'Reds v Astros 9.21.11' photo (c) 2011, Shawna Pairan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/ Following the trend I started yesterday in Vice Versa, I'm going to continue to point out some potentially surprising trends in fantasy baseball. Which guys are surging? Which guys have petered out? I've got you covered. Bring home that championship, reach for that finish line and break that tape first.

Jay Bruce or Giancarlo Stanton? On draft day I think 99 percent of the fantasy universe told you to go Stanton. I did not. I said 'why not take Bruce three rounds later?' Season isn't over but Bruce has made me look like, well, The Oracle. I'll even give Stanton a break and prorate his numbers over the same about of at-bats as Bruce (Bruce has 203 more at-bats this season).

Bruce: .270-30-103-88-5 with a .831 OPS Stanton: .252-35-84-87-2 with a .856 OPS

Like I said six months ago, they are the same player even if everyone was drafting Stanton as a top-20 player.

Great at the start, and scary bad there for a short while, it's still worth pointing out that waiver-wire hurler extraordinaire, Bruce Chen, is 8-3 with a 3.13 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Still having a hard time explaining that one.

Anyone notice that Steve Cishek has 31 saves?

Billy Hamilton tease us. Hamilton had three hits Wednesday night, that's nice, but oh Nellie check out the steals column – four. Wow is right. Through eight games, and mind you he's only picked up seven official at-bats, Hamilton has stolen nine bases and not been caught once. I hesitate to say anyone is a lock for 50 steals in 2014 but Hamilton clearly is. The real question we should be asking – is he a lock for 75 steals? Since 1990 there hasn't been a player in baseball who has stolen 80 bases in a season. We very likely could be looking at the first right here.

Let's give Hisashi Iwakuma mad props. He was hit hard over a few starts and we all thought the end to his magical run could be at hand. Not so much. Over his last four outings he's allowed a total of three runs dropping his ERA back down to 2.76. He'll make one more start this season for the Mariners which seems rather risky given that he's thrown 86.1 innings more this season than last (he's up to 211.2 on the campaign).

Starling Marte has had a strong rookie season, but he has 11 homers and is batting .280. Remember when you all argued with me when I said he wouldn't hit 20 big flies or hit .300 this season?


I’m going to describe to you a way you can play fantasy football – against me – and win money in the process (A $10 entry gets you a shot to win part of $1000 in prizes). Thanks to Fanduel.com you will be able to take me on each week in fantasy football in a salary cap game. Chose your team and take me down. Simple as that. Should be a lot of fun and you can also win cash along the way, so why wouldn't you be interested? Here's the link to play: Take On The Oracle In Fantasy Football (I'm The Oracle by the way).

Yasiel Puig had another big night Wednesday with three hits including a homer. Be sure you pay close attention to his second half numbers when you consider drafting him next year. Those numbers include a strong but not elite .295 batting average and six steals while being caught five times. He's walked a bit more though which is great news. He took seven free passes over his first 38 games but he's walked 25 times in his last 55 contests.

Chris Rusin has a nice 3.52 ERA through 12 starts. However he was blasted for six runs over just four innings Wednesday. Can't be surprised by that folks. You can only have top-shelf production for so long when you don't strike out five guys per nine innings and have a .265 BABIP.

From the I'm So Shocked I Feel Totally Betrayed File: Stephen Strasburg is having his start pushed back, again. As great as Strasburg is I won't ever draft the guy. Ever. He had trouble getting loose during a throwing session, and since he's battling an issue in his forearm the Nats decided to push back his start to Saturday. That will be 12 days between starts for the righty. He'll need to make two effective starts before the season is over to reach 180 innings pitched for the first time in his life (he's at 170 right now).

Tyler Thornburg tossed six shutout innings at the Cubs Wednesday. Has anyone noticed that he's 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 1.19 WHIP through 59.2 innings? Over his last three starts he's gone six innings each time while allowing a total of four earned runs.

Justin Upton has 26 homer after a blast Wednesday night. He had 12 homers by the end of April.

Finally, check out Danny Valencia folks. He's hitting .323 with eight homers in 41 games. That's impressive. It gets better. He's batting .373 against lefties this season (31-for-83). It get's better. He's batting .405 over his 42 at-bats in September. It gets better. Seriously. Over his last 69 at-bats he's batting .406 with four bombs and 13 RBIs. Don't know if you noticed or not, but he's flat out killing it right now.


By Ray Flowers


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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own 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.

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