Friday, April 15, 2011
Fantasy Blurb: Catching On
Joe Mauer was only hitting .235 with 0 HR and 4 RBI before being put on the DL for bilateral leg weakness. He’s only being put on the 15 day DL, but that could very well turn into a 60 day DL stint as they have no timetable for his return. Not only is this a big blow to Mauer owners who used a high draft pick on him this year, but in the future as Mauer might have to switch to 1B soon. Fortunately, there’re some pretty hot hitters available for the time being.
Nick Hundley – Only owned in 29% in Yahoo leagues, Hundley is hitting .361 with 2 HR, 8 RBI and 7 runs. He’s the hottest hitting Padre and is hitting right in the middle of the order, so there’s plenty of RBI chances. At 27 years old, he could have a breakout. At least grab him while he’s hot.
Ryan Hanigan – I’m a huge fan of Ryan Hanigan; this guy can flat out hit. Owners are skeptical of owning him though (only 7% in Yahoo leagues) because of playing time as Ramon Hernandez is currently the starter. But Hernandez is only hitting .231/.286/.385 while Hanigan is hitting .304/.360/.609. If that trend continues, I expect Hanigan to get the bulk of the playing time. In NL-only, you should already own Hanigan and in mix leagues, keep an eye on him.
Alex Avila – Only owned in 23% of Yahoo leagues, Avila is another catcher off to a hot start. While only hitting .258, he has 3 HR, 5 runs, 8 RBI and stolen base to boot, Avila will get the bulk of the playing time in Detroit with Victor Martinez serving as the primary DH, so he’s a safer choice than Hanigan. Avila could also have 15 HR pop this year. At least own him while he’s hot.
Carlos Ruiz – Owned in 49% of Yahoo leagues, there’s a chance that he’s not available. Recently, he’s been considered an underrated catcher in the shadows of Joe Mauer, Brian McCann and Victor Martinez, and even the newer catchers of Buster Posey and Carlos Santana. Ruiz had a solid 2010 season, hitting .302/.400/.447 with 8 HR and 53 RBI. And he’s off to another great start in 2011, hitting .351 with 2 HR, 8 runs and 8 RBI. He should probably be your first choice if he’s available as he has the track record to keep it going.
Wilson Ramos – Only owned in 3% of Yahoo Leagues, Ramos is hitting .455! with 0 HR, 2 runs, and 2 RBI. Ramos has been a high prospect since 2009 and like Hanigan, is sharing catching duties with Ivan Rodriguez. Pudge is only hitting .136/.174/.182, so Ramos could earn the starting job quicker than Hanigan. While he hasn’t shown much pop in the minors, he could hit 10-12 HR this year while having a high AVG. Grab him now and you could look like a genius at the end of the year.
This might be a situation where you'll have to play the waiver wire all year as the catching position is weak as it is. Carlos Santana (.205/1 HR/5 Runs/6 RBI), Victor Martinez (.200/2 HR/5 Runs/8 RBI) and Matt Wieters (.212/1 HR/4 Runs/4 RBI) are off to pretty lackluster starts, so you might be able to buy low on one of them from panicking owners. I'll leave you with this stat - 5 of Jorge Posada's 7 hits have been HR! Embrace the DH position, Jorge.