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Bits: Mat Latos still brimming with upside

5/16/2011

&#8226 San Diego Padres right-hander Mat Latos snapped a 10-game losing streak by winning in Coors Field on Sunday. He needed 107 pitches to go 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs, one earned. Fantasy owners will take it. As rough as things have been for Latos, a 1.33 WHIP and pace for 158 strikeouts is usable. And there's major upside.

&#8226 New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner homered and knocked in five runs Sunday, raising his batting average to .308. Turner hit for average and, at times, moderate power in the minors. With Ike Davis on the DL, both Turner and Daniel Murphy are playing; Turner could earn NL-only value, but he's not there yet.

&#8226 St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter struggled Sunday, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 6 1/3 innings in Cincinnati. He's won once in nine starts, and sports a 4.95 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Fantasy owners might be thinking buy-low, but Carpenter is showing no signs of improvement, having allowed 42 hits in his past 26 1/3 innings over four starts.

&#8226 Baltimore Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta seems the smarter investment. He beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, allowing two runs in six innings, and hasn't lost since April 9. He's nearly reached last season's strikeout total in half the starts, and his WHIP is 1.23. Arrieta looks legit, yet he's owned in a mere 25.4 percent of ESPN standard leagues.

&#8226 Arrieta's teammate outfielder Nick Markakis slugged his fourth home run of the season Sunday, and his three hits raised his average to .245. Markakis has value when hitting near his career mark of .295, but he's not a power hitter. With six multi-hit games in the past 10, Markakis is a good addition if you need batting average improvement.

&#8226 Philadelphia Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. homered and stole a base Sunday, while also walking twice. With Shane Victorino hurting and Ben Francisco slumping, Mayberry should play more this week, and will be a wise short-term add for deep leagues.