Renaissance Man [ren' i-sans' man] n - a man who knows a lot about many different subjects and has many practical skills and abilities.
At the beginning of each week I am going to take a look at some Rotisserie Renaissance Men from the previous week. Stats in this edition cover the week of May 24th - 30th. These are the hitters that are solid contributors to all 5 roto categories and pitchers who are doing things right in 4 - and possibly 5 categories some weeks. Whether these guys are sitting on your bench or your league's waiver wire, they probably need to be in a starting line-up while they are staying hot.
You know it was an excellent week for Pitchers when Doc Halladay throws a perfect game and he only makes the Honorable Mention list. There were quite a few others worthy but these guys stood out above the rest. We have a repeat performer in Carlos Gonzalez and our first second basemen of the year, Brandon Phillips.
- OF, Chicago White Sox
(25 AB, .320 AVG, 7 R, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB)
Headlining our Renaissance men this week is also technically a flash back week. Alex Rios at one time would have been a Renaissance man week in and week out but the last few years have not been too kind to the now South Side center fielder. This year he seems to have turned his career back around, playing a good outfield and on pace to easily touch 20/20. Now if the rest of the White Sox line-up can get consistent around him his RBI and Runs totals would greatly benefit from it. His 6 games this week are at home against the Rangers and Indians, all of which there is little history, but look for him to stay hot and perhaps be here again next week.
- OF, Colorado Rockies
(19 AB, .421 AVG, 9 R, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB)
Carlos, like most other young stand outs, is streaky and has flashes of brilliance in him. This past week you saw a glimpse of it. Going into last week there were rumblings of his wrist bothering him but it doesn't look like that ended up being a factor. Even though he is streaky, he of course should be active every day in all line-ups because of his "going off" potential. Look for him to slow down a little at the beginning of this week going into San Francisco and facing the top 3 the Giants have to offer. Things should pick up for him at the end of the week though when he goes into Arizona. He hits .429 with 3 home runs 32 at-bats off the current Diamondbacks pitching staff.
(30 AB, .333 AVG, 6 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 SB)
The first place Cincinnati Reds are there because of their bats and Phillips has recently decided to join the party. Dusty has moved him out of the clean-up spot, his 2009 line-up home, and moved him up in the order, batting out of the 2 hole for most recently. This has allowed him the opportunity to swipe some more bags and make things happen on the base paths more so than when he was in the clean-up spot of the order. Just like in the past, no one thinks the Reds will be at top of the NL Central when it is all said and done, but tomorrow is June 1 and they can't be worse than tied for the spot, so time will only tell. As for Phillips this week, he is facing some good pitching and may not be able to stay hot at the plate but speed doesn't slump and he could continue to run.
A.J. Burnett - SP, New York Yankees
(13 IP, 2 W, 13 K, 0.69 ERA, 0.77 WHIP)
Burnett seems to be all or nothing this year, either looking really good or absolutely horrible. Before this week's Renaissance worthy performance he had been lit up by Tampa Bay and Boston in 2 out of his 3 previous starts. His strike out numbers have always enticed fantasy owners but that is a dual edged sword because with the high strike outs come fewer innings pitched. This hasn't been as much of the case as usual but it will probably become more relevant after the break. With all that being said, when pitching for the Yankees he is as safe as a bet there is the way he is going now and next time out he gets the Blue Jays. Even though they are a powerful offense, they like to strike out quite a bit too.
- SP, Boston Red Sox
(13 IP, 2 W, 14 K, 0.69 ERA, 1.08 WHIP)
Lester scared owners a little bit with 3 shaky starts to begin the season but in his last 8 starts he has only given up a total of 9 runs. Last week he was excellent, racking up better than a strike out an inning and allowing only 1 run. The one aspect that hurt him was issuing 9 base on balls in those 13 innings. That is also something that owners may want to watch and be wary of. It was his highest consecutive game walk totals so far this year. Expect another strong week out of Lester when he faces off against Baltimore and Jeremy Guthrie .
Brian Wilson - RP, San Francisco Giants
(3 IP, 1 W, 2 SV, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP)
Brian Wilson is perhaps the most under valued closer in the game. He did have ERA/WHIP problems early in his closer career but as of last year he has been excellent. Who can not want to roster a closer that sports a mo-hawk and is covered in ink? All that being said his strike out rate gives him that value and now that the Giants seem to have a team that will give him plenty of opportunities you can look for him to on top of that 2nd tier of closers for a few years to come. This week he made all of his pitches count, throwing 3 perfect innings, striking out 7, collecting 2 saves and win.