He’s baaaa-aaaaack. Sleeper power bat Ian Stewart carried big expectations from fantasy owners entering his age-26 season, but a 2-for-26 start relegated him to the minor leagues to work out the kinks. After hitting .361 with three HRs in 11 games down on the farm, I’d say the kinks are worked out. Stewart was recalled Tuesday but didn’t start with a lefty on the mound, and that should be par for the course moving forward.
Remember, this is a guy that averages 23.5 HRs per 500 at-bats over the course of his career, so any uptick as he reaches his prime years would make him an instant fantasy starter. Will that happen this year now that Ian got his groove back? At only 25 percent owned, it’s definitely worth the investment of a waiver wire flier.
Also at 3B: Jack Hannahan (15 percent), Wilson Betemit (19 percent).
Kurt Suzuki (48 percent owned). The Oakland catcher has come back from the birth of his child to swing a hot bat, poking two HRs over the last week while also hitting for average. Speaking of average, it’s rebounded nicely from a lackluster 2010 level. So why is Suzuki owned in less than half of Yahoo’s leagues? Perhaps it’s his low upside, though at a position where quality numbers are hard to come by, you’d think Suzuki’s guaranteed at-bats would be celebrated at his current level of hitting.
Also: Wilson Ramos (12 percent), John Jaso (12 percent).
Luke Scott, BAL (35 percent). Scott is in the middle of one of his trademark hot streaks, hitting homers in four of his last six games while pushing his average up to .257. All I can say is enjoy it while it lasts. He’s great to ride while hot, but Scott belongs on the waiver wire for the majority of the season. Still, power-hungry fantasy owners would be fool to pass on a guy that’s slugged over .500 in his career.
Also: Brett Wallace (29 percent), Garrett Jones (21 percent).
Scott Sizemore, DET (3 percent). Sizemore had an inauspicious debut season with the Tigers in 2010, hitting .224 with three HRs in 143 at-bats. He found himself in Triple-A to start the season, and seemed to take offense to it. Luckily for him, he took out his anger on Triple-A pitching, to the tune of a .408 average and 1.100 OPS through his first 23 games on the farm. That performance, and the struggles of Will Rhymes, led to a call-up for Sizemore. He went 3-for-4 in the No. 2 slot in Tuesday’s debut, and big things could be on the horizon if he sticks in that lineup spot.
Also: Daniel Murphy (6 percent), Orlando Cabrera (38 percent).
Alex Gonzalez, ATL (32 percent). The other A-Gon has proven he can be a fantasy asset in the power department, hitting 23 HRs last season and 141 in his career. He already has four in 2011 through 112 at-bats, putting him on pace for another 20-HR season. Sure, it comes attached to a low average, but that kind of power just can’t be discounted from such a shallow position. I’d certainly prefer it to the more popular Omar Infante and Yunel Escobar.
Also: Yuniesky Betancourt (4 percent), Trevor Plouffe (0 percent).
Jason Bourgeois, HOU (2 percent). Who? Before you thumb your nose at this guy, check out the stats. A 3-for-5 night from the No. 2 slot on Tuesday brought his average to .390 on the season through 41 at-bats. He’s now collected 10 hits in his last 17 at-bats. But despite the high average, Bourgeois has an even better part of his game — elite speed. After collecting four SBs over his last three games, the speedster is up to nine this season (again, with just 41 at-bats). The hot hitter has seen plenty of playing time as of late, and that won’t change as long as he’s raking. Grab him for a week or two and enjoy the steals, even if the average drops from its lofty heights.
Also: Matt Joyce (14 percent), Luke Scott (35 percent), Peter Bourjos (25 percent), Garrett Jones (21 percent), Nyjer Morgan (11 percent).
Bud Norris (38 percent). Before we get into credentials, let’s list the pitchers this season heading into Tuesday that had more Ks than Norris’ 43 this season: Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander, Matt Garza (51 in 38.2 innings?!?), Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee. I’d say that’s some pretty good company. Norris was nearly untouchable in his last start, holding the Brewers to three hits through 7.2 shutout innings while striking out 11 and walking three. The time to buy is quickly running out, so be sure you grab this strikeout machine before it’s too late.
Also: Josh Tomlin (47 percent), Brandon Beachy (35 percent), Anibal Sanchez (37 percent), Bartolo Colon (31 percent), Scott Baker (31 percent), Jon Garland (11 percent).
Frank Francisco, TOR (46 percent). The supposed closer for the Blue Jays at the beginning of the season, Francisco was forced to spend a few weeks on the DL with a sore biceps. During his absence. Jon Rauch did a fantastic job of holding the job down, but even with that, the club named the two co-closers upon Francisco’s return. I predicted over at Razzball that Francisco would be instilled as the only closer sooner rather than later, and that Rauch had to be perfect to continue in the role. Last night he wasn’t, giving up two hits including a walk-off HR to B.J. Upton without recording an out. Expect Francisco in there for the next save chance, and if he continues his excellent start (two hits, two walks, one run in 5.1 innings), he’ll be the only guy getting save chances before long.
Also: Sergio Santos (49 percent), Mitchell Boggs (47 percent), Mike Adams (18 percent), Fernando Salas (15 percent), Eduardo Sanchez (10 percent), Vicente Padilla (6 percent). Yeah, that St. Louis pen is a doozy.
R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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