ReviewMay 28, 2009


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Extended Rankings Notes: Week 8

By R.J. White

This week around, we’re going to use this space to provide a little more coverage on this week’s rankings. Before I get to it, big congrats go out to rookies and cream (aka Bryan, your Rankings master this week) for reaching the magical 5,000 post mark! He’s got a congratulatory thread in General Talk if you want to stop by and say hi. On to the notes…

Catchers

Questions of the week: How high will Matt Wieters debut in the Cafe Rankings? Top ten? Top five? And what nickname will he settle into? Matt the Bat? Baseball Jesus? Nintendo Wieters?

Moving on up: Joe Mauer has been the hottest hitter in baseball since his return from injury. Kudos to anyone that nabbed him later than usual in the draft, as he’s paying huge dividends both in the power and average departments. The multi-eligible Brandon Inge also moves up a spot after hitting a couple of homers in the last week. Jarrod Saltalamacchia also moves up a spot and also has two homers in the last week. John Baker is up two spots as he continues to show his power is legitimate. He’s the fifth ranked catcher based on this year’s stats alone. Kurt Suzuki moves up to 13, but he could be in danger of falling out of the rankings next week, as his high average has come down in recent weeks.

Moving on down: Victor Martinez has fallen one spot due to his current cold streak and the dominance of Mauer. Mike Napoli is the featured cold player this week, and Bryan notes that he’ll be losing DH at-bats with Vlad Guerrero back.

Moving in: A.J. Pierzynski’s solid average this week gets him into the rankings, though I suspect his stay might be short-lived. He’s only got 10 RBIs to go along with his four HRs and hasn’t driven anyone in since May 11. The last catcher in, Jason Varitek, has a better shot of sticking around. Despite the low average, he’s knocked eight HRs (three in the last week) to go along with 20 RBIs. He was also my choice to be an injury replacement in one of my leagues.

Moving out: Chris Iannetta drops out of the rankings after being placed on the DL. He and Varitek actually have very similar numbers this year, although Iannetta has quite a bit more upside. Ivan Rodriguez wasn’t able to keep his hold on the last spot in the rankings, as his average has been steadily dropping in the past week.

First Basemen

Questions of the week: Is Joey Votto O.K., Dusty? Are we sure? Do you want to continue sporadically starting and sitting him and drive fantasy owners mad in the process?

Moving on up: Mark Teixeira’s rejuvenation coincided with the return of A-Rod to the lineup, and it looks like he’s not going to cool down anytime soon. He hit his 15th HR last night, which was his seventh blast in the last ten games. Justin Morneau is playing on a Pujolsian level, though his average is 20 points higher and he doesn’t have Albert’s surprising seven SBs.

Moving on down: Ryan Howard loses a spot thanks to the rise of Teixeira. Adrian Gonzalez also moves down a spot after cooling off a bit. Adam Dunn and Jorge Cantu both move down to accommodate the return of a player activated from the DL.

Moving in: Kevin Youkilis is back in the rankings and picking up where he left off, with hits in six of his first seven games back.

Moving out: A seven-game hitless streak got Chris Davis off the list. Don’t expect to see him back until he proves last year wasn’t a fluke.

Second Basemen

Questions of the week: Are you back, Alexei? It’s us, your fantasy owners. Can we safely insert you back into the lineup and leave you in from here on out?

Moving on up: Chase Utley has once again taken the top spot on the rankings. He currently ranks fifth among 2Bs this season, but we feel he’ll have the most value from this point on. Chone Figgins is up a spot and swinging a hot bat, though he hasn’t been running as much as of late. The aforementioned Ramirez looks like he’s settling in batting second in the lineup. Asdrubal Cabrera continues to rack up hits, runs, and RBIs.

Moving on down: Ian Kinsler is in a bit of a funk and has lost his grip on the top spot. Orlando Hudson moves down a spot after amassing no HRs or SBs in the past week. The average is still top-notch. Marco Scutaro is down a spot, although he’s starting to heat up again after getting 10 hits in his last five games. Jose Lopez continues to underperform and is in danger of falling off our rankings and onto the FA list of the 44% of leagues in which he’s still owned.

