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Fantasy Fix: Dunn vs. Pena

This week's Crosstown Classic series offers a chance for me to look back at one of my pre-season predictions - that Carlos Pena would hit more home runs this season than Adam Dunn.

As it stands after Tuesday night's Cubs-Sox battle at the Cell, Pena was leading Dunn 13-7.

I would like to spend a few paragraphs gloating about being right, at least at the almost halfway point of the season, but we all know this supposed contest mostly has been a battle of the duds. Pena was mostly useless for the first two months of the season, though he has made a strong charge recently. Dunn has been stuck in a deep hole all year, occasionally peeking above ground for a home run or a walk.

It's highly possible that neither Dunn nor Pena will survive in Chicago past the trading deadline. If Tom Ricketts actually decides to make Jim Hendry do something, Pena could fetch the Cubs two or three nice prospects, and we all know Kenny Williams has an itchy trigger finger and a grifter's moxie. He surely can convince someone to buy low on Dunn.

So, what should you do if you still have Dunn or Pena on your fantasy squad?

Surprisingly, Pena is quietly having a better season than he had in 2010. He's only two homers off last year's pace, his average is more than 20 points higher than what he ended with, and at this rate he'll garner 100 walks. He actually could be worth keeping, assuming he's not your starting 1B. His value could even rise if Hendry trades him into a better lineup (though really, don't count on Hendry for fantasy help).

Another surprise is that Dunn, despite a .178 average and power shortage, is still more widely-owned in Yahoo! fantasy leagues than Pena, and by a wide margin - 83% for Dunn, 53% for Pena.

A lot of fantasy owners must be banking on a second-half resurrection for Dunn, who probably was a more expensive draft investment than Pena.

If Dunn gets traded out of Chicago, you have to wonder if he will do any better elsewhere than he would have playing half his games in our local bandbox. If I'm a Dunn owner right now, I'm either entertaining buy-low offers or perhaps even dropping him for a young power hitter like Mark Trumbo, 1B, LA Angels, or Justin Smoak, 1B, Seattle.

If you're on the other side, thinking about buying one of them low, both could prove to be a bargain. I mean, they can't get any worse, right?

Expert Wire
* Yahoo! Roto Arcade eyes the return of the once-promising hurler Andrew Miller to the BoSox.

* Bleacher Report suggests replacements for injured demi-god 1B Albert Pujols. Guess which one of our hometown buys tops the list.

* Bleacher Report also lists 27 players likely to have second-half break-outs. Dunn and fellow underachieving teammates Alex Rios and John Danks make the list.

* Sporting News Fantasy Source says injuries and interleague play make it a prime time for some new waiver wire pick-ups. Anyone up for Alcides Escbar, SS, Kansas City?

* ESPN Fantasy Forecaster takes the obligatory look at American League DHs sitting in National League parks - or perhaps stretching little-used muscles as they prepare for a rare trip into the field.


Dan O'Shea's Fantasy Fix appears in this space every Wednesday. He welcomes your comments. You can also read his about his split sports fan personality at his Beachwood blog SwingsBothWays.

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Posted on Nov 26, 2021