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Jackson and Baker putting up solid numbers

Given his current pace, Conor Jackson should end the season with 100 runs scored, 19 HR, 86 RBI and 11 SB.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In fantasy baseball, when you think of the right side of the infield, you probably start with Albert Pujols and Chase Utley. If you have them on your team, you paid a high price for getting such awesome talent.

But you could also have gotten by with paying a smaller price (or lower draft pick) and had some pretty nice statistics if you had picked a relative-unknown like Conor Jackson 1B of Arizona. And a mid-season pickup of Colorado's 2B Jeff Baker would have been rewarded with stunning numbers.

In most preseason rankings, Jackson was ranked lower than 20th. But the 26- year-old from Austin TX has been hitting well all season and in July has been as hot as the weather. For the last three weeks, Jackson in hitting .429 with four HR, 9 RBI and 16 runs scored in 15 games. His season numbers are .324 with 12 HR, 55 RBI and 64 runs scored. While the power stats are a little low for a first baseman, considering the price paid he would be a bargain. Last year he put up 15 HR and 60 RBI for the season, so he will far surpass those figures in 2008.

Given his current pace, Jackson should end the season with 100 runs scored, 19 HR, 86 RBI and 11 SB - not bad for a late-round draft choice.

Baker never played second base before this year. He played a few games at third base in 2005, but over the last few years was a bit player for the Rockies playing backup first to Todd Helton or outfield. He was not worthy of being on a roster...until 2008.

This season Baker has been primarily a second baseman and with more playing time has become an integral part of the Colorado offense. Batting second in the lineup, Baker is hitting .302 with nine HR, 37 RBI and 45 runs scored in just 212 at-bats. He started slowly, batting just .194 for April and .250 in May. But as the weather turned warm, so did Baker. He hit .338 hit June and is hitting .347 in July. He had at least one hit in 16 of 19 June games and 15 of 18 in July, so he has been very consistent. Baker should get most of the playing time at second the rest of the way and if he is available in your league, you should consider picking him up.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.