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Fantasy Notes: Ivan Rodriguez Comes Through

April 11, 2011 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Iván Rodríguez is splitting time behind the plate for the Washington Nationals.
Ivan Rodriguez is locked in a timeshare, but had a productive weekend.

Ivan Rodriguez is currently in a timeshare with promising youngster Wilson Ramos, a situation we expect to continue until the Nats start giving the bulk of the PT to Ramos, the long-term answer behind the plate in Washington. And while I-Rod started sluggishly, he’s picked it up lately, driving in pair of runs in each of his last two games, including delivering a go-ahead RBI single Sunday to help the Nats take the rubber match of their series in New York against the Mets.

Jim Riggleman has said that Pudge will transition to a back-up role very soon, but so far, the Nationals’ skipper keeps alternating his backstops. Ramos is off to a fantastic start (7-for-17), and now that Rodriguez is heating up, it’s a nice problem to have for Washington. But the writing is on the wall: the Nats are in building mode, and soon they will have to start thinking about 2012 when, presumably, Bryce Harper will be ready, Stephen Strasburg will be healthy and this team will be poised to start competing. When that happens, Ramos will be a big part of the process, so as the 2011 season progresses, expect the youngster to eat into Rodriguez’s PT more and more. At this point, Rodriguez is only useful as an NL-only asset; soon, he’ll be waiver wire fodder in virtually all formats.

Other than a couple of solo shots that both were hit in the first four games of the season, Dan Uggla hasn’t exactly been tearing it up for his new team, the Atlanta Braves. He scuffled through an 0-for-4 with a couple of strikeouts on Sunday, leaving him hitless during the entire weekend set against the Phillies. Sure, the Phils’ pitching will put plenty of good bats into slumps this year, but Uggla hasn’t been hitting against anyone. He’s managed just one multi-hit effort through the first 10 games of the season and he’s failed to get a hit in half of his games.

We ranked Uggla as the fourth best second baseman heading into the season, but so far he’s not even performing as a top 25 player at his position. It’s early though, and there’s reason to believe he’ll break out this week. On Tuesday, the Braves begin a three-game series against the Marlins, Uggla’s old squad. Let’s hope facing his former team will inspire Uggla to get his act together and start producing, but in the meantime, you might want to lob a low-ball offer at his owner.

One player that’s outperforming our projections so far is Kansas City third baseman Wilson Betemit. Mike Aviles won the third base job in Spring Training, but his struggles have opened the door for Betemit, who started every game against the Tigers this weekend. We ranked Betemit 37th among third basemen heading into the season, but his hot start has put him closer to the top 25 level at the hot corner.

Betemit exploded for four hits, two runs, two doubles, an RBI and a walk on Sunday, giving him hits in each of his last five games and raising his BA to a whopping .381. You’ve got to figure he’s earned himself a bit of rope with this performance, which is more bad news for Aviles’ owners. In the meantime, Betemit is someone that AL-only league owners need to jump on while he’s hot. Let’s face it, once Mike Moustakas arrives, both Aviles and Betemit will have to fight for scraps, but for now, Betemit looks like he can help your team, so ride him until he cools or Aviles heats up and forces his way back into the picture.

Pirate rookie reliever Mike Crotta’s bubble burst on Sunday. The converted starter had begun his MLB career with four scoreless appearances – three of which were hitless efforts — before the wheels came off Sunday. With the Pirates up 5-4 in the top of the seventh, Crotta was summoned after James McDonald yielded a two-out single to Dexter Fowler to put the tying run aboard. Fowler promptly swiped second base and then Crotta walked Jonathan Herrera to put the go-ahead run on base. He then served up an RBI single to Jason Giambi that tied the game, with Herrera scooting over to third. Crotta then walked Troy Tulowitzki to load the bases, following that up with a walk to Seth Smith to force in the go-ahead run, which turned out to be the winning run in a 6-5 victory for Colorado. And just like that, a potential series split for the Pirates turned into a series loss, with the Rox taking three of four.

Crotta was looking like a potential asset in NL-only leagues (he had managed one hold already), or at least someone to add to your watch list, but after this implosion, I’d look elsewhere for relief help.

After a sluggish start with his new team, Adrian Beltre is starting to heat up for the Rangers. Sure, he smoked that grand salami against Boston, but as of just a couple of days ago, Beltre was barely hitting over .100 through the first week and change. However, he’s now homered in back-to-back games, recording four hits, four runs, four RBI and a double in the last two games of the Oriole series this weekend.

There had been talk that Beltre would be shifted out of the clean-up spot in favour of Nelson Cruz, but manager Ron Washington nixed that idea, and Beltre’s breakout this weekend vindicates that decision. We ranked Beltre sixth at the hot corner heading into the season and he hasn’t been that far off that projection so far, and now that he’s turning it on, owners can sit back and enjoy the ride. The power numbers are already there, and the average is headed North, so if you were thinking he might make a nice buy-low target, that opportunity looks like it has now passed you by.

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