By: James Sargent
- Buster Posey: Buster Posey is putting up ridiculous numbers on the season, and he has only been in the majors since May 29. I remember going to a Spring Training game earlier this year, watching him play and thinking to myself, “Wow, there is no way this kid stays down in the minors for too much longer.” What do you know, now he is the starting catcher for the San Fransisco Giants and absolutely just raking the ball. His performance so far this season is also a pivotal reason that led the Giants to trade Benjie Molina to the Rangers. Last week, Posey batted .565 with four home runs and 13 RBIs. Posey is a must own in all league formats, and his eligibility at catcher makes him a fantasy stud going into the second half of the season.
Adam Dunn: Adam Dunn is arguably putting together the best season of his career. He is now hitting .288 with 22 HR and 59 RBIs in 2010. His 22 long balls are tied with Joey Votto for the National League lead in home runs. Dunn had a spectacular last week, going 10-for-22 with five home runs and 10 RBIs. Since Dunn will be a free agent after this season, he is definitely putting up crazy numbers to get more money if he moves on from the Nationals or resigns. Personally, I believe that the home runs and RBI numbers will continue to rise, but since Dunn has never hit over .267 in his career, don’t be surprised if that average falls down to the .250 to .260 range by the end of the season.
Carlos Gonzalez: Carlos Gonzalez is continuing his breakout season and sits near the top of the league in pretty much every offensive category, with 17 homers, 60 RBIs, 56 runs scored and 12 steals. I think he will finish the year as a part of the 30-20 club (30 homers and 20 steals). Last week Gonzalez hit three home runs, scored seven runs and drove in eight runs. His batting average is an astounding .314 and he is a big reason why the Rockies are two games out of the NL West and tied for the Wild Card lead. This young outfielder is only going to improve, and I am not happy because he used to be a part of the Diamondback’s minor league system. I guess I like Dan Haren though so whatever.
Jason Bay: Jason Bay is not having the season he was hoping for with the New York Mets. His average is low, his home run numbers are not where they should be and his clutch hitting is not coming when it usually does. Last week was definitely a week to forget for Bay. He recorded one hit, going hitless in his last three games, and only drove in two runs. In his past two games, Bay even drew boos from the home town fans at Citi Field. Although the Mets are an above .500 team and only four games out of first, Bay needs to step up his game and help out David Wright to lessen the load.
Chris Coghlan: Chris Coghlan had one good game last week, going 3-for-5, and the rest of his nights were hitless accounts. Overall, he is having a pretty decent season coming off winning the NL Rookie of the Year, but last week did not help his numbers. To be honest, the Marlins do not get much “TV time”, so I do not know too much about them. The only player I would feel comfortable talking about is Josh Johnson. Anyways, regarding Coghlan, he has skills to be stud so keep an eye on him and play him when he is hot.
Elvis Andrus: Although Elvis Andrus made the All-Star Game, he has been struggling as of late. There had been no sophomore slump until recently for Andrus, who batted .241 with five steals over the final 36 games of the first half. Last week he only picked up two hits and only stole one base. Owners need to remember that he is only 21 years old and the 162-game season is sure to still affect him. If things start to work out again for Andrus, expect around 95 runs and 30 stolen bases at the end of the season.
Vicente Padilla: Vicente Padilla pitched eight innings of two-hit ball to lead the Los Angeles to a 7-0 victory over Chicago on Sunday night. This was Padilla’s longest start of the season, and he improved to 3-0 over his past three games. His ERA in those last three starts is an astounding 1.25 as well. If for some reason Padilla is available in your league, now might be a good time to grab him.
Johan Santana: Johan Santana was off the charts last week. He first pitched a complete game shutout against the Reds, and then in his next outing he pitched seven innings of shutout baseball against the Braves. He only gave up eight hits total and struck out a total of 10 batters. Santana has now allowed just one run in 23 innings since making a recent tweak to avoid tipping his pitches. He’s red-hot heading into the All-Star break and most likely a must-trade-for pitcher since he is most likely owned in all leagues.
Travis Wood: Who is this Travis Wood kid? I had never heard of him until I was watching SportsCenter the other night. Wood entered the ninth inning against the Phillies with a perfect game on the line, but catcher Carlos Ruiz broke it up by hitting a double to open the ninth. Wood left with a no decision since the game went into extra innings, and has only recorded no decisions since being called up. Through three big-league starts, Wood has a 2.18 ERA. It will be interesting to see if this youngster is legit or just riding high off an almost perfect game.
John Lackey: John Lackey is coming off a very ugly start, in which he surrendered seven earned runs in four and two-thirds innings of work. He struggled with his location all game, walking six batters and only striking out two. Other than the nine victories he has on his stat sheet, this has sure been a season to forget for Lackey at this point. Hopefully the All-Star break will give a little life back to the usually consistent right-hander.
Ricky Romero: Ricky Romero failed to make it out of the third inning for his second consecutive start. The Red Sox pounded Romero for nine runs (five earned) in just two and one-third innings. The only saving grace one could argue is that both starts were against the Yankees and the Red Sox, two outstanding offensive teams. I’m not a huge fan of Romero and I believe he is way too erratic to become a solid starter. At best, I believe he will be a .500 pitcher and nothing more.
Francisco Liriano: Out of the three pitchers I picked, Francisco Liriano had the worst start of all. Liriano gave up seven runs before the second inning was over. He lasted just one and two-thirds innings and allowed three walks as well. Just when Liriano starts the 2010 season off with a bang and everyone thinks he bounced back from elbow surgery, he has regressed lately, going 0-4 in his last five starts. Again, Liriano will need to use this All-Star break, like most other struggling players, to find out what is going wrong and fix the problems. Liriano is a very streaky pitcher and can show such so much greatness at points and then show how bad he can be at other points.