It was about the fourth or fifth inning when Clayton Kershaw’s eventual no-hitter (that likely would have been a perfect game if not for Hanley Ramirez’ error in the seventh), seemed like a foregone conclusion. Going up against the Rockies, one of the best offenses in the league, Kershaw and the single best individual performance of his career. All of his pitches were working, as he notched at least one of his 15 strikeouts with each of them. Exactly three balls left the infield, none of which were hit hard. It may not have been a perfect game, through no fault of Kershaw’s, but his 102 Game Score was the second highest in MLB history, trailing only Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game against the Astros in his rookie year of 1998.
That outing alone was enough to put Kershaw at the top of this week’s SI.com Fantasy Baseball Power Rankings, but, as we’ll soon see, he had another start later in the week that would rate as a career start for plenty of pitchers in the MLB. For Kershaw, however, it was just another ho-hum domination of an overmatched opponent.
These rankings highlight the 30 best players in fantasy baseball from the previous week, not going forward. This might shine a light on a few players owners may not know about who are on a hot streak, potentially worth picking up to slot into the utility spot for a week or so, or help owners make decisions regarding a trade. All stats are from games played from June 18 to June 24.
Kershaw followed up his should-have-been-a-perfect-game-but-I-guess-I’ll-settle-for-a-no-hitter performance by tossing eight shutout innings while allowing just six hits and fanning eight. When it comes to starting pitchers, there is a tier of one at the top.
We might look back on this week as the locus of Mesoraco’s career breakout. He went 8-for-19 with five homers and 12 RBI, putting up a ridiculous .593 OBP. In most week’s, that’s plenty good enough for the No. 1 spot in the rankings.
Encarnacion owns a regular spot in the rankings, and he got back this week by going 11-for-27 with four homers, nine RBI and nine runs scored.
Bryce Harper is set to return for the Nationals soon, but it won’t be at Rendon’s expense that he gets back on the field. The latter had a huge week, going 10-for-31 with three bombs, six RBI, six runs and three steals.
The Tigers may just have found something in Martinez. He crushed in the last seven days, hitting an even .400 (10-for-25) with four homers and nine RBI.
Even when Carlos Gonzalez returns from a finger injury, Walt Weiss is going to have to find a spot for Dickerson’s bat. He went 12-for-25 with a pair of homers, five RBI, seven runs and a steal in the last week.
You may not realize it, but Rizzo is all but a lock for the All-Star game at this point. He went 11-for-24 with three homers, six RBI and seven runs in the last week, and now boasts a .936 OPS on the year.
The Cubs acquired Arrieta for the laughable price of Scott Feldman at the 2013 trade deadline, and the former Oriole is starting to pay dividends. He took a perfect game into the seventh in his last start, and earned two wins while fanning 20 batters in 14 innings in the last week.
Morneau drove in 13 runs in the last seven days, belting two home runs and going 8-for-21 with a .409 OBP.
Abreu got back to his mashing ways last week, leaving the yard three times while driving in nine runs and scoring five of his own. If not for Masahiro Tanaka, it would be Abreu, and not the Yankees starter, running away with the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Bruce did a little of everything for the Reds and his fantasy owners last week. He went 8-for-27 with two homers, six RBI, nine runs and a steal.
His performance last week won’t change his ownership status, but Morrison lifted Seattle offensively. He went 9-for-27 with three home runs, eight RBI and a steal.
Ramirez went 11-for-28 with a pair of jacks, seven RBI, six runs scored and a .433 OBP last week. He doesn’t get a ton of attention with Jonathan Lucroy, Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun hogging the spotlight, but the veteran Ramirez is a key part of the Milwaukee attack.
Hahn was dominant in two starts last week, and it looks like he'll be a fixture in the San Diego rotation for the remainder of the year. He won both his starts, pitching 13 innings and striking out 15 while compiling a 1.38 ERA and 0.92 WHIP.
Colon notched a pair of victories last week, pitching 16 strong innings in the two starts combined. He only struck out nine batters, but had a 1.13 ERA and 0.56 WHIP.
Pearce remains widely available in fantasy leagues, and it might be time for owners to start taking notice. He had another big week, going 11-for-24 with two home runs, six RBI and a .552 OBP in the last seven days.
Napoli went 9-for-26 with three solo homers and five runs scored. He even added a rare stolen base, which was an even rarer swipe of home on a double steal.
Soriano had arguably his best week of the season, nailing down four saves while tossing five scoreless innings. He struck out seven and allowed just one batter to reach base.
If anyone can come somewhat close to challenging Clayton Kershaw’s reign as the best pitcher on the planet, it’s King Felix. He tossed 14 innings last week, fanning 14 batters and posting a 1.93 ERA and 0.64 WHIP.
Wheeler threw a complete game shutout in his only start in the last week. He struck out eight and allowed just four baserunners.
Odorizzi continued his strong 2014 season, striking out 10 in 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a win over the Astros last week.
Guthrie won both his outings last week, moving to 5-6 on the season. He pitched a total of 14 1/3 innings, striking out 14 and putting up a 1.88 ERA and 0.84 WHIP.
Zunino showed this week why the Mariners have been so excited about him, despite a rough showing in 2014. He went 7-for-19 with three homers, three RBI, six runs scored and a .429 OBP.
The Santana resurgence continued last week, as he went 9-for-20 with three homers, four RBI, five runs and a .560 OBP. If he and Lonnie Chisenhall continue to hit, the Indians can still make some noise in the AL Central.
Kinsler went 9-for-26 with two homers, six RBI, five runs and a steal last week. What’s more, he stroked a leadoff homer in his return to Texas, allowing him another measure of revenge against this former team.
While Hamilton has been hitting better of late, he can still do damage even when he’s getting on base just 30 percent of the time. He did just that last week, posting a .300 OBP but scoring six runs, driving in six more and stealing three bases.
Bumgarner pitched another gem last week. He picked up a win after twirling eight scoreless innings, fanning seven and allowing just four batters to reach base.
It has been a tough year for Wright, so he no doubt welcomed his performance over the last seven days. He went 10-for-23 with a homer, six RBI, five runs and a .440 OBP.
Cabrera keeps on igniting the Toronto offense, going 11-for-28 with one home run, four RBI, seven runs and a .452 OBP last week.
Lynn was very good in two starts last week. He emerged victorious in just one of his outings, but threw 14 combined innings, fanning 12 batters and amassing a 1.29 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. With Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the shelf, and Shelby Miller leaving his last start after just 2 2/3 innings, Lynn will have to pick up the slack.