I’m not sure why. All he’s done is turn in a performance that was the seventh best in June. The fantasy league leaders reads: Tim Lincecum, Dan Haren, Jon Lester, Ricky Romero – who’s also a Stealthy Ninja below, but not nearly as available as Contreras – Joe Nathan and Jose Contreras.
The 37-year-old righthander has 29 Ks in 37.1 IP, 3 W, a 2.17 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP in June and somehow he’s available in 81% of Yahoo fantasy baseball leagues.
Last week, Contreras kept rolling, posting eight innings at a 2.25 ERA and an 0.75 WHIP with 8 Ks.
You should pick him up, really.
If you’re in the small percentage of leagues where he’s not available, here’s some advice on other Stealthy prospects from last week.
Stealthy Ninjas are players who are coming off excellent weeks and available to most of you based on ownership percentages in Yahoo’s leagues:
Ryan Sadowski, SP, Giants (owned in 7% of Yahoo leagues) Key stats: 13.0 IP, 2 W, 10 Ks, 0.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP
- Advice: The rookie righthander was the third best pitcher in fantasy baseball last week. He started his career with 13 scoreless innings and a pair of runs. It won’t all be this rosy for Sadowski, but he’s worth a pickup at this point, especially in dynasty leagues.
Jason Marquis, SP, Rockies (owned in 46%) Key stats: 9.0 IP, W, 3 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.22 WHIP
- Advice: The National League’s first 10-game winner of 2009 has a season ERA of 3.87 with 51 Ks and a 1.31 WHIP this season. His name is Jason Marquis and he should not be so available.
Micah Owings, SP, Reds (owned in 1%) Key Stats: 7.0 IP, W, 8 K, 2.13 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
- Advice: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut or every dog has his day, whichever overused cliche is your preference, Owings is the squirrel and dog respectively. Move along.
Ross Ohlendorf, SP, Pirates (owned in 6%) Key Stats: 7,0 IP, W, 8 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.57 WHIP*
- Advice: Ohlendorf gets an asterisk today because he got his ninja squads killed on Sunday. He gave up 5 runs and 9 hits in 5 IP, so he’ll lose Stealthy Ninja status by this morning. However, it’s worth mentioning that he’s been significantly more effective at home this year. Sunday’s loss was at Florida. His next start is Saturday at Philadelphia against Cole Hamels. He’s good for a spot start, but unless he’s at home.
Ricky Romero, SP, Blue Jays (owned in 50%) Key Stats: 8.0 IP, W, 8 K, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP
- Advice: As mentioned above, Romero was the fifth-best fantasy pitcher in the month of June and now a back-to-back Stealthy Ninja. That’s pretty good. And while he’s not as available as Contreras, more than half of you can pick him up, at least as a spot starter. I’ve rostered him in a couple injury-plagued mixed leagues.
Gordon Beckham, 3B, SS, White Sox (owned in 16%) Key stats: .462, 5 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 SB
- Advice: The White Sox rookie has two hits in five of his last eight games, raising his average from .172 to .275 since June 25. I suggest adding him, but don’t be afraid to drop him when he slumps unless you’re in a deep keeper league.
Marlon Byrd, OF, Rangers (owned in 9%) Key stats: .400 7 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI
- Advice: The window to own Byrd as a significant contributor is just about shut. He has been filling in for Josh Hamilton, but the All-Star outfielder’s imminent return – he could be back as early as today – will cut down his chances.
Maicer Izturis, 2B, 3B, SS, Angels (owned in 10%) Key Stats: .481, 8 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, SB
- Advice: According to Yahoo, the return of Howie Kendrick from his refreshing trip to the minors won’t cost Izturis all of his at-bats. He’ll split time with Erick Aybar at SS. Still, expect a diminished return out of Izturis unless one of the Angels infielders gets hurt or sent down again.
Martin Prado, 2B, 3B, SS, Braves (owned in 6%) Key Stats: .500, 8 runs, 1 HR, 6 RBI
- Advice: Going 11-for-22 is impressive and he’s already hitting .312 on the season. However, none of his previous performance suggests he’ll give you anything more than multi-position eligibility and that .300+ average.
Juan Rivera, OF, Angels (owned in 56%) Key Stats: .323, 4 R, 3 HR, 8 RBI
- Advice: Another guy who isn’t terribly stealthy, but is a free agent in far too many leagues. Check out these numbers: .329, 13 homers, 36 RBIs in his last 42 games, according to Yahoo. His 24 RBIs in June led the American League. You want him on your roster until he cools off.
What do you think? How long will Rivera stay hot? Are you going after Marquis? What players have you targeted? Let us know in the comments, or visit our forums and start a conversation.