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AL Player Spotlight - August 20, 2007

Joe Ribando

Tim Wakefield is a solid play for his Monday start against the Devil Rays. The young Tampa Bay team typically has lots of trouble with the knuckleballer. For his career, Wakefield is 18-2 against the Rays with a 2.83 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and .210 BAA. The same success holds true in 2007. In 3 starts against the Rays, Wakefield is 3-0 with a 2.21 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and .203 BAA. He also has 15 K's in 20.1 IP. If you need a little pitching boost, Wakefield's numbers and past success lead to a solid calculated risk for tonight's game. The only potential stop-gap is Scott Kazmir hurling for the opponent, who also has had modest success against the Red Sox in his brief career.

If the numbers play out the way they look, tonight's Boston vs Tampa Bay game should be a solid pitching matchup. Tim Wakefield gets the ball for the BoSox and has had great success against the Rays in 2007 (see the post for Wakefield for details). However, Scott Kazmir has had his own success against the Sox. In 3 starts in 2007, Kazmir is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and a .250 BAA. For his career, he's 5-3 in 14 starts with a 2.37 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a .213 BAA.

Kevin Youkilis and fantasy owners have watched his steady decline over the last four weeks, with his average dropping to .290 after peaking in the .330's in late June. He hit just .219 in July and now just .217 in August, bringing his two month combined performance to this pitiful line: .218 avg, .327 OBP, .665 OPS, 0.45 FPI, and 0.62 BB/K. The shocking stat from this line if his low batting eye. Moneyball proclaimed Youkilis as the "Greek God of Walks"and his season prior to this rut would claim that is true. For the year, Youk has 61 BB and 76 K's for an BB/K of 0.80. He's too good of a hitter for this prolonged slump to last much longer. With the ability to draw walks and get on base, his OBP should continue to rise at the minimum, making him a decent runs and OBP play from a guy with multiple position eligibility. Keep an eye for a breakout day this week and then snag him if he's available.

Richie Sexson is quietly (and I mean very quietly) trying to salvage something positive from a disappointing 2007 season. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games with 2 HR and 4 doubles, bringing his August average to .269 and OPS to .745. Of course these aren't stellar numbers (especially given his 15:1 K:BB rate for the month), but it is an improvement and at this point we need to look for any little positive out of Sexson we can. I'm holding on to some more upside for the final 6 weeks of the regular season and wouldn't be surprised to see him go no a power tear as the Mariners make a final push for the AL wild card.

Michael Cuddyer hit the big bomb on Sunday in a 1-0 game that gave the Twins the W over the Rangers. It was Cuddyer's 12th HR and 63rd RBI of the season. 2007 has been disappointing for Cuddyer and fantasy owners. After posting a 0.68 FPI in 2006, he has seen a drop to 0.61 in 2007, a HR/AB drop from 23.2 to 33.6, and an OPS decline from .860 to .791. He still has 6 weeks left to go on a tear, but I wouldn't count on it.


There are over 100 player news blurbs posted in the member area each morning. Members can read the rest of today's player news by clicking here. Not a member? Join today.

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