Posted: Friday May 30, 2008 10:31AM; Updated: Friday May 30, 2008 10:31AM

Fantasy Mailbag: The Next Ryan Braun?

The Wizard dishes out fantasy advice and answers all your baseball questions right here!


Ryan Braun, v. 2.0? Maybe, maybe not. But Jay Bruce should prove to be a solid fantasy pick at the very least.
Ryan Braun, v. 2.0? Maybe, maybe not. But Jay Bruce should prove to be a solid fantasy pick at the very least.
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It was around this day one year ago that Brewers 3B Ryan Braun ($8,100,000) came up from the minors and took the majors by storm. This year's Braun could now be here. I'm talking about Reds OF Jay Bruce ($4,850,000). Baseball's Number 1 prospect was called up to the big leagues this week after tearing up Triple-A. Now, it's only been two games, which is a very small amount of time. But Bruce already has four hits, including two doubles, four walks, three runs, and two RBIs. Of course, he's not going to continue to hit .667. But Bruce is talented enough to hit around .300 with 20 homer and 20 steals over the rest of the season, making him a nice bargain for fantasy owners. All rookies are risky, especially guys like Bruce who are just 21 years old. But it looks like this Red is a risk worth taking.


As a big baseball fan, one of the Fantasy Wizard's favorite columns anywhere on the web is's Dugout Dispatch. But this week's was especially controversial. Our baseball reporter Sarah Braunstein has complied her lineup of the game's most overrated players. And yes, Jeter the Yankee Captain made the list. I was shocked at first. But then Sarah makes a great point. Jeter is a great offensive player. But defensively? Well, he has the worst range of just about any shortstop in baseball. And defensively, range is the most important thing you can have. But you can check out the entire All-Overrated Team at Dugout Dispatches for yourself. Plus you can email Sarah who you think belongs on your all-UNDERRATED team. I know who I'm nominating for all-underrated (Nick Markakis!)

And while we're on the topic of our baseball blogger extraordinaire (you can check out her latest column right here) Sarah Braunstein, lets hear her "Hot" and "Not" picks for the week...



Hideki Matsui ($6,600,000), OF, New York Yankees: The Yanks are in last place, but Matsui is doing everything he can to get them outta there. His two hits last night give him 14 hits in his last 27 at bats. He's had five multi-hit games and has scored 12 runs since May 22 and is slugging .667.


Justin Upton ($5,350,000), OF, Arizona Diamondbacks: How's this for a slump? Upton has one hit since May 20th. In his last 27 at bats he has struck out 19 times, good for a .037 batting average. This isn't likely to be a season-long problem, but until Upton's bat warms up, leave him cooling on your bench.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled mailbag...


That's right, it's back! Chapter 1 of the 2008 Fantasy Wizard Trivia Challenge is here. For those of you who don't remember, this is how it works: Whoever can correctly answer the Trivia Challenge question gets (1) An answer to whatever fantasy baseball question they would like to ask, (2) the respect and admiration of the Fantasy Wizard, and (3) the Fantasy Wizard will officially proclaim you to be "awesome" in next week's mailbag. Simply submit your answer along with your fantasy baseball question by noon on Thursday. Now, onto THIS WEEK'S QUESTION!

With the Olympics coming up this summer, the Wiz has been doing a lot of thinking about international athletes. In fact, on May 20, there was an American League pitcher who became the first pitcher from his country to record a Major League win. (HINT: He's a young pitcher, and was actually sent back to the minors after the game).

To be a Fantasy Challenge Champion, you must name that pitcher.


The Wiz broke out with a big Week 2 in the WOW League, blowing away the competition. Well, not quite blowing away. Ranger Rick, coached by Kipper Wells, came close but no cigar. Here's what I have to say about my latest of many, many championships:

So here I am, back on top of the fantasy world. It gets lonely sometimes, but it's the price I pay for greatness. It wasn't easy, especially going against players who have fielded more than one team in the WOW League! I'd like to thank Shadow Puppets 101 Professor Ulane. His cruel words, inspired by the bribes he accepts from the Ballroom Dancing Wizard Duane Munn, inspire me. Especially because I know he's just jealous that his star student has become a master! I dedicate this win to former Orioles DH Jay Gibbons. Chin up Gibbles, you'll find a new team soon! Go O's! Nick Markakis for president! Adam Jones for VP! Paul Bako for Joint Solid Waste Management District Board of Directors!

For those of you who think you can take down the Wiz, Duane the BDW, Dugout Dispatch's Sarah Braunstein, the WOW League is your chance. Anyone can sign up. And if your team finishes with the highest score in any week, you'll get to write whatever you want on baseball and have it appear right here in the fantasy mailbag! WOW League players should look for an email every Monday to see if they won the week! (After all, we have to have your thoughts by the time the weekly mailbag is posted on Thursday night.)

Invitations for the following week go out every Friday morning...


If you want to get involved in the Wizard challenge and join the WOW League, just send a request through the question box. Be sure to include a valid email address. Then we'll send you an official invite. And all invitations go out on THURSDAY morning.

VERY IMPORTANT NEW INSTRUCTIONS: If you are already in a league, and you want to join the WOW League, you'll have to sign up using a DIFFERENT email address!!! If you use the same email address as the one you used to join your first league, our computers get confused and think you're trying to join your original league all over again. In short, you won't be allowed to join WOW.

ALSO, if you have an AOL account, your invitation might be blocked out. If you haven't received your invite within 7 days of your request, you have three choices: (1) Have your parents lower the security setting on your AOL account, (2) Have your parents help you sign up for a new account with a server like GMAIL or YAHOO, or (3) Have your parents send in your WOW League request through their email account.

And remember, we're taking week-by-week standings only. So even if you sign up late, you can still be a WOW League champion and get to tell us your two cents. Be sure to have your lineup set by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Sunday night to play that week.

And now... mailbag...