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August Fantasy Awards
September 2, 2003

Hopefully everyone had a great holiday weekend, and while much of the nation turns their eyes to boring early season college football, the smart minds will be following the pennant races closely in the last month of the season.  Let's take a look back and see what conspired in August and who made your fantasy team climb in the rankings.

AL Fantasy Pitcher of the Month
Johan Santana
That's not a misprint.  All you need to know about Santana in August is 5 wins, only 5 earned runs (1.07 ERA), and 44 strikeouts.  Add those numbers to a 0.95 WHIP, and this month's AL Fantasy Pitcher of the Month is no contest.  The Twins will be relying on Santana's arm for one more month as they make a September playoff push.

Honorable Mention
Keith Foulke - 9 S, 1 W, 1.02 ERA, 0.56 WHIP
Tim Hudson - 5 W, 31 K, 1.62 ERA, 0.81 WHIP
Esteban Loaiza - 5 W, 44 K, 3.15 ERA, 1.08 WHIP

NL Fantasy Pitcher of the Month
Eric Gagne
Livan Hernandez put up a second straight month of big time fantasy stats, but Eric Gagne's August was incredible.  In just 17 1/3 innings, Gagne amassed 34 strikeouts, only allowed 1 earned run (0.52 ERA), was perfect with 11 saves, won 1 game, and posted a WHIP of 0.64.  With Smoltz on the shelf, there is no doubt who the best fantasy closer is right now.  How good is Gagne?  In less than half the innings, Gagne only struck out 1 less batter than Mark Prior in August.

Honorable Mention
Mark Prior - 5 W, 35 K, 0.69 ERA, 0.64 WHIP
Javier Vazquez - 4 W, 45 K, 1.15 ERA, 0.85 ERA
Livan Hernandez - 4 W, 47 K, 1.34 ERA, 0.94 WHIP

AL Fantasy Hitter of the Month
Alex Rodriguez
Carlos Beltran's reign ends, but at least the best overall player in baseball replaces him as the AL Fantasy Hitter of the Month.  Arod hit a whopping 15 home runs in August while still managing to hit .340, knock in 31, score 30, and even steal 5 bases.  Flying under the radar most of the season, Arod is putting up some big time fantasy numbers once again this year.

Honorable Mention
Carl Crawford - .301, 17 SB
Miguel Tejada - .327, 8 HR, 25 RBI, 22 R, 3 SB
Frank Thomas - .263, 13 HR, 31 RBI, 17 R

NL Fantasy Hitter of the Month
Scott Podsednik
No one really set the world on fire in the NL this past month, but Podsednik posted some nice numbers across the board, along with a hefty total in the all important stolen bases category.  Podsednik hit .364 with 3 home runs, 16 RBIs, 22 runs scored, and stole 12 bases, earning him this month's coveted award.

Honorable Mention
Gary Sheffield - .353, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 26 R, 4 SB
Reggie Sanders - .354, 8 HR, 23 RBI, 19 R, 4 SB
Vladimir Guerrero - .349, 10 HR, 25 RBI, 21 R, 2 SB

With only one month to go, this is when the stars seem to turn it on.  Arod may play for a last place team, but he gives everything he's got every day, and I expect to see him collecting his second straight award one month from now.  The same can be said for Eric Gagne, who hasn't blown a save since Reagan was in office (or so it seems) and is striking out almost 2 batters an inning.