Francouer, Berkman and Quentin are the biggest surprises of 2011
Fantasy Baseballers love statistics, particularly the trendy ones like strikeout-to-walk ratios, BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and OPS (on base plus slugging). Sometimes you just need to understand a good baseball player.
Some are easy to see, because they stick on the stats pages like superheroes. The starts of Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun and Troy Tulowitzki come to mind.
Well, stat hogs are getting some rewards for their patience in the starts of Lance Berkman (.377 average, six homers, 15 RBI, 14 runs, 0 steals, .449 OBP and .725 SLUG) and Carlos Quentin (.293-6-16-7-0, .376-.646). These OPS monsters are slugging like the MVP candidates they used to look like as solid middle-to-late round picks.
Most of the top hitters in fantasy to date have come as expected from the early rounds. Kemp, Braun, Votto and Tulo were near the top of their positions in every making ranking. Even Jose Bautista (seven homers) was a top-30 pick in average draft position.
The industry standard for evaluating a player tends to be a three-week period. Well, look at who chimes in through three-plus weeks at No. 10: the anti-stat hog, and out-machine, Jeff Francoeur himself.
Drafted in just 14 percent of leagues, Frenchy has seen his ownership rise to 82 percent. There are believers again!
Albeit only because they can read the stat sheet.
He hasn't been this good since his rookie season, perhaps. But there is something to be said for a player who is finally away from the pressures of living up to the expectations of Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox and the New York market.
Kansas City can be a nice place to thrive away from the limelight. Francoeur, somewhat like Berkman and Quentin, just might be a lot better than anyone would have imagined this season.
He is not only worth owning at this point, but he is a must-have -- seam-stat-heads be damned.
Now on to our usual Monday review of this week's trends ...
It is tough to compete with a pair of complete-game victories, so the Rays' James Shields wrests the player of the week honors from the Angels for the first time this season. Shields struck out nine and seven in his two starts and allowed just four hits each time, capping it off with a shutout Sunday. Ryan Braun, 27, and a surprisingly resurgent Daisuke Matsuzaka get honorable mentions.
Here are some of the more intriguing players who are coming into playing time due to injury:
The most-added players:
1. RP Mitchell Boggs, STL
Madson and Boggs are closers for contenders now, while Lohse looks like he is going to win 15 games this season. Lowrie is enjoying a breakthrough in his age-27 season, while the LegendofSamFuld.com continues somehow. Fuld is a must-have in Rotisserie leagues, but that's about it.
The most-dropped players:
1. RP Ryan Franklin, STL
Franklin is worthless now that he no longer serves a closer's role, and Belt is back in the minors where he belongs for now. Stewart doesn't belong in the minors and won't stay there long. He should be back up as the Rockies' everyday third baseman again in May. Pick him up and stash him if he was dropped in deeper leagues, particularly NL-only formats.
The most-scouted players:
1. RP Madson, PHI
Barney and Roberts are just hot at the plate right now and shouldn't be considered outside of deeper NL-only leagues. Gomez, Blake, Lowrie and Wolf are streaky options useful as pick-ups in mixed formats right now. This looks like a breakthrough year for Lowrie, and likely Gomez, too.