Weekly 10: Ubaldo lights the way
Lee's early slump drags on; Cantu raising expectations
Check out the Weekly 10 every Monday, as we examine everything you need to know about the previous week's top stories.
1. Mile High magic
The player: Ubaldo Jimenez, SP, Rockies
The week: 1-0, 9 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 6 BB, 7 Ks
The man of the weekend made history Saturday by becoming the first Rockies pitcher to throw a no-hitter. His control was anything but stellar, as he walked six batters in the effort, but it was good enough to shut down the Braves and improve his record to a perfect 3-0. For comparison's sake, he already had six losses by the time he earned his third win in '09. The flamethrower, who was still hitting 98 mph on the radar gun during the game's final at-bat, appears to be in the process of establishing himself as one of the game's best pitchers. His run should continue in his next scheduled start April 22 in Washington.
2. El slumpo
The player: Carlos Lee, OF, Astros
The week: .080 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBIs, 1 R, 0 SB
El Caballo has been a massive flop so far in 2010. He capped an ugly week with an 0-for-5 effort in the Astros' series finale with the Cubs on Sunday, leaving him without an extra-base hit or an RBI through his first 12 games. Normally, we'd chalk this up to a stud bat getting off to a slow start, but he has struck out 11 times already this season. For a slugger who has been praised for his plate discipline throughout his career (41/51 BB/K ratio over 610 AB in '09), it's a major concern. The decline for this veteran outfielder may have begun.
3. Royal comeback
The player: Jose Guillen, OF, Royals
The week: .462 AVG, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 7 R, 1 SB
Guillen made a pretty shocking revelation to reporters this week when he said he "almost died" from blood clots in his legs last season. He added that his weight dropped to 180 pounds and he began to doubt he'd ever see a baseball diamond again. Well, the veteran is back and making the most of his return to good health. Prior to his rough '09 campaign (.242 AVG, 9 HR in 281 AB), Guillen was an annual 20-homer, 80-RBI guy, so he is certainly capable of putting up those kinds of numbers again this year. The Royals are at Toronto and back home against the Twins this week, so Guillen, who is owned in just over 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues, is well worth picking up for those in need of help in the power categories.
4. Slow-start redux
The player: Mark Teixeira, 1B, Yankees
The week: .100 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 R, 0 SB
Teix salvaged a rough week by slugging his first home run of the season in the Yankees' win over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Prior to that, he had gone 1-for-16 over the Bombers' previous five games. Fantasy owners would be wise to recall Teixeira's struggles a year ago, when he batted just .200 in the season's first month as he adjusted to playing in the Bronx without Alex Rodriguez behind him in the lineup. He ended up tied for the American League lead with 39 dingers and leading the circuit with a robust 122 RBIs. You hear that? That's us not being worried, and you shouldn't be, either. Teixeira will have MVP-type numbers by the end of the year.
5. Raising the bar
The player: Jorge Cantu, 1B/3B, Marlins
The week: .333 AVG, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 7 R, 0 SB
Cantu's MLB-record streak of 10 straight games with an RBI to start a season, while impressive, has offered a mixed bag of results for fantasy owners. The 28-year-old leads everyone with 16 RBIs and has hit safely in each of the Marlins' 13 games. However, he's posted exactly one hit in 11 of those games, leaving him with a solid but ordinary .288 average. Cantu has always been a guy to quietly go about his business, but now, after his torrid start in the RBI column, expectations are going to be higher for fantasy owners. When healthy, Cantu has proven to be a 20-homer, 90-RBI producer. Just be willing to swallow an average that will likely settle in the .270 range.
6. Ace is wild
The player: Zack Greinke, SP, Royals
The week: 0-1, 5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 5 BB, 5 Ks
It's probably too early to start panicking over the lack of dominant production from the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. However, Greinke's loss to the Twins on April 16 featured some disturbing trends. The 26-year-old threw 108 pitches and walked a career-high five batters in just five innings of work. Furthermore, things easily could have been worse, as Greinke was bailed out by two brilliant diving catches by left fielder Scott Podsednik. The righty's strikeout totals are down and while his ERA is a reasonable 3.57, owners expected much more than "reasonable" numbers from one of the first pitchers off the board. There's little else to do but to be patient as his trade value is down. Don't let someone take advantage of you in a buy-low situation.
7. Sophomore struggles
The player: Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals
The week: .056 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 R, 0 SB
His line for the week would have been much worse if it weren't for the fastball John Maine grooved to him in the fifth inning of Sunday night's win over the Mets. Aside from that three-run blast, Rasmus was 0-for-17 on the week. There was a lot of excitement surrounding the youngster after he burst onto the scene with 15 home runs and 62 RBIs as a rookie in 2009. However, his plate discipline still needs serious work. While he's drawing more walks after posting a 36/95 K/BB ratio last year, he's already whiffed 11 times in 32 at-bats this time around. At this point, only owners in deep mixed leagues or NL-only formats should be using roster space on Rasmus.
8. Closing audition
The player: Fernando Rodney, RP, Angles
The week: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 3 SV, 2 Ks
The former Tigers closer signed with the Halos in the offseason to serve as a setup man and backup closing option to Brian Fuentes, which quickly paid off when Fuentes was shelved by back spasms after just one outing. Fuentes reportedly felt great after throwing off a mound April 16 and is expected to spend the minimum 15 days on the DL, which means he's eligible to return April 21. However, given Fuentes' injury history and '09 struggles, it's unlikely this will be the last time that Rodney serves as a source of saves, so keep him rostered, if you can.
9. Changing of the guard
The player: Kevin Gregg, RP, Blue Jays
The week: 0-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 1 SV, 2 Ks
Gregg found himself in line for more opportunities after Jason Frasor served up a game-tying home run to Mark Teahan on April 12 for his second blown save in five attempts. Gregg recorded a 4.72 ERA and seven blown saves for the Cubs in '09, so it would be foolish to say he has this job completely wrapped up. However, if the 31-year-old continues to shut the door effectively in the notoriously tough AL East, he could leave manager Cito Gaston with little choice but to hand him the gig for the remainder of the season. Gregg is still available in 37 percent of Yahoo! leagues, so scoop him up if you can.
10. Keeper on the way
The player: Lou Marson, C, Indians
The week: .111 AVG, 0 HR, 0 RBIs, 1 R, 1 SB
Marson doesn't offer much fantasy value, but his struggles are relevant because they open the door for super prospect Carlos Santana. The 24-year-old is currently tearing up the Triple-A International League, batting .424 with four blasts and 12 ribbies in 10 games for Columbus. After an outstanding 2009 in Double-A, when he hit 23 homers with 97 RBIs, a .290 average and a .943 OPS, it was expected that Santana would find himself on the big league roster at some point in 2010. Those plans might be in the express lane, and fantasy owners in deep leagues will want to keep an eye on the developments.
Brandon Costa is a fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.