- AL Hitter: Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Indians (.458, 8 R, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 2 SB) - This is the kind of across-the-board production you expected out of Choo when you drafted him. Granted, three of his home runs and seven of his RBI were in one game, but hey, you started him, right? Right?
- NL Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Rockies (.381, 8 R, 5 HR, 14 RBI) - In all honesty, I might take Jayson Werth's week (.417, 9 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SB) over Tulowitzki's, but it's at least a tie with Tulo at shortstop. Plus, I wanted to mention that Tulowitzki has 34 RBI in September...with over a week to go. Ridickydonk.
- AL Pitchers: Ervin Santana (1 W, 13 K, 1.06/0.76) and Jered Weaver (2 W, 9 K, 1.98/0.88), SPs, Angels - It's nice to see that, even though the Angels are all but eliminated from the playoff hunt, these guys are pitching their asses off. And they're both under the control of the Angels until 2013, so there's plenty of reason for optimism going forward.
- NL Pitcher: Matt Cain, SP, Giants (1 W, 7 K, 0.00/0.46) - Cain offered a couple of fantastic starts as the Giants head into the home stretch towards the playoffs. They're a game up in the division, and they'll need their stacked pitching staff (Cain, Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Barry Zito) to lead the way. Lord knows their offense can't do it.
As you may remember from last week's post, I talked about the players who've come out of nowhere to be fantasy forces this season. But just as often, players are highly rated at the beginning of the season, but end up being very disappointing. Some of those have been due to injury (Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury...gosh, no wonder Boston is gonna miss the playoffs), and I won't be talking about them. Let's focus on the guys who appear to have let us down for no good reason.
Once again, I'll be mentioning where these players were drafted in our keeper league (though a lot of them just rate as "keepers," which can only really mean they were viewed as being roughly among the top 96 players).
- Aaron Hill, 2B, Blue Jays (.209, 64 R, 24 HR, 63 RBI, 1 SB), keeper - Hill was a huge surprise in 2009, posting career-highs nearly across the board. This year, he's been able to hold onto his power, but his batting average and on-base percentage have plummeted, resulting in considerably lessened run production. No idea what to think of him next year.
- Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs/Braves, (.258, 77 R, 18 HR, 73 RBI, 1 SB), keeper - The most shocking part of Lee's 2010 swoon is that his batting average dropped so much. He came in as a .284 career hitter, and hadn't dropped below .270 in a decade. Lee can blame Aramis Ramirez a little bit, but he's also in his 14th major league season. It's possible he's just slowing down.
- Adam Lind, OF, Blue Jays (.234, 54 R, 22 HR, 71 RBI), keeper - Lind has played mostly designated hitter this year, but he's been more of a designated fly-outter, perhaps due to reduced plate discipline. He passed last year's strikeout total in mid-August, and he's on pace for 17 fewer walks than last year. I'll say this, though: if Toronto can ever get their offense firing on all cylinders, they're going to be scary.
- Mark Reynolds, 1B/3B, Diamondbacks (.203, 77 R, 32 HR, 84 RBI, 7 SB), keeper - Reynolds was a huge producer in 2009, posting big numbers in HR, RBI, SB, and K. Yes, strikeouts. And today, that seems like his undoing. Because when you can't pick out good pitches from bad, you end up costing both your real life team and your fantasy team. Reynolds' 2010 has been a reminder of the risk you run when you punt batting average.
- Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs (.241, 58 R, 23 HR, 76 RBI), keeper - Ramirez was particularly awful before the All-Star break, hitting .207 in 237 at-bats, dragging your average to the bottom of a well. What's particularly heart-breaking about that is that his batting average was a big part of why you draft Ramirez in the first place; he hadn't been below .289 since 2003 (the year before we started our keeper league). Ramirez does have two Middle Earth Fantasy Baseball League titles...maybe he's getting lazy.
- Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, Giants (.264, 59 R, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 3 SB), keeper - Sandoval was looking like the next...well, I don't know, but the next something good. He hit .330 with pop in 2009, his first full season, and a lot of us thought he might be very good. I do remember thinking that, even though I liked him, he was overrated in drafts, always going well before I'd have taken him. I certainly didn't expect this kind of drop off, though. Here's hoping he turns it around next year.
- Javier Vazquez, SP, Yankees (10 W, 118 K, 5.05/1.37), 1st round - I don't know why I'm saying this was a surprise. We all knew that, with a return to the AL, Vazquez would be back to his old ways. The one thing we can say we're surprised about is that his strikeout rate is way down. He's got the worst K/BB ratio of his career, and the worst K/IP since, wait for it...his other season with the Yankees.
- Matt Wieters, C, Orioles (.256, 37 R, 11 HR, 53 RBI), keeper - Wieters had shown enough flash last season that he warranted being kept, based on pedigree and potential. This year, his future is a little more in doubt. He started the year particularly awful, and though he's bounced back a little in the second half, he's not hitting at nearly the clip we'd expect out of a keeper quality catcher.