I have to apologize for taking a week off from the blog. With the NBA and NHL playoffs, on top of some good baseball action, let’s just say I was…distracted. Lost in the excitement of the playoffs and the NFL Draft was the start of the fantasy baseball season. With more than a month’s worth of stats, you’re either in love with your fantasy team, or want to blow it up. Below, I’ve provided a list of guys you want on your team, and some that you don’t.
C Rod Barajas, Mets: .260, 18 runs, 10 HR, 24 RBI
Last season, Barajas batted .226 while playing for Toronto. While he may never hit for average, you have to be impressed with the pop in his bat early on. At this pace, he will crush his previous high of 21 homeruns in 2005. He’s owned in about half of fantasy leagues.
1B Ty Wigginton, Orioles: .300, 13 HR, 31 RBI
Not only is Wigginton simply raking it early on, but he has eligibility at three different positions. Basically, he’s fantasy gold. His 13 dingers are second in all of baseball. If he stays healthy, he could easily post over 30 homers.
2B Kelly Johnson, Diamondbacks: .257, 31 runs, 13 doubles, 12 HR, 25 RBI
Maybe all he needed was a change in scenery, but somewhere in his move from Atlanta to Arizona, Johnson found his power. Already this season he’s just four homers short of matching his career high. His doubles are also above average, which indicates he’s not just swinging for the fences every time.
3B Casey McGehee, Brewers: .313, 9 HR, 38 RBI
In my Brewers Breakdown post, I told you that McGehee was a good guy to have on your bench. Scratch that though, he’s showing that he deserves to be in your starting lineup every day. His 38 RBIs are best among all third basemen. Even more impressive, he’s doing it without striking out. A very impressive start for the bald basher.
SS Alex Gonzalez, Blue Jays: .275, 10 HR, 30 RBI
There’s something going on north of the border. Not only does the team lead the majors in homeruns, but guys like Gonzalez, who are mainly known as defensive players, are all the sudden hitting for big-time power. Something in the water? Maple syrup? Whatever it is, Gonzalez is on his way to a career year.
OF Andre Ethier, Dodgers: .392, 11 HR, 38 RBI
Fantasy owners always knew Ethier could hit. But no one saw him improving his batting average by 120 points. And he’s not just hitting singles either, having already posted 11 homers. Maybe even more impressive to stat geeks is that Ethier is doing it all with only 16 strikeouts (last season, he was sat down 116 times).
P Ubaldo Jimenez, Rockies: .99 ERA, 9 quality starts, 8-1 record, 58 K
Jimenez, much like Ethier, was always a good player. But this year, he’s taken his game to another world, and is easily in the conversation with fantasy stalwarts Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum as best pitcher in the game. True, he pitched a perfect game this season, but maybe the most impressive thing about his season is the consistency he’s bringing: he’s pitched six innings or more in each of his nine starts this season.
C A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox: .220, 2 HR, 13 RBI
Pierzynski has always had a lot of flair, but at least there was some substance to back it up. Not the case so far this year. It’s not surprising his power numbers are down, considering the wear on his body from a career behind the plate, but he’s not hitting in general. His .220 average is troubling after hovering around .300 much of his career.
1B Lance Berkman, Astros: .233, 5 HR, 14 RBI
There just isn’t much to be happy about in Houston. Between Roy Oswalt seeking a trade and Berkman putting up his worst numbers since his rookie season, it’s hard to believe this team was a contender for a number of years. Speaking of his rookie year, Berkman’s numbers were actually a little better across the board through 30 games. That’s not a good sign.
2B Gordon Beckham, White Sox: .187, 1 HR, 9 RBI
Beckham is only in his second year, and still possessing immense potential at the plate. But, by all accounts, this was supposed to be his breakout year. A sub-.200 average and very little pop is not what fantasy owners, let alone White Sox fans, expected. There could still be a bright future for Beckham, but it’s clearly not now.
3B Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: .160, 4 HR, 20 RBI
These are clearly not the numbers you’d expected from Ramirez. Through his career, he’s been a consistent .300, 25, 100 kind of guy. He’s battled injuries the past two seasons, and maybe that has something to do with his dreadful .269 slugging percentage. Still, as a cleanup hitter in a potentially potent lineup, fantasy owners expect more.
SS Yunel Escobar, Braves: .180, 0 HR, 8 RBI
A career .293 hitter, Escobar has struggled to put in the ball in play this year. His batting average is also affecting his plate discipline. Coming off a career, and contract, year, more was expected of Escobar.
OF Carlos Lee, Astros: .200, 5 HR, 16 RBI
Much like his teammate Berkman, Lee is trending in the wrong direction. El Caballo for his career is a .300, 30, 110 kind of guy. Those are the numbers you expect from a guy getting $19 million a year. Not the case this year. In fact, much like Berkman, he’s in line to post his lowest power numbers since his rookie year. There could still be hope, as he’s hit 4 homeruns in the last 15 games. But you might want to take caution with Lee.
P Trevor Hoffman, Brewers: 13.15 ERA, 5 saves, 5 blown saves, 1-3 record
Brewer fans are not at all surprised to see Hoffman’s name here. When Hells Bells blares out of the speakers at Miller Park, it scares Brewers fans more than opposing batters. Hoffman’s five blown saves are just two shy of his career high. His ERA has ballooned to over 13.00 after never topping 4.00 in his career. Because of a lack of bullpen depth, Hoffman will get more chances to close for Milwaukee, but he won’t get the same opportunity on many fantasy teams.
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This post was written by Stephen on May 23, 2010