Fantasy Baseball 2012: Josh Hamilton Power Trip Headlines May 9 'Talking Points'

Jay ClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterMay 9, 2012

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is just one of 16 hitters in MLB history to crack four home runs in a single game (May 8 vs. Baltimore).
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is just one of 16 hitters in MLB history to crack four home runs in a single game (May 8 vs. Baltimore).Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Here are some Wednesday talking points within the fantasy realm, each one tackling the recent efforts of a fantasy superstar—or those with amazing stuff roughly 75 percent of the time:

1. Don't Even Bother Inquiring about Josh Hamilton's Trade Value to a Fellow Owner Today...or Tomorrow.

On a crazy Tuesday night in Baltimore, the same venue (Camden Yards) where Texas once scored 30 runs in the first game of a doubleheader, Rangers superstar Josh Hamilton crushed out five hits, eight RBI and four homers against the Orioles—one to right field, one to left field and two to dead-center field.

It was the greatest single-game hitting display we've seen all season, a bold statement in light of what Matt Kemp (pick any night in April), Ryan Braun (three homers on April 30), Carlos Gonzalez (one HR, six RBI on April 27), Carlos Beltran (4-for-5, two homers, seven RBI on May 2) and Curtis Granderson (5-for-5, three homers on April 19) have already accomplished in the first six weeks of play.

(In fact, some baseball experts are calling it one of the best nights in baseball history.)

Normally, this would be a good time to pontificate on Hamilton's adjusted trade value on the open market (12-team leagues), offering a glimmer of hope to fantasy GMs in search of a season-saving deal. But in reality, no prospective owner should have a shot at trading for Hamilton (14 HRs, 36 RBI, 25 runs, two steals, .406 batting) less than 24 hours after a four-homer assault.

And for those who do acquire him right away, it either means that you've gutted your roster in a 4-for-1 or 5-for-2 blockbuster trade...or you're working in cahoots with another owner and tempting fate with the fantasy gods who penalize sinners and league conspirators.

2. A.J. Burnett Has Had the Stuff of a True Fantasy Ace...for Three of his Four Starts.

Burnett racked up 10 strikeouts against the Nationals Tuesday night, his third start of the season where he tallied at least seven strikeouts and surrendered two or less runs. For comparison's sake, only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Cain, Gio Gonzalez, Jered Weaver, Jeff Samardzija and Jake Peavy have accomplished this feat, as well.

Even at age 35, Burnett has lights-out stuff, worthy of being a No. 2 or 3 starter in roto leagues. But his 12-run meltdown from last week is the primary reason why he'll be scraping the icy depths of mediocrity all year: Most fantasy GMs simply don't trust Burnett to bring his A-game to every outing. They don't believe he has the mental fortitude to avoid the occasional implosion of seven, eight or 12 runs.

Now, if someone could create a machine or device—like a Geiger counter—that emits warning signals of a Burnett clunker to the public, perhaps fantasy owners would just sit him for that particular night...and then enjoy the fruits of three or four tremendous starts immediately after that.

3. Clayton Kershaw Is Running the Quietest Campaign for Back-to-Back Cy Youngs of the Last 30 years.

Forgive the hyperbole in that statement, since its validity would be hard to quantify. But Kershaw (seven strikeouts, two runs allowed vs. San Francisco on Tuesday) has continually flown under the radar this season, failing to register one complete game, one 10-strikeout effort or even string together three consecutive victories at any point.

And yet, he ranks third in strikeouts (National League), seventh in WHIP and 20th in ERA...during a time when he's been merely OK, by Kershaw standards.

What if Kershaw (2-1, 2.56 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 41/9 K-BB ratio) is only going through the paces right now, in anticipation of going 'full speed' sometime in June or July? What if he's merely conserving his energy for another August-September run of glory that's full of one-run/nine-strikeout efforts?

Shouldn't this be enough motivation to stealthily acquire his services in early May?

Kershaw Trade Market Speculation

Kershaw for Johnny Cueto/Adam Jones
Kershaw for Brandon Beachy/Jason Kipnis
Kershaw for Matt Garza/Michael Bourn
Kershaw for Madison Bumgarner/Matt Wieters

Kershaw/Adrian Gonzalez for Stephen Strasburg/Joey Votto
Kershaw/Michael Young for Matt Holliday/Jon Lester
Kershaw/Brandon Phillips for Robinson Cano/Colby Lewis

Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.