April 22, 2010 - NL Fantistics Blog
1. Jorge Cantu (1B / 3B - Marlins) - Who knew that Jorge Cantu would jump out of the gate as one of the hottest hitters in baseball for the month of April? I certainly didn't. Cantu has hit safely in all 15 games this season (and if you pull the 'ol "dating back to last season" trick, his streak is at 19). Three of those 15 games have been for multi-hits along with 4 HR and 10-for-18 in XBH, bringing his OPS to .948. You will be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks Jorge Cantu is going to be this good for the year and his HR/AB of 15.0 will prove to be tough to sustain with a previous best season rate of 21.4 with 28 HR in 2005 (with the Rays) and 21.7 with 29 HR in 2008 with the Marlins. He looks to be on his way to breaking the 30 HR mark, but we have a ways to go.
2. Carlos Silva (SP - Cubs) - Sometimes you just sit back and ask yourself "am I really watching Carlos Silva pitch this well right now?" When you start asking yourself those kind of questions, its probably too good to be true. Or as a close friend once said, "at some point he'll run out to the mound, look at his glove and realize it says "Silva" on his glove. When that happens, he'll put up a 6-spot." Silva is now 3-for-3 in QS in his first season with the Cubs, posting a 0.95 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, and a K/BB of 6.0. Yes, THAT Carlos Silva. This is the same Carlos Silva that averaged 5.60 ERA from 2006 through 2009 with a 1.48 WHIP , 1.3 HR/9, 2.14 K/BB, and a 29-47 record. Those are four year totals. Its easy to draw a conclusion on Silva's potential to maintain this level of performance. Don't stick around to get burned.
3. Carlos Lee (OF - Astros) - Carlos Lee is on a long-list of superstars slumping to start the season. He did collect two hits in last night's game, which may be a good sign of things to come. He has yet to hit a HR this season and is batting just .145 with an OBP of .175 (just two walks). Lee has had 24 or more HR's in each of the last 10 seasons. For the last 3-years, Lee is hitting .305 with an .878 OPS, HR/AB of 19.5, and a XBH% of 10.5%. Lee turns 34 in June, but has remained relatively healthy for most of his career, playing in 160 games last year, a few injures kept him to 115 in 2008, but played in all 162 in 2007. I beg for owners to prematurely give up on guys like Lee. If they do in your league, be ready to pounce with a value (but not insulting) offer.
4. Aaron Harang (SP - Reds) - Another tough outing for Aaron Harang keeps his QS at just 1-for-4 on the season. He gave up 6 ER and 7 hits to the Dodgers in 5.2 IP on Wednesday night, bringing his record to 0-3 to start the season. When you talk Harang, you have to discuss strikeouts. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he is a far cry from his power strikeout years. Turning 32 in a couple of weeks, the veteran is averaging a K/9 of 6.23 in 2010. In 2007, he posted a K/9 of 8.5 followed by a drop-off to 7.5 and 7.9 in the last two years. His velocity hasn't declined, with his fastball averaging 91.3, basically flat to last year's 90.7, but his effectiveness to get the out pitch has obviously diminished. I think Harang's strikeout rate increases to the low-7.0's as he makes adjustments, but the days of him being a top fantasy SP are long gone.
5. Rickie Weeks (2B - Brewers) - We are all dying to know if this is the year for Weeks. The year where he realizes his potential AND stays healthy. So far, he hasn't disappointed. Weeks hit his 3rd HR of the season last night, raising his SLG to .596, OPS to 1.074, and AVG to .327. He has K'd 12 times, but has basically equaled his strikeouts with 10 BB's for a K/BB of 1.20. That's an important note as he has had a notoriously poor EYE in previous seasons. It was especially bad last year with a 3.52 K/BB in 162 PA and 2.04 for his career from 2003 through 2009. If Weeks can stay healthy (and that's a big "IF" for a guy averaging just 409 PA over the last 3 seasons), the 27 year old could finally have his big breakout season.