Moving in: Kelly Johnson has steadily brought the average back up to the .240 range. He also knocked a couple of HRs this week.

Moving out: Ian Stewart and his horrible batting average are gone, likely for good.

Third Basemen

Questions of the week: The power is great, Mr. Rod, but can we keep bringing that average up please? And would it kill you to steal a base? If it would in fact kill you, or just send you back to the DL, then by all means just keep on doing what you’re doing, sir.

Moving on up: Alex Rodriguez is making up for lost time, hitting HRs in four straight games last week, two more in the series against the Phillies, and topping it all off with a 5-for-5 game in Texas. This was enough to put him on top of the rankings this week. Will one of the other three elite 3Bs be able to knock the king from the hill? For all that A-Rod has done since his return, Mark Reynolds has been even more amazing. He’s got 13 HRs and 10 SBs en route to being the fifth best 3B to date.

Moving on down: Most of the 3Bs move down a spot this week, due either to the rise of A-Rod or the return of Youkilis. Aubrey Huff moves down two spots after struggling through a ten-game homerless drought. Chris Davis plummets in the rankings due to his season long struggles.

Moving in: As mentioned earlier, Youkilis returns.

Moving out: Garrett Atkins hasn’t had a home run or a multi-hit game all month, which has put him in free agency in many leagues.

Shortstops

Questions of the week: How is Jason Bartlett on the DL? Isn’t Superman indestructible? Who do I replace Bartlett (or Jose Reyes) with?

Moving on up: Jimmy Rollins found his bat (it was actually in the cubbyhole the whole time) and has moved back into the top three. Jason Bartlett shoots into the top five before suffering an injury and heading to the DL. Miguel Tejada continues to prove his doubters (myself included) wrong, hitting three HRs and for a high average this past week. Stephen Drew’s up a couple spots, though he really deserves to be going in the opposite direction.

Moving on down: Michael Young flips spots with Rollins. Derek Jeter is on fire but moves down a spot to accommodate the rise of Bartlett. J.J. Hardy is down a spot and having back issues. Troy Tulowitzki looked like he was on the right track, but he’s cold again and down a few spots in the rankings. Rafael Furcal (buttocks) is having injury problems, although to be fair, he’s been a pain in many butts thus far. Cabrera and Scutaro drop a spot, yielding to a new entrant.

Moving in: Alexei Ramirez is doing it all this week, hitting for average and power and stealing bases. He’ll likely continue to rise in the rankings.

Moving out: Ryan Theriot has had a slow week and has been kicked to the curb in favor of Ramirez.

Outfielders

Questions of the week: How high can Raul Ibanez rise? Where does Vlad slot in after returning? And is Santa Juanica actually better than Mannywood?

Moving up: Carlos Beltran moves up to the second spot. Jason Bay is up to seven, which might be as high as he can go. Josh Hamilton did well initially after returning to the Rangers lineup, but he’s slowed down a bit recently. Ibanez leaps six slots and leads all OFs with 17 HRs. Unlike the 1B rankings, Dunn moves up a spot here. Torii Hunter can’t be stopped; he’s the game’s fifth best OF right now and rises six spots this week. Adam Jones continues to produce and moves up three spots. Nelson Cruz was the game’s best player last week and rises six spots. Johnny Damon is up a couple, as is Hunter Pence. Justin Upton’s OPS is above 1.000 right now, and he rises four spots. Juan Pierre is back up over .400 after a 3-for-5 night Wednesday and is up two spots so far.

Moving down: Grady Sizemore slips to three, though he looks to be in the middle of a turnaround. Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp are down a spot each, though the former is still a kleptomaniac on the basepaths. Carlos Quentin falls three spots; the free-falling average and an injured foot has me concerned. Alex Rios has done a whole lot of nothing this week and falls five spots. Shane Victorino and Jay Bruce fall a couple spots, though only the latter is cold right now. Bobby Abreu and Andre Ethier slip a bit; again, only the latter of the two is struggling. Adam Lind is super-cold and falls six spots.

Moving in: Vladimir Guerrero is back with the Angels. He checks in at 27 in his first week back.

Moving out: Jason Kubel has kept the average up, though a minor power outage has caused him to fall out of this week’s rankings.

