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Well the first week of the fantasy season is in the books. Odds are owners are going through two emotions: either you have already given up and want to trade half your team or you are already planning your victory speech. We have some unexpected stars and stars that are fading. But this isn’t astronomy, it is fantasy baseball, and let’s see who has been producing.
Xavier Nady (OF), Pittsburgh Pirates: The #1 ranked player in fantasy baseball. This is not news because Nady usually starts out white hot. Nady already has three home runs and nine RBI on the year. Sorry Nady owners, he won’t hit .385 all year. All I can is just enjoy it while it lasts.
Rick Ankiel (OF), St. Louis Cardinals: I told ya so. Ankiel has three homers which included two in the weekend series with Washington. He is hitting #2 in front of Pujols so he will see pitches to hit all season.
Howie Kendrick (2B), LA Angels: Who leads the majors in hits? A draft day sleeper that could one day be a batting champion. Kendrick had six hits during the Angels series with Texas. With 2B being so shallow, Kendrick is a nice surprise.
Jeff Keppinger (3B, SS), Cincinnati Reds: With Alex Gonzalez on the DL, Keppinger is making his case for a starting job. Keppinger is hitting .435 with two home runs and a stolen base. When Gonzalez comes off the DL, Keppinger may go back to the bench but, if he keeps this hitting up, Dusty Baker will find it impossible to ignore his skills.
Nate McClouth (OF), Pittsburgh Pirates: McClouth is tied for the major league lead in hits (12). He also has some pop to his bat with one home run and five doubles which adds up to a .714 slugging. He also swiped two bags. He has some power and he has speed. He is a darkhorse for 20/20. Grab him if he is still free.
Jake Peavy (SP), San Diego Padres: No surprise here, Peavy is ranked as the best pitcher in Yahoo!; he has won both his starts and has a complete game. He has struck out 12 batters in 16 innings. It is just business as usual for Peavy.
Ben Sheets (SP), Milwaukee Brewers: This is an excellent sign for owners, Sheets has pitched 15.1 innings without allowing a run and striking out 15 batters. He is 1-0 and has a complete game. There is no guarantee that he will stay healthy for a whole year. But don’t concentrate on his negatives and just pray he stays away from injury.
Johnny Cueto (SP), Cincinnati Reds: The most added player in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball, Cueto threw a gem against the Diamondbacks (7 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 10 K). Heralded as the best young pitcher in spring, the secret was out after the Arizona game. If he is still available in your league, then it is not competitive.
Joakim Soria (RP), Kansas City Royals: Kansas City is 1st in the AL Central. No, that is not a typo. Soria has saved three games already and hasn’t allowed a run or surrendered a walk. His ERA may not last as one of the best, but he will get the saves and get the K’s.
Rich Harden (SP), Oakland Athletics: He’s back, and even more scary is the fact that he is healthy. He has struck out 15 in 11 innings with a 1-0 record. He has walked seven batters which does bring up some control concerns. Injury is also a question because Harden is notorious for not staying healthy. Just like with Sheets, ride it for as long as you can.
SportsofBoston Friends and Family League
The top five spots in the 12 team league are occupied by writers of SportsofBoston with KC at the top. Not far behind are fantasy editors, Dev and myself at 2nd and 3rd respectively. I was trailing all week up until Sunday where my team was 13/35 with a home run and four RBI. My recent pick up of Reds starter Edison Volquez helped me make minimum innings, get a win, and win the strikeout category. Recent pick ups include: Jeff Keppinger, Scott Hairston, Cliff Floyd, and Jose Lopez.
Dev dominated most of Week 1 with hot starts from Derrick Lee, Hanley Ramírez, and recent pick up Nate McLouth carrying his team. Despite his success, he is eagerly awaiting the return of Curtis Granderson to really kick his offense into high gear. His pitching put up stellar numbers in light of Pedro Martinez’s utter collapse on Tuesday. The rest of his rotation provided six Quality Starts including two from Aaron Harang.
PICK UP OF THE WEEK
The winner of the Johnny Cueto sweepstakes was SportsofBoston’s KC.