Three Up, Three Down: MLB Week Three

Bret HoffmanCorrespondent IApril 21, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19:  Orlando Hudson #13 of the Los Angeles Dodgers watches his hit to score a run against the Colorado Rockies during the second inning at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

"Three Up, Three Down" is our Tuesday topic during the MLB season at the

These articles are intended to praise three players who have either raised their fantasy stock, or are simply on a tear, and also three players whose stock has taken a hit.

These players are "up and down" in my eyes.

Three Up

1) Jason BartlettTampa Bay

Bartlett is off to a great start in 2009 after virtually going undrafted in most fantasy leagues. He is hitting .429 with two home runs, four RBI and five stolen bases. He also has a great OBP of .478.

He is currently owned in 92.2 percent of ESPN leagues after an 8 percent increase over the past week. Those who picked him up are pretty happy with themselves right about now.

If he's still sitting there in your league, grab him before it's too late.

2) Endy ChavezSeattle

Chavez seems to be thriving in Seattle. He is hitting .392 with one home run, seven RBI and four stolen bases, with an OBP of .446. Those are pretty solid numbers across the board, especially for someone who is only owned in 23.5 percent of ESPN as of today.

Chavez is a cheap source of speed, plus his lofty average and OBP won't hurt your team either, as he can help offset some of your sluggers who like to strike out.

Plus, he has had 51 at-bats, so he's a safe bet to get playing time, which can't always be said about waiver wire pick-ups. Chavez would be a great addition to any fantasy team at this point.

3) Orlando HudsonDodgers

Hudson had a terrific week, and is having a very solid season so far. He is hitting .385 with two home runs, eight RBI, and has four stolen bases, with an OBP of .467.

Those are great numbers, but especially for a second baseman. He plays for a good team with one of the better offenses so, barring injury, the opportunties should continue to pile up for Hudson.

At this point, Hudson is playing like an All-Star. Maybe it's his revenge for being practically shunned in free agency before the season started. I can guarantee that the Dodgers are happy they picked him up

He is currently owned in 87.9 percent of ESPN leagues after an increase of 26.7 percent this past week. Pick him up immediately if he's still there in your league.

Honorable Mentions

Miguel Cabrera is still hot. He leads the league with a .489 average, and is playing like an MVP so far. His four home runs and 12 RBI don't hurt either, and he's even managed to steal one base.

Kevin Youkilis can still hit too. He is second in average at .469, and has three home runs, 10 RBI, an impressive nine walks, and his OBP is an outrageous .559.

Ian Kinsler is tearing it up for the Rangers in the early going. He is hitting .460 with four home runs, 14 RBI, and six stolen bases—All-Star, and possibly MVP, type numbers so far. And Kinsler is only 26, so his owners should expect great production for years to come.

Kinsler also leads the league with a slugging percentage of .880.

Ryan Ludwick is proving that 2008 was no fluke. He is hitting .405, tops in the NL, with five home runs and 15 RBI. He has an OBP of .444 and a slugging percentage of .833.

The Cardinals offense is pretty good, so he should continue to have opportunities to produce.

Raul Ibanez has been great for the Phillies. He is hitting .386 with five home runs and 10 RBI, with an OBP of .438 and a slugging percentage of .864, which is second only to Kinsler.

Ibanez is rewarding his fantasy owners early while showing that he has some left in the tank at the age of 36.

Evan Longoria is the real deal in Tampa Bay. He homered early and often to start the year, but hasn't homered since April 12. He is still hitting .396 with five home runs and 12 RBI on the year, so you can't complain at all.

Expect him to be a solid fantasy player for years to come. He could possibly win an MVP in the near future, if he can stay healthy.

Kosuke Fukudome was pretty mediocre for the Cubs in 2008, even losing his starting job toward the end, but is looking more the like the Japan version so far in 2009. He is hitting .375 with three home runs, 10 RBI, and an impressive nine walks, which leads to an OBP on .480.

He is currently owned in 73.6 percent of ESPN, and his stock is rising rapidly, so pick him up while you still can.

Nick Markakis and Adam Jones are both living up to the hype for the Orioles. Both are young and should continue to help the team improve over the next few years. Hang on to both of these guys. Baltimore is up and coming, at least offensively.

Aaron Hill has been impressive for the division-leading Blue Jays. He is hitting .365 with four home runs, and 14 RBI to start 2009.

He is currently owned in 64.7 percent of leagues, and his stock is rising quickly as well, so grab him if you are weak up the middle. He's a poor man's Chase Utley and, at 27, he could be approaching his prime.

Three Down

1) Prince Fielder

Fielder is off to a slow start for the Brew Crew. He is only hitting .175 in 40 at-bats, with one home run and seven RBI. He does have 10 walks, but he also has 15 strikeouts, and more strikeouts than hits is never a good thing.

These are horrible numbers for someone who was drafted an average of 26.9 overall in ESPN leagues.

Fielder had a better second half last year, so that's all you can hope for at this point, because I don't think you can get much value out of him right now. He's still only 24, so he has time to turn it around.

I guess the best thing to do is wait it out, unless you can get some decent value for him in a trade.

2) David Ortiz

Ortiz is off to a horrible start for the Red Sox, and his owners should be concerned, especially since he's claiming that he's healthy. He is hitting only .196 with zero home runs and only six RBI.

He has been working out some things, specifically hitting to the opposite field, and has shown signs of life at times. Ortiz is one of the better clutch hitters of the recent era, so be patient and hope he comes out of the slump.

3) Chris Davis

Davis is not living up to the hype so far for the Rangers. The 23-year-old slugger is only hitting .179 with two home runs and four RBI. He also has 18 strikeouts and an OBP of .238.

Young hitters sometimes struggle, and Davis has the potential to be good eventually, it's just going to take time. He must improve his discipline at the plate, and everything else will follow suit.

You might try to buy low on him and hope he bust out later in the season.

Honorable Mentions

Chris Young is still struggling to regain his 2007 form in Arizona, and is looking like a bust so far in 2009. He is only hitting .204 with one home runs and three RBI. He has struck out 14 times and stolen zero bases.

He is owned in 91.9 percent of leagues, and that number should continue to drop until he turns it around. If he gets dropped in your league, he is worth a gamble because he has too much talent and should eventually live up to his hype.

Joe Crede has let the Twins down so far by hitting only .175 with one home run and three RBI—not the kind of results Minnesota was hoping for when they took a gamble on him.

He is only owned in 10.1 percent of ESPN leagues, and is someone to keep an eye on because I believe he is a better player than what he has shown so far in 2009.

Josh Hamilton is off to a slow start for the Rangers. Hamilton is hitting .229 with one home run and eight RBI. So far, he doesn't look like the same guy who went crazy during the home run derby at Yankee Stadium last year.

Don't give up on him just yet, he's overcome way too much to go down without a fight. He will rebound, probably sooner than later.

Lance Berkman is only hitting .205 with three home runs and seven RBI so far for the Astros. He's a career .301 hitter, and usually a strong finisher, so don't give up on him yet either.

His OBP of .375 isn't horrible at all, which means he is showing some patience, so expect the batting average to shape up soon.

Jordan Schaffer has struggled lately for the Braves. After being off to a hot start, the rookie has come back down to Earth and is now hitting .255 with a league high 19 strike outs.

He's got potential, but he's still young, and his owners will have to be patient with him. I think he will turn out to be a solid center fielder for the Braves, I just don't think he will piece it all together in 2009.

Give him time and he will be good.


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