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Five for Friday: National League Sophomores

We're back with another week of Five for Friday, which looks at prospects and other young players that could help out your fantasy league squad.

J.R. Towles | Catcher: It's hard to find good value in a catcher. Unless you're lucky enough to have Victor Martinez, Brian McCann, or Joe Mauer, you probably didn't spend much money (or a high draft slot) on your catcher position. The Houston catcher has been a bust at the MLB level so far (.186/.276/.326) in parts of three MLB seasons, but he's posted solid minor league numbers, which continue to give hope. In the minors, Towles has shown the ability to hit .270-.300 with 10 home run power. His plate rates are solid (good walk rate, reasonable K rate), which gives hope for his work at the plate. Towles also has '08 first round pick Jason Castro - also a catcher - breathing down his neck, so I'm sure that he's motivated.

Casey McGehee | Third Base: I have to admit that I haven't always been a McGehee fan... I've had my doubts. But the third baseman just keeps going out there and getting the job done. He has a very quiet approach at the plate and is workman-like. He reminds me a little bit of Ty Wigginton. McGehee's power is modest in the 15-20 homer range, but he should also hit for a good average. The former Cubs prospect is not a fantasy stud, but he could certainly be a useful tool in an NL-only league.

Jeff Clement | First Base: Speaking of NL-only leagues, here is another player to watch. A former first round pick by the Mariners as a college catcher, Clement's lack of defensive skills necessitated the move to first. The good news is that his power should play at the position and he has 20-25 home run potential. If he ends up seeing the odd game behind the plate, he'll become even more valuable. The downside to Clement is that he has a weak lineup around him so his RBI and run totals will be rather modest in 2010.

Mat Latos | Right-Hander: Latos is a stud pitcher that has been overlooked by a lot of fantasy managers. Latos has good stuff and he plays in a pitcher's park, so that adds up to a sleeper in mixed leagues and a strong option in NL-only leagues. Just 22, the right-hander posted a 4.09 BB/9 in the majors last season, but he's shown better control in the minors. His fastball, which averages out at 94 mph, and curveball could help him rack up an impressive number of strikeouts.

Randy Wells | Right-Hander: Wells out-dueled Braves phenom Tommy Hanson on Thursday night. Although Hanson wowed the crowd with 97-mph radar gun readings, the Cubs right-hander won the match-up by commanding his 88-92 mph sinker down in the zone. He struck out just one batter but he induced 13 ground-ball outs. If he keeps that up, he's going to be very successful, but it's also going to hurt his fantasy value in the strikeout category. Even so, he's a great complementary pitcher for your roster if you're looking for a good ERA, a modest WHIP (His control slips at times) and innings (as well as possibly wins, depending on how the Cubbies club does).


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