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The O-Zone: Deep Thoughts ...
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 5/1/2007 2:39:00 PM
View more posts by this author

 

A few guys to grab if youíre in a deep leagueÖ

DAMION EASLEY

Easley takes over the second base job for the Mets following Jose Valentinís knee injury. At first, I believed this was a major step down for the Mets, and I thought youíd have to be pretty desperate to pick up Easley in your fantasy league.

But when I compared Easleyís skills and stats to Valentinís, I came away with a rosier view. Easley isnít much worse than Valentin. Actually, he might not be worse at all.

Check out these power stats, for instance. Over the last three years, Valentin has homered once every 19.62 at-bats and has a 0.59 GB/FB. Meanwhile, Easley has homered once every 25.1 at-bats and has a 1.08 G/F. Advantage to Valentin for sure, but Easleyís production hasnít been too much worse.

Easley closes the gap between him and Valentin in the plate discipline category. Over the last three years, Easley had a 113/71 K/BB. On the other hand, Valentin was at 248/111. Easley has a much better eye and is going to be less prone to slumps.

Anyway, moral of the story: Easley is an acceptable fill-in for Valentin. Donít hesitate to pick him up.

RUSS BRANYAN

Branyan will return from the bereavement list either tomorrow or Friday. Expect him to get plenty of playing time when he does, as Kevin Kouzmanoff is hitting .113 and appears destined for beautiful Portland.

You know the book on Branyan: plenty of power, putrid patience, atrocious average. But one trend worth watching -- if it even is a trend -- is that Branyan has walked eight times in 32 plate appearances this year. Thatís a miniscule sample size if there ever was one, but nevertheless itís encouraging to see Branyan being patient. If he can keep it up, he might be able to sustain a decent average to complement his pop.

JEFF CIRILLO

Heís back from the DL, and thereís plenty of playing time to be had with Nick Puntoís struggles and Rondell Whiteís injury.

MATT DIAZ

Iím not a fan of any hitter with a lifetime 83/18 K/BB in the majors, but Diaz is going to get the opportunity to shine in Atlanta following the trade of Ryan Langerhans. Expect near-everyday duty for Diaz. Yeah, I know Willie Harris started in left field yesterday, but that canít possibly continue.


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