Saturday, April 25, 2009

Diamonds In The Rough-Batters Update

Here's the latest update on hitters who are owned in 5% or less of Yahoo leagues. Three of my top ten from last week broke through the 5% barrier: A. Cabrera from Cleveland rocketed from 4% to 28%, Cody Ross increased to 9%, and Marlon Byrd barely crossed over at 6%. They join Nyjer Morgan, Bonifacio, Rolen, and John Baker from previous lists. That opens the door for three new players to add to my rankings. Here is my new top ten:

1.Alberto Callaspo-2B,SS-KC-2%-the injuries to Alex Gordon and Jose Guillen created an opening for him and he's ran with it, posting a line of 370/400/522. While 370 is a bit high, he has an excellent track record indicating that he's not a fluke. In AAA in 2006 he hit 337, then he returned with a 341 mark in 2007. Last year he finally got some major league playing time, batting 305 in over 200 AB's. Gordon is out for a while, so he should be the starter for a while. It will be interesting to see what happens when Gordon returns if he's still playiong near this level. I just took a chance on him in my Yahoo keeper league and picked him up, dropping Nate Schierholz. I can always use a backup for Howie Kendrick at least! He's new to the list, although he was showing as a player to watch. I've had my eye on him for years. He's one of those players who for some reason has never had much of an opportunity to play despite obvious talent and I've literally ahd my eye on him for years.

2.Luis Castillo-2B-NYM-5%-he must have fallen slightly to 5% to qualify for the list, so he's a new addition also. I realize he's not an unknown player, but he's unowned in 95% of Yahoo leagues. He is underrated right now, probably due to a poor 2008 campaign. However, he's normally a 290-300 hitter, starts for the Mets, plays a thin position, and still has speed. He lost weight over the offseason and it appears to be paying off as evidenced by his 381/435/476 year so far. That's getting it done!

3.Nick Johnson-4%-not many runs and rbi opportunities playing for the punchless Nationals, but you can't argue with a 370/433/463 mark, including a home run yesterday off Johan Santana. He actually has a shot to win the batting title.

4.Cuddyer-2%-I love Cuddyer and the Twins are still starting him every day despite a poor start. One thing I've noticed about well-run organizations like Minnesota is they don't panic when a player with a proven track record like Cuddyer gets off to a slow start. When you've played well over your last 1000-1500 AB's, the good teams usually give a guy the benefit of the doubt if he's slow out of the gate, while other teams would start benching that same player after 40 at bats!

5.Tracy-3%-has a decent line of 267/286/444 and should improve. Batting in the middle of the lineup is always a nice bonus too.

6.Andy LaRoche-1%-talk about your slow starts-he was hitting 000 as of April 15th! Maybe he was stressed out about his taxes. He is now in the midst of an 8 game hitting streak where he's gone 10-28 with 5 rbi and 3 BB, boosting his average to 227. He has the talent and is surging, so the window of opportunity to acquire him on the cheap may soon close.

7.Francisco-2%-the key here is still his playing-time, which has been more sporadic lately due to his slow start. Over his past six games he's 7-21 with 4 doubles, 7 runs, and 3 BB. Hopefully he earns back the playing time that he deserves.

8.Ishikawa-2%-in a similar boat to Francisco. The small silver lining is he's 3-7 with 2 runs and 2 rbi in his past two starts. If he receives the time, he will produce.

9.Thurston-2%-he continues to play well, as his 308/386/487 season will attest. He doesn't play every day or else he would rank higher, but going 2-7 with a double, triple, 2 runs and 3 rbi in the past two games will earn you more starts.

10.Melky Cabrera-OF-NYY-3%-the third player new to this week's list. I'm not a huge fan of Cabrera, but there are some things to like. In 2006 he finished at 283/362/393 for the Yankees, then he produced a 273/327/391 line in 2007. Both are decent and showed potential since he was very young and playing in the New York spotlight, which may have contributed to his weak 2008 season. At the age of 24, he still has room to grow and has started the past two games in a good Yankee lineup. He already has 4 HR's in 23 AB's. It's not every week where a Yankee shows up on this list! If he continues to start he could prov to be a nice bargain.

Others to watch: Prado-1% (368/455/632 but Chiper's back), Rasmus-4%, Scott Hairston-5%, Brandon Wood-3% (needs more than one AB), Nomar-2% (he's back....for now), and Keppinger-1%.

Here is an updates chart showing players from previous weeks:

4-Apr 11-Apr 18-Apr 25-Apr
Baker C Flor 4 6 15 29
Ishikawa 1B SF 4 5 3 2
Johnson, Nick 1B Wash 2 2 2 4
Tracy 1B Ariz 1 3 3 3
Prado 1B,2B,3B Atl 1 1 0 1
Cabrera, A. 2B,SS Clev 3 3 4 28
Bonifiacio 2B Flor 2 69 81 63
Rolen 3B Tor 4 11 31 29
LaRoche, Andy 3B Pitt 2 2 1 1
Wood 3B, SS Ana 2 1 1 3
Garciaparra 1B,3B,SS Oak 2 3 3 2
Francisco OF Clev 3 2 2 2
Fowler OF Col 2 3 7 7
Cuddyer OF Minn 2 2 2 2
Morgan, N. OF Pitt
5 28 37
Ross OF Flor
5 4 9
Byrd OF Tex

5 6
Thurston 3B,OF SL

2 2
Callaspo 2B,SS KC

Castillo, Luis 2B NYM

Cabrera, Melky OF NYY


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