Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) -
The MLB season is only a week old. Which means it's time for us to speculate wildly.
Obviously Chris Colabello is going to lead the majors in RBI.
The NL Cy Young? That's got Timmy Hudson written all over it.
And the 50 homers Jose Bautista was supposed to hit this season? Better make it an even 100.
If the season ended today, all of these things would be true. But the marathon that is Major League Baseball just started and we're about 26 miles from the finish line. You may want to hydrate.
One of these guys might be the next Chris Davis. But probably not. Which is why I've devised a system. It's called the Fluke Meter. Have a look.
10 - The highest level of flukiness. This guy will be back in the minors by next week.
9 - Very fluky
8 - Quite fluky
7 - Still a bit of a fluke
6 - Ride the hot streak but don't get too attached. He'll fall back to reality sooner or later.
5 - Hmmn ...
4 - Not that fluky
3 - That's gold, Jerry!
2 - I'm in love
1 - Trout who?
Now that we're familiar with how the Fluke Meter works, let's bring out our first victim.
Charlie Blackmon, OF, Colorado Rockies (.484, 1 HR, 8 RBI)
If there's a Blackmon bandwagon out there I should be the one driving it. He's got the best beard this side of Mike Napoli. But more importantly, Blackmon is a really good hitter. Blackmon hit .309 in limited action last season and entered the year with a .291 average in 457 lifetime at bats.
And there's even more good news. Blackmon, who is left-handed, has actually fared better against southpaws than he has against right-handers throughout his career (.331 vs. LHP, .290 vs. RHP). Now that Blackmon is the everyday center fielder, why wouldn't you own him in fantasy? Did I mention he plays half his games at Coors Field? I don't think I've ever written so many good things in one paragraph.
You can't teach speed and Bonifacio has that in spades (143 career thefts). What I'm not buying is the high batting average. Obviously, Bonifacio won't be able to hit .500 all year but then the question becomes can he even hit .300? I'm not so sure. In eight seasons, he's never hit above .296 so why would he start now?
Take a flier on him, if you must. But do it for the steals, not the hitting.
Fluke reading: 5
Mark Buehrle, SP, Toronto Blue Jays (2-0, 0.64 ERA)
If there's one thing Mark the Shark will be remembered for, besides the two no-hitters he's thrown, it's his incredible consistency. The 35-year-old left- hander has posted an ERA lower than four in seven of his last nine seasons.
The trouble is that his career-best in that stat is only 3.12. That represents a fairly low ceiling, especially when you're a ground ball guy instead of a strikeout pitcher, which has been Buehrle's MO throughout his career.
The margin for error is slim but Buehrle does have the goods to be a top-20 starting pitcher in this league. He's also extremely durable, having pitched at least 200 innings in each of his last 13 seasons. I'd give him a shot.
Fluke reading: 3
Melky Cabrera, OF, Toronto Blue Jays (.314, 4 HR, 5 RBI)
Melky burned fantasy owners last year by hitting just .279 in 88 games. He's made up for it by crushing four homers in his first 35 at bats, which is already more than he had all of last season (three jacks in 372 plate appearances).
Cabrera was an All-Star Game MVP as recently as 2012 so he's certainly someone fantasy owners know about. But with a career-high of only 18 HR, I don't see his power lasting. If a .300 average and 15-20 bombs is in your wheelhouse, Cabrera should do just fine.
Fluke reading: 4
Chris Colabello, DH, Minnesota Twins (.323, 1 HR, 11 RBI)
Yes Colabello is generating RBI at a record pace. But ten of his 11 ribbies have come in just two games. That means he's had five games this season without any RBI. I'm also worried about his high strikeout rate (nine whiffs in 30 at bats as of this writing).
And to top it off, Colabello is already 30. If he's really this good, why did it take him so long to get to the major leagues?
Root for Colabello all you want. I know I will be. Just don't be in any rush to pick him up off the waiver wire. I guarantee you'll be disappointed.
Fluke reading: 8
Scott Feldman, SP, Houston Astros (2-0, 0.66 ERA)
I know Astro-bashing is kind of my thing (it's kind of been everyone's thing) but I actually like Feldman. He seemed to turn a corner last season, especially in the second half (3.88 ERA, .224 batting average against).
He'll have some rocky outings, sure. But remember this is a guy who threw two complete games last season and had a sub-four ERA. The Astros won't give him much run support but the WHIP and ERA will be there.
Fluke reading: 3
Tyler Flowers, C, Chicago White Sox (.500, 1 HR, 5 RBI)
If you're looking for Flowers in our preseason fantasy rankings don't bother. He didn't even make our top-25 for catchers. And even though he's hitting .500 to start the season, I'm not buying the hype.
Here's why. Flowers entered this season with a .200 career batting average including a .195 clip in 2013. All that is made worse by the fact that, despite standing 6-foot-4 and weighing close to 250 pounds, he's not much of a power hitter (one home run every 25.6 at bats last season).
The shear volume of at bats could propel Flowers into 15 HR territory but there's at least a dozen other catchers in the league who can do that. Don't fall for it.
Fluke reading: 8
Aaron Harang, SP, Atlanta Braves (1-1, 0.66 ERA)
Six: that's how many teams Harang has pitched for since 2010.
That's too many teams.
If you wanted to make a case for Harang, you could say he's pitched well over his last six starts (2.52 ERA in 35 2/3 IP). To argue the other side, just look at the 22 starts that came before that (5-11, 5.76 ERA).
The A on Harang's cap doesn't hide the fact that he's been the epitome of average at every stop in his major league career. He might win some games and even strike out a few batters but you'll never find the consistency you're looking for with Harang.
Fluke reading: 7
Yangervis Solarte, 3B, New York Yankees (.458, 0 HR, 7 RBI)
Somebody's gotta play third base while A-Rod's out. Why not this guy?
The team was so impressed with Solarte during spring training (.429 AVG in 42 at bats) that they designated Eduardo Nunez for assignment before trading him to Minnesota. I don't have much to base it off of but I have a good feeling about Solarte. At the very least you'll know that he'll be playing every day, which is more than you can say about some players. Give him a try and if he cools off, well it was fun while it lasted.
Fluke reading: 6
Jason Vargas, SP, Kansas City Royals (1-0, 1.20 ERA)
The Royals were willing to give this guy $32 million this offseason so he must be doing something right. Vargas pitches to contact, which is dangerous, and he has a reputation for running out of gas late in the season (4.60 ERA, .293 batting average against in the second half of 2013).
Neither of those are great things but you have to admit he's pitched well against two pretty good teams this season (Detroit and Tampa Bay). I'm not gaga about him yet but a few more starts might convince me.