The Usual and the Unusual

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The usual and the unusual unfold on a daily basis in a major league baseball season and fantasy owners should have the adaptability to adjust with all that goes on.

Below you will find both the usual and unusual and advice on how to use that in your everyday fantasy strategy.

It's not unusual for CC Sabathia to get off to a slow start, therefore knowledgeable fantasy owners aren't concerned that we are in the third full week of April and he is still winless. For his career the big lefthander is just 15-14 in April (including a 1-4 record with a 7.88 ERA in 2008 and 1-2 in 2009), but he's 29-16 in May and 26-11 in June.

Stay the course and run Sabathia out there every fifth day.

It is unusual for Adrian Beltre to be hitting this well in a "non-contract" year. Beltre and the Rangers' underrated pitching staff are carrying the team in 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton's absence. For the season Beltre is leading the league with six home runs and 18 RBIs.

Be wary, the Texas third baseman could become his "usual" complacent self at any time. In his last two "contract" seasons Beltre has averaged .327 with 38 HR and 112 RBIs. In his last eight "non-contract" years he's averaged .261 with 20 HR and 76 RBIs.

Keep him in your lineup, but if another owner offers you a good deal, you would be wise to take it before the expected fall in Beltre's fantasy value.

It's not unusual for Matt Kemp (.403), Joey Votto (.394), Andre Ethier (.388) or Ryan Braun (.382) to be near the top of their league in batting.

It is unusual to see Starlin Castro (.369), Sam Fuld (.366), Alex Gordon (.361) and Maicer Izturis (.355).

If you picked up Castro, Fuld, Gordon or Izturis...enjoy the ride, but know it may not last a full season or even another month. Castro and Gordon were highly thought of when drafted and might be able to go a bit further than Fuld and Izturis who were known more for their gloves than their bats.

Curtis Granderson is smoking hot with an OPS of 1.013 and six homers in his first 55 at-bats. This is not unusual for the Yankees' outfielder, who's career best month "OPS-wise" is April.

Colorado's star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is traditionally a slow starter with career monthly OPS numbers of .750 in April, .799 in May, .891 in June, .918 in July, .894 in August and .944 in September/October.

Tulowitzki has started off 2011 by slamming seven homers, knocking in 14 runs and batting .329 in his first 70 at-bats. This appears to be a "career" year in the makings and you should not accept any offers for "Tulo" not even if Albert Pujols' name is mentioned. Great first basemen are a lot easier to find than great fantasy shortstops.

Granderson, on the other hand, should be "tradable" if the offer is good enough.

Finally, there is the case of Lance Berkman who is having both a "usual" and an "unusual" start at the same time. Berkman has been a great hitter for most of his career, so his .349 start with six home runs and 15 RBIs is not unusual. But "Big Puma" has also been a shadow of his old self for the past two seasons, so be careful in assuming he is back to the guy who hit .303 with an OPS of .978 from 2000-2008.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at