional playing time as the Tigers' fourth outfielder. His minor-league performances have been up and down (.299 average in 2004, .249 in 2005, .275 in 2006, .292 in 2007), but he has always shown flashes of power, and -- although he will not steal a starting role without a significant injury to a starter --he can be a serviceable Kelly Shoppach-style source of power off your bench.
Order now and get the knives thrown in for free!: Wilson not only will see occasional time in the Tampa Bay infield, but he also pitched in relief for the Rays back in early June, throwing one scoreless inning and allowing a hit. As far as his offensive contributions, Wilson could be a shrewd pick-up by Team Rotoworld, as a rumored trade of Ty Wigginton would open up tons of at-bats for Wilson.
Pet it: Of all the glory the Yankees starters get, it is Luis Vizcaino who stands second in wins on the team (8),behind Chien-Ming Wang (10). Vizcaino has been nothing short of nasty the past two months, with a 0.77 ERA in June and a 1.35 ERA so far in July. He also has twice as many wins right now as Randy Johnson, for whom he was traded, thanks to picking up the "W" in both games of Saturday's doubleheader.
PETA: Ryu gained infamy in the minor leagues for killing a protected osprey named Ozzie in 2003.
NL Tout Wars
• Jason Kendall: $22 Trace Wood of LongGandhi.com ($21, $10, $3)
When in doubt, ask an Italian: Former Tout Wars champ Mike Lombardo, of Wise Guy Baseball, has a unique view on the winning of Kendall by another former champ, Trace Wood:
"Kendall received a lot more FAAB attention than he deserved, attracting double-digit bids from three teams before being snagged by Trace Wood for $22. I tendered a modest $3 bid, and opined that even this was an overbid for Kendall, reflecting my belief that Jason is one of the weakest offensive players in both leagues who receives significant at-bats. Trace, no doubt, hopes that the trade back into Kendall's original league will rejuvenate his bat."
• Jeff Baker: $2 Scott Pianowski of FantasyGuru.com ($1)
• Tim Redding: $1 Pianowski
"Transylvania's…cute": Apply that same sense of surprise to Tim Redding's 2007 season so far. He sports a 4.00 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP. He only has four strikeouts in 18 innings pitched, and Washington has only provided him enough run support to give him a 1-2 record, but he has three quality starts in a row (including Sunday's start), and Washington seems to be the place to play if you're looking for career rejuvination.
• Jeff Keppinger: $1 Peter Kreutzer of AskRotoman.com ($0)
• Joey Beimel: $1 Cory Schwartz of MLB.com
• Jo Jo Reyes: $1 Rob Leibowitz of FantasyBaseball.com
Your Life is Calling: Jo Jo will get every opportunity to prove himself worthy of the fifth starter spot in Atlanta, but the experiment so far has been less than stellar, resulting in an 8.68 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP. Granted, this is only from one start, so the Braves will let Reyes have another go at major league batters before deciding what to do with him. He's only 22 years old, and his minor-league numbers would suggest about a strikeout per inning, with a decent ERA, but a WHIP that tends to be a little high.
• Bobby Livingston: $1 Kreutzer
• Ubaldo Jiminez: $0 Wood
• Manny Parra: $0 Scott Wilderman of TheRotoTimes.com ($0)
Parra being Parra: The 24 year-old Parra has torn through the minors this season, and replaces Jose Capellan as the young Milwaukee fireballer coming out of the bullpen. Parra has struck out a batter per inning, and can be shifted to the rotation (creating a scary Gallardo-Parra combination) if injury strikes another Brewers starter.
Mixed Tout Wars
• Luis Castillo: $1 J.P. Kastner of CREATiVESPORTS.com
Luis C.S.: Castillo's value lies mainly in his batting average and stolen base potential, although he does get caught stealing quite a bit. Castillo won't hit a lot of home runs, but he has very quietly posted a career .293 average, and will score about 100 runs per season.
So let me explain: With Larry Schechter's team (SandlotShrink.com) once again dominating the league and hovering out of reach, it's time to take a bunch of gambles, and either aim for Larry or flame out miserably. Kouzmanoff is capable of hitting home runs in bunches, Theriot will help bring my ESPN team up in runs, Kurt Suzuki could be a spark in the Oakland offense and Soria will slide into the closer's role if Octavio Dotel is traded. And then there's Bartolo Colon. He just looked too good sitting there on the waiver wire
ESPNX Expert League
• Julio Lugo: $5 Will Harris
I gotta believe!: Say what you will about Lugo's average coming into July ("It was horrible," for instance), but he has brought it up to .224, and has 25 steals on the season, to go along with 42 runs and 47 RBIs. If he turns it on the rest of the way out, he could be an excellent source of steals, runs, and average.
Young strikes again!: With Eddie Guardado and Pedro Martinez already on the bench for Team Young, Tom Gordon was a natural choice for pick-up on the squad. Although Antonio Alfonseca has been somewhat serviceable (3.68 ERA, 7 saves) as closer, the job is Gordon's to lose to Brett Myers.
• Ryan Garko: $1 Young
• Troy Tulowitzki: $1 Young
• Jeff Kent: $1 Eric Karabell
• Todd Helton: $1 Karabell
• Adrian Beltre: $1 Karabell
• Pat Neshek: $1 Karabell
• Carlos Villanueva: $1 Karabell
• Jonathan Broxton: $1 Karabell
Kara-FAAB!: Eric's team is Kara-last in ERA, so the addition of Neshek, Villanueva and Broxton will help to slowly lower that, and, hopefully, help his team Kara-crawl up the standings in the pitching-ratio categories. Kent, Helton, and Beltre give the Kara-Infield a new Kara-look, along with holdovers Mike Lowell and Jose Reyes. In a league this shallow it can be relatively easy to move up and down the standings if teams are bunched together, so turning over 30 percent of the roster each week, cycling in the hot players and dumping the non-performers can help make up ground quickly.
Nando Di Fino is a fantasy analyst for TalentedMrRoto.com and ESPN.com. You can e-mail him at Nando@TalentedMrRoto.com