Starting Pitchers

Questions of the week: Has Zach Grienke locked up the Cy Young award yet? When will his ERA rise above 1.00? Is a sub-2.00 ERA season achievable?

Moving on up: Jake Peavy rises two spots and has five straight games with eight Ks or more, all quality starts. Justin Verlander is up another four spots and has 85 Ks in 63.1 IP. Johnny Cueto has been a top-ten starter so far and climbs nine spots in the rankings. Jered Weaver also climbs nine spots; he pitched eight brilliant innings last night, with his ERA shrinking to 2.36. Derek Lowe is 6-2 and up three spots. Wandy Rodriguez is up ten spots; he suffered a loss in his most recent start, but all six runs he allowed were unearned. John Lackey is up six spots and has eight Ks and only one walk in 12 innings. Adam Wainwright is up five spots, dominating his last three starts. Matt Garza, Aaron Harang, and Kevin Slowey all move up six spots. Edwin Jackson and Jair Jurrjens are racking up quality starts and move up eight spots each. Clayton Kershaw, Chris Young, Paul Maholm, Scott Baker, and Joe Saunders all move up a few slots.

Moving on down: James Shields and Roy Oswalt move down two spots after being good, not great, this year. Ervin Santana moves down five and looks like he could use more rehab time in the minors. Joba Chamberlain also moves down five and is walking too many batters. John Danks has only two quality starts in his last six games and moves down six spots. A.J. Burnett has gotten knocked around, allowing multiple runs in every start, before holding the Rangers scoreless on Wednesday. He falls seven spots. Something is wrong with Francisco Liriano; his 6.00+ ERA knocks him down five spots. Gil Meche moves down four after taking losses in five of his last seven starts.

Moving in: Chris Volstad is allowing 2-4 runs per start, but a 51/19 K/BB ratio hints at significant upside. Zach Duke has allowed two runs or less in seven of his ten starts. Mark Buerhle is in the rankings with a high win total and low ratios. Kevin Millwood is in for now, but his ERA is steadily rising.

Moving out: Scott Kazmir and his near-2.00 WHIP head to the DL, and not a moment too soon. Rich Harden has done much better than Kazmir this season, but he takes his reserved spot on the injured list nonetheless. Edison Volquez is out as well but should be back by Monday. Ricky Nolasco is in the minors for now and out of the rankings, but as I suggested him as the Sleeper of the Week, I’m confident he’ll be back in these rankings soon.

Relievers

Questions of the week: Wheeler? Isringhausen? Howell? Balfour? Nelson? Chad Orvella? Esteban Yan? Jim Morris?

Moving on up: Jon Broxton is up to two in the rankings and threatening to claim the top slot. Five wins and double-digit saves have him as the fifth-ranked overall player in Yahoo. Heath Bell and his tiny ERA move up a spot. Brian Fuentes jumps two spots and now has 13 saves to his credit. Scott Downs was having great success as the closer until just recently, and he might be giving back the four spots he gained in the rankings. David Aardsma hasn’t allowed a run since May 1 and moves up two spots.

Moving on down: Joe Nathan flipped places with Broxton and just started notching saves again after a two-week drought. Brad Lidge falls four spots; his job might be safe now, but he’s likely to fall some more in the rankings until he turns it around. Bobby Jenks drops three despite racking up saves, as his ratios have taken a bit of a hit. Mike Gonzalez falls three spots, and it’s possible he could only be a co-closer in the future. Brian Wilson weathered a couple rough outings and falls two spots. Kerry Wood falls nine spots after giving up four runs in a game and going almost three weeks without saving a game before adding a couple recent saves. Kevin Gregg and George Sherrill both fall four spots, though Sherrill has looked great after a shaky start.

Moving in: Frank Francisco is back and doing superb; he re-enters the rankings in the nine spot.

Moving out: With Francisco back, C.J. Wilson has fallen out of the rankings.

 
R.J. White (or daullaz) has been actively involved in fantasy sports for over 14 years, making him an addict at this point. He loves writing, the Atlanta Braves, music, the Buffalo Bills, theatre, the Philadelphia Eagles, his family, and the number 42, though not in that order.
 
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