"P.O.W" is our weekly tribute to those players who have had a tremendous week. We are currently in our MLB schedule at thesportspa.blogspot.com, so these articles will showcase the best hitting and pitching performances of the previous week.
These performances, in no particular order, stood out in my eyes:
1. Carlos Beltran (Mets)
Beltran has really come on strong over the past week, and now leads the National League in batting average at .404. Since April 17, Beltran is 12-for-24 for a .500 average, with one HR and five RBI.
He has had at least one hit in 14 of his first 15 games, and multiple hits in six of the 15. He has two HR, 12 RBI and an OBP of .485 for the year.
Beltran is in his prime right now, and his fantasy owners should enjoy it while they still can.
He needs to wake the rest of his team up, though, because the Mets have been pretty disappointing so far.
2. Carlos Quentin (White Sox)
If your name is Carlos, then it seems you are playing well right now. Quentin hit three HR and six RBI this week.
His .259 average on the year could be better, but his owners have to be happy with his American League-leading seven HR, along with 14 RBI.
He appears to be getting hot, so look for that average to rise within the next few weeks. Keep in mind that Quentin probably won't hit .300, but that's not why he's on your team is it?
3. Albert Pujols (Cardinals)
Pujols is just being Pujols. Since last Friday, he has two HR and eight RBI.
He's hitting .345 with six HR, 21 RBI and an OBP of .459. He is definitely rewarding. owners for taking him early, and at 29, he is just entering his prime.
Before it's all said and done, Pujols will be ranked among the all-time greats.
4. Torii Hunter (Angels)
Very few hitters have been as hot as Hunter over the past week. Since April 17, he's hit three HR with six RBI.
He is now hitting .353 with six HR and 11 RBI on the year. His OBP of .417 and his slugging percentage of .804 aren't bad, either.
Hunter, 33, is having an All-Star caliber year so far for the Halos.
5. Raul Ibanez (Phillies)
Ibanez has been a great addition to the Phillies, but just think how badly the division-leading Mariners wish they still had him. Since April 17, Ibanez has two HR and four RBI.
He is now hitting .345 with five HR and 11 RBI on the year, and is showing that he still has something left in the tank at 36.
6. Nick Markakis (Orioles)
Markakis is living up to the hype for the O's. Since last Friday, he has one HR and nine RBI.
He is hitting .387 with two HR and an AL leading 19 RBI. He has also scored 18 runs, all of which help your fantasy team.
He's only 25, so keeper league owners should be licking their lips right about now. Congrats on buying into the hype and taking a chance on Markakis.
7. Ian Kinsler (Rangers)
Kinsler is staying hot so far for the Rangers. Last week he had two HR, three RBI and five SB.
He ranks seventh or better in: BA (seventh), RBI (fourth), SB (second), SLG (third), HR (seventh), R (fourth), OBP (seventh), and OPS (third).
He has probably been the most productive fantasy player thus far, and he was drafted at at average position of 22.9 in ESPN leagues. What a great second- or third-round fantasy pick, huh?
8. Victor Martinez (Indians)
Martinez is finally looking healthy again. Over the past week, he has two HR and 4 RBI.
He has raised his average to .394 on the year, which is great for any player, but especially stands out in a thin catcher market.
He has five HR, nine RBI and a gret .453 OBP as well.
Not bad for someone drafted at an average position of 99.6 in ESPN leagues. Those who gambled on Martinez returning to form are reaping the benefits as we speak.
9. Ryan Ludwick (Cardinals)
Ludwick is following Pujols' lead in St. Louis. In the past week, he has two HR and nine RBI.
Last year obviously wasn't a fluke, and we will just have to call Ludwick a late bloomer.
He is hitting .353 with five HR and 18 RBI on the year. Again, not bad for someone drafted at an average position of 89.6.
The Cardinals are hot right now, and Ludwick should continue to get the opportunities to have very successful 2009 campaign. Kudos to those who believed in Ludwick.
10. Mike Lowell (Red Sox)
Lowell appears to be healthy in the early going for Boston. He had one HR and eight RBI over the past week.
The Sox open a three-game stint with the Yankees, at Fenway, starting tonight. It will be interesting to see if Lowell can stay hot.
He is currently owned in just 49.3 percent of ESPN leagues, so if you need some help at third base, he's your man.
11. Joey Votto (Reds)
The 25-year-old first baseman is off to a great start for the Reds in only his second MLB season. He had one HR and five RBI this past week.
He is now hitting .373 with three HR and 15 RBI. He has a good OBP of .431 as well.
