Print and Go Back ESPN.com: 2004 [Print without images]

Monday, August 16, 2004
Updated: August 23, 5:48 PM ET
FLB '04: Who's hot, who's not?

By Eric Karabell
ESPN Fantasy Edge

You know it, you love it, you can't live without it. Which players are smokin', while others are stinkin'?
Carlos Lee
Left Field
Chicago White Sox
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
114 23 77 73 9 .297

WHO'S HOT
  • Carlos Lee, White Sox: The thing about Lee is, fantasy owners actually aren't happy with the overall production they've gotten from him. I think it's because he's so streaky. His final numbers are going to be there. The steals won't be what they were last year, but we knew that, right? Anyway, with his big week, in which he hit .379 and homered four times, knocked in 10 and scored seven, he's on a pace for 32-108-13, which are all nice stats. Certainly if you drafted Lee five rounds behind Magglio Ordonez, you're happy. Lee's done fine this year.

  • Gil Meche, Mariners: So is it time to buy into this guy again? He was so dreadful the M's had to demote him. But after he shut down the Yankees Sunday, and finished off a solid 2-0 week, Meche looks more like the guy you drafted in March, relying on a similar year to 2003, when he won 15 and had a 4.59 ERA. I figured he'd win about 12, keep his ERA at 4. In three starts after coming back to the majors, he's allowed two earned each time. He's walked only three, struck out 17. I wouldn't start him on the road (this week at Detroit), where his ERA is 6.54 and hitters hit 100 points higher off him, but he's a guy to watch.

  • Ben Broussard, Indians: I've said and written this a few times during the season, but Broussard and Travis Hafner really were thought of in a similar light last year, and this Spring Training. By the Tribe, by fantasy owners, you name it. Obviously, Hafner is a stud, a guy on a pace for 120 RBI and top three in the AL in OPS. Broussard has struggled much of the year. But last week he hit a pair of grand slams and batted .450 overall, and for the year he's now at .286, which is nice. He's also got only 10 homers, a third of which he hit last week. Not nice. I've added Broussard to a few teams, just to see what he does. Maybe he's finally turning the corner himself.

  • J.T. Snow, Giants: Snow was hot before last week, but he's continuing his streak and is a must add for those in need of batting average help. It's been years since Snow has really been a fantasy thought, but now after a three-homer game at Philly last Friday and a .533 average for the week, he's one of the most popular adds in all leagues. Snow hit .240 for parts of three months this season, battling injuries and being benched. In July he hit .364 with 16 RBI. So far in August? A .471 average. Grab him now.

  • Brad Lidge, Astros: Don't blame Houston's collapse on this guy. While Octavio Dotel being dealt to Oakland did hurt the overall Astro bullpen, since Lidge's work in the seventh and eighth innings has never really been replaced, Lidge has been arguably the top closer in the game over the last month. In fact, on our Player Rater, only Eric Gagne and John Smoltz are ranked higher for the last 30 days, but Lidge has a lot more Ks. And really, he can't save a game without the chance. Lidge threw six scoreless innings last week, allowing three hits and no walks, and struck out 10. He had a win and a save. Again, blame the other Astro relievers (nice work over the last week, David Weathers!) and batters. Lidge can be Gagne, if his team would let him.

    Bobby Crosby
    Shortstop
    Oakland Athletics
    Profile
    2004 SEASON STATISTICS
    GM HR RBI R SB AVG
    107 15 46 52 6 .257

    WHO'S NOT
  • Bobby Crosby, A's: Blame an injury for this one, because Crosby was cruising along and looking like the possible AL Rookie of the Year. He hit five home runs in July and finished his fourth straight month with double digits in RBI. But so far in August Crosby has battled a back spasms problem and hit .170, including .059 last week with only one hit in 17 tries. Might be a smart time to sit him until he starts to hit again, since the A's will play him even though he's hurt because of his magnificent fielding.

  • Paul Wilson, Reds: Yep, it's time to cut bait on this guy. Wilson managed to be a big winner for the first half of the season, as he and Danny Graves defied logic. But Wilson ain't winning anymore. He got torched so bad in his last start - 10 baserunners and seven earned runs in 1.1 innings vs. the Padres - that he hurt his back, possibly by having to turn around so quickly to watch balls fly around the park, and landed on the DL. It's a good thing. Wilson allowed seven earned in the start before that, but since it was at Coors Field, we all wrote it off. Wilson has gone seven starts since winning, and his season ERA is 4.54. Time to avoid.

  • Mark Prior, Cubs: This one is disappointing, because we all figured Prior would never be this bad, or average, because if he was, then it meant he was hurt. But he's not hurt. Prior's just looking average, and inconsistent. Padres hit him for seven earned in three innings to start last week, and while Prior rebounded with an OK outing vs. LA, let's be honest, we don't expect OK. We expect him to be a top 10 pitcher. Prior's ERA is 4.97, and more worrisome is the 1.48 ratio, because it proves he's not just pitching in bad luck. He's still getting strikeouts, and it would shock nobody if all of a sudden he runs off a great streak of starts. But right now, he's average.

  • Vernon Wells, Blue Jays: Like Prior, we expect more from Wells. Last season he hit 33 homers, knocked in 117 runs. This year? On a pace for 18 and 52, though he did miss more than a month with a calf injury. Still, these are not exciting stats. Wells hit .125 last week with no RBI, no runs. He's hit .241 since July began. Those are not top 20 OF stats. How disappointing.

  • Ty Wigginton, Pirates: Sure, our expectations for this guy are not overly high, but after he was traded from the Mets to the Bucs, we didn't think he'd go in the tank. Ty has hit a meek .136 as a Pirate, with two RBI in 13 games, and only .118 last week. Call it merely a bad stretch, but he's cold, real cold. Even with that 2B eligibility, you must sit until he starts to hit.