Jimmy Rollins - SS - Philadelphia Phillies
Rollins hit a couple more bombs this week and continued to be among the few bright spots on the Phillies. He talked the talk in the offseason, now he's walking the walk. Unfortunately, he can't do it alone. Rollins still leads the NL in home runs, making John Kruk's suggestion that Philadelphia move him into the cleanup spot seem progressively more deft. It certainly makes as much sense to me as putting Brett Myers in the bullpen.
B. J. Upton - 2B - Tampa Bay Devil Rays
He made the team largely because of Jorge Cantu's bad attitude and stayed around largely because of Akinori Iwamuru's injury, but B. J. Upton is quietly on pace for a 30/30 season. He's hit 3 HR and driven in 9 in the past week, and is now batting .365 on the year, good for third in the AL behind Vladimir Guerrero and Joe Mauer. He's 4th in OPS and tied for 8th in extra-base hits. He's only drawn six walks so far, while striking out 27 times, which suggests that teams will soon start making him chase, but Upton did show the ability to be selective in the minors, so he will probably adjust quicker than most rookies. Along with his teammate, Elijah Dukes, Upton looks to challenge Dice-K for Rookie of the Year honors.
Fausto Carmona - SP - Cleveland Indians
He's headed back to Triple-A with Cliff Lee returning to the Indians rotation. But the 23-year-old Carmona, who was brutalized during a brief run as Cleveland's closer last season, looked very comfortable as a major league starter. He averaged 7 1/3 innings in his last three starts, never allowing more than two earned runs, and netting a pair of Ws. Even with his rough first outing, he finished his cup of coffee with a 3.76 ERA. I've applauded Cleveland's depth in the past and Carmona is further proof that the Indians will be able to stay afloat in the extremely competitive A. L. Central even if they suffer a few key injuries. I imagine Carmona could will be back in the rotation before the end of the season, perhaps as a permanent replacement for Paul Byrd.
Dan Haren - SP - Oakland Athletics
The talk about Oakland's rotation always centers around Rich Harden - who, granted, is an Ace when he actually takes the mound - but Oakland's pitching succes this year, like last year, depends upon the durability and reliability of Dan Haren. He's won three straight starts since Harden hit the DL again, going 7+ innings every time, and has a nasty 1.60 ERA for the season. If Oakland hangs around in the AL West it will be largely because of their real Ace, Dan Haren.