With eight full weeks of the 2013 season in the books, today RotoBaller casts a critical eye on three players who are on the rise heading into Week 9:
1) Everth Cabrera (SS SD): Cabrera was drafted in the late rounds, primarily to boost your speed production. And he is doing that better than you could have expected. He’s had 8 SB in the last two weeks and is at 19 SB for the year, leading all major leaguers. We love that his GB/FB ratio is more than 3:1-- he knows his strengths and is taking advantage of his speed. That itself would be enough to warrant consideration for our weekly rising list, but Cabrera has also been a contributor to power and RBI numbers, eclipsing anything you could have predicted. In 115 games last year, he had 2 HR and 24 RBI. Already in only 49 games he has 4 HR, double last year’s total, and 20 RBI. At this pace he could finish with 10+ HR, 55 RBI and 50+ SB-- crazy numbers from a speed-only guy.
2) Chris Davis (1B BAL): Davis makes this list as a tribute to his consistency and ability to demonstrate that his red-hot start was not smoke and mirrors. In his age-27 year, Davis is finally showing the potential that tantalized Texas as he keeps putting up tremendous power numbers. Based on ESPN’s home run tracker, Davis is in the top 15 for HR distance with a 412.5 foot average distance. In the last two weeks, he's hit .417 with 5 HR and 9 RBI, and now has 16 HR for the year, two ahead of Miguel Cabrera. His .341 average is partially inflated by a .378 BABIP and should come down to a level closer to .300, but not much lower than that since he’s showing much better plate discipline this year by striking out less and walking more.
3) Francisco Liriano (SP PIT): There’s been a lot written about Liriano since his sensational breakout in 2006 and the untimely flameouts that followed. Now, the Liriano chatter is back in full force due to his Pittsburgh renaissance. His average fastball speed is up to 93.2 mph-- the highest it has been since 2010-- and he’s throwing his slider the hardest since 2009, too. His K/9 is 12.5, without any single game from his three starts to point out as an outlier. But there's still reason for caution here: Liriano is benefitting mightily from a 90% strand rate, which when it regresses to normal levels, will negatively impact the ERA substantially. But still, you’re talking about a pitcher with a sub-1.5 ERA, so even a slight increase is still tremendous value for a waiver wire pickup.
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