Fantasy Baseball 2012: National League Hitters Watch List for June 11-17
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Here's a countdown of five premium National League hitters who should fare well for the week of June 11-17:
1. 1B Joey Votto, Reds
Only three National League hitters have been hitting at a .400 clip in the last 30 days, and Votto (.423) is the lead dog in that race. Since May 12, Votto also ranks seventh in runs, third in hits, second in doubles, fourth in homers (eight), ninth in RBI (20), first in on-base percentage (.513) and first in OPS (1.296). In other words, Votto has more than justified his No. 5 overall ranking back in March; he's also in the charter member discussions for National League and fantasy MVP.
One last measure of greatness: Very few players can dominate the walks-to-strikeouts ratio like Votto (48/49). His plate discipline is off the charts. Votto has six dates with the Indians (home) and Mets (road) this week.
2. OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
CarGo's brilliant year can best be encapsulated like this: As of June 11, he leads the Rockies in runs (48), hits (74), homers (16), RBI (48), steals (nine), batting average (.326), OBP (.388), slugging (.626) and OPS (1.014). And from a 15-day perspective, he's batting a ho-hum .407 with eight homers and two steals. The funny thing is, there are plenty of 12-team leagues out there where one lucky owner landed Votto, Gonzalez, Josh Hamilton and Melky Cabrera in the same draft, adhering to the time-tested philosophy of value, value, value.
3. OF Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
From an individual standpoint, McCutchen (11 HR, 32 RBI, 36 runs, 11 steals, .325 batting) is having one of the most remarkable seasons of any hitter. From a team standpoint, it's a miracle the Pirates are in first place in the National League Central (32-27) and contending for a playoff spot. Not with that anemic lineup (only two other hitters have OBPs above .300). Not with that patchwork starting rotation (3.25 ERA/1.25 WHIP).
Of course, McCutchen doesn't pitch...but if he did, perhaps Pittsburgh wouldn't be counting the days before Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Mark Appel comprise one of baseball's best 1-2-3 pitching punches. (HA!) For the week, McCutchen has six roadies with the Orioles and Indians.
4. OF Melky Cabrera, Giants
Leave it to Cabrera to notch nine hits in the first seven games of May and be woefully off his own hitting pace of May (51 hits for the month). But that's the price of greatness one must pay after tearing up the majors since April 2011. In that stretch (spanning 213 games), Cabrera has 22 homers, 115 RBI, 146 runs, 288 hits, 30 steals and a .332 batting average. And to think the Giants acquired him from the Royals for pitchers Ryan Verdugo (prospect) and Jonathan Sanchez (1-2, 6.75 ERA, 1.86 WHIP). For the week, Melky (30-day batting average: .417) has six games against the Astros (home) and Mariners (road).
5. SS Jose Reyes, Marlins
I referenced the underrated brilliance of the walks-to-strikeout rate with Votto earlier. Among his major competitors in that efficiency stat is Reyes, whose 30/21 line for the season belies a .274 batting average for the year. Instead, it's a prime indicator for why Reyes is batting .319 since May 12 (with eight steals) and why he should be one of the most coveted trade-market assets from this point forward.
Four weeks ago, I traded Reyes and pitchers Ricky Romero and Gio Gonzalez for Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez—a deal I would gladly make again. But anything short of acquiring CarGo, Votto or Miguel Cabrera (within reason) may be well worth it for Reyes.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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