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Fantasy Baseball: Don't Nap on Mike Napoli of the Los Angeles Angels

Joe KleiberCorrespondent IMay 25, 2010

This is the time of year, with nearly a third of the season complete, when you start cutting the guys not producing.

Here's looking at you, Carlos Quentin, Gordon Beckham, and Aramis Ramirez.

Sometimes fantasy owners can't afford to be patient with some of these guys.

Why not add a red-hot slugger like David Ortiz or Jose Bautista?

You have to ride hot streaks, because once their streaks end they aren't as intriguing. It might be hard to part with hype machines like Beckham, but it's necessary if you want to win.

You don't build friendships with players, so why do they care if you cut them?

Here are guys that you have to ride while they are hot before they cool off.



C: Mike Napoli (C, LAA)

To say Napoli is hot would be an understatement. He's been on an absolute tear lately. In May alone, his numbers are .309 BA, six HRs, 14 RBI. He is still striking out way too much, with 27 Ks to just two walks, but owners shouldn't worry about peripherals at such a weak position.

Napoli is capable of hitting 30 homers, and owners in need of power or ones who don't have a top catcher need to grab Napoli while he's tearing it up.

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1B: David Ortiz (1B/DH, BOS)

Ortiz is still only owned in 69 percent of Yahoo! fantasy leagues. That number boggles my mind. The guy hasn't hit this many homers (nine) in a month since May 2008. Ortiz has to be a better option than what most teams are plugging in at their utility spot. If he's available for some reason, don't even think about it—grab Ortiz and ride the hot streak.



2B: Alberto Callaspo (2B/3B, KC)

I never thought I would be talking about Callaspo, but here he is. He has been one of the most consistent middle infielders thus far. He batted .295 in April with four homers and 14 RBI. In May, he's been even better with a .330 average, three homers, and 16 RBI.

There aren't too many middle infielders that are putting up these numbers right now. Unless you have a top-tier infielder or an RBI machine like Casey McGehee, Callaspo should be owned (by you).



3B: Eric Hinske (1B/3B/OF, ATL)

Remember when Hinske won the Rookie of the Year Award? That seems like ages ago, but let's not forget that he was terrific that year and is showing signs of returning to form. He's playing every day in Atlanta and is showing his power stroke with four homers and 20 RBIs.

Hinske is not getting the respect he deserves, as he's only owned in seven percent of leagues. His numbers are insane this month: .405, four HRs, 12 RBI. Go get him if you need help at one of the three positions he qualifies at.



SS: Mike Aviles (2B/SS, KC)

Apparently people still are not on the Aviles bandwagon. All he's doing is batting .347 with two homers, four RBI, and 10 runs scored. The power and RBI will come, and he's solid in every other category. People forget that this guy was very valuable two years ago and is only 18 percent owned.

The Royals lineup has improved since Ned Yost has taken over as the manager. Pick up Aviles if you are a Jimmy Rollins owner or have a struggling shortstop like Alexei Ramirez.



OF: Corey Hart (OF, MIL)

You want a guy who is on a power surge? Hart is your man. He has six homers in May and is playing every day with Jim Edmonds on the shelf. Hart is batting sixth and is getting plenty of RBI opportunities in that stacked Brewers lineup.

Hart has hit homers lately that haven't even landed yet, but apparently owners have failed to take notice since he's only 40 percent owned. Don't make the mistake of passing him up.



SP: Ian Kennedy (SP, AZ)

For some reason, owners have not taken notice of Kennedy's solid season so far. He's only 36 percent owned and making the Yankees pay for trading him.

His numbers so far are 3-2, 3.24 ERA, 49:16 K:BB ratio, and a 1.10 WHIP. Those numbers aren't worthy of being owned in more than 36 percent of leagues? You've got to be kidding me! Kennedy deserves to be owned in all leagues right now.



SP: Clayton Richard (SP, SD)

Richard has turned the corner and proving why the Padres traded Jake Peavy, with Richard being the main chip coming back to PETCO. He has a 2.73 ERA and has improved his control lately with only five walks in his last three starts along with 13 Ks.

Richard gets to play in the friendly confines of PETCO Park for half of his starts. Also, he gets to face a few weak offenses pitching in the NL West (Giants, anyone?). Richard deserves to be owned in more than 31 percent of leagues.



RP: Carlos Villanueva (SP/RP, MIL)

Villanueva has become the interim closer for the Brewers while Trevor Hoffman works out his issues. While it may look like manager Ken Macha will go back to Hoffman as the closer eventually, Villanueva is the closer right now despite John Axford getting a save on Sunday. That was mainly because Villanueva pitched two innings in Saturday's extra-innings loss. He's very valuable right now and should be owned in all leagues.



RP: Will Ohman (RP, BAL)

It looks like all of the Orioles' closing options are on the DL, but Will Ohman will get his opportunity now to close. Ohman hasn't allowed a run so far and has 15 Ks along with eight walks.

He won't get too many opportunities on the lowly Orioles, but saves are saves. Ohman should get the majority of save opportunities in the short term and should be picked up if you're desperate for saves.

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