by Ryan Butler
The Players of Week Four:
Ben Zobrist (8/3/15/3/.480): No surprise here, as he had one of the best single days (a double-header) in fantasy history, which accounted for two-thirds of both his home run and RBI totals. Fortunately for those who own him, unlike in real baseball, two great games can make for a great week.
Placido Polanco (6/0/4/0/.500): I have to give a shout out to my man Placido, one of the best and most underrated hitters in the game. Now in his 14th season, he is a career .304 hitter with an AB/K rate of 14/1. He may be lacking in the power and speed departments, but a 12-for-24 week earns him a spot on this list.
Juan Rivera (3/2/6/1/.423): And to think, exactly one week ago today, Rotobrian and I were bad-mouthing this guy about what a disappointing career he has had. He may end up being a very capable (and much cheaper) replacement for Vernon Wells in Toronto.
Roy Halladay (17.2/2/22/1.02/0.79): In week four, Halladay showed why he is the best pitcher in baseball. No pitcher is as consistently durable and dominant as Halladay, and unlike most pitchers, a week of this caliber is not an anomaly.
James Shields (17.0/1/19/0.53/0.76): Despite Kyle Farnsworth blowing the save after Shields’ outstanding effort on Saturday, Shields has been one of the best and most surprising starting pitchers in baseball thus far. This is the second week in a row that he has earned a spot on this list. (Editor’s Note: Sell High!)
Jason Marquis (15.0/2/9/1.80/1.00): It was a great week for the usually mediocre Marquis. He went toe-to-toe with Tim Lincecum and won, throwing a complete game shutout. Subsequent to beating Bigtime Timmy Jim, ownership of Marquis has risen to an astounding 9% in Yahoo! public leagues.
Brian Fuentes (1-0/4/2/2.70/1.20): Though he has two blown saves on the year, the A’s are fortunate to have a pitcher of Fuentes’ quality to fill-in for the injured Andrew Bailey. He blew a save this week, but in doing so, opened himself up to the opportunity to vulture a win, which is exactly what ended up happening. He is owned in 72% of Yahoo! public leagues. He will pose a difficult decision for those who own him when Bailey comes off the DL.
Joel Hanrahan (0-0/4/3/0.00/1.50): This one comes from the “so far, so good” file, as he is 8/8 in save chances in 2011. His K/9 (8.0), while very good, is down from last season, and his BAA (.291) is way up. Perhaps he is pitching to contact more than in the past, and he’s only walked four batters all season. But don’t fret, he’s no Ryan Franklin, who took the “pitch to contact” philosophy to new and terrible heights.
Huston Street (0-0/3/3/3.00/1.00): He’s 10/10 in save opportunities this year, making him the most reliable closer in the young season. The Rockies, even with Carlos Gonzales’ struggles, look to be the team to beat in the NL West. Health has always been the question with Street. We’ll see how he holds up going forward.
Al Alberquerque: (0-0/9/0/0.00/0.25): Nine K’s is a very solid contribution to your team for a relief pitcher; Marmol-esque, even. And I love his name, too. Sounds like Yosemite Sam’s counterpart.
42% of Yahoo! Public League Owners: Because you still have Ryan Franklin. There are plenty of players out there who are far more deserving of his roster spot. Let him go.
And now for April’s Fantasy MVPs…
Players of the Month:
Hitter: Ryan Braun (24/10/23/3/.367): I was somewhat tempted to give this one to Matt Kemp, mostly on the strength of his eight stolen bases. Jose Bautista was in the running as well, but for a guy with nine homers, his RBI total (15) is curiously low. Remember in 2006 when Alf Soriano hit 46 bombs, yet only drove in 95 runs? That was weird. Anyway, Braun has been the best and most consistent hitter since the season started, and I don’t see any reason for him to slow down much. His BB/K rate (16/17) may be the most impressive stat of all.
Starting Pitcher: Jered Weaver (45.2/6-0/49/0.99/0.79): It doesn’t get much better than Weaver was in April. The only thing that kept him from a 7-0 record is an illness that caused him to miss his scheduled start on May 1. He’s 28, in his prime, and has a very limited injury history. He’s already a better pitcher than his big brother Jeff ever was.
Relief Pitcher: Huston Street (0-0/17/10/2.20/1.04): As I mentioned above, he has been the most prolific and reliable closer in either league. 10 saves is a lot to rack up in a month, and with a good offense and a solid group of setup men in front of him, Street is looking to have hist best season since 2009, when he converted 35 of 37 save chances.