This week in fantasy baseball

On Fantasy Sports

Good news for Sidney Ponson owners, if there are any out there – Sir Sidney is on the disabled list.

So if you have been inexplicably plugging Ponson into your lineup these last few months, absorbing his damaging blows to your team ERA and WHIP, you can now feel free to leave him on the bench. Indefinitely.

Ponson, sidelined by a strained calf, should return to the Orioles before the end of the season, but it's quite possible that he'll do so as a member of the bullpen, which might not be such a bad thing.

In the interim, the O's will go with either Eric DuBose or John Maine in their rotation. DuBose went 8-10 with a 3.25 ERA in 122 IP for Double-A Bowie but struggled in a brief stint at Triple-A. He posted a 6.39 ERA in 14 starts for Baltimore in 2004 before his season was cut short by an elbow injury.

Maine hasn't fared particularly well in Triple-A, either, going 6-11 with a 4.56 ERA in 23 starts. Neither player looks like a particularly good option on the fantasy front.

The player who might interest a few owners is right-handed reliever Aaron Rakers, who put up a 2.48 ERA and struck out 80 in 65 1/3 innings at Ottawa. Rakers was called up to replace Chris Ray, who has the stuff to be a closer down the road but who wasn't going to get any better by giving up game-winning home runs at the major league level.

His role could be filled by Rakers, whose potential for above-average strikeout numbers and a low WHIP make him a possible flier candidate in deep AL leagues.

And now a look around the rest of the majors:

Who's hot

  • Adam Dunn, Reds: Leads the majors with 29 second-half RBIs to go with 10 home runs and a very un-Dunn .318 average. Hard to imagine Cincy seriously considered trading this guy.
  • Victor Martinez, Indians: Patience rewarded after two and a half miserable months. Martinez has lifted his average nearly 70 points since early June, largely on the strength of his .412 second-half tear
  • Miguel Cabrera, Marlins: Batting .396 and averaging a HR every 12 at-bats since the All-Star break. Let's hold off on handing the NL MVP to Derrek Lee.
  • A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: The best catcher in the AL? Pierzynski has already established a career high for home runs with 17, including six in his past 20 games.
  • Jorge Sosa, Braves: Where do the Braves get these guys? Sosa is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break and hasn't allowed more than 3 ER in any of his 11 starts this season.

Who's not

  • Jim Thome, Phillies: Sorry, Adrian Beltre. Season-ending elbow surgery seals it – Thome is the biggest disappointment of 2005.
  • Joe Randa, Padres: Playing poorly enough to make Padres fans miss Phil Nevin. Randa is batting .212 with no HRs, 4 RBIs in 13 games since his trade from the Reds.
  • Lew Ford, Twins: If you rushed to pick up Ford after learning that Torii Hunter was out for the season, you've been rewarded with a .173 second-half batting average. Congratulations.
  • Steve Finley, Angels: At 40, Finley is finally beginning to look his age. He's also on pace for his lowest HR total since 1995, proof that crashing into fences doesn't do a body good.
  • C.C. Sabathia, Indians: That crooked hat thing works when you're mowing guys down, but not when you're 7-9 with a 5.27 ERA and one sloppy win since the break. Straighten up, Sabathia!

This weekend's matchups

American League

Toronto at Baltimore
Chicago White Sox at Boston
Texas at New York Yankees
Tampa Bay at Cleveland
Minnesota at Oakland
Detroit at Kansas City
Los Angeles Angels at Seattle

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