Votto is a key element to a young Reds offense, and should be a nice fantasy option for years to come.
12. Grady Sizemore (Indians)
After a slow start, Sizemore elevated his game over the past week with three HR and seven RBI.
He is still only hitting .258 on the season, but with weeks like this, this average will go up quickly.
He just turned 26, so it's safe to think that Sizemore will hit his prime here in the next couple of years. Keeper league owners will of course want to hang on to him.
13. Brandon Inge (Tigers)
Inge has been great for the Tigers so far, especially since last Friday. He has hit two HR and eight RBI since then.
His catcher eligibility gives him increased value, but he is also eligible at third base. He is owned in 92.9 percent of ESPN leagues, so if he's still there in your league, snatch him up, because he likely won't be there for much longer.
14. Nick Johnson (Nationals)
The Nationals don't have too many bright spots, but Johnson is one of the few. He has at least one hit in every game since April 17.
His power stats won't astound you by any means, but at .380, he can provide your team with a batting average lift.
He is only owned in 3.2 percent of ESPN leagues. If you have a lot of sluggers who are struggling with their batting averages, Johnson would be a great pickup to help offset that.
15. Luis Castillo (Mets)
Castillo is another cheap source of batting average. He is hitting .381 with four RBI, yet is only owned in 8 percent of ESPN leagues.
Like Nick Johnson, Castillo can help offset your power hitters with low batting averages. A good batting average never hurt any fantasy team. Pick him up if you are weak up the middle or your power hitters' batting averages aren't up to par.
16. Andre Ethier (Dodgers)
Ethier is having a very solid season so far. He had three HR and nine RBI this past week.
With Manny Ramirez starting to heat up, and Orlando Hudson staying hot, Ethier should continue to get opportunities to produce, and its looks like he's ready to capitalize on them.
17. Adrian Gonzalez (Padres)
Gonzalez appears to be getting hot in San Diego. He had two HR and four RBI this past week.
He is hitting .302 with five HR and 11 RBI on the year.
Easily the Padres' best hitter, the 26-year-old 1B should be a great fantasy option for years to come. It wouldn't hurt if he found his way on to a new team, but unfortunately, I don't see that happening any time soon.
18. Chad Billingsley (Dodgers)
Billingsley improved to 4-0 on the year with his fourth quality start of the season in as many tries.
He has a 2.04 ERA with 26 SO and a WHIP of .87 so far in 2009. Not that you'll be able to acquire him at this point, but he is pitching like a Cy Young candidate, and deserves to be on this list.
19. Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn (Mariners)
The Mariners are off to a surprising start in 2009, and these two guys are largely responsible for it. Both pitchers improved to 3-0 this past week.
Hernandez has an ERA of 3.12, 27 SO and a WHIP of 1.23. The remarkable thing to me is that this is his fourth year in the majors, but he's only 23. Looks like he's finding his stride, and could be one of the better fantasy pitchers for quite a few years.
Washburn has better numbers, yet is only owned in 33.6 percent of ESPN leagues. Pick him up ASAP. He has an ERA of 1.71, 18 SO and a WHIP of .86. His stock is rising, so you'd better grab him while you still can.
20. John Danks (White Sox)
Danks improved to 2-0 this past week. He has an ERA of .95 with 16 SO and a WHIP of .84.
Over his first three starts he has given up only two ER. He got a no-decision in his first start of the year, against the Royals, after throwing six scoreless innings.
Danks is only 24, and would be a great addition to any fantasy roster at this point. At 96.6 percent owned, he is still available in a few leagues, so you might want to check yours.
Zack Greinke will try to extend his 34-inning scoreless streak at home against the Tigers tonight. He's easily the hottest pitcher to start 2009.
Dan Haren finally got his first win of the year. His stats are misleading, as he's been superb so far for the Diamondbacks. His offense has given him only three runs of support over his first four starts, leading to a 1-3 record, despite an ERA of 1.38.
Johan Santana has been Johan so far in 2009. He has an ERA of .46, and is typically even better after the All-star break, so expect him to remain solid atop your fantasy staff.
Jair Jurrjens has been solid for the Braves over his first four starts. Much like Haren, he has been a victim of lack of run support. He is owned in 74.4 percent of ESPN leagues, so if he's still around in your league, you might want to pick him up before it's too late.
Glen Perkins has gone eight innings in each of his first three starts for the Twins, and has given up just four ER so far. Another guy who hasn't gotten much run support, he is owned in just 12.6 percent of ESPN leagues. He's a great value pick-up.
Tune in next Friday for the upcoming week's wrap-up.