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Fantasy Baseball Tonight 6/5: Hafner Returns, SP Analysis

Ryan HallamAnalyst IJune 6, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 14:  Pitcher Ervin Santana #54 of  the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox on May 14, 2009 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The Angels won 5-4 in 12 innings.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Ervin Santana looked great in his start tonight, really the first time since coming back from the DL that you felt good about him.  I have gotten more than one email about possibly letting him go, but after 2008, I thought he deserved more time.

  Santana had allowed fifteen earned runs in his last two starts, but nearly threw a complete game on Friday.  He allowed just one earned run and struck out seven guys.  I still question whether he will be as good as he was last year, but I definitely think he will be better than he was the past couple of times out.

Zack Greinke is apparently human after all.  He had his worst outing of the season, in which he allowed five earned runs (eight total), walked just one, and struck out only three.

For those of you who own him, please don’t get overly excited about this, he will be just fine.  For those of you who don’t have him, this could be the window you have been waiting for to make a trade offer for him, his owner might be a little down on him.

Justin Verlander is just flat out nasty!  He deserved more than a no decision after throwing eight shutout innings with seven strikeouts, but unfortunately his team just didn’t score for him. 

It was his eighth straight start in which he allowed three runs or less, and I don’t think there is anyone left who can argue with the fact that Verlander is back among the elite.

Yovani Gallardo continues his strong season as he ran his record to 6-2 with another great performance.  Gallardo threw eight shutout innings and struck out six batters.  His ERA is still under 3.00, his WHIP is very close to 1.00, and he is right at about a strikeout an inning.  Glad to see him bounceback from that nasty knee injury last year.  His ascension to fantasy stardom continues.

Francisco Liriano finally had the kind of outing that his owners have been waiting for since the middle of May.  He allowed just one run over six innings and struck out five.  He still had control issues, as he walked four guys, but this is at least a little encouragement for a guy who has been struggling so badly.

I am still a long way from declaring Liriano back though, and I think you still need to exercise extreme caution at when to start him.  This should perhaps at least keep you from sending him to the scrap heap.

Ricky Romero got his first win since returning from the Disabled List, but he was far from spectacular.  Romero allowed three runs over seven innings, and struck out five.  I know that sounds like a pretty good outing, but thinking about it with his last couple outings, and it isn’t great.  Romero had allowed five runs in each of his last two outings, so that is where my lack of confidence comes from.

Carl Pavano apparently just had something wrong with pitching in New York.  He was good in Florida, he is doing well for the Indians, but Yankee fans will forever remember him for one of the worst contracts in the history of baseball.  Pavano actually threw a complete game shutout on Friday, striking out six.

Now I’m not making him out to be a top 10 pitcher, or even a top twenty guy, but he is worth being on your roster, as your fifth starter perhaps.

Chris Davis is starting to heat up now, and should be back in your lineups.  He has six hits in the last three games, including three on Friday.  He has doubled three times in the last two games, and has driven in five runs over that span.  He is still striking out like crazy, but has finally gotten his average over .200.

The power is there and the weather is starting to heat up.  That usually means baseballs start leaving ballparks in Arlington, Texas.  He will still struggle, but I think better days are in the future for Chris Davis.

Mat Gamel is getting regular starts, but when they do put him in there, he certainly makes the most of his chances.  He had two hits tonight, and three RBI.  He is holding his own in the majors since his callup, and if he could find an actual position to play, Gamel could be making more of an impact. 

He does have nine RBI in 18 games, but also does have ten hits and ten strikeouts.  In keeper leagues, you gotta have him on your roster, in seasonal leagues, I think he still should be a free agent.  He just isn’t getting enough playing time at this point.

Travis Hafner returned to the Indians’ lineup tonight and connected on a homer in the fifth inning.  I am really torn on what to expect from Hafner this season, that is assuming he is able to stay healthy.  He was hitting .270 with four homers in just 17 games before the injury, so there is reason to have some hope for 2009. 

That staying healthy part is what he has been having trouble with lately.  I would grab Hafner if you have an empty roster spot or someone who is bringing you down.  You can keep him on your team until the next injury comes through.

Major Announcement

I would like to let you all know that in the near future you won’t be getting your daily fantasy update from Fighting Chance Fantasy any longer.  I have agreed to team up with my podcast mates over at Fantasy Baseball Search.  Todd Farino, Jeff Mans, RC Rizza, myself, and the guys are forming a formidable team.

I am not abandoning you, however, but making the coverage better.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be transitioning the site over to its new home at www.fantasybaseballtonight.com.

I have already started to post on that page, so feel free to start heading there whenever you want.  We are still in the process of doing some work, but your nightly fix will be there. 

You will see improved features, more professional emails, and better coverage.  You can find a plethora of information at Fantasy Baseball Search as well from me and the guys, but Fantasy Baseball Tonight will just be me and links to the podcast. 

The email address will also be changing slightly to fantasybaseballtonight@gmail.com, but I will continue to check both for quite a while.  I am very excited about this change, and I believe that it will be great for both of us….me and you.

Mailing List

For those of you who are regular readers, or even new to the site, I would like to offer a new service.  I am starting a mailing list.  Sometimes I see news during the day, but I wait until this nightly article to pass it along to you guys.

Prospects coming up, injury news, closer movement, etc.  Just send me an email to fightingchancefantasy@gmail.com with “Mailing List” in the subject line and I will add you to the list. 

Then, whenever I find news that I feel is breaking and important, I will send it to you as soon as I find out about it.  Hopefully this is something that you all will find valuable to make a possible move before your competition.

Also, you can now follow me on Twitter for more updates.  Go to www.twitter.com/fightingchance.

Got another mention on Steve Gardner’s Fantasy Windup blog on the USA Today site.  You can check out the post here.  It is a great blog, and they also have some good contests for you to check out.  I know some of you have already started to participate in some of them and are enjoying it.

Attention League Commissioners!  If you are looking to spice up your league some, go and visit Fantasy Sports Trophies.  Tom Harkins has put together a great site with all kinds of different trophies to give the winner of your league something besides just bragging rights. 

There are trophies for fantasy baseball, football (check out the Beer League Fantasy Football Trophy), basketball, hockey, and auto racing.  I invite you to take a look at the site and try them out.

As always, your comments and questions are welcome at fightingchancefantasy@gmail.com. I guarantee a response within 18 hours. Also, don’t miss the “Fantasy Baseball Tonight” podcast four nights a week from Monday-Thursday.  

The Big Show on Wednesday is co-hosted by Todd Farino of fantasybaseballsearch.com, RC Rizza of junkyardjake.com and myself, Ryan Hallam at fightingchancefantasy.com.  To hear the show go to www.blogtalkradio.com/the_true_guru.

You can also hear me weekly on the Tuesday Night show.  Join me with Jeff Mans every Tuesday night at 10pm EST for all the the info and craziness we can pack into one hour.  A can’t miss if you plan on winning your league.

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