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NL Player Spotlight- May 27, 2008

Paul Sauberer

Michael Bourn- HOU- Hot- Despite going 0-for-4 on Sunday, Bourn has to be considered on a roll. Even without benefit of a base hit, he scored, collected an RBI and stole a base. Over his last 5 games Bourn has gone 8-for-22 with 4 runs, 2 RBI, and 3 steals. We may be seeing some regression to the mean happening, as he had a BHIPx of .216 on May 18th and owned a batting average of .192. Since then Bourn has added 24 points to his average. Expect to see a rise in his BHIPx when it is next updated. Bourn’s Batting EYE is still cause for concern. After walking once while striking out 6 times in this little hot streak it is down to .35. His minor league Batting EYE decreased as he rose through the Phillies’ system, and was .53 at AA and above. As that happened, his batting average also decreased, from at or near .300 to the .270 range. Look at Bourn’s main value as tied up in his ability to steal and count any contribution in the average column as a bonus.

Tim Lincecum- SF- FYI- Lincecum is on a pace to throw 198 innings this year, which is just about where the Giants want his almost-24-year-old arm to be. They are going to be watching his workload closely and that is probably a big part of why he was removed from his last start after 6 innings while still pitching effectively. Lincecum had thrown 113 pitches by that time, due to a shaky start, and he was not going to be pushed further. He has never thrown more than the 177-1/3 IP he accumulated last year between AAA and the majors and will probably not be called on for more than 200 IP this year. It may impact his strikeout numbers and eventually cost him a shot at the strikeout title but is a good thing for his long term effectiveness.

Doug Mientkiewicz- PIT- Cold- While there is still a platoon situation in Pittsburgh, Mientikiewicz has not been been making the most of being part of it. He has gone hitless in his last three games, has only 1 hit is his last 4, and his batting average has plummeted from .242 to .207 in that span. A BHIPx of .172 has put a serious damper on his numbers and more than counteracted a Batting EYE of 1.50. That number, though, has dropped recently as it was at a whopping 2.25 (9 BBs, 4 Ks) at the middle of May. Mientkiewicz will not likely lose platoon status soon because the other half, Jose Bautista, is having his own struggles. Some regression to the mean is likely to happen, but the high Batting EYE does not reflect Mientkiewicz’ true ability, so don’t reallyh expect hism to produce a lot in fantasy value.

Jay Bruce- CIN- Rookie- It’s not every day that the top prospect in baseball gets called up to the major leagues, so be set for a mad scramble in your leagues to claim Bruce, especially in keeper leagues. He will be taking over in CF for the Reds today and, while there will likely be some adjustment in his first exposure to major league pitching, the future is very bright for the 1995 first round draft pick. Bruce has a tendency to strike out a lot, but when he hits the ball he produces. He will be an asset across all offensive categories, although he may end up increasing his power and decreasing his speed as he fills out his 6-2, 218 lb. frame. Last season Bruce hit 25 homers in 521 ABs across 3 minor league levels. His steals were down at only 8, but he already has that many this year at AAA Louisville in 184 ABs, as well as 10 homers. Bruce is worth making as early a claim as possible as you can for your team in an effort to get him.

Bobby Howry- CHN- Hot- Howry picked up his 7th hold of the season, bridging the gap between Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood by tossing a scoreless 8th inning. It wasn’t the prettiest of outings, as Howry loaded the bases with 2 hits and a walk and throwing 10 of his 24 pitches for balls. However, it was the third consecutive day he pitched and he did record a strikeout as he worked out of the jam, so if holds count in your league. Howry looks to be a decent source and his underlying numbers show an upswing.

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