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Fantasy Baseball Musings: Ryan Braun's Risk, B.J. Upton and More

Ryan Braun 2008-1Do yourself a favor:  stop thinking about what will happen to Ryan Braun and dump him today!

We’ve heard anywhere from a 50-game suspension to a lifetime ban as potential punishment for the wide-eyed Brewer.  I don’t own Braun in any of my leagues (we were all given a heads up on his situation in January, right?).  But if I did, I’d be working the phones right now. He’s become a pariah on par with Barry Bonds. This time next year, the name "Ryan Braun" will sting like the country song you hear every now and then that reminds you of the girl who got away. Don’t get caught listening to the lyrics and wondering, “What if?”

Somebody in your league will give you talent for Braun, but you need to act fast.  MLB will likely make a decision in the next week or so, probably after the All-Start game.  This is the time to exploit the owners in your league who take up space instead of participating. Remember, it isn’t wrong to use your knowledge to trump a foe who hasn’t done his homework. Find an owner with a player or two who fits your needs and make an offer. Do it now. Come back to the rest of this article later. Scram!

And with the All Star game looming, I want to take a moment to brag on an All Star who has graced all three of my fantasy teams since draft dayMatt Carpenter of the Cardinals has kept me competitive this year. I’ve played him at first, second, third and outfield with great success. He ranks 34th in the Yahoo! game: #4 at 2B, #5 at 3B, #7 at 1B, and #11 at OF. Get him as a throw-in on a Braun trade, or dump another stat-killer (B.J. Upton comes to mind) and acquire this hit-machine. He’s always on base, he plays for one of the best teams in the sport and he's eligible all over the field with the exception of catcher, shortstop and pitcher.

Speaking of B.J. Upton: what do you do with this cat if you can’t trade him? He’s on the waiver wire in all of my leagues. Owners gave up and fed him to the fishes. But is he really bad enough to go wholly unowned? Sure, he's been horrendous so far, but he’ll be a hot commodity on the wire the first time he hits two homers or steals two bases in a game. His average is never going to be north of .250, but he has way too much talent to be lingering in the free agent pool.

Everyone knows Bud Norris and Matt Garza are on the move to greener pastures. Aside from a shelling in his last start, Norris has pitched well for the Astros this season. Garza has been superb. Both will end up on contenders. You’ve been served!

What do we make of Hector Santiago? He’s owned in a miniscule 14% of Yahoo! leagues, despite the fact that he really brings some excitement to the table. He averages more than a strikeout per inning and is pitching well enough to be considered legit. He stymied the Phillies for seven innings Saturday night. Keep an eye on this dude going forward; he could be a difference maker in the second half.

Have you traded Braun yet?