As the saying goes, "April showers brings May flowers." Now that the weather is bound to warm up across the country, fantasy owners should benefit from some consistency that will let us determine what to make of the season's first month. However, this welcome steadiness doesn't mean there won't be weekly trends we need to monitor. Let's take a look at how some players finished April, and what it means for their chances during May.
Ibanez is making the slow start by
Although I won't dispute his label as an injury risk, I will point out that Blalock did play at least 143 games each season from 2003 to 2006. Since then, he's challenged
While Ramirez spends most of his time walking back to the dugout after striking out, he does make the most of the rare instances he finds himself on base. One of this season's most controversial selections, experts put enormous expectations on Ramirez. This resulted in the Nicole Richie-thin Cuban going drafted as early as the third round in some leagues. Through 22 games, Ramirez is sporting a brutal .195 average with an equally horrendous .247 OBP. However, there is a silver lining on this brutality, as the gazelle-esque speedster has increased his BB% to 7.2 percent, giving him some opportunity to run. This past week saw Ramirez swipe three bags, even though he hit only .211. He's an incredibly streaky player, but his true value won't be revealed until Ozzie Guillen moves him up in the order (he's currently been batting anywhere from seventh to ninth). He'll get going, and even if it takes a bit longer, his legs are still helping out your team.
I haven't been shy about professing my man-love for Twins pitchers, and Blackburn is this week's Twin du jour. The 27-year-old righty spent this past week tossing two stellar seven-inning outings. A master of command, the former 29th round pick relies on getting ground ball outs (44.7 GB%). Not one to issue a free pass (2.01 BB/9), Blackburn is ERA-and WHIP-friendly. He won't give you many Ks (3.45 K/9), but he has three quality starts in five attempts, helping out fantasy teams in the win, ERA and WHIP departments.
The White Sox plan to party like it's 2005 after calling up World Series hero
People love a good comeback story. Cinderella Man and The Replacements just to name a few. Maybe that's why so many people salivated at Hafner's hot start this season. Fresh off a season in which he played only 57 games, Hafner owners were ecstatic with his four-homer start to the 2009 season. Low and behold, Hafner felt soreness in his right shoulder (ahem...the same shoulder he had surgery on last season) and scheduled a visit to Dr. James Andrews. Sound the alarm. Travis Hafner's career resurrection is in serious jeopardy. The good news is that
No one has ever accused Branyan of lacking power. Although, they may site his career .234 average as a reason he's never surpassed 315 at-bats in any season. The MLB's version of Paris Hilton, Branyan has been passed around to ten different teams, including seven in the last four years. Finding a home (and playing time) in Seattle, Branyan has finally combined his prodigious power with a respectable average. With six homers and a .314 average, Branyan currently finds himself mixed-league worthy. A .381 BABIP suggests the batting average is an accident, but there's no denying Branyan could hit 30 homers and approach 90 RBI this season. Just plan on him doing it with a .250 average.
A head-to-head owner's nightmare, Upton decided that he was going to be more "good" this week than "bad". A 10-game hitting streak has seen Upton's average climb from .167 to a respectable .268. Adding runs and RBI to the mix, Upton is looking like a three-category monster that has upside in both steals and average. Despite his propensity to slump at various times throughout the season, the Diamondbacks are committing to giving him ample playing time. Although it's probably too late, see if you can swindle a frustrated owner, especially in keeper leagues.
The cornerstone of the
In a week of impressive offensive outbreaks, none may be more meaningful than
Beckett has done his best