Hey folks, welcome to the first edition of Philly.com's fantasy baseball roundup. We'll be coming at you every Monday from now until the end of the season with insight and analysis into the wide world of fantasy baseball.
Here are our roster picks of the week:
Add - Andruw Jones, OF/DH, White Sox - OK, so he isn't new (far from it, in fact), but he is raking so far this year. Now, is he going to maintain an OPS over 1.000? Of course not. But Jones has always killed lefties, and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen has shown a commitment to a righty/lefty platoon at DH with Jones and Mark Kotsay, making Jones worth a bench spot, and worth a starting spot against lefties.
Drop - Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves - He just turned 38, his production last year was way down, and he heard something pop in his hip on Saturday. I know he was in the lineup Sunday night, but I just don't see him coming back well from this. I hate to say it, but I think we're approaching the time to start talking about Chipper's place in Cooperstown and stop talking about his fantasy value.
Hunter Pence, OF, Astros - After a brutal start, Pence, an All-Star last year, has finally shown signs of life. I drafted Pence, benched him, and now he's back in my lineup.
The Royals outfield - Whodathunkit. The Royals outfield is littered with great fantasy pickups. Jose Guillen is hitting like it's... well, let's just say it's been a while since he's hit like this. Scott Podsednik is leading the league in hitting and stealing bases. David DeJesus is doing his best Podsednik impression, flashing gap power and on-base skills no one knew he had.
Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins - Remember how good Liriano was in 2006? I do. I was at two of his starts that year, when he went 12-2 as a rookie. Then he blew out his elbow, and three lost seasons later I don't have any reservations declaring that he's back.
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Red Sox - Sure, everyone knew he would never be an MVP candidate again, but it seemed likely the Monstah would help the dead-pull hitter's power. He hasn't shown any power and is in danger to losing some starts to a resurgent Mike Lowell.
Jason Kubel, OF/DH, Twins - Kubel led all DHs in OPS last year, but now a slow start, Delmon Young's resurgence in left field and Jim Thome's presence could leave Kubel on the bench.
Javier Vasquez, SP - I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought that one of the best pitchers in the NL last year would do well now that he has the Yankees' offense backing him. Vasquez - and "classless, ignorant Yankees fans" - are acting like it's 2004 all over again, with ERA and booing to match.
And now for our power rankings (stats through Sunday):
1. Matt Kemp (LAD, OF) - 7 HR, 20 RBI, 20 R, .319 AVG
2. Ryan Braun (MIL, OF) - 5 HR, 20 RBI, 14 R, .382 AVG
3. Nelson Cruz (TEX, OF) - 7 HR, 17 RBI, 5 SB, .321 AVG
4. Vernon Wells (TOR, OF) - 7 HR, 13 RBI, 16 R, .324 AVG
5. Roy Halladay (PHI, P) - 4-0, 33 IP, 2 CG (1 SHO), 0.82 ERA, 28 K
6. Jose Guillen (KC, OF) - 6 HR, 15 RBI, 13 R, .352 AVG
7. Albert Pujols (STL, 1B) - 6 HR, 16 RBI, 10 BB, .961 OPS
8. Tim Lincecum (SF, P) - 4-0, 27 IP, 1.00 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 32 K
9. Chase Utley (PHI, 2B) - 6 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R, 1.071 OPS
10. Ubaldo Jimenez (COL, P) - 4-0, CG, SHO, 0.95 ERA, 25 K
Free Agent Power Rankings
1. Will Venable (SD, OF) - 4 HR, 11 RBI, 13 R, 4 SB
2. Brett Gardner (NYY, OF) - 9 SB, .340 AVG, 12 R
3. Ivan Rodriguez (WAS, C) - .434 AVG, 1.022 OPS, 10 R, 8 RBI
4. Joel Zumaya (DET, P) - 2-0, 12 IP, 13 K, 0.00 ERA
5. Casey Kotchman (SEA, 1B) - 3 HR, 14 RBI, 8 R, .847 OPS
6. Carlos Gomez (MIL, OF) - 6 SB, 11 R, 13 H
7. Mitch Talbot (CLE, P) - 2-1, 20 IP, 1 CG, 2.25 ERA
8. Kosuke Fukudome (CHC, OF) - .298 AVG, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 R
9. Miguel Olivo (COL, C) - 4 HR, 8 RBI, 7 R, .297 AVG, .982 OPS
10. Jason Vargas (SEA, P) - 2-1, 18.1 IP, 16 K, 3.93 ERA, 1.04 WHIP
Dave Merrell and Matt Mullin are producers at Philly.com. They play in the same fantasy league and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.