by Ryan Butler
Here they are, the best performances from Week Two:
Matt Kemp- I didn’t think it would be possible for him to match his outstanding Week One performance, but he actually bettered it in Week Two. He hit .520 (13/25) with five runs scored, eight RBI, two homers, and two steals. I have never been a fan of him or the team he plays for, but it is nice to see a great talent play up to (or over) his level of ability.
Lance Berkman- No one saw this coming. After a dismal 2010 (48/14/58/3/.248) the Cardinals inexplicably gave him $8 mil to play for them this season. It looked like a bad contract, but if his Week Two production is any indication at all, he may end up being a bargain. He went 10-for-24 on his way to an incredible 9/6/8/0/.417 week. Ownership of Berkman has risen 7% over the past week on Yahoo! leagues.
Troy Tulowitzki- He killed it in Week Two, going 7/4/8/0/.519. He finished last season as the hottest hitter in baseball and he has started 2011 in similar fashion. He has usurped Hanley Ramirez as the best fantasy SS. Health is the only concern with Tulowitzki.
Dan Haren- The 1-2 punch of Haren and Jered Weaver is looking mighty tough to beat thus far. Haren’s K/BB rate of 27/2 is unreal, as is his 1.17 ERA and 0.65 WHIP. He won two games this week in 15.1 IP with 14 Ks.
Michael Pineda- His ownership percentage is at 53% and climbing. Rest assured the only thing holding that figure so low is the fact that he plays for the Mariners, who have the weakest hitting in baseball. Pineda doesn’t seem to care, since he won both his Week Two starts with 12 Ks in 13.1 IP, a 1.35 ERA, and a 1.05 WHIP. With numbers like that, fantasy owners will soon have no choice but to swoop him up. Grab him, if you haven’t already.
Livan Hernandez- He won both of his starts this week, so I have to give the old man his props while I still can. He had a 1.32 ERA with a 0.95 WHIP along with 9 Ks in 13.2 IP. Most of you probably didn’t know this, since he is only owned in 5% of Yahoo! leagues. I don’t expect that figure to change much, since Hernandez is a .500 career pitcher with a K/9 of only 6.2. Maybe he is getting better with age, though; his 3.66 ERA last season was the third-lowest full-season line of his career.
Brian Wilson- He allowed five earned runs in his first two appearances of the season, but in four save opportunities since, he has only given up one measly base hit. For the week he had four saves and five Ks in 3.1 IP with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.30 WHIP. He has clearly returned to form after starting the season on the DL, and is back to being a Top-Five fantasy closer.
Jose Valverde- W’s from a relief pitcher are a rare and welcome treat for fantasy owners. Valverde managed to secure two of them this week. He only had one save and two Ks in 3.0 IP, but a 0.00 ERA and 0.67 WHIP are very nice to look at.
Mariano Rivera- In nine games this season, he has yet to allow a run and has given up only four base-hits. He also hasn’t walked anybody. In Week Two he recorded three saves, one win, and three Ks in 4.0 IP, good for a 0.00 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP.
Honorable Mention: Starlin Castro- He’s hitting .418 overall, and he really went nuts in Week Two, hitting .536 (15-for-28) with a home run, seven runs scored, five RBI, and two SB. He fell to the mid-late rounds in most drafts, and is looking like a major steal right about now. He will win a batting title one of these years.
Honorable Mention, II: Colby Rasmus- He’s been consistent since day one, and really seems to be coming into his own as a hitter. He scored 10 runs this week and hit .371 (13-for-35) with one home run and four RBI. He’s batting .364 overall and has been held hitless in only three games this season.
Dishonorable Mention: Hanley Ramirez- Tulo is making you look really bad, dude; step your game up. You were a Top-Five player in virtually every preseason rankings list, and your numbers so far (4/0/4/1/.244) have been dismal.
Dishonorable Mention, II: Joe Nathan- Reports are his velocity has been down, so much so that it has cost him his job. At least for the time being, anyway. In 5.1 IP he has an 0-1 record, an 8.44 ERA, a 2.06 WHIP, and two blown saves in five save opportunities. The only thing he has going for him right now is the fact that his replacement, Matt Capps, is no great shakes himself.