Tagged: Fernando Rodney
Were they April Fools, Or Legitimate Stars?
Twitter: @RobShawSports and @BloombergSports
Here’s a look at the best fantasy players of April and whether they are sustaining their production or regressing to a less impressive level of play.
Best April Catcher: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
April Stats: 14 runs, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 2 SB, .316 AVG
Update: Since the change of month, Yadier Molina has only one RBI. Molina hurt his left hand in a game on May 8 and hopes to return to the diamond.
Conclusion: One of the most well-rounded catchers in baseball, Molina will remain one of the game’s best at his position, though Orioles masked marvel Matt Wieters may overtake him.
Best April First Baseman: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
April Stats: 15 runs, 7 HR, 20 RBI, .298 AVG
Update: Four hits and 3 RBI against the A’s on Thursday got Cabrera back in rhythm. His statistics have gone down a bit, but he remains amongst the best in baseball.
Conclusion: Cabrera is 100% legitimate and the best corner infielder in baseball right now.
Best April Second Baseman: Ian Kinsler, Rangers
April Stats: 24 runs, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 2 SB, .298 AVG
Update: Though riding a six-game hit streak, Kinsler’s batting average has declined and he does not have an extra base hit during that stretch.
Conclusion: What makes Kinsler so valuable is the combination of power and speed. If he can keep the batting average closer to .300, he’ll be in the MVP conversation.
Best April 3rd Baseman: Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays
April Stats: 15 runs, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 4 SB, .322 AVG
Update: One of the biggest surprises in April, Encarnacion remains a valuable power bat in May, though the batting average has returned to normalcy.
Conclusion: Encarnacion should finally swat 30-home runs, but it may come with a disappointing average.
Best April Shortstop: Mike Aviles, Red Sox- 18 Runs, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, .291 AVG
April Stats: 18 Runs, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 3 SB, .291 AVG
Update: Aviles has not been immune to the Red Sox struggles. His power numbers have come back to earth and his average has been in free fall this May.
Conclusion: Aviles is a fine middle infielder, but he is not the best. He over-performed in April.
Best April Outfielder: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
April Stats: 24 runs, 12 HR, 25 RBI, 2 SB, .417 AVG
Update: Kemp has slowed down a bit and has yet to go deep this month. He remains one of the best hitters in baseball and likely MVP contender, but he is no longer running away with the honor.
Conclusion: He was bound to slow down as pitchers were bound to adapt. Josh Hamilton is now challenging him for supremacy in the Big Leagues.
Best April Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy, White Sox
April Stats: 3 Wins, 33 K, 1.67 ERA, 0.69 WHIP
Update: With two quality starts already this month, Peavy continues to dominate the fantasy scene. He has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last five starts and has only quality starts this season. He is 1-0 in May so far.
Conclusion: It’s been several years since we’ve seen this type of dominance from Peavy. Let’s hope he can avoid the injury-bug for the first time since he’s left San Diego.
Best April Reliever: Fernando Rodney, Rays
April Stats: 1 Win, 7 SV, 9 K, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP
Update: Rodney has added a win and two saves to his record this month without surrendering a single run.
Conclusion: This is looking pretty real and it all has to do with control. Rodney boasts a 14:2 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s the latest reliever to enjoy a renaissance after joining the Rays bullpen.
Brian Fuentes Joins the Twins
By R.J. Anderson //
In one of the more sudden moves of the waiver deadline, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sent Brian Fuentes to the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named later, or cash. This move can be taken as a somber admittance on Tony Reagins’ part that the Angels are out of the playoffs race as well as an admittance that maybe the Fuentes signing did not work out quite as planned – as if the Fernando Rodney signing last off-season didn’t hint at that conclusion.
Below is a chart showing the Angels’ and Twins’ respective bullpens with innings pitched, leverage index (a statistic which measures the amount of pressure based on the base/state and score matrices; the higher the leverage score the more pressure-packed situations entered), saves, and earned run average. Logically, Rodney will be the Angels’ permanent closer for now, but keep an eye on Kevin Jepsen and Jordan Walden. Both have the ability to rack up strikeouts and with youth (and contract status) on their side, the Angels could very well be nearing a return to the homegrown closer model they enjoyed with Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez.
As for the Twins, Fuentes is destined for a set-up role. One of the best relievers in the game between 2003-2008, Fuentes just never adjusted to the American League as his strikeout, walk, and home run rates went the wrong way. That last bit might not be a surprise given the extremity of Fuentes’ flyball tendencies. But when a pitcher is giving up more home runs after moving away from Coors Field, well, it’s not a good sign.
One item about Fuentes’ recent history that is a good sign for the Twins is his ability to get left-handers out. Southpaws are hitting .135 off Fuentes this year. In the past, he has shown the proficiency to shut same-handed batters down completely for long stretches. If the Twins stick to using him primarily but not exclusively versus lefties, then the odds are they will be happy with their acquisition. Matt Capps is still in line to record most of the saves for Ron Gardenhire’s club, although Fuentes will probably slip in one or two this month just based on matchups and rest days.
To sum this up: Hang onto Rodney for now with an eye towards Walden or Jepsen next season. If your league counts holds, grab Fuentes. Otherwise, the 2010 fantasy season implications for this move are limited.
For more on Brian Fuentes, Kevin Jepsen, Jordan Walden, and other late season additions, check out Bloomberg Sports’ Fantasy Kits.