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Fantasy Fix: Here Comes Willie Bloomquist

The biggest surprise of the young MLB season - aside from the fact that the Cleveland Indians are leading the American League Central - may be the emergence of journeyman Willie Bloomquist, SS/3B/OF, Arizona.

The type of player who occasionally ends up on fantasy baseball rosters for short stretches thanks to multi-position eligibility and better-than-average speed, Bloomquist started the season as the Diamondbacks' starting shortstop because of an injury to Stephen Drew. He also has played the outfield. After the first week-and-a-half of the season, Bloomquist is among league leaders in hits (14), and stolen bases (6).

At the beginning of the season, there are always a few breakout stars whose names will be hard to remember by the All-Star break. I'm betting Bloomquist won't be just a flash in the pan for two reasons:

* Arizona manager Kirk Gibson has embraced the running game. The D-backs already lead the National League in SBs, and Bloomquist not only fits the game plan, but should get the green light to run early and often.

* Arizona is not a great team. Few starters are really locked in, and Bloomquist should end up playing almost every day somewhere.

These are just a couple reasons why Bloomquist has been one of the hottest acquisitions on the Yahoo! waiver wire this week, going from about 50% availability last weekend to only about 30% by Tuesday. Act fast.

A few other surprises from these opening days:

* Paul Konerko and Starlin Castro were tied (with a few others) for the league lead in hits through Monday with 16. Which one can keep it up?

How about both. Konerko has rejuvenated what looked like a fading career at the beginning of the 2010 season, and Castro appears to be years ahead of schedule.

* Mets first baseman Ike Davis was tied for the league lead in RBIs through Monday with 11. Davis at best was a late-round back-up pick at a very deep position, and it's not clear he'll stay among the leaders, but ride him for this hot streak, however long it lasts.

* Albert Pujols, the consensus No. 1 pick in many fantasy leagues, was hitting .150 through Monday. Unlike a lot of stars, Pujols is not usually a slow starter; in fact he tends to pile up home runs right out of the gate. Expect greater things, especially during his contract year, but if you're in a daily league, I wouldn't blame you if you sat him for a day, particularly if you have Ike Davis.

Expert Wire
* USA Today discusses fantasy surprises, including Sam Fuld, the guy apparently never good enough for the Cubs outfield.

* Yahoo! RotoArcade has the bad news on Josh Hamilton: Out 6-8 weeks with an arm injury.

* Finally, Johnny Damon thinks Manny Ramirez is dead . . . oh, wait, he is . . .


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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