2008 Fantasy Baseball is similar to every of year of fantasy baseball in its dissimilarity of the similar. Hey, I sound like Dr. Suess after three Coladas. (BTW, I’m not implying Dr. Seuss was a drunk. He seemed like a peyote man to me.) To paraphrase Sinatra, “Fantasy baseball surprises… Yeah, we’ve had a few.” Since it’s almost halfway through the 2008 season, here’s a look at the top twenty fantasy baseball surprises according to me. Who am I? The CEP (Chief Executive ‘Pert) for the number one fantasy baseball blog. That’s who. (Or whom. I can’t ever figure out the difference. I never said we were the number one Who/Whom blog. But if we were, Who would write for it. Or Whom. Or would they have one blog author that was Who and the dissenting opinion would be Whom?) Anyway, here’s 2008’s biggest fantasy baseball surprises:

20. Justin Duchscherer – Why isn’t Scot Shields starting for the Angels? Can’t Broxton go six? Damaso Marte has to be better than all of the Pirates starters, right?

19. Ryan Dempster – At least Dook-sheer was good as a reliever. Seriously, my head is spinning from Dempster’s season thus far. My head isn’t meant to spin!

18. Xavier Nady – Two days after the season started, I said pick him up cause you never know how long guys will stay hot. You are only lying to yourself if you listened to me. I didn’t even listen to me.

17. Cristian Guzman – What gets him on this list? Being less awful than is expected. Tallest midget on the list. (I didn’t use the term “little person” because “little person” groups midgets and dwarfs together. This seems to be selling both groups short. Pun obviously intended. Don’t make me point out the obvious!)

16. Nate McLouth – ADP 194. Yeah, that’s McValue.

15. Jason Bay – Maybe this is only a surprise to me, but I thought he was toast. (Here’s someone who never stopped believing.)

14. Jorge Cantu – More valuable than Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Justin Morneau, Aramis Ramirez, Garret Atkins, Carlos Guillen and the guy he replaced, Miguel Cabrera. Seriously, you could’ve drafted Cantu in the first round and it would’ve worked out for you. Now you figure out this game of fantasy baseball.

13. Jacoby Ellsbury – 34 steals; 36 steals for all Red Sox not named Jacoby.

12. Victor Martinez – Kelly Shoppach would’ve gave you more value. (For those unfamiliar with that name, it is not the name of Zach’s girlfriend in Saved By The Bell, but I don’t fault you for thinking so.)

11. Ervin Santana – Johan, Carlos and Tito move over; there’s a new Santana in town.

10. Miguel Cabrera – Joe Crede outperforming Miggy. Maybe Miggy should’ve stayed fat.

9. Rafael Furcal – He’s pulling a Kotchman and that’s just wrong.

8. Kerry Wood – Still healthy as he vies for Comeback Player of the Year honors. (BTW, recent winners of Comeback Player of the Year are Carlos Pena, Dmitri Young, Nomar, Thome, Konerko and Javy Lopez, so if Kerry makes it to October healthy, I still won’t be excited about him in ’09.)

7. Troy Tulowitzki – When the injury came, half of me (the Lily Tomlin half) was actually happy I could pull him from my lineup.

6. J.J. Putz – Has made Mariners fan miss Miguel Batista, the closer.

5. Milton Bradley – In the beginning of the year, Milton Bradley would have punched you in your stupid face if you told him he was going to be in contention for a Triple Crown. Why? Because.

4. Carlos Quentin – CQ has performed much better than the crappy Coppola movie of the same name. (Speaking of which, at what point do The Godfather/Apocalypse Now favors end? The Coppola surname has wasted at least 300 hours of my life. And I’m subtracting the two hours for the wine tasting at his vineyard. My buzz was the least he could’ve done.)

3. Cliff Lee – The Mets hiring Zsa Zsa Gabor to replace Willie Randolph would be less surprising than his first 13 games started.

2. Edinson Volquez – I begged with you all to draft him before the year began. (BTW, in the same piece I point out how Karabell was wrong for being down on him. Seriously, he is ESPN’s top fantasy analyst — wow.) Of course, I didn’t even think Volquez would be sitting on the major league lead in strikeouts and ERA.

1. Josh Hamilton – Now the crack of the bat is the only crack Josh needs.

  1. Baron Von Vulturewins says:

    Cliff Lee has to be the #1 surprise: no one, I MEAN NO ONE, saw that coming.

    Also: Dempster, though this guy is bound to be thrown for a (Braden) Looper soon.

    In a related story, the guy in my league who’s in first, aka the All-Surprise Team (Hamilton, Lee, Milton Bradley) is now no longer in first. Surprise! Correction’s a’comin’! Oh, wait — it came.

