- AL Hitter: Coco Crisp, OF, Athletics (.389, 6 R, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 9 SB) - Yes, you read that correctly. Nine stolen bases for Crisp over the past seven days. He's got 27 steals since the All-Star break, and he's likely made a difference for some team in your fantasy league. I know I sure wish I had grabbed him.
- NL Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies (.346, 9 R, 6 HR, 11 RBI) - Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez are powering another late-season charge by Colorado. Can you imagine how good the Rockies would be if they could win games in April and May?
- AL Pitcher: Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers (2-0, 18 K, 1.80/0.80) - If Verlander could bump his April (1-2, 5.53 ERA), both he and the Tigers would be looking good. As it is, the Tigers are destined for .500, and Verlander will just be another very good pitcher.
- NL Pitcher: Brett Myers, SP, Astros (2-0, 18 K, 0.64/0.79) - If you're looking for the best pitcher since the All-Star break, you have to consider Myers. He's having a career year in a low pressure situation in Houston. He'll be virtually impossible to value in next year's draft.
2010's Biggest Surprise Performers
Every year, players come out of nowhere to have career years, and help carry their fantasy owners to victory. Vinny Castilla's 131 RBI in 2004, Esteban Loaiza's insane 2003 (21-9, 207 K, 2.90/1.11), and Brett Myers this year, they all came out of nowhere to provide substantial assistance to fantasy teams. Here are a few more guys who've had unexpected explosions this season, along with where they were drafted in our super keeper league:
- Jose Bautista, 3B/OF, Blue Jays (.262, 96 R, 46 HR, 110 RBI, 7 SB), undrafted - In four full seasons (three in Pittsburgh, one in Toronto), he topped out at 16 HR, 63 RBI, and a .254 average. This year, he leads the American League in home runs, and is second in RBI and walks. Not bad for a four-time castoff.
- Trevor Cahill, SP, Athletics (16 W, 98 K, 2.61/1.05), 22nd round - Cahill was the fifth-to-last player drafted, which means that almost every team had 14 chances to nab him. Then, Cahill was waived early, so everyone had another chance to nab him. So...we're all pretty stupid for having not done so.
- Tim Hudson, SP, Braves (15 W, 122 K, 2.62/1.13), 18th round - I still see Hudson as a guy who's unreliable from year to year, and doesn't produce the kinds of strikeouts you'd like out of a starter. But with those wins and ratios, you learn to love the minimal strikeout production.
- Aubrey Huff, 1B/OF, Giants (.294, 90 R, 24 HR, 81 RBI, 6 SB), undrafted - Remember back in 2004, when Huff was the next big thing, a hotshot third baseman for the Rays? Or in 2008, when he was a great comeback player for the Orioles? Well, nobody in our league did, where Huff was undrafted, and remained a free agent until June 21st. The Pronks can't justify keeping him, but he's been a solid producer.
- Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox (.322, 85 R, 36 HR, 104 RBI), undrafted - Is Konerko's power production surprising? Not overwhelming so, he's got two 40-homer campaigns on his resume. But him posting a career-high batting average at 34, after three mediocre years, that's surprising. Still, it's also surprising that the guy keeps going undrafted, when he's shown year after year that he can be a useful source of power.
- Mat Latos, SP, Padres (14 W, 174 K, 2.43/0.99), 18th round - Latos was actually a guy that fantasy experts projected to do pretty well this year (as you can tell by the fact that he was drafted in our league), but nobody expected this kind of performance. He's Yahoo's fourth-rated pitcher, and twelfth-rated player overall. Wowie zowie.
- Angel Pagan, OF, Mets (.287, 73 R, 10 HR, 60 RBI, 33 SB), undrafted - I know, for my part, I looked at Pagan several times early this summer, because I needed speed, but my outfield was too heavy for me to justify adding a guy who I'd have trouble starting. Turns out, I probably should've made room. Pagan has been a consistent if not flashy producer, and speed can be tough to acquire.
- Carl Pavano, SP, Twins (16 W, 111 K, 3.47/1.14), undrafted - Perhaps the most insane part of Pavano's very solid season is that the Twins seem to have expected it. They traded for him last season, then made him a reasonable arbitration offer and brought him back for another season. How did they see what apparently nobody else saw...or at least remembered, from his mastery of the Yankees in the 2003 World Series?
- Martin Prado, 1B/2B/3B, Braves (.313, 97 R, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 5 SB), undrafted - Prado was interesting to a lot of teams because of his position eligibility, and he was nabbed up in April. That eligibility, along with his consistent production at the top of the Braves' lineup, has made him a valuable part of the AutoWreckers' charge towards the top 3.
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