Fantasy Baseball: The Cleveland WINdians

With a several of their struggling cornerstone’s struggling to stay above the Mendoza line a few short days ago, the Cleveland Indians scuffled their way to an 11-14 start. Over the past two game, however, Jobu has smiled upon the Indians’ bats and the Tribe has racked up 25 runs over their past two games. A 9-0 victory over the Royals on Monday was followed up with the destruction of Roy Halladay on Tuesday evening. The Indians took Philadelphia pitching deep seven times on the evening, putting up four runs in the first inning and never looking back.

Over the past two games, Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Mark Reynolds, Michael Brantley, Drew Stubbs and Lonnie Chisenhall have all went deep for Cleveland, while Ryan Raburn has one-upped them all with four long balls of his own! We told you to buy low on both Kipnis and Cabrera last week when their batting averages were in the tank. While Asdrubal was one of the few Indians  not to homer on Tuesday, he is certainly warming at the dish with a .351 average over his past 10 games. Cabrera has just two home runs and one steal on the season, but he’s a solid bet to pick up those paces and return top-5 value at his position. Kipnis is also improving with hits in four of his last five games as well as a home run and two steals over that time. Even with the offensive turnaround, there may still be time to buy-low on the Indians’ double-play combo with their averages still being pretty underwhelming.

Aside from the middle infielders, Santana is the obvious stud of the group and he’s a guy who has every bit of talent needed to finish the year as the number one catcher. Michael Bourn is also nearing a return and should get right back to doing his thing once active. Santana and Bourn, of course, is universally owned, but Nick Swisher (79%) and Mark Reynolds (85%) are not quite there yet, though they should be.

The real question is, what can we make of the rest of this squad? We’ve seen this act before from Drew Stubbs and there’s little reason to think he has fixed his abysmal eye at the plate Ryan Raburn is the hottest player in the league, going 7-for-8 with 4 HR, 5 R, and 7 RBI in his last two games. Raburn did however strike out a whopping six times over the two games before that and despite showing a fair amount of power at times, there is little hope he can sustain this level of production. Raburn is striking out at a 27.8% clip this year, right in line with his career rates that have yielded a mediocre .257/.311/.431 slash line over his career. Such a two-game performance will warrant some attention on the wire, and if you have an open roster space, we are all for picking up ANY player running this hot, just watch who you drop because this  flurry of production is unlikely to see the end of May.

Around the League

  • On the losing side of the lopsided victory for the Indians’ Delmon Young popped a home run in his first at-bat with the Phillies on his way to a 2-for-3 evening. Despite his defensive limitation, the Phightin’ Phils plan to use Young as their primary right fielder and he did bat .298 while slugging 21 home runs and driving in 112 RBI for the Tigers’ as recently as 2010. That season, of course, looks ot be the outlier of the group, but that doesn’t mean Delmon can’t give you a  .275 average with 15 homer and 80 RBI over the balance of the season. We’re certainly not doing back-flips to get him, but at 6% ownership rate right now, he’s worth a gamble.
  • Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda was solid once-again despite some uncharacteristic wildness. He walked four over 7.0 shutout innings but racked up eight strikeouts on the evening. Kuroda holds a dominant 2.25 ERA on the season to go along with a 30:11 K-to-BB ratio over 36.0 innings pitched. Despite his advanced age, Kuroda has ripped off four straight quality starts and has been a rock for the Yankees since the start of last year and is a top-30 starter for us.
  • David Ortiz slugged a home run in the Red Sox loss to the Blue Jays and is now batting a ridiculous .500 (18-for-36) on the year. Papi’s injured heel is a chronic issue and he’ll likely have some issues with it in day to day. In a weekly league, we might consider trying to sell Papi after this start,  but if you can switch up your lineup each and every day, he’s proven that the elite production will be there when he is in the lineup.
  • Pirates catcher Russell Martin slugged his sixth home run of the year and is worth a flier while he’s hot if you are light at the position.
  • Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was forced from a game earlier in the week,  went 2-for-4 with a home run, apparently he’s feeling just fine.
  • Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu struck out 12 in a dominating win over the Rockies. He’s got a 3.35 ERA on the year and 46 strikeouts in 37.2 inning pitched. While we expect Ryu to be solid, he’s know mostly as a pticher who relies on deception with his fastball and question his viability as a true ace long term. If you can get top-30 starting pitcher value for him right now, go ahead and do it.

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