After a week away, I’m back! Surely, everyone has missed me. There was more than enough action this past week to make up for lost time, so let’s get straight to it.

Cuban Stars Standing Out

Over the past couple of years, players that have been brought in from Cuba have started to translate their dominance to the MLB. With Jose Fernandez, Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu and a host of others, it looks like Cuba has again become a gold mine for solid, MLB-ready talent.

This season, it has been Abreu who has stood out, primarily because of his status as a constant threat to hit the long ball. The 27-year old who signed a 6-year, $68 million deal this offseason is quickly finding out that he may have sold himself short in contract negotiations.

He currently leads all of baseball with 13 home runs, and he’s been a force in the middle of the White Sox lineup. Along with Abreu, Fernandez has also established himself as one of the top arms in the game, even though he’s only 21 years old.

He’s leading the league in strikeouts, and his superb control has been on display the entire year, as evidenced by his incredible 5.38 K/BB rate. The Marlins are going to want to lock him up as soon as they can, because if he hits the open market he could be the recipient of a record-breaking contract.

Who do you think is the best Cuban player in baseball right now?

Samardzija Remains One Of The Unluckiest Pitchers

Folks who don’t much stock in wins and losses for pitchers have a great bit of supporting evidence with Jeff Samardzija this year, as the Cubs pitcher is second in the league in ERA but still has not captured his first victory of the season.

To this point, he has been on the receiving end of a hilarious lack of run support, with the Cubs plating just 1.88 runs per game during the 29-year old’s starts. Over this past week, he managed to pitch 15 runs of shutout ball, which included 9 innings without an earned run against the White Sox.

It surely has to be frustrating for both the Cubs and for Samardzija, who really couldn’t be pitching much better than he is right now. On the bright side, his solid performance is slowly, but surely raising his trade value across the league, should Theo Epstein decide to finally pull the trigger.

Teams like the Yankees, Rangers and Orioles all have certainly kept an eye on him throughout the entire season and will definitely overlook his lack of a win. Given that it’s the middle of May, desperation for pitching may be beginning to sink in for these teams.

With his impressive start to the season in mind, what do you think a reasonable package would be in return for Samardzija?

Arenado’s Hitting Streak Ceases

After winning the Gold Glove at third base in his rookie season last year, Nolan Arenado came into this season wanting to prove that he was just as capable with the bat, and he did just that.

While Arenado’s 28-game hitting streak didn’t get close to threatening the 56-spot famously put up by Joe Dimaggio in 1941, it gained him, and the Rockies, some notoriety for the fantastic work that they have been doing throughout this whole season.

The team is currently just a game and a half back of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, and Arenado is a major reason for that. His dependable defense, paired with a batting average up around .320 has given Rockies fans hope for both the present and the future.

At just 23-years old, it seems as if Arenado will have the spot locked down for the foreseeable future. It took an extended hitting streak to do so, but it looks like the rest of the country is finally listening to what Colorado has been preaching this entire time: Arenado is one of the best young players in the game.

At this point in his career, where would you rank Nolan Arenado amongst third baseman in the league?

This Week’s MVP: Troy Tulowitzki (.429/.518/1.567 4 HR, 8 RBI)

This Week’s CY Young: Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 0.64 ERA, 17 K)

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Brian Rzeppa is an avid follower of the Cubs, and of Major League Baseball in general. You can find his basketball-related work at Sheridan Hoops, and you can follow him on Twitter @brianrzeppa.