To begin week 8, the Royals have some separation atop the division. The Twins continue to play great baseball and have jumped ahead of the Tigers who are struggling. The Indians have begun to find their stride and look like they could get right back in the race. The White Sox continue to struggle to hit the ball, which is the biggest reason why they find themselves in last place. Every week it seems like a new team emerges in the division and I think that may be the case for most of the 2015 season.
It’s all about the offense, or lack there of. Take your pick:
Jason Kipnis: Cleveland Indians He’s been the hottest player in the Central, probably the American League, and maybe in all of baseball since May began (except Bryce Harper). Entering the week, Kipnis has hit for a .465 BA with 3 HR, 3 SB, 12 RBI, and an incredible 24 R. Since being moved to the lead off spot in the order, Kipnis has found his stride. There is no coincidence that since he has begun this hot streak, the Indians have started to play much better baseball. It’s unlikely that he can keep up the amazing .465 BA, however, two seasons ago he was an All-Star and it appears that he may be on his way back to the Mid Summer Classic in 2015.
Jose Abreu: Chicago White Sox After an incredible rookie season last year in which he hit over .300 with 36 HR and over 100 RBI, Abreu’s power numbers are down in 2015, and has been a disappointment when you compare his stats to last season. Entering the year, I had Abreu has my AL MVP favorite and although his number aren’t bad entering the week (6 HR and 22 RBI), they are no where near what was expected out of him to date. It is still May and I don’t think anyone questions his power, it should only be a matter of time until he goes off on a power surge. He is very capable of having a month where he hits 10 or more HR. Be patient with the big Cuban slugger.
Salvador Perez: Kansas City Royals I haven’t talked about him much this season. He’s as consistent as they come and is a premier player at thin position. His team is playing amazing baseball right now and his impact offensively and defensively are a big reason why. He is hitting .305 with 5 HR and 23 RBI, all of which rank him in the top 5 among MLB catchers. The Royals locked him up to a long term deal when he first reached the majors and it appears to be paying off. In my opinion, he is the heart and soul of the ball club, the leader, and I think if he was lost to injury, they would suffer greatly.
Victor Martinez: Detroit Tigers After suffering a knee injury prior to spring training, I wasn’t sure how V-Mart would recover, and thought that even if he did recover, it would still impact his ability at the plate. It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow for Tigers fans and/or anyone who owns him in fantasy. He is currently on the DL with knee inflammation, and after what was arguably the best year of his career in 2014, in 2015 Martinez is giving a whole new meaning to the word struggling. At the end of every season, each league rewards a player as “comeback player of the year”. If there was an award for most disappointing player of the year, V-Mart would easily be the favorite in the American League thus far. This season he is hitting .216, with 1 HR and 15 RBI after hitting .335 with 33 HR and 103 RBI last season. Of course there is time to turn it around, however, he’s not a young man anymore and it’s quite possible that he is on the decline. No one could have imagined that it would be so drastic, or that it could happen so quickly, but the stats speak for themselves.
Eduardo Nunez: Minnesota Twins He was activated from the DL over the weekend. He’s always been an interesting player that possesses good speed, but has been unable to stay healthy or lock down a permanent job. He won’t see everyday playing time with the crowded Twins infield and outfield, however he will be in line for more at bats if someone gets injured. In his limited time this year (27 AB) he has been productive hitting .370, with 1 HR, 5 R, 3 RBI and a .414 OBP. His eligibility at 3B, SS and even OF in certain formats definitely adds to his value to the Twins and anyone who decides to use him in fantasy (I don’t suggest it at this time).
Melky Cabrera: Chicago White Sox Melky signed a lucrative FA deal with the White Sox this offseason as part of their rebuild. He was fantastic last season in Toronto, hitting for a .301 BA, 16 HR, 73 RBI and 81 R. Cabrera has a track record of performing very well in his contract years, doing so with the Royals and Giants before his success in Toronto. So far, he’s been an utter disappointment hitting 2nd in the Sox lineup and he is showing no signs of turning it around anytime soon. He is hitting .245 with only 1 HR, 15 RBI and 20 R. He’s on pace for similar RBI and R totals, but his low BA and HR total is alarming. His OBP is under .300 as well, which means he isn’t even getting on base and contributing to the offense. He’s an integral part of the lineup and without him or lead off man Adam Eaton getting on base, Jose Abreu (mentioned above) has no one to drive in.
Yan Gomes: Cleveland Indians After a fantastic 2014, big things were expected out of Yan Gomes. In his 5th game of the season he went down with an injury and the Indians lost one of there only right handed hitters, and all-star caliber catcher. He was activated from the DL Sunday and will look to get on track. It may take him some time after missing almost 40 games, but be patient. Last year he was one of the best offensive catchers in fantasy and once he gets enough reps, you can expect the same.
This is my last baseball article this year. I have really enjoyed covering the AL Central and I look forward to providing quality information and analysis in the future. I will be shifting my focus over to co-hosting the MLFS Fantasy Football YouTube show, which will begin in late June. For any comments or questions about the article or anything baseball related, continue to send me emails at firstname.lastname@example.org.