While it’s doubtful many (any?) of you outside of deep AL-onlys played catcher John Buck on Thursday, he had a game for fantasy baseball record books.
Buck belted three homers and drove in five runs. He accounted for all but one run — Travis Snyder’s solo homer — in Toronto’s 6-3 win over the A’s.
Buck is one of the shakiest fantasy plays out there. Yes, like any other hitter, when he gets on a hot streak he’s rosterable. But he needs to be dropped at the first sign of trouble. He’ll probably hit below .220 and has never hit above .247 in a season, hasn’t hit more than 18 homers, scored 48 runs or driven in 50.
The 30-year-old has been a platooner for far too long to warrant too much excitement. However, Top 10? Yes, he’s in our top 10.
Nine other noteworthy performances:
Adam LaRoche — If it hadn’t been for Buck, LaRoche would have stolen the lead. LaRoche belted a pair of home runs, drove in five and scored a third run in a 3-for-4 day. He’s hitting .299.
Robinson Cano — Another two-homer game. Cano scored a third run and went 3-for-4 to improve his already stunning batting average to .407. He’s bound to slump at some point, but Cano has scored 21 runs, hit eight homers and driven in 17 as the Yankees most dangerous hitter.
David Freese — Thursday was a day for sluggers and even David Freese got in on the action. Freese’s first homer of 2010 helped him to a six-RBI game. He scored twice and went 3-for-3 with a walk.
Matt Garza — Hitters didn’t own everything Thursday. On the contrary, Garza owned Royals hitters to improve to 4-1. The Rays ace struck out nine in six innings. He allowed one earned run and seven baserunners. His ERA is 2.06 and hiw WHIP is 1.14.
Paul Konerko — Hit his ninth and 10th homers of the season on Thursday in a 2-for-3 showing. Konerko, hitting .292, drove in four runs and walked once. I ignored Konerko in the preseason. Foolish, apparently.
Kelly Johnson — Another homer? Johnson is unstoppable right now. He went 4-for-5 and drove in three. He’s got a .320 season batting average, 17 runs, nine homers and 18 RBI. Remember how weak 2B was in the preseason?
Wade LeBlanc — Picked him up for a spot start after I put Jorge de la Rosa on the DL earlier this week. He struck out six in 6.1 shutout innings. He allowed eight hits, which is a little high, but does have a 4-to-1 K/BB rate this season. Pick up LeBlanc at your own risk. He won’t be able to maintain his 0.52 ERA, especially with a 1.27 WHIP and a .288 BAA.
Dontrelle Willis — Earning his first win of 2010, Willis struck out six and allowed six baserunners in six innings. All sixes there except for the big one: 0 runs. He dropped his ERA to 3.75 and his WHIP is down to 1.54. I didn’t watch him pitch, but he still feels like a shaky fantasy play at this point.
A.J. Burnett — Nearly went the complete game — Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation — allowing just four baserunners (one walk) and striking out four in eight innings of work. Burnett dropped too far in fantasy drafts and Javier Vazquez went too high in fantasy leagues. Burnett has a 2.43 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
If you have any lineup, add/drop, trade questions or want to tell us how to make the Top 10 or Chinstrap Ninjas better, post a comment below or e-mail ep(at)chinstrapninjas.com.