3 Up, 3 Down: MLB Week Two

Bret HoffmanCorrespondent IApril 13, 2009

MIAMI - APRIL 06:  Emilio Bonifacio #1 of the Florida Marlins steals third base in the thrid inning against the Washington Nationals on opening day at Dolphin Stadium on April 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

"Flamethrowers" is for pitchers only, so "3 Up, 3 Down" will now focus solely on offense, and our goal is to tell you who has raised his fantasy value and also the hitters that are struggling at the time. You can check out these blogs every week at thesportspa.blogspot.com.

3 Up

1) Emilio Bonifacio

I know that I've shown this kid love a lot lately, but he really is deserving. He is 14 for 28 so far for the Marlins, with one HR, five RBI, and four SB. Emilio is now owned in 87.4 percent of ESPN leagues, and that is after an 84.3 percent increase over the past week.

An unknown player making a huge impact for one of the hottest teams right now, I absolutely love it. Bonifacio is like the poster boy for this type of article. He is the epitome of a raised fantasy stock, plus he's got a cool name, and he's only 23. If he's still available in your league, he won't be for long. Go Emilio!

2) Adam Lind

Lind has experienced a 24.7 percent increase in fantasy ownership over the past week, and is now owned in 93.3 percent of ESPN leagues. Lind is 12-30, or a .400 average, with three HR and 12 RBI for Toronto. He's only 25, too. If he's still on the wire in your league, snatch him up.

3) Dexter Fowler/Jordan Schafer

Fowler is now only owned in 8.8 percent of ESPN leagues after a 5.9 percent increase this past week. He's 23, and looks to be the future in CF for the Rockies. He's hitting .385 with two HR, three RBI, and one SB in only 13 AB. Take a gamble on him and hope he keeps producing.

Schafer is a little more known at this point, as he is owned in 46 percent of leagues after a 34.4 percent increase this past week. He is only 22 years old yet appears to be the future for the Braves in CF. Jordan is hitting .348 with two HR, three RBI, and also has three BB. I would expect him to show some speed as he gets more comfortable. If he's available in your league, you have to pick him up.

Other Notables

After an 11.8 percent increase this past week, Nyjer Morgan is still only owned in 13.6 percent of ESPN leagues. He is 11 for 27, or a .407 average, with five RBI and three SB. Morgan is a cheap source of batting average and speed. I'd recommend picking him up to offset your sluggers and their sometimes poor averages, if nothing else.

Miguel Cabrera is back. I said early on that he was my favorite to win the AL MVP, and he's certainly looking the part. The fact that he's only struck out twice in 26 AB is the most impressive to me. It appears that the transition from the NL to the AL was what caused the slump last year. Being in a little better shape never hurt anyone either.

Kevin Youkilis can straight hit. He has better than perfect eye vision and it shows. Youk is 12 fo 23, or a .522 average, thus far. He is a guy you can rely on across the board to produce for you. He is one of the rare breed of hitters that offers you average, power, and run production.

Evan Longoria is just a stud, isn't he? Wow, he sure is living up to all the hype. He is proving that last year wasn't a fluke at all. Evan is 13-27, or a .481 average, with five HR and 10 RBI. He's only 23 too, which means we could be seeing this for years to come. If you can snag him away from someone I would, especially in keeper leagues. I think he has all the makings of an MVP-type player; don't rule him out for 2009 just yet.

Ryan Theriot is what I would call a scrappy hitter, and I had to give him props, because I didn't believe he could be an everyday player. He is leading the MLB in batting average so far at .550. He won't hit for much power, but he will knock in a few runs while stealing a few bases.

He is owned in 94.4 percent of ESPN leagues, which doesn't seem right for the batting average leader. If he's available, he can help you. Like Morgan, if nothing else, they cover your sluggers' poor averages.

Nick Swisher is filling in rather nicely for Teixeira and his bum wrist. He is hitting .471 with two HR and nine RBI in only 17 AB, which is really good production. Ride him while he's hot.

3 Down

1) Magglio Ordonez

Mags is only hitting .257 so far through 27 AB, with zero HR and only three RBI. I wouldn't panic too much, though as he has a career .312 average. The Tigers have a pretty potent offense, and the success of Miguel Cabrera should lead to more opportunities for Ordonez down the stretch. A rebound wouldn't be a surprise at all, so hang on to him and ride it out.

2) Mark Teixeira

Tex has struggled so far in the pressure of New York, hitting only .257 in 16 AB, with one HR and two RBI. Plus, now he has a bad wrist. I would recommend picking up Nick Swisher and riding it out on Tex as well. Swisher is swinging a hot bat, and should provide enough production until Tex returns.

You have to believe that he will produce eventually for the Yankees. It may not be the MVP-caliber season that some were thinking, but should still be solid numbers by season's end.

3) Prince Fielder

Prince is still struggling...maybe he needs to go back to eating meat? He's only a couple of seasons removed from knocking 50 HR, but that's not looking like it will happen again in 2009, if ever. Still, he's only 24, and again a rebound would not be surprising. Hang on to him and hit the waiver wire for a fill in until he gets it going. Again, you have to believe that he is better than the .250 average and one HR he has shown so far.

Other Notables

Justin Morneau is only hitting .259 through 27 AB, but he does have two HR and seven RBI. Still, not the kind of numbers you expect from a previous MVP with solid career numbers. Expect the average to climb, while the HR and RBI should at least remain the same.

Matt Holiday is not off to a good start in Oakland, hitting only .235 through 17 AB, with zero HR and only two RBI. However, he's a career .319 hitter, and you have to expect a rebound at some point. A lot of experts thought Matt might struggle after moving away from Coors field, and it appears that they were correct. Still, don't panic just yet, and pray he gets it together.

Derek Jeter is struggling to start the year off as well. The captain is only hitting .231 through his first 26 AB, with one HR and three RBI. Again, we have a career .316 hitter here. Jeter has had a great career, and though he's now 34, and a decline can be expected at some point, I just don't believe he will fall off so quickly.

Look for Jeter to get it together in the coming weeks. If he doesn't, the Yankees could be in trouble with A-Rod missing action. Jeter is one of the most clutch hitters of his time, so I honestly expect him to get it done.

Curtis Granderson is off to a really slow start up in Detroit too, hitting only .241 in 29 AB. He does have two HR and five RBI with one SB. For a guy who is considered to be a 30-30, threat these numbers are surely leaving his owners wanting more.

The power numbers are a good sign, but you would expect him to hit for a better average and steal quite a few more bases. The thing to remember is that the season is still young, and Granderson has plenty of time to turn it around.