by Jared Cothren
↑Starlin Castro- The slick fielding shortstop for the Chicago Cubs is off to a fast start this season. 15 games into the season and he’s still batting over the .400 mark (.418) and leading the league in hits (28). The Cubs have a lot of confidence in the young 21-year old and placed him in the leadoff spot in the order and he responded by hitting .536 this last week. He’ll have opportunities to score lots of runs and has potential to hit well over the .300 mark for the year.
↑Lance Berkman- Berkman must have taken a sip from the fountain of youth as he’s swinging the bat as if he were 7 years younger. Berkman is on a tear (.417 with six homers and 12 RBI’s this past week). If he is available in your league, pick him up and enjoy it while it lasts as his deal with the devil could run out soon.
↑Aaron Harang- Harang needed to get out of hitter friendly Cincinnati and there is no refuge better than the pitcher friendly alleys of Petco Park. So far this season, Harang is 3-0, with a 1.50 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, with his best start coming on the road last week against Houston (6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER and 8 K). For a pitcher that was always susceptible to the long ball, he has not given up a home run yet this season. He’s still available in most leagues and worth an add in 10+ team leagues.
↓Joe Nathan- One of the first closer casualties of the 2011 season, Nathan has lost his job as the primary closer of the Twins. He’s been awful, blowing back to back save opportunities. He actually approached Ron Gardenhire to have himself removed as closer and out of the backend of the rotation. This means he will not be the 7th or 8th inning guy, unless there is a considerable lead.
↓Carl Crawford- Crawford is off to a bad start in Beantown and the prized off-season free agent has already found himself demoted to the 7th hole in the batting order. Although it’s too early to consider him a bust, his start is very troubling. He has seven hits in 55 at bats with only one extra base hit. Add that he only has one RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases, he is definitely downgraded in our player rankings.
↓Francisco Liriano- The Minnesota Twins are lucky it didn’t get the “three down hat trick,” as I considered adding Joe Mauer to this list as well. I cut Mauer some slack due to the viral infection, but Liriano has definitely earned his way onto this list. In three starts this season, Liriano is 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA, nine BB, and only 12 K. He has not made it to the 6th inning in any of his starts and his worst outing came last week against Kansas City when he gave up seven earned runs in only five innings. Keep him on the bench until he pulls it together.
ßBuster of the Week: Manny Ramirez- As you heard, Manny Ramirez retired for once again failing to pass the league mandated drug tests for PEDs. He was not off to a blazing start anyways (1-for-17 and batting .059). This closes the book on another storied slugger who, like Bonds and Sosa and Palmeiro, turned to performance enhancers and eventually got caught.
ωWAG of the Week: Minka Kelly (Girlfriend of Derek Jeter)- Jeter is the modern day Mickey Mantle. With the quality of women he’s been linked to, nobody would mind being his Eskimo Brother. Follow these links: