h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars III

Welcome to the latest installment of the weekly hot and cold fantasy trends update.

On my way to completing four miles in 26:45 (one second off my best time and 17 seconds better than last week), my ears and legs were propelled by the Jonas Bros’ “Burnin’ Up” (wait for the red dress). It made me think (and took my mind off the pain in my quads) that this column could be named the Jonas Brothers All-stars, because:

“I’m hot
You’re cold
You go around
Like you know
Who I am
But you don’t
You’ve got me on my toes”

These lyrics speak to the very roots of this column, i.e., to ascertain who is hot, who is cold and to let you, the reading public, know. Then I thought how lame a column named after the Jonas Brothers would be and remembered that “Hot N Cold” remains a far superior musical performance. Also, pictures of that infectious pop vixen, Katy Perry, are more enjoyable to search for. But I digress, so let’s move on to things that matter to you, like who’s hot and likely unowned:

Ryan Theriot – Theriot has been doing his best Alex Rodriguez impression, hitting three HRs and knocking in eight runs in the last week. He also added three stolen bases and posted a .370 OBP. The recent power surge ties his career high for HRs in a season, so I wouldn’t expect the homeruns to continue — he could end up with somewhere around ten though. I’m buying on him; he is getting on base at a good clip, and he should push 30 SBs.

Mike Fontenot – Theriot’s double play mate in both college and now the majors, Mike Fontenot, hit two HRs of his own and knocked six in runs during the last week. This isn’t out of line with his career 162-game average of .285 AVE and .366 OBP. This also shows that there is room improvement from his slow start (.256 AVE and .347 OBP).

Franklin Gutierrez – I mistakenly jumped ship on Gutierrez after he started slow; however, he was impressive last week: six runs and RBIs, two SBs and a .593 OBP. Still, the best you’re going to get from Gutierrez is likely 10 HRs and 10 SBs. Those in deep leagues (over 12 teams) should be adding him, while shallow league owners can let him sit on the wire a little longer.

Alberto Callaspo – Callaspo has no power; however, he can really help your ratio categories while also adding some runs (he scored nine last week!). He managed a .305 AVE and .361 OBP last year in 234 at bats. Still, he has stolen only three bases in 178 career games, as well as hit only two HRs (both this year). Outside of AVE/OBP, Callaspo won’t help you much, but he won’t hurt you either. He could clearly DH for the Angels.

Michael Cuddyer – Cuddyer started real slow. In the last week, however, he scored five runs and knocked in seven, all while posting a .560 OBP. When healthy, Cuddyer can post some cheap power numbers — he has a career 162-game average of 17 HRs and 79 RBIs. He won’t kill your batting average (something around .270), either. He is a pretty strong buy for those in need of RBIs.

Elijah Dukes – Dukes — owned in only 45 percent of Yahoo! Leagues — hit a HR, stole a base, and got on base 46  percent of his at bats last week. So far, he is hitting .309 with a .385 OBP. In addition, Dukes has added four HRs and two SBs (he has been caught four times, though). You should expect a 20-20 season from Dukes, with upside to 25 HRs — ya know as long as he doesn’t do something stupid.

Michael Bourn – Michael Bourn, batting average killer, could be a thing of the past. Last week he scored five times, stole two bases and posted a .357 OBP. So far, he has posted a .301 AVE and a .369 OBP, and has stolen eight bases. If you need speed, you should be adding Bourn immediately.

Ryan Spilborghs – Spilborghs is consistently featured in this column, yet he is owned in only 16 percent of Yahoo! leagues. In 757 career at bats, Spilborghs is a .301 hitter — not too shabby. Though he doesn’t have a ton of power, he still has the potential to jack 20 balls out of the yard and knock in 80 – 100 runs. He is a far better hitter at home (.330 BA/12 HRs), but no slouch on the road (.278 BA/10 HRs).

Aaron Cook – In Cook’s two starts last week, he posted a 2.40 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with eight Ks. Last year Cook provided a serviceable ERA (3.96) and WHIP (1.34). Still, he won’t strike anyone out (96 in 211 IPs in 2008). If you need a lift in your ratio categories, however, you could do worse than pick him up.

