Phantasy Philes: Filling Holes

In this week's Philes, we're going to do something a bit different. Instead of putting the focus on the Fightin' Phils on your fantasy roster, we'll take a look at some other guys. Some of these guys you might be able to grab off the waiver wire, while others you might have to trade for. Along with that, I'll throw out a few names for your DL spot(s), just in case you're one of the lucky owners that doesn't have a hurt star right now. So, without further ado, lets get down to business.

The first guy on our list, Frank Catalanotto, is someone that you'll most likely have to trade for if you want him at this point. "Li'l Cat" went north of the border this season after spending his last three years in Texas, primarily as a bench player. Now that he has a starting job in right field for Toronto, he's proving to be a very fantasy worthy player. Frank will help teams in need of a boost in batting average the most, but he does have a little pop in his bat and speed on the base paths as well. Two years ago with Texas, Catalanotto put up a line of .330/11/54/15 in 463 at bats (the most of his career), so we know he has the ability to continue his current numbers throughout a full season. Since he has yet to steal a base this season, it looks like the Jays don't plan on running him too much, so don't expect him to steal 15 bases again. Depending on your league's positional eligibility specifications, Frank may be eligible for second base, or even first base (although, I don't suggest using him there), which obviously makes him that much more valuable. Frank's best position on a fantasy roster would be at second, since .320-.330 with about 15 homers isn't bad at all for the middle infield.

Sticking with the second baseman theme, we move to another guy you'll probably have to trade for in Roberto Alomar. At first glance, Alomar doesn't appear to be anything special this year. But take a look at his splits and you'll see he's actually starting to pick it up. After a horrid .247/0/7/2 in April, Roberto seems to be bouncing back in May with a line of .328/2/9/3 so far. The last time Alomar looked this good was July of last season, so there's a chance these May numbers are just a fluke. However, the fact that you should be able to get him really cheap right now makes it a worthwhile gamble to take.

May has also been a good month for Twins' shortstop, Cristian Guzman. He was able to move on from a bad start in April (.247/0/2/0) to a fantastic May thus far (.338/0/9/2). Don't let his meager stolen base total fool you, because Guzman still has the speed that made him valuable a few years back. Evidence of this is his seven triples already this season. When all is said and done in ‘03, Guzman should get back to stealing 20 or more bases as he did before last season. So, if you're desperate for some steals, Guzman could really help you improve there.

Milton Bradley not only shares his name with a company that makes board games, but could also make a nice waiver pickup. Though he has had a few bumps in the road so far this season, including run-ins with umpires, teammates, and his manager, as well as a stint on the DL for a hamstring problem, he's actually doing quite well. In fact, his .327 average with three homers, eight RBI, and three steals has earned him a move to the clean up spot since returning from the DL a few weeks back. One of the keys to Bradley's improvement this season has been his increased walks and decreased strikeouts. If Milton can keep this improved trend up, he just might turn out to be one of those nice free agent additions that can really help a team. If you're thin in the outfield, give Bradley a look.

Two guys that are hurt right now, but could very well return as solid fantasy producers are Jermaine Dye and Nick Johnson. Since Dye got off to a slow start before hitting the DL, a large number of fantasy owners lost interest in him and ended up dropping him. This is where you play vulture and reap the rewards. Over the last few years, Dye has proven to be a nice 25-30 homer, 100 RBI guy that can also help you out with a solid batting average. If he were healthy right now, you'd be hard pressed to find him on waivers in any league, but since he's hurt, you should be able to grab him without even losing another player on your roster (by putting him on your DL of course). He's still feeling some tenderness in his knee, but should start his rehab assignment sometime this week. By adding Jermaine now, you might be able to turn around and trade him once he rejoins the A's, or just keep him for youself. Either way, you'll be getting a solid player for nothing.

If you go for Nick Johnson over Jermaine Dye, you'll have to wait a bit longer before getting any returns. As soon as Johnson, who is Larry Bowa's nephew, was hit with a stress fracture in his right hand last week, his ownership dropped sharply. Before getting hurt, Johnson was proving to be a nice fantasy player with a line of .308/5/18/2. The biggest strength for the Yankee's young first baseman is taking walks and getting on base, which in the Yank's lineup means you're going to score a ton of runs. Those in leagues that count runs scored should definitely think about throwing Johnson on their DL spot. Until Nick returns in 4-6 weeks, Todd Zeile should pick up the at bats in his place. That fact alone makes Zeile a potentially nice short-term addition to teams in deeper leagues.

That'll do it for this week folks, next time we will get back to examining our Fightin' Phils. In the mean time, feel free to send any fantasy questions you may have to with "PBN" in the subject line.

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