    I wound up flipping Volquez for Morneau and AGonzo for Lackey. I don’t know that I came out ahead.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Lee would’ve been the biggest surprise last month, but his correction is already happening. Volquez and Hamilton are still trucking.

  3. wakeNbake says:

    Hes def not a huge suprise, but I didnt think Ian Kinsler was this good.

  4. wakeNbake says:

    do you think Francoeur turns it around, if so what kinda projections are we lookin at for him the rest of the way

  5. Grey

    Grey says:

    @wakeNbake: Kinsler wasn’t a surprise for me.

  6. Freak says:

    You might have forgotten Ryan Ludwick.

  7. wakeNbake says:

    I just read a Brandon Funston article where he compared Aviles to Dan Uggla. Never seen Aviles play can this guy really hit like that?

  8. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Freak: That’s a good call. He could easily be up there.

    @wakeNbake: I don’t know who Funston is but Aviles does have power. Whether he says 30 home run power is debatable. He might in a year or two.

    re: Frenchy — He might only get to 20 home runs. He’s looking like a disappointment this year, but I suppose he can still turn it on.

  9. wakeNbake says:

    Funston is a Yahoo! Fantasy “expert”. If you play Yahoo! Fantasy sports, you know the articles they provide you with sometimes on your league’s homepage, he writes some of those.

  10. Baron Von Vulturewins says:

    @Grey: My plan with Aviles — give him a 4 week audition while Furky is out. Then trade frickin Furky as soon as he plays two healthy games, assuming Viva Aviles is fer reals. Or realish, anyway.

    @wakeNbake: Francouer shit on my house.

  11. wakeNbake says:

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: haha….so I guess you think very highly of ol’ Jeff…lol. Im gonna take the same approach with Aviles, I just saw a video of him hitting and he has a very short-compact swing which I like. His swing kinda reminded me of Utley’s….although Im sure hes not half the player.

  12. Grey

    Grey says:

    @wakeNbake: But if he were half the player, he would be a midget or a dwarf. Not a little person.

  13. Baron Von Vulturewins says:

    @Grey: I hope Aviles is worthwhile. I could use a break this year.

    I’m actually optimistic, given that I’m in third, and my team hasn’t hit a lick. If Holliday gets hot and one of Rios or Francoeur comes back from bat-death, I may make a run yet.

  14. wakeNbake says:

    Boy am I glad I used a waiver on Billingsley earlier in the year…the guy who dropped him after his first couple of rough outings out of the pen must be pissed.

  15. p0rk burn says:

    @wakeNbake: Impatience saved me from myself. I drafted Bills in one league but not in the other. Fortunately nobody else drafted him in that league either so I was able to pick him up for free once I realized the oversight. Picked up Shields as a FA in one league and used a waiver claim on him in the other right before his back-to-back complete games.

    And my pitching is still killing me! Imagine how bad I’d be doing if I wasn’t capitalizing on the blunders of others. Maybe I’m one of those people that thinks they are ugly because they have two arms and undergo optional limb-removal surgery. I seem to have a problem with collecting pitchers.

  16. Mike says:

    @p0rk burn: my fellow razzmates

    I have already proposed this question to Grey and Rudy, so Id appreciate other ppl’s take on it because I cant come to a solid decision.

    I receive Rollins and Torii Hunter for Tejada, Rios and Billingsley.

    My Team
    My team
    1B-Howard SP1-Hamels
    2B-Kinsler SP2-Wainwright
    3B-Aramis SP3-Billinglsey
    SS-Tejada SP4-Jered Weaver
    OF1-Crawford SP5-Oswalt
    OF2-Markakis SP6-McGowan
    OF3-Rios SP7-Parra
    UTIL2-Mike Aviles or Double E (platoon)

    I would love to have Rollins especially since I have Howard, I figure hell drive in Rollins all day. I dont know if my pitching can take the hit tho. Should I do this or is it an unnecessary move?

  17. JR says:

    Re: Billingsley

    Billingsley looked poised for greatness after last year. What is amazing to me is that Jonathon Sanchez has posted almost identical numbers to Billingsley this year.

    When the year’s done, Sanchez may make this list…

  18. Mike says:

    sry that Question was supposed to me asked to everyone not just pork burn….sry pork bun…haha

  19. Eephus says:

    I would add Ludwick as a surprise performer and Fielder as a surprise bust, although as an owner and fan of Fielder I’m still confident his second half will be huge.

  20. JR says:


    Who would you add as a pitcher?

  21. Mike says:

    @JR: I guess I would spot start until I found a pitcher worthy of keeping on my roster. Jo-Jo Reyes, Arroyo, Blanton, Buehrle, Shawn Hill are amongst the available pitchers in my league, not exactly the cream of the crop I kno.

  22. JR says:


    I’m not sure I like it for you. Your lineup appears to be set; the question marks are in the rotation.