Barry Zito – Over his last 20.1 IPs, Zito has given up three runs, while striking out 11. This year he has posted a 3.99 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He posted WHIPs of 1.30 and 1.28 in August and September/October respectively and struck out 27 batters in 34 September/October innings. This is a positive trend, but I’d still be a bit wary of counting on Zito.

THE FLIP SIDE (the supposed good guys who are stinking up the joint)

Time to move on to those cold salamanders that are likely owned in your league, yet have sucked lately. These are the players who have been ice cold, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright, alright.

Matt Cain – Cain hasn’t been the stalwart I’d thought he would be (3.09 ERA, but a 1.41 WHIP and just 21 Ks in 32 IPs). Cain has a career WHIP of 1.28, so there should be some regression there. I’m buying low on Matt Cain right now if I can; this is just a fluky start.

Brett Myers – Myers — another pitcher I was big on — has had a horrible start (5.35 ERA/1.59WHIP). It is possible Myers is just a slow starter. His 2008 first half ERA was 5.84, while his second half was 3.06. In 2007, his first-half ERA was 5.50, while his second half ERA was 3.03. At this point you have to ride Myers — you really can’t bench or drop him. Still, I wouldn’t start him in any week that you are looking to compete in the ratio categories. If you are going after Ks, then start him at will.

Josh BeckettI called Beckett overrated here. So far, he has looked bad (6.75 ERA and 1.82 WHIP). Still, he has struck out 36 batters in 34 innings. Given the great 1:1 strikeout to inning ratio, I think you have to stick with him and hope he finds a way to bring his ERA and WHIP down. If given the opportunity, I’d be buying him right now — that K-rate is pretty spectacular.

Scott KazmirAccording to Dave Cameron, the brilliant FanGraphs writer, “Scott Kazmir is broken.” Cameron finds that Kazmir lost his slider last year and, in so doing, “saw his GB% [groundball ratio] sink.” Of further concern, Kazmir’s velocity is off by a couple of MPHs this year on EVERY pitch. Combing Cameron’s astute analysis makes it unsurprising that Kazmir is posting a 6.00 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. If you can find a buyer at near draft value, I’d pull the trigger. If you can’t, all is not lost. Though his velocity is down, Kazmir has still posted 28 Ks in 33 IPs.

Kevin Slowey – Hitters against Slowey have posted a ridiculous .357 BABIP on ground balls, which is noticeably higher than the league average. This has inflated his WHIP to 1.47 and his ERA to 5.17. As luck corrects itself, Slowey’s ERA should drop to around 4.00 and his WHIP should drop to around 1.25. That’s a wholly ownable pitcher; I’d be buying low, not selling low, right now.

Geo Soto – Soto, like Spilborghs, has been a consistent Katy Perry All-Star. Unfortunately, it’s been for all the wrong reasons. Last week, however, Soto showed signs of life by posting a .381 OBP. He seems to finally be getting reacclimated to major league pitching after missing most of Spring Training. As I’ve said numerous of times, I’m not worried. You can ride this out.

Robinson Cano – Cano came back to his normal first-half self in the past week or so, getting on base just 22 percent of the time. Still, his AVE sits at a healthy .336 and he’s added five HRs and 17 RBIs. Those who bought Cano low in drafts/auctions must be super happy — he’ll be a top five second baseman.

David Ortiz – Ortiz has been pedestrian over his last 518 at bats (just 23 HRs and 103 RBIs). Ortiz has started this season with a .225 AVE and .333 OBP, while striking out 24 times in 102 at bats. This is way out of whack with his career K-rate of about 17%. I ranked Ortiz low to start the year, and I see no reason you should expect anything other than low ratios, 20 HRs, and 80 RBIs. At least Red Sox Nation has the Bruins, right? To quote a pseudo-Bostonian:

While I suppose that Red Sox Nation would be on the C’s bandwagon, the true blood Bostonites would rather the B’s won it this year than the C’s. Though that might only be cuz every can see the writing on the wall that the Cavs are coming out of the east.

Garrett Atkins – Before the season began, the concern surrounding Atkins was whether he would get traded and lose the Coors Field advantage. After stumbling out of the gate with a .234 AVE and a .298 OBP, I’m not sure the Rockies could trade him for decent value. Though we’re only talking about 94 at bats, his career statistics have been trending down since 2006. At this point he should still reach 20 HRs and 90 RBIs, but it’s not likely to be pretty.

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