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Pair of third baseman, old hurlers not getting job done

Posted: Tuesday May 10, 2005 1:19PM; Updated: Wednesday May 11, 2005 12:34PM
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Jeremy Bonderman
Jeremy Bonderman is coming into his own.
Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

1. Alfonso Soriano, Rangers: For some unknown reason, his name is always mentioned in trade rumors. Yet, all Soriano does is hit. He'll slump here and there, but when he's hot, he puts up ridiculous numbers. Last week, the Texas second baseman had back-to-back-to-back three-hit games, while slugging five homers and driving in 10. He's out of the leadoff spot so expect big numbers the rest of the way.

2. Joe Mauer, Twins: The youngster is healthy and finally living up to his promise. He's picked up the pace of late, going 10 for his past 18. By the time the year is over, Mauer will be the best fantasy catcher in baseball.

3. Tino Martinez, Yankees: Jason Giambi is a butcher at first base. Now he can't hit worth a lick. That means Tino is playing everyday, and he's picked things up after a slow start, raising his average from .200 on April 23 to .259. He's also hit seven home runs.

4. Mike Sweeney, Royals: He's been hot at the plate (15 for 29 during his current eight-game hitting streak, his season numbers are terrific (.339, 8 HRs, 28 RBIs, 16 runs scored), but most important, you know Sweeney will get dealt before the trade deadline. If he ends up in a hitter's park, watch out.

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5. Brian Giles, Padres: Giles has rebounded from an 0-for-21 slump in a big way, going 10 for 18 with two homers and nine RBIs since.

6. Jason Phillips, Dodgers: Playing regularly in L.A., Phillips is making the most of his opportunity, batting .313 with 21 RBIs. He's become one of the most valuable fantasy catchers.

7. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers: You have to be impressed with the progress Bonderman has made. In 2003, he was 6-19 with a 5.56 ERA. In 2004, he went 11-13 with a 4.89 ERA. This season, the right-hander is 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA. In fact, all of Bonderman's numbers are impressive: 41/13 K/BB ratio, .220 battign average against, 1.09 WHIP. Two more things to love about the hurler: He's just 22 years old, so if you have him in keeper leagues, congratulations, and he pitches in Comerica Park.

8. Ryan Dempster, Cubs: Here's the Cubs closer du jour. When it comes to saves in fantasy baseball, all you can ask for is the opportunity to pick some up. Dempster will provide that -- for now.

9. Wade Miller, Red Sox: He looked OK in his first start back from a right shoulder injury and manager Terry Francona will bring Miller along slowly. With Boston's lineup as strong as it is, all Miller has to do is keep the team in games and he'll rack up wins. 

10. Josh Towers, Blue Jays: The right-hander has given up two earned runs over his past 22 2/3 innings. More impressive, he tossed eight scoreless innings against the potent Orioles last Tuesday.

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1. Eric Chavez, A's: The .192 average is bad enough, but .280 slugging? Chavez hasn't homered since April 18.

2. Mike Lowell, Marlins: Here's another third baseman who is causing fantasy players to scratch their heads. Lowell had decent but unspectacular numbers in 2004 after putting up big numbers in 2003. This season he's been bad (.194), and it has to cause concern for Lowell owners, especially since he's a career .327 hitter in April and .312 in May.  

3. Rafael Palmeiro, Orioles: It looks like age finally has caught up to the veteran slugger. While most of the O's are tearing the cover off the ball, Palmeiro has just one homer and he's batting .221.

4. Tom Glavine, Mets: Is he another victim of age? SI.com's Jacob Luft broke down some of Glavine's problems last week, comparing the veteran lefty to Kevin Brown. What more do you need to know? How about the fact that Glavine has a 6.87 ERA, .333 batting average against and he's walked 24 while striking out 21/

5. Al Leiter, Marlins: You can take what's written above and apply it here. Leiter is another lefty who's old and wild and has the ugly numbers to prove it -- 6.67 ERA, 20 walks, 16 strikeouts, 1.62 WHIP. Leiter's troubles stand out even more when the starters surrounding him continue to turn out gem after gem.

6. Noah Lowry, Giants: That was a hard fall, huh? The rookie finished 6-0 last season and won his first game this year on April 15. Since then, he's 0-3 and has allowed 15 ER in 22 1/3 IP.

7. Troy Percival, Tigers: Tough break for Percival owners. It took him until April 25 to record his first save, and he finally had started to pitch well. But the flame-thrower came up with an injured forearm and landed on the DL Monday. Ugueth Urbina will close in Percival's absence.

8. Jose Vidro, Nationals: He hadn't played since May 4 because of a high-ankle sprain. Monday he landed on the DL. He will be re-examined Friday, so keep an eye out for news. High-ankle sprains usually take a long time to heal.  

9. Luis Rivas, Twins: He put up serviceable numbers the previous two seasons, but this year he's batting .204 with two RBIs. Manager Ron Gardenhire has seen enough and announced this week that Nick Punto has taken the starting second base job from Rivas

10. Jeff Bagwell, Astros: The 36-year-old slugger has missed the past six games because of an arthritic shoulder. Manager Phil Garner has said Bagwell isn't ready to go on he DL, but that his first baseman still has pain. If anyone in your league loves big-name players, dump Bagwell on him. Age and injury will be a factor all year.

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