1. Troy Glaus, 1B ATL
When Glaus signed a one-year deal with Atlanta this offseason, the Braves saw it as a low-risk, high-reward signing. After a (painfully) slow start to the season, Glaus has really turned it on of late. He was named NL Player of the month for his six homers and 28 RBI in May, and in his first three games in June he is 4-9 with two homers and five RBI.
On the season, Glaus is batting .283 with 10 HR’s and 42 RBI, ranking him among the most productive 1B in the league. While I doubt that Glaus can keep up this type of production given his playing history, he’s showing no signs of slowing down and could be in line for a resurgent season if he avoids the injury bug. Fantasy owners should be running—not walking, to the waiver wire to make sure he’s not floating around as a free agent. If you were smart enough to snatch him up before he began his tear, congratulations. His added eligibility at 3B is quite nice as well.
2. Torii Hunter, CF LAA
Hunter doesn’t get nearly the attention that he deserves in fantasy leagues. All this guy does is produce at a high rate every single year. He’s currently batting .283 with nine homers and 34 RBI, and the calendar just hit June—statistically Torii’s favorite month to hit. After finishing his last five games of May just 2-17. Hunter has started June by going 6-13 with two homers, five RBI, and four runs scored. The window to buy low on Hunter may be closed, but his most productive days are still ahead of him. If you own him, there’s no better time to play him than right now.
3. Buster Posey, C/1B SFG
Maybe the most hyped prospect outside of Stephen Strasburg, Jason Heyward, and Michael Stanton, Posey has absolutely lit the fantasy world on fire since his call-up. After being drafted as the catcher of the future in SF, his bat was too good to be left in the minors any longer and has been installed as the regular 1B for the Giants. He’s done nothing but respond, going 9-19 with four RBI and has only struck out once. His bat was good enough to make the club out of spring training, but the team wanted to send him to the minors to develop his defensive skills behind the dish. With the team’s offensive struggles, they recalled Posey and it has paid off big time so far. He is an elite hitting prospect and fantasy owners should SPRINT to make sure he’s not on the waiver wire. His eligibility at C just adds to his already massive fantasy appeal.
4. Prince Fielder, 1B MIL
After a terribly slow start to the season, some frustrated fantasy owners were left wondering where the slugger’s power had gone. He’s struggled this season, and with a season line of .273/9/21, it’s certainly nothing to get excited about. However, Fielder has homered in two of his last three, and is 8-24 (.333) over his last seven games. He’ll need to get his RBI numbers way up if he hopes to even come close to the season he had last year, but Fielder is certainly a streaky power hitter and if his recent surge is a sign of things to come, fantasy owners should watch out. The window to buy-low on Fielder is just about closed.
5. Paul Konerko, 1B CHW
Konerko has been just about the biggest surprise of the fantasy world this season outside of Jose Bautista. He’s been remarkably solid all season long and is currently first in homers with 16, seventh in RBI with 39, and fourth in slugging percentage. He’s hit in four straight games and is 8-13 over that span with two homers and seven RBI. He’s even batting .270 on the year and has shown no signs of slowing down. While it’s doubtful that Konerko will wind up slugging 50 homers, 35 is not out of the realm of possibility and could wind up to be a fantasy bargain for those owners that snatched him in the later rounds on draft day.
1. Chris Carpenter, SP STL
Carpenter probably should’ve won the CY last year after going 17-4 with a 2.24 ERA, so he’s back this year to assert his dominance. He’s gone at least six innings in all of his last eight starts, and over his last four is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA over that span. Carpenter has even improved his strikeout rate this year, registering 70 in 81 2/3 IP against 19 walks. With a season line of 7-1 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.08 WHP, Carpenter has been exactly what fantasy owners had hoped. The idea that he’s just beginning to warm up is scary.
2. Yovani Gallardo, SP MIL
Gallardo began the season 0-2 but the ace quickly righted ship as he’s now improved to 6-2 with six straight victories. Yovani has held his opponent to one earned run or less in three of his last four starts, and if that’s not impressive enough for fantasy owners, then how about this: he’s allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last ten starts. He’s a must-start fantasy option and is striking out better than a batter per inning. With a 2.64 ERA and 77 K’s in 75 IP, Gallardo is proving to the fantasy world why he should be considered an ace.
3. Clayton Richard, SP SDG
Despite only a 4-3 record on the season, Richard has pitched remarkably well this season in his new home. While some of his success may be attributed to pitching at Petco, he has also enjoyed equal success on the road. Over the last three weeks, the young lefty has been really sharp and has a 2.38 ERA over his last five starts spanning 34 IP. He’s only given up more than three runs once this year and hasn’t really had a bad outing all year. Even with a rather high K/BB ratio (51/27) for the year, Richard has been able to limit the damage and currently boasts a 2.87 ERA and 1.29 WHIP on the season, which is more than serviceable for the majority of fantasy owners. Hopefully he’ll get some run support and look to increase his win total.
4. Matt Cain, SP SFG
Cain has pitched a heck of a lot better than his 4-4 record dictates. He seems to be really dialed in on the hill as he’s allowed one earned run or fewer over his last three starts. He’s only allowed two runs (one earned) in his last 25 innings, which is good for a microscopic 0.36 ERA. He’s now won consecutive starts and hopefully the revamped Giants offense can start to provide him with some consistent run support. He has not had as many K’s as some had predicted, but fantasy owners certainly can’t complain about the 2.36 ERA or the 0.99 WHIP. He’s pitching like the front-line starter that we expected him to be. One more eye-popping stat: Cain has allowed just 11 ER over his last seven starts while teammate and back-to-back CY Young winner Tim Lincecum has allowed 14 ER over his last three starts, just in case you needed another reason to put your trust in Cain.
5. Phil Hughes, SP NYY
Hughes has really been a special find for fantasy owners this season as he’s finally living up to his hype. Nobody saw this type of success coming—not even GM Brian Cashman. Fantasy owners who gambled on Hughes have been grinning from ear to ear all season, and who could blame them? He’s got one of the most potent offenses to ever take a baseball field to support him, and for the season is 7-1 with a 2.55 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. With 64 K’s in 63 2/3 IP, Hughes’ power arm is baffling hitters and the impressive results should continue. As a two-start pitcher this week taking on the lowly Orioles and Astros, Hughes could very well be 9-1 by week’s end and asserting himself as one of the game’s most promising young hurlers.