Behind the Plate: Week Five Fantasy Baseball Pickups
Sorry for the tardiness of this week's installment, but I've been having internet connection problems lately.
So as I type this article at nasty branch library computer, I am sitting next to a man in Zubaz pants who smells like blue cheese and stale beer. Therefore, for olfactory reasons, the Week Five addition will be an abbreviated one.
Lineup Addenda: Week Five Pickups
Billy "The Big Donkey" Butler, 1B/DH, Kansas City Royals
For the first month of the season, Butler has been a little bit more of an "Eeyore" than "Big Donkey," hitting below the Mendoza Line.
Be prepared, though, because this donkey is beginning to bray.
A career .336 hitter in the minors, Butler has raised his average from .193 to .246 over the past seven days. Furthermore, in that same time frame, Billy has clubbed two homers along with five RBI.
Last season Butler connected with an amazing 93.9% of the pitches in his strike zone, evidence of an eye mature for his age. At only 23, the power stroke will soon come for the young Royal.
Dangle the pick-up carrot before it's too late.
LaTroy Hawkins, RP, Houston Astros
In 2001, Hawkins saved 28 games for the Minnesota Twins, making the Gary, Ind. native the hottest thing to come out of the town since the Jackson 5.
But LaTroy has been on a downward spiral after that year, blowing 34 saves in the past five seasons alone.
Nevertheless, this hawk is a phoenix rising from the ashes.
After being picked up off waivers by Houston last August, Hawkins has compiled a ridiculously low 1.45 ERA and averaged one strikeout for every inning pitched.
Considering resident Astro closer Jose Valverde is slated to be on the DL for the next couple of weeks, Hawkins is an "a-b-c, easy as 1-2-3" immediate waiver wire grab because he will finish games in Valverde's absence.
Mike Fontenot, 2B/3B, Chicago Cubs
So far Fontenot is batting only .250, mainly due to a freakishly unlucky .255 BABIP.
But in his last 10 games, the scrappy Cubbie infielder has a .303 BA with three home runs to boot.
With the departure of Mark DeRosa in the offseason, Fontenot was the spring favorite to start the bulk of the games at second base for Chicago. Yet Windy City skipper Lou Pinella has been employing a timeshare between the LSU alum and Aaron Miles.
While Miles is kilometers ahead of DeRosa with the glove, there is no question that Fontenot is better in the batter's box. He posted an outstanding .909 OPS in 119 games in 2008.
Eligible at both second and third base, Fontenot deserves a look by those in deep mixed or NL-only leagues.
Kendry Morales, 1B/OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Morales was one of the hottest players during spring training, collecting 11 doubles and batting a robust .400.
Such stats were no surprise from the Teixeira replacement, as Kendry was a career .344 hitter in the premier Pacific Coast League.
But an ice-cold start to the season—resulting in no home runs and four RBI—soured owners who drafted Morales in the late rounds.
Fortunately for him, Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia has shown patience with his young Padawan.
Over the last ten games, the switch hitter has caught fire, amassing three homers and 11 ribbies while batting .297.
The Cuban-defecting, double position-eligible Kendry is an excellent pickup for those in leagues utilizing corner infielders or more than three outfielders.
Bill Hall, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers
Don't tell Hall that it is 2009, because he is hitting like it's 2005.
In his career year four seasons ago, Hall had a .291 BA, 32 points above his lifetime average, and socked 17 round-trippers.
The veteran Brewer currently has three home runs and a .296 batting average through the first month of play.
As the 24-hour A-Rod network better known as ESPN now reports a sooner than later return by the Yankee third baseman, Hall is an excellent stop-gap solution for those looking to squeeze a few quick stats out of the hot corner.
For others not harboring Rodriguez on their rosters, ride the hot-streaking Hall through the quad and into the gymnasium.
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