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The 2008 season has been full of surprises. Tampa Bay is in first. TAMPA BAY IS IN FIRST! Despite having only a total of 15 HR as a team, Oakland is in first place. As for my fantasy team, well, let’s just say that I am no Tampa Bay. Here are this past week’s top performers. Are there any surprises?
Brandon Phillips (2B), Cincinnati Reds: 10 hits, 4 HR, 8 RBI for last year’s 30/30 second baseman. Those 4 HR account for his 5 on the season, so to say this was a big week is an understatement. However, the talent is real and it looks like he will be close to 2007’s form.
Jason Giambi (1B), New York Yankees: Fantasy’s forgotten slugger was 6 for 16 (.375) last week with 3 long balls. His batting average is still a pathetic .167 after 21 games. Giambi’s best days are far behind him. No steroids equals no talent.
Emil Brown (LF, RF), Oakland A’s: Yeah, did you know that Emil Brown is tied for 2nd in the majors in RBI with 25? Brown knocked in 8 of those last week. He only has 3 HR, but he keeps getting the opportunity to drive them in. Be cautious though. It is said that he will platoon with Jack Cust after the signing of Frank Thomas. But with Cust hitting .169, don’t expect Brown to be benched too often.
Josh Hamilton (CF, RF), Texas Rangers: I was very high on this man before the season started and it looks like he is proving me right. His past weeks totals include 9 hits, 8 RBI, and 4 doubles. Hamilton leads the majors in RBI with 27 and is on pace for at least 30 HR. Oh baby, if you listened to me before the season started, then you have been happily rewarded.
Carl Crawford (LF), Tampa Bay Rays: Long seen as one of the most overrated fantasy players, Crawford had a big week by racking up 11 hits which included 3 triples. He also stole 4 bases and crossed the plate 6 times. He’ll never be a power threat and hit 20 homers, but he is as consistent with speed and average as you can get.
Carlos Quentin (LF, RF), Chicago White Sox: Bet you probably haven’t heard of this guy unless you’re from the South Side. Well take a good look at this stud, if you’re in a remotely competitive league he’s already gone. Why? In the past week, he was ranked the 4th overall fantasy hitter. He put up some gaudy numbers: .407 AVG and .613 OBP with 11 hits including 3 doubles, 2 homers AND 2 stolen bases. This Johnny Damon look-alike brings a hitter’s eye along with that pop and speed, walking 5 times this past week. What are you waiting for? Get him on your roster now.
Paul Maholm (SP), Pittsburgh Pirates: Who does this guy think he is? He is supposed to lose and be happy with it. Maholm, clearly trying to regain his 2005 form, got 2 wins bringing his season total to…2. The wins included a complete game two-hitter against the Phillies. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, but don’t expect it to last.
Edinson Volquez (SP), Cincinnati Reds: Remember Johnny Cueto and what a big deal he was? Yeah, me neither. The other young gun on the Reds brought his record to 4-0 by getting two wins and striking out 17 batters in 14 innings of work. Every start he is going longer and every start he is striking out more batters. Cueto who?
James Shields (SP), Tampa Bay Rays: Shields absolutely dominated the Red Sox by tossing a complete game shutout en route to his 3rd win on the season. He also won his other start against Toronto by going 7 strong and striking out 5. With an ERA of 2.54, Shields is out to prove he is not a one year wonder.
Brandon Lyon (RP), Arizona Diamondbacks: It’s been a while before we saw a closer in the wrap-up. Lyon got 4 saves while striking out 5 and not allowing one run or issuing a single walk. He lowered his ERA to 2.77 after a shaky start to the season and in fact hasn’t allowed a run since April 6th.
John Lannan (SP), Washington Nationals: The lefty pitched two gems this past week and picked up 2 wins in the process. He didn’t allow a run in 14 innings of work. He is still a free agent in a lot of leagues so clearly nobody is jumping on the bandwagon just yet. I say give it one more start and then make your decision.
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