- AL Hitter: Marcus Thames, OF, Yankees (.429, 7 R, 6 HR, 11 RBI) - I would have liked to have given the award to my very own Alex Rios (.367, 8 R, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 3 SB), but those six home runs are too much to ignore. Thank goodness, by the way. We'd all hate for the Yankees to suffer a power outage with Alex Rodriguez on the shelf.
- NL Hitter: Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins (.536, 9 R, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 4 SB) - It's rare that you find such a no-brainer pick for the player of the week, and it's particularly surprising when you consider some of the other weeks people have had. Stephen Drew (.500, 11 R, 4 HR, 9 RB) and Carlos Gonzalez (.478, 8 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI) both have been outstanding, but Hanley's obscene batting average and his speed contribution put him a cut above everyone else.
- AL Pitcher: Gi0 Gonzalez, SP, Athletics (2-0, 11 K, 1.38/0.92) - It was kind of a tough week to pick the best AL pitcher, because nobody really had crazy strikeouts, which is usually my tie-breaker. Gonzalez was at least second in K's this week, and had a pair of wins and an excellent ERA and WHIP. Kudos must be extended, however, to Rick Porcello, who gave up just one run and just six base-runners over 14 innings in a pair of wins. His paltry 8 strikeouts, though, means you're just pleased, not super-pleased.
- NL Pitcher: Carlos Zambrano, SP, Cubs (2-0, 15 K, 0.71/1.11) - Remember when Big Z was yanked from the starting rotation? Now, do you remember when he was a top 10 starting pitcher in fantasy baseball? We're closer to that now than the other thing...well, okay, maybe not. But Zambrano has definitely bounced back from his rough spring.
I had an idea for a different feature this week, but it's better suited for closer to the end of the season. So, for kicks, I'm going to rank my entire team, top to bottom. Obviously this is subject to fluctuations, and should only be used for entertainment purposes.
- Miguel Cabrera, 1B (.342, 94 R, 33 HR, 107 RBI, 3 SB) - Arguably the best hitter in baseball. Notice I said hitter, to eliminate the stolen base aspect of his opponents.
- Matt Kemp, OF (.253, 68 R, 22 HR, 74 RBI, 18 SB) - I'm holding onto the idea that Kemp can be the 30/30 guy I need, but it does seem like discipline may be a problem, plate and otherwise.
- Jon Lester, SP (14 W, 176 K, 3.12/1.18) - Trading for Lester was maybe the most excited I've ever been about acquiring any player. I was jazzed when I traded for Miguel Cabrera, but Lester is the apple of my eye.
- Alex Rios, OF (.295, 78 R, 19 HR, 78 RBI, 28 SB) - I'm glad that, even though I tried my damnedest to get the Pronks to draft Rios, he ignored me.
- Clayton Kershaw, SP (11 W, 180 K, 3.01/1.24) - It looks like pitch count continues to be a problem for Kershaw, because he's stifling opponents, but he can't stay on the mound long enough to pick up wins. I hope he'll find a way to keep striking guys out, but doing so more quickly.
- Prince Fielder, 1B (.269, 80 R, 28 HR, 68 RBI, 1 SB) - The problem with Fielder has always been that, historically, heavy guys are hard to trust. Mo Vaughn, David Wells, Papa Fielder, they all seem to fluctuate a lot in their performances. So yes, this season does worry me some.
- Ian Kinsler, 2B (.298, 55 R, 6 HR, 38 RBI, 10 SB) - Kinsler is hurt every year. Kinsler is good every year. These are the facts.
- Zack Greinke, SP (8 W, 152 K, 3.81/1.21) - Greinke has come way back down to Earth after last year's Cy Young campaign. But the strikeout rate is still good, and he's got free agency coming up soon...which is a good thing as long as he doesn't go to the AL East. I don't want him having a break down when Yankees fans start booing him.
- Jose Bautista, 3B/OF (.266, 88 R, 42 HR, 99 RBI, 6 SB) - A trade deadline acquisition that was supposed to help me try to make up some points going towards the end of the year. The thing is, he's really been killing the ball all year, and I watched him on TV this weekend. He looks like can hit. Which means it looks like I have to start thinking about whether or not I can keep him.
