'Daniel Bard' photo (c) 2011, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ How fun is fantasy baseball? Instead of bemoaning the struggles of certain players, why don't we turn that frown upside down and see if there might be some players who have failed to live up to expectations to this point of the season that might be able to lend a boost to our fantasy squad moving forward. That's a noble goal is it not? I'll also talk about a former Cy Young winner who may have finally turned the corner, a reliever you've never probably heard of who leads baseball in wins, and a former fantasy superstar who is slowing improving physically in his attempt to come back from a mysterious knee injury.

Daniel Bard picked up his first win of the season Monday night, while pitching out of the bullpen, but he is still currently scheduled to make his start on Friday against the White Sox. The Red Sox though may have no other choice than to slot Bard in as their 9th inning arm (even though Bobby Valentine, the Red Sox manager, said that moving Bard back to the pen full time “doesn’t look like a great temptation.”). Bard has 13 Ks in 12.1 innings this season, but he's also 1-2 with nine walks allowed an a 1.70 WHIP. Even if he had been successful as a starter, the Sox would still have to consider him for the 9th inning since they just can't afford to give away games late. Alfredo Aceves, Vincente Padilla, Franklin Morales, Justin Thomas... boy do the Sox miss Andrew Bailey. If Bard is on waivers he's worth adding in the hope that he'll be asked to work the 9th greatly improving his fantasy value – even though the Red Sox are currently saying that isn't going to happen.

Erik Bedard is 0-4 though he does have a 2.62 ERA after allowing three or fewer runs in each of his four starts. Wins may be tough to come by for the lefty in Pittsburgh, but I'll continue to say it – when healthy he can be a mixed league option worthy of pretty much being an every game starter.

Chipper Jones didn't start again on Monday. He continues to be a daily disaster, you never know when he's going to be playing, but he also continues to be might successful when on the field. No only is he hitting .276 with two homers and eight RBI in nine games, but he has a .870 OPS. That's a better number than guys like Miguel Cabrera (.857), Adrian Beltre (.826), Alex Rodriguez (.800) and Jose Bautista (.771).

Tim Lincecum was much better in his fourth start of the season Monday (5 IP, 1 ER, 8Ks, 5 BBs). I got a chance to watch nearly every pitch he tossed, an I liked what I saw. His pitches were darting all over the strike zone, but he wasn't locked in as he missed the target on many of the pitches. Still, this was an improvement over the way that he opened up the season, so you have to be feeling pretty good if you didn't panic and decided to hold on to him (or if you dealt to add him).

Kyle Lohse is up to 3-0 with a 0.99 ERA. I'm still not buying it. No way he continues to hold batters to a .170 batting average, and as impressive as his control was last year (2.01 BB per nine), the man isn't going to continue to walk one batter every 13 innings. Now is the perfect time to sell high. If you don't, just make sure you remember me when his performance tanks in relation to his current levels.

Vodka and Red Bull – nectar from the gods? Jeff Mans of Fantasy Alarm would agree.

Vulture wins anyone? Robbie Ross has worked five games covering 5.1 innings. All he's done is rack up three wins. Do you even know what team he is on? Try the Rangers. This is just another example of why it is virtually impossible to predict wins in the fantasy game – Robbie Fricken' Ross is tied for the major league lead with three victories.

Chase Utley (knee) did some things Monday, and that included fielding grounders. Though he is said to be feeling stronger and making progress, he also admitted that while BP cause him no discomfort that fielding those grounders was still bothering him. There is no timetable in this continually vexing situation that the Phillies have not been able to clarify in the least (apparently Utley doesn't want his medical information shared, which is his right of course, but it sure plays havoc with what reasonable expectations should be this year). There's been some discussion of Utley possibly playing some first base when he comes back, though Jim Thome and Ryan Howard obviously can't play anywhere else on the diamond. I'll bet that Utley's bat still has some juice left in it, but it's growing harder and harder to hold on to him in 12 team mixed leagues unless you have a DL spot.

Miguel Bautista started Game 1 of the Mets/Giants doubleheader Monday. You remember back in 2005 when, a year after going 10-13 with a 4.85 ERA, that the Blue Jays asked Bautista to close leading to 31 saves? Since then he has four saves --- in six years.

By Ray Flowers


Leave a Comment

About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

that's absurd. MT @BaseballATeam: @edward_piekara @donunderwood66 My initial round of rankings have Carrasco ranked 4th. Crazy, I know.