On Deck Circle: Week Two

George FitopoulosContributor IApril 16, 2010

CLEVELAND, OH - APRIL 12: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by Joaquin Arias after his 10th inning two run home run against the Cleveland Indians during Opening Day on April 12, 2010 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images


Just because Mark Teixeira is 3-for-27 to start that season doesn't mean it's time to panic. Teixeira has a career .305 batting average after the All-Star break.

It's only one week.

My colleague Bryan Curley already stressed the point that it is unwise to react strongly to just one week of baseball, but I am here to reiterate that point and drill it into your head.

I thought that I would share some wisdom on how to approach the first couple of weeks of the season.

We all know to be patient with struggling star players, because you drafted them for their seasonal output, not one week of stats.

It doesn't take a genius to know to hold onto Mark Teixeira even though he started the season hitless in his first 16 at-bats. That's the easy part. The tough ones to gauge are the forgotten stars of the past that start hot (i.e. Vernon Wells ).

With such a small sample size, it is difficult for owners to gauge how good a player is going to be that season. Often times, the best move you make is the one you don't make.

For example, last year I traded Adam Lind, who had three home runs and 11 RBI in his first week, for Conor Jackson because I needed the 1B eligibility. One diagnosis of valley fever later, I ended up crying in the corner as Adam Lind went on his way to hit 35 home runs and knock in 114 runs. Ouch.

The point is: It's better to be a believer than not, because whether it's Adam Lind's hot start in 2009 or Justin Upton's slow start in '09, you drafted these players for a reason. You should at least give them a chance to prove you wrong before you completely abandon ship.


Alex Gonzalez, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

Is it more believable that Alex Gonzalez has four home runs in his first seven games or that he was actually a decent source of power one time in his career?

It just so happens that both statements are true, and you would do your team a lot of good if you picked him up, especially if you currently are rostering a struggling shortstop such as Alexei Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, or Elvis Andrus. Ride out Gonzalez's hot streak because, as he's shown in the past, they are few and far between.

Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers

Did you not expect me to mention the second-ranked player on Yahoo?!

Nelson Cruz has started the season on a high note as he hit .458, with five home runs and 11 RBI in just seven games. He doesn't have a steal yet, but Cruz is a safe bet for 25/20, with the upside to reach 30 homers for the second straight season. Read Bryan Curley's blog post about Cruz here .

Martin Prado, 1B/2B/3B, Atlanta Braves

He will not help you in home runs or stolen bases, but Martin Prado knows how to hit the ball, and he shows it with a .314 career batting average. His .514 start leads the National League, and he is showing that he can be counted on to get on base regularly, which means solid run production in a very underrated Braves lineup.


Alfonso Soriano, OF, Chicago Cubs

It's not a good time to be a fantasy owner who thought Alfonso Soriano could bounce back in 2010.

The emergence of former first round pick Tyler Colvin could limit Soriano's playing time, and with a .200 batting average and a 28 percent strikeout rate, he could start seeing Colvin cut into his time immediately (and we are). I wouldn't abandon ship completely just yet, but it's getting to the point that if you can get 80 cents on the dollar, I would say buy.

Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland Indians

No runs, no walks, and a .304 OBP.

Those are Grady Sizemore's numbers this season and they are alarming to me, especially because he is batting at the top of the Indians' lineup (and I'm not even mentioning his 36.4 percent strikeout rate or the fact that he has yet to go deep this season).

Sizemore has earned the right for his owners to be a little patient with him, but Cleveland's lineup is horrible, and if Sizemore doesn't get on base, he could be in for a very rough season.

Mike Napoli, C, Los Angeles Angels

What happened to Mike Napoli? He went from a power-hitting darling to starting just two games this season. A lot of fantasy "experts" had Napoli in their Top 10 because of his power potential, but I can tell you he won't be hitting a lot of home runs from the Angels' bench. Until Napoli starts getting more playing time I would rather have A.J. Pierzynski, Yadier Molina, or Chris Snyder.

Player to Watch

Mike McCoy, 2B, Toronto Blue Jays

With Aaron Hill on the DL, Mike McCoy will be filling in for the Blue Jays at second base. McCoy stole 40 bases in Triple-A last year and could be a cheap source of steals for your team. He should be picked up in deep-mixed or AL-only leagues.

On the Mend

Alex Gordon, 3B, Kansas City Royals

Alex Gordon started a rehab assignment at Class A Wilmington and so far is 2-for-8 with a double and six walks. His .632 on-base percentage shows that he's ready to come back from a fractured thumb, and he is slated to return sometime next week. He is worth a pickup because of his potential

Down on the Farm

Carlos Santana, C, Cleveland Indians (AAA-Columbus)

As of Tuesday, Carlos Santana has played five games and batted .450, with four home runs and eight RBI. It's clear that Santana can hit, and with the Indians going nowhere this season, it's only a matter of time before they bring him up to see what he can do in the Major Leagues. I would keep a close eye on him because you will want to grab him once he is called up to The Show.

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