- Phil Hughes, SP (15 W, 122 K, 4.12/1.25) - He's been the best source of wins on my team, but he's so up and down it kills me. Literally. Figuratively.
- Carlos Lee, OF (.251, 56 R, 19 HR, 77 RBI, 3 SB) - One of my more disappointing players this year (though Chris Davis will take the #1 slot on that list), Lee has finally started to show flashes of what made him a keeper for me in the first place. Too little, too late brother.
- Alexei Ramirez, SS (.287, 70 R, 15 HR, 55 RBI, 8 SB) - I can't see a scenario in which I keep him, but he's been rocket hot recently, and his numbers at shortstop could be intriguing.
- Ian Kennedy, SP (8 W, 140 K, 4.22/1.25) - Initially, he was supposed to just be someone I grabbed for a few starts then waived. Three months later, he's still on my team. I know he doesn't look like a keeper today, but if you add two good starts to his current numbers, he's suddenly very interesting.
- Omar Infante, 2B/3B/SS/OF (.343, 53 R, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 6 SB) - So, Charlie Manuel is apparently pretty smart. The most controversial All-Star pick of my lifetime could, if he gets enough plate appearances, earn himself a batting crown. Another I could never keep, but I can't argue how well he's performed for my team.
- Rajai Davis, OF (.272, 49 R, 5 HR, 41 RBI, 39 SB) - A fairly meaningless trade at the deadline sent Vernon Wells to the Heroes for Davis. It should be of comfort to you, Heroes, that this right where Wells would fit on these rankings today, too.
- David Aardsma, RP (0 W, 25 SV, 46 K, 3.95/1.20) - I could've seen a scenario where I put some blame on Aardsma's shoulders for my disappointing 4th or 5th place finish this year, but really, he's been as good as I should have expected. No, Trevor Hoffman is my villain, and appropriately so.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, RP (3 W, 7 SV, 57 K, 1.29/0.80) - The throw-in on a trade with the Mosquitoes, Kuo is in line for some saves down the stretch as Jonathan Broxton has hit a rocky patch. He's been insanely good in middle-relief, and if he's able to translate that to 9th inning work, look out.
- Matt Thornton, RP (3 W, 5 SV, 64 K, 2.66/1.10) - Thornton may be on the DL, and he's had a couple of rough outings, but overall he's been excellent. I was excited to be able to acquire him mid-season, and guys like him and Benoit have reminded me of the value of elite middle relievers.
- Kevin Gregg, RP (1 W, 30 SV, 52 K, 3.35/1.32) - I picked up Gregg back when I thought I had an outside shot at the title this year. Oh well.
- Stephen Drew, SS (.276, 70 R, 12 HR, 50 RBI, 6 SB) - Drew literally joined my team today. He's been on fire, so that's cool, but he's basically just a guy to sit on for the rest of the season.
- Ryan Theriot, 2B/SS (.290, 63 R, 2 HR, 29 RBI, 18 SB) - Theriot had been a target of mine all season as a potential trade acquisition. The trade never happened, but Theriot had a terrible stretch mid-season and became available on waivers. He's not been awesome, but he's been fairly productive when I've had him in my lineup, so that'll do.
- Joel Hanrahan, RP (3 W, 2 SV, 79 K, 3.81/1.11) - With his numbers, you wouldn't have thought he'd be available after being designated the closer for the Pirates. But he had a couple of terrible outings, and the league got scared off. Having been essentially eliminated from contention, I know no fear. Get out there, Hanrahan.
- Joaquin Benoit, RP (0 W, 1 SV, 64 K, 1.49/0.68) - Just a very good middle reliever who's been on at least one or two other teams, as is often the case with very good middle relievers. You always wish they'd have been on your team all season, though. That kind of production over a season is a dream.
- Jake Westbrook, SP (7 W, 107 K, 4.51/1.33) - Yes, I was excited to grab him when he got traded to the Cardinals. And yes, I've started him every time his turn in the rotation has come around. But I know he's worthless long-term. I'm not stupid...well, not that stupid.
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