Johnny Damon - A falling star? It certainly could be. Since joining the Yankees in 2006, Damon's FPI has gone from 0.71 to 0.64 last year and 0.61 so far this season. His OBP has also equally fallen from .358 to .351 to .335. His average has dropped from .285 in '06 to .250 this season and his recent 3-for-30 slump certainly isn't helping. Of course, Damon's production downfall could be partially the result of an overall Yankees team that is underperforming, but there's no doubt that Damon looks a lot older this year than he has in previous years. He remains a low-end fantasy option in most mixed leagues, mostly because of his run and SB production. Damon has averaged 104 runs per season with the Yankees and already has 28 this year. He also swiped 25 and 27 bases in '06 and '07 and has 5 in 7 attempts so far in '08. Overall, a 0.60 FPI for the remainder of the season is the likely scenario and anything better is gravy.
Bobby Crosby - Crosby has been on my watch list for quite some time (since about mid-2004 to be exact). But we all know about Crosby's history of injuries coming off his 2004 Rookie of the Year season. This year, he's been a fixture in the A's lineup and is posting some decent numbers worth consideration. First, the generic batting average comparison. In 2004, Crosby hit just .239 in 545 AB and he's currently hitting .270 through 174 AB. He hit 22dingers at a rate of 24.8 compared to the 3 HR this season (with one yesterday) at a rate of 58.0. So definitely a considerable drop-off inHR's, but that could turn around throughout the summer months. OPS? Exactly the same at .737 (eery, I know). Overall, his FPI in 2004 was 0.53 compared to a slight up-tick this season at 0.55. Overall, Crosby is probably an under-rated performer at this point with an upward correction in power likely. Up-arrow for Crosby in my book.
Julio Lugo - Lugo's concussion seems to be old news at this point, as he played in one of the double-header games on Saturday and on Sunday. Not only did he play on Sunday, but he did exactly what he is supposed to do: steal bases. He now has 3 SB this month (6 total on the season) and 2 in the last 3 games he has played. He is posting a solid .287 average and a decentOBP of .357. If Lugo maintains a steady .350 OBP this season, he'll steal 40 bases easily. With just a .294 OBP in 2007, Lugo swiped 33 bases in 39 attempts.
Hideki Matsui - Matsui is one of the few Yankees that has performed well since Day 1 this season. He's been in a mini-slump lately that dropped his average to .342 in early May to .304, but he's still putting up good numbers for the Yanks and fantasy owners. With a HR against lefty Oliver Perez in last night's game,Matsui now has 6 HR in 148 AB for a HR/AB or 24.7. It certainly seems like Matsui is hitting more HR's than in previous years, but that rate is actually slower than last year's of 21.9 and quite a ways off his career high of 18.8 in 2004 when he hit 31 HR. If Yankee bats start to heat up, it should lead to better lineup protection and better pitch selection for Matsui. So I wouldn't be surprised to see Matsui maintain this pace or improve on it over the summer months.
Mike Napoli - Napoli's power is no secret, but this year's production is quite the statistical anomaly. With 2 more HR on Sunday, Napoli now has 10 on the season at a HR/AB of 8.3. In fact, almost half of his season's hits are HR (he has 23 total hits for an average of .258). In previous season, Napoli has shown he can hit the long-ball, even in limited playing time. In 2005, Napoli banged 16 HR in 268 AB (16.8) and he hit 10 at a rate of 21.9 last year. With a 0.74 FPI this season, Napoli is blowing-away not only his previous year's fantasy production, but also his preseason projected FPI of 0.62. He's owned in about 60% of all leagues according to ESPN, so there is still room to grab him off the wire for cheap if you're looking for a cheap fill-in option at catcher. He'll likely hurt you in average over the course of the season, but his power potential is worth it.
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