At what point do we decide that Robinson Cano could be the best fantasy 2B? Right now? He had another 3 hit game last night, which raised his slash line to .376/.418/.615, has 12 home runs, 46 runs batted in and 44 runs scored. By comparison, Chase Utley is at .266/.384/.478 with 10 home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 40 runs scored. I think that Utley will rebound to his norms, but could Cano be a top-15 player going into the 2011 season?
Also, it's interesting to note here a tale of two players:
Player A: .321/.359/.538, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 4 SB, 35 R
Player B: .305/.369/.489, 8 HR, 36 RBI, 11 SB, 40 R
Player A is providing nearly equal value to Player B, with A having a better average and B having more stolen bases.
The identities of Player A and B, along with the rest of my thoughts about yesterday's games after the jump...
Would it surprise you that Player B is Ryan Braun, and Player A is Marlon Byrd? Byrd had another great game, hitting 2 home runs and driving in 3 runs to help lead the Cubs to victory. Clearly, I don't think that anyone expected Byrd to continue to hit like this into June. While Braun has provided a better value to your team in my opinion because of the extra stolen bases, the fact that this isn't as ludicrous as it ought to be tells you how well Byrd has done.
Not quite the attendance boom that they were hoping to get by being unclear about the debut of Strasburg, the Nationals played to a crowd of just over 18,000 last night, and the story there again was the debut of top prospects. This time, though, it was the Pirates' Brad Lincoln and Jose Tabata. Tabata went 2-4 with a run scored and a stolen base, while Lincoln gave up 5 earned runs and struck out 3 over 6 innings. I think Tabata is the one that has the potential to have more fantasy value, both short term and long term.
Joe Saunders led the Angels to a victory over the A's yesterday, with a 1 run, 8 baserunner performance. It's games like this that make me wonder if Saunders should be owned in more than the 5% of leagues he is (ESPN), but then I remember that he had a WHIP of 1.56 and an ERA of 4.78 coming into the game.
Carlos Zambrano made his second start since returning from the bullpen, but it doesn't really appear that he's going to be right for a bit still. He went 5 innings, making only 88 pitches, but only striking out 2 and walking 5 en route to the victory. I think that if you've held him for this long, you're probably not going to give up on him now. Realistically, though, hopefully you're not going to insert him into the lineup quite yet.
Mariano Rivera just goes out there, and gets the job done night in and night out. He recorded his 14th save last night, another perfect inning. For the season, he now has a 1.33 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, and has struck out 16 in 20 2/3 innings pitched. What really amazes me about Rivera is the consistency. It seems like I am seeing closer meltdowns constantly on the highlights, and yet, I can't remember a time in the last few seasons where he has one.
Seth wrote up Justin Masterson's complete game shutout yesterday, and I have to say that it was very nice to see Masterson put it together against a really good lineup. Hopefully this will be the start of a string of good performances out of him.
Scott Rolen went 3 for 3 again last night, with 2 doubles, a run and an RBI. Clearly, everything is clicking for Rolen, as he is hitting .304 and has driven in 41 so far. I think he could end up as a top-5 3B if he keeps this up. Also from this game, Buster Posey went 2 for 4 with 2 more RBI. While he's not really playing catcher for the real team much, he's probably in my own top-10 for right now until the end of the season. The kid can clearly hit.
David Price won his 9th game of the season last night, and became the first AL pitcher to do so this year. I am a little bit concerned about the fact that it took him 104 pitches to get through 6 innings (partially due to 5 walks), but overall he's been everything that was expected as a top prospect before the start of last season.
B.J. Upton also had his 18th stolen base of the season, to go with 2 runs and 2 hits. While I think that the .240 average is real, he still looks like he can steal 50 bases and hit 10-15 home runs, which definitely is a good value in spite of the low batting average.
Vladimir Guerrero continues his hot hitting, driving in 2 more runs to bring his total to 51 for the season to go with his .336 batting average. Even if he doesn't end up qualifying at OF in your league, he's going to end up as one of the few UT players that must be owned. I could honestly see a 30-120 season out of Guerrero this year. And an excellent payday after the season.
I'm not entirely sure why, but the Rangers brought closer Neftali Feliz into a 12-2 game with 1 out in the 9th inning. He hadn't pitched since the 4th, so that could have something to do with it. I'll keep you posted if there was some particular reason besides that to have him pitch yesterday.
Very quietly, Delmon Young has 7 home runs and 35 runs batted in. For someone who was essentially not worth owning at the start of the season in most leagues, he's quietly become a reasonable 4th or 5th outfielder, and even a 3rd outfielder in some leagues. While he still isn't likely to give you a lot of steals, he should continue to give a .275 batting average.
Very scary collision in the Braves-Diamondbacks game, as CF Nate McLouth and RF Jason Heyward collided while chasing down a flyball. McLouth was the only one to leave the game, as Heyward got up to chase after the ball while the play was still going. I'd probably keep an eye on Heyward for tomorrow, and see if he is just given the day off or if he misses the game due to effects of the collision.
Kenshin Kawakami just can't buy a break. 6 innings, 8 strikeouts, no runs allowed, and still no victory this season. At some point, he's bound to get a victory, but I just don't know when that's going to be. He's already 0-8 on the season, in spite of the fact that the Braves have played very well. Just not for him apparently.
Clayton Kershaw continues to dominate National League hitters, striking out 10 and only allowing 3 ER over 7 innings en route to a victory. The upside is, as it has always been, extremely high. He did only walk 2 last night, so that's a good omen as well. Kershaw reminds me a bit of Rich Harden, but with a bit higher basement on his value.