Table: Do not bench list
Julio Lugo, Boston Red Sox
Schedule: 6 games - vs. CLE (3), vs. NYY (3)
Analysis: Lugo has been one of the ultimate bargains so far this year at short. One of the better mid-round choices in fantasy drafts has rewarded his owners. He has 23 runs and 12 stolen bases. His .250 batting average and .687 on-base percentage aren't encouraging figures, but he is contributing in raw number categories, which is all you can ask for from him. He is a career .252 hitter against Cleveland with six homers and 19 RBI. Lugo is hitting just .216 in 37 at-bats against the Yankees this year, but he has one homer, seven RBI and three steals. With all six games at home next week, don't even think about moving him out of your lineup.
Orlando Cabrera, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Schedule: 7 games - vs. SEA (3), vs. BAL (4)
Analysis: Well, Cabrera was never about power, but he has homered in three straight games. With Cabrera at the top of the Angels lineup, he will be in the mix no matter how weak their offense is. Both of his opponents this week are in the lower half of major league team ERA, so the potential is there for Cabrera to at least help in runs scored. He has hit .333 with six RBI in 24 at-bats against Seattle this year. He struggled against Baltimore last season with just a .205 average in 39 at-bats.
Jhonny Peralta, Cleveland Indians
Schedule: 7 games - @BOS (3), vs. DET (4)
Analysis: Peralta has thrown his hat back into the ring of cheap, yet effective shortstops. He has a .273 average with 10 homers and 32 RBI. He's starting to show some of the pop that put him on rosters in 2005. It's time to let go of last year's disgusting performance. He could help many teams as a temporary starter, or a full-time utility player on the whole. This week, however, won't be one of those. While Fenway will help his cause, Red Sox starting pitching has been an immovable object this year. With Detroit's staff just as hot, Peralta might inadvertently pick this week to cool down. Follow suit when it comes to his stock for this week.
Khalil Greene, San Diego Padres
Schedule: 6 games - @PIT (3), @WAS (3)
Analysis: Greene's 28 runs this year have already surmounted his total through all of May last year (22), and his six home runs are not far off from his pace of nine last year. Greene has a sneaky (and yes, somewhat streaky) bat and is such a big risk-reward player with his offensive runs and ruts. Greene is a .294 hitter at PNC Park in his career with two homers and 11 RBI in just 33 at-bats. He likes RFK as well with a .409 average in 22 at-bats. Pick him up this week as both staffs have a propensity for dishing out runs could make it a good week for Greene.
Bobby Crosby, Oakland Athletics
Schedule: 6 games - vs. TEX (3), vs. MIN (3)
Analysis: One of the most recent fantasy fads has been to jump ship on Bobby Crosby. After missing significant time last year, owners are still hesitant to see what he can do. From past knowledge, he can do a lot if healthy. He is leading the A's with five stolen bases. While his home average is 21 points lower than his .265 road average, he has hit all five of his homers at home and has driven in 15 RBI at Network Associates Coliseum, as opposed to four on the road. Texas' 5.08 ERA is the second-highest in the majors, and Minnesota is desperate for quality starting pitching not named Johan Santana. This is a decent opportunity to put Crosby in if you need him.
OTHERS FOR CONSIDERATION
Ryan Theriot, Chicago Cubs
Schedule: 6 games - vs. FLA (3), vs. ATL (3)
Analysis: Theriot's main selling point has been his roster flexibility. He is a speed threat who has collected a hit in 13 of his last 15 games. However, he has only driven in only one run in that stretch. Home games, regardless of his opponents, offer Theriot a good chance to contribute. He is batting right behind Alfonso Soriano, so he has a chance to be able to drive him in often. He's hitting .286 with a steal in seven at-bats against Atlanta this year. Give him a nod if you need help in runs or stolen bases, especially in deep leagues.
Alex Gonzalez, Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: 7 games - vs. PIT (1), @HOU (3), @COL (3)
Analysis: A recent subject of KFFL's Waiver Wire feature, Gonzalez has remained a skeptical option among fantasy players. Since his inclusion in that edition, he has gone 3-for-19 with only one RBI. He has obviously broken through the atmosphere. With his hot run behind him, he will most likely find himself back on the dump this week, despite spending every day this week at one of the top three hitters' parks in the majors. Although it is tempting to think that this could help him, his historical stats say otherwise - his .241 career average in May has a significant chance to catch up to him. He is hitting just .219 against Houston but has three homers against them. Against the Rockies, he's hitting .154 with a homer in 13 at-bats. Steer clear while he struggles.
Omar Vizquel, San Francisco Giants
Schedule: 6 games - @NYM (3), @PHI (3)
Analysis: He just keeps on chugging. Everyone's favorite senior citizen shortstop is clinging to fantasy relevance with his never-fading speed. Problem is, the Giants aren't a running team - most of them need walkers just to get to the batter's box. His glove is what's keeping him around. Vizquel is hitting just .182 against the Mets this year. However, he has tore up the Phils to a tune of a .467 average, five RBI and two steals in 15 at-bats. Consider him for the second series.
Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
Schedule: 7 games - vs. STL (4), vs. CIN (3)
Analysis: The youngster has 20 RBI through his first 43 games, not a bad rate for a rookie shortstop. It's a little too soon to be expecting miracles from the highly touted prospect, but this could be a semi-productive week for him. The slumping Cardinals come into Coors Field with their 26th-place 4.65 ERA, and the Reds pitching staff with its 20th-place in the majors with a 4.30 ERA. He is hitting just .231 against St. Louis this year, but he has hit .286 against Cincinnati. You'll take a hit in average, but he will scrape together a few RBI along the way if you play him.
Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: 6 games - @PHI (3), @NYM (3)
Analysis: Along the same lines of Tulowitzki, Drew has come up expecting to carry a bit of the load in Arizona. His batting average is slagging, but his power numbers are allowing him to chip in. He has had three multi-hit games in his last 10 outings, along with two RBI. It might not be the best week to play him, though. He is just 1-for-11 against Philadelphia this year. However, he went 4-for-13 with two RBI against the Mets. He is playable in daily-change leagues, especially with the younger corps of the Diamondbacks starting to click.
Jack Wilson, Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: 7 games - @CIN (1), vs. SD (3), vs. LAD (3)
Analysis: Wilson is hitless in his last six games. Last year he was a huge success in April but hit an offensive brick wall in May. This year, he met the wall earlier, not factoring into Pirates games at the plate. He sat out Sunday's game due to a shoulder injury, and despite having three days off, this isn't encouraging. He is 5-for-13 against the Dodgers with two RBI this year. He has hit just .233 in his career against San Diego.
Brendan Harris, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Schedule: 6 games - vs. DET (3), vs. KC (3)
Analysis: Harris is a decent last-resort option if everyone else on this list is taken. He has 11 multi-hit games this year, and he has usually been slotted around the middle of the order. That's a nice place to be in one of the more underrated offenses in baseball. This is not to say he's a superb, or even above average option, but he's somebody to look out for. If you have daily roster changes, put him in against the Royals if you need a good matchup play.
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
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