Carl Everett, Rangers: This moody outfielder was barely a blip on fantasy rosters a week ago, but after smashing six homers and knocking in eight runs in the past week, he's going to become a fixture. Everett went from 14 percent owned in ML leagues to 98 percent in a matter of days, but leading the AL in homers and slugging will do that. Is he a good long term option? Well, maybe he's not a very nice man, but the guy always could hit no matter where he was. And if you stick a good hitter right in front of A-Rod, he becomes an even better option. Yes, this power could continue.
Carlos Lee, White Sox: Hard to believe what he did this past week. Lee began the week with no homers, no RBI, and had a monster week. He now has homers in his last 4 games, an RBI each day last week, bringing those season totals to four homers, 12 RBI, and a .246 average. Incredible how everyone was worried about him then, but now he's a very hot commodity. Lee's normally a 25-80 type of guy, and while he's prone to good and bad streaks, this is one heckuva streak you should ride out.
Shawn Chacon, Rockies: Yes, we know he's a Colorado pitcher. Yes, we know that all Rockies pitchers are dangerous. But Chacon is very hot right now. Last week in two starts, 7 innings each, he allowed no earned runs. And in three Coors Field starts this season he's allowed a total of three runs. Can this continue? I mean, what about that 5.73 ERA last year? Well, Chacon has always been able to strike people out, and he's only 25, so maybe he's emerging. He's worth a bench spot at least until he begins getting torched regularly, which may not happen.
Raul Mondesi, Yankees: Well, he certainly has the look of a 30-30 guy, and Mondesi has already reached those lofty numbers twice in his career. Mondesi has five homers now, four in the past week, and he already has four steals. On Sunday, with Hideki Matsui on the bench, Mondesi hit fifth for the mighty Yanks. Mondesi is a good hitter, though his batting average is normally pretty low. Yankees officials claim he worked hard this winter while all the trade talk was happening, and he certainly looks motivated now. I wouldn't bet against a 30-30 season.
Hee Seop Choi, Cubs: This rookie first baseman should be an everyday player. Choi always had great plate discipline in the minors, and he's showing it so far, with 15 walks and 14 strikeouts, a crazy ratio for a rookie. Choi also is beginning to show that 30-homer power, and he hit three homers, and had seven RBI in the last week. His average is up to .300, and he has a great future. Why this guy doesn't play every day - the Cubs keep getting retread Eric Karros a start here and there - is a mystery. Get Choi now.
Shawn Estes, Cubs: Not sure why any fantasy leaguers would want this guy, but he is owned in 54 percent of NL leagues, and for a more shocking figure, 1.4 percent of ML ones. In an NL league, yeah, I guess you will take the projected 10 wins and 150 strikeouts. But Estes might not even get that. He's 1-2 with a 5.14 ERA and when he's bad, he's really bad. In fact, he's actually getting a bit lucky, as only 12 of the 21 runs he's allowed have been earned. His ERA could be much worse. Bottom line: If Estes could strike out a lot of hitters, and keep his team in games, he could help fantasy teams. But we see him eventually blowing his rotation spot.
Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: Maybe it's all the attention leaving him and going to Hideki Matsui that's making Suzuki play poorly. He certainly doesn't look like a .350 hitter these days. Ichiro is at .260 with three steals. While we expect these numbers would improve, it would be tough to predict a return to 56 steals (he only swiped 31 last year) and a .350 average. And remember, he never had power. Ichiro went in the top 20 of drafts, because owners felt the 2001 version was the one we'd see. We're not. Eric Owens has more steals. Trade Ichiro to someone who expects those lofty steals numbers, since a .300 average with 30 steals might be his ceiling now.
Tony Womack, Diamondbacks: Like Ichiro, one reason you want Womack is for the steals, and his career path is showing far fewer steals than in years past. Womack has only two steals so far, in part because he's seldom on base. He's batting .190, and doesn't walk at all (he has one walk). Somehow Arizona won a World Series with him hitting leadoff, but now Womack has settled in at seventh or eighth, when he plays at all. Craig Counsell looks like the everyday shortstop. Put bluntly, Womack is no longer worth a roster spot in ML leagues, and owners are seeing that, as he's gone from 79 percent owned to 49 percent in a week.
Mark Redman, Marlins: This lefty has been a different pitcher since opening the season striking out 10 Phillies. He has 12 strikeouts in his last three outings, and no wins. His ratio for the season is an unsightly 1.61, which is probably a more accurate indication of Redman's ability than the 3.80 ERA. He remains owned in 22 percent of leagues - half of what it was last week - and we expect that number to keep dropping when owners realize he's not a strikeout pitcher at all.
Randall Simon, Pirates: Many Pirates had a big first week, and now we're seeing that the first week was likely a fluke. Simon had seven RBI in the first five games, and other than a nice three-run homer against the Brewers April 10, he's done no run producing. It's not like someone can steal Simon's job though; the Pirates have issues at first and in the outfield. Reggie Sanders, for example, has only one homer in the past two weeks. Simon might not be able to produce what you need a first baseman to produce, making him likely waiver wire fodder.