  23. Mike says:

    @JR: yeah the more I think about it the more I’m agreeing with you. My offense was slumping for a bit with Rios, Crawford and Howard playing like shit until Howard stepped up recently. They cant slump forever tho so maybe I should hold off on making an offensive upgrade. Thanks man, appreciate it.

  24. p0rk burn says:

    @Mike: Its not a horribly lopsided trade, but I think you dont really gain enough to offset the loss of Bills. Rollins is great but Tejada is playing great. Hunter doesnt bring you too much more than Rios *should* provide. Rios has more speed even with his brown-outs (I think I just came up with a new glossary term – check the forums shortly).

  25. Mike says:

    Rios not in the lineup today…just resting him hope

  26. Lou says:

    @ Mike
    Screams of trading just to trade. I do it all the time myself, but I personally don’t think you get a win fall on this one.

  27. Teef says:

    Should I do this?

    I give Oswalt/Sanchez for Harang?

  28. Teef says:

    Should I do this?

    I give Oswalt/Sanchez for Harang?

    I just picked up Sanchez of the waiver 2 days ago to try and sweeten this deal a little bit but after looking closley at his numbers. 88ks in 88 pitches is pretty outstanding. 6 wins on the giants and if you take out 3 outlier performances (one being the first of start of the season) he’s only given up more than 2 runs once or twice (and it was like 3 runs each time if memory serves me)

    Starting to think maybe he’s to much to give up with Oswalt

  29. Zebo says:

    I have an interesting problem. Our league counts holds, and we have 2 RP and 2 P. I have F. Cordero, Hoffman, Torres, Morrow, Broxton and Mike Gonzalez, Gonzalez just pitched a good looking ninth for his first save in 2 years. He can no longer be kept on the DL. What should I do with my glut of closers? I am sure no one will trade my anything worthwhile, do I just drop one or two of these? If so, who? Torres (he has looked good)? Morrow (may not get much chance to close, but is a strike out closer)?

  30. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Teef: I like Harang, but that trade doesn’t excite me. I’d hold tight.

    @Zebo: I think you should trade F. Cord or Hoffman and keep the other guys.

  31. DrBaseball says:

    Nice list.

  32. Mike says:

    Mike Gonzalez looked pretty good….1IP/0H/0BB/1K/Save. Do you think he and Soriano will share the 9th?

  33. Zebo says:

    @Grey: would the brewers ever try to work Gagne back in again?

  34. Mike says:

    Jo-Jo Reyes quietly having a nice season so far.
    @Zebo: Im holding him at the DL spot thinking they will, I figure the Brewers arent paying him 10 mill to be the 8th inning guy. Either way you have to wait till he returns.

  35. Teef says:

    really? hold onto oswalt? I’m not one to usually worry early about players like that, but my pitching staff is CC, Hamels, Lincecum, Beckett Oswalt and I just added Sanchez…My thinking is I can afford to drop sanchez to upgrade oswalt…still hold tight?

  36. Grey

    Grey says:

    @Teef: I like Harang better than Oswalt and Sanchez, but I’m not a huge fan of trading apples for apples. However, your pitching staff is sooo deep, go ahead and do it.

  37. Mike says:

    @Teef: I think Oswalt will pitch better, he seemed to be turning the corner until his recent outing against the Yankees. However I watched that game and Oswalt was really getting squeezed. Their were numerous times he could have gotten out of an inning but the calls went against him, I thought he deserved much better than what his numbers indicated. Plus the Yankees have been hitting everybody. Id give Oswalt another 2-3 starts to see what he does

  38. Zebo says:

    I think I will probably drop Headley or Aviles, and wait a week on deciding Mike Gonzalez/Torres/Morrow. I just cant make up my mind right now with Gonzalez’ elbow one pitch away from 60 day DL, Gagne in the shadows and Putz being a b**** and not decide he is done for.

  39. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:

    I’m ashamed of you for posting that Jason Bay link. I need to take a shower now.

  40. Grey

    Grey says:

    @IowaCubs: I hope you have it stuck in your head all day.

    Jason Bay

    He will hit the big home run today.
    He’ll catch anything that comes his way,
    The fans all cheer for Jason Bay.

    3 men on,
    Score is down, hope of a win is gone.
    Bay hits one into the neighbors’ lawn,
    the Pirates win, fans cheer ’til dawn.

    He is number 1 and has fun each time he plays.
    Pittsburgh’s favorite son, second none, is Jason Bay.

    Jason Bay
    Crowds miss him when he is not in play.
    They hope he’ll be back by the next day,
    ‘Cause they are fans of Jason Bay.

  41. JR says:

    Yeah, I just listened to that song and it creeped me out. I was expecting it to be earnest. Wow.

  42. Grey

    Grey says:

    @JR: I think it was earnest. That’s what creeped me out.

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