h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars VI

Welcome to the latest installment of the weekly hot and cold fantasy trends update. Thinking about these trends, thankfully, reminds me of that infectious pop vixen, Katy Perry. “Hot N Cold” remains one of my favorite songs — I simply run faster when it is playing. Weird, I know, but I’m fast.

Anyway, if you listen intently, you’ll find that this song accurately discusses the highs and lows of fantasy players from week-to-week. Or, maybe this series of columns is simply a subtle way to feed my Katy Perry YouTube fix. I’ll never tell. But let’s move on to things that matter to you, like who’s hot:

Michael Cuddyer – Last week Cuddyer hit .414 with nine runs, four HRs and 11 RBIs. This is in line with his season so far, where he is, surprisingly, the 56th ranked player in Yahoo! leagues, yet he is only owned in 52 percent of them. Cuddyer has had trouble with injuries in the past – he has only appeared in more than 140 games twice in his career. However, if he does stay healthy, he should hit around .275, score 80+ runs, knock 20 HRs, drive in 80+ RBIs, and perhaps steal ten bases. He is an underrated outfielder for this season.

Gary Sheffield – While the real Mets news this past week was the call-up of uber-prospect Fernando Martinez, Sheffield made his presence felt by hitting .467 with three HRs and nine RBIs. Sheff is beginning to find his groove: in the last month (64 at bats) he hit .345 with four HRs and 16 RBIs. If he starts to get consistent ABs, Sheff could provide a cheap source of RBIs, runs and HRs (in that order).

Ben Zobrist – With Pat Burrell on the shelf and Aki Iwamura and Jason Bartlett hurting, Zobrist will get more consistent playing time in the near future. Last week alone, Zobrist hit .333, scored four runs, hit a HR, and stole a base. Maybe he isn’t a fluke, eh Rob Neyer? According to Evan Rosen:

Ben Zobrist has 7 homers in 86 at-bats…He didn’t hit for too much power in the minors, but his 12 homers in 198 major league at-bats in 2008 is promising.

Zobrist was useful down the stretch last year as well. It isn’t inconceivable that Zobrist could be a productive shortstop in some leagues. He could be a good option for everyone who is dealing with Tulowitzki or Peralta or Furcal or hardy – you get the point.

Chris Snyder – Snyder hit .315 last week with three HRs. Snyder was a catcher sleeper going into 2007, following his 61-game line of 19 runs, six HRs and a .277 BA in 2006. Since then, he hasn’t hit over .252, bottoming out at .237 last year. He is only managing a .233 AVE this year, but he has hit five HRs so far and could hit 20 for the season. If he can get getting base knocks, he could be a sneaky backstop, especially as the weather heats up in the desert.

Phil Hughes – I want to hate Phil Hughes. But, after the way he was discarded after just a few starts by New York, I find myself rooting for him (well not really, but everyone’s somewhat emphatic, right?). In two starts last week, Hughes K’d 15 batters and posted a 2.08 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. For his career, his ERA sits at 5.15, which is oddly similar to his 2009 ERA (5.16). Still you can’t discount the chance that Hughes is putting it together. He is definitely worth a speculative add.

Carl Pavano – Speaking of discarded Yankees’ pitchers, Pavano struck out 14 batters while posting a 2.77 ERA and 1.00 WHIP last week. Be warned, however, Pavano hasn’t been good since 2004, so I wouldn’t go out and grab him. That said, it doesn’t hurt to have him on your radar.

Brett Anderson – Speaking of young promising pitchers, Anderson struck out nine batters in 12 innings last week, all while posting a 2.25 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Anderson has the pedigree to succeed at this level. At the moment, his ERA (4.98) and WHIP (1.43) aren’t at all usable, and his K-rate (24:43.1 IPs) isn’t great either. However, he is only 21 and “struck out 243 batters in a combined 225.1 innings at A and AA from 2007 to 2008,” according to me, so there is a chance he could be improving. Rookies are up and down – don’t buy on this hot streak but keep him on your radar.

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.

Ted Lilly – Lilly didn’t have a great week (against San Diego he pitched 6.1 IPs but gave up eight hits, two walks and five runs). Still Lilly should be exceeding everyone’s expectations. I’ve always liked him, but don’t think you can expect a 3.77 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The Ks will be there, but he has never had this low of a walk-rate in his career. If you can get a bite on his performance, take the offer and run.

Ervin Santana – Two-start weeks from your ace are supposed to be a good thing. Yet Santana managed to post a 7.82 ERA and 2.13 WHIP last week. He did add nine Ks which was nice, but that’s about it. The damage came in one start, in which he pitched just one inning and allowed seven runs. Throw that out and Santana has been semi-useful since coming back from injury. If you have ridden him this far, you need to stay with him for a few more starts.

Francisco Liriano – Liriano was a worse two-start starter than Ervin. Liriano managed just eight innings and had a 13.50 ERA and 2.63 WHIP. He did have a 1:1 K:IP ratio, but that doesn’t salvage his horrendous week. Also, unlike Ervin, Liriano was bad in both starts. Indeed, Liriano has been awful this year. However, he was awful at the start last year before ending up with a very respectable 3.91 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 67 Ks in 76 IPs. Like Ervin, you need to hang on a bit, but if he doesn’t improve in his next few starts, you might be best by getting rid of him. By no means start him until he proves himself.

Roy Oswalt – Oswalt posted two miserable starts last week, ending with a 5.11 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. Surprisingly, he stuck out 12 batters in his 12 IPs. Oswalt hasn’t been all that good this year (4.62 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 47 Ks in 62 IPs). Oswalt hasn’t been a strikeout pitcher since 2005, and he isn’t a top-notch starter anymore either. If he posts some good starts, I’d be actively trying to trade him.

Alex Rios – Rios posted virtually no statistics last week (he hit .231 with no runs and no RBIs). In general, he has been off to a slow start this year, posting a .260 AVE with only three SBs. Still, even including his last week, Rios has been heating up over the last month: four HRs and a .272 AVE. He isn’t that far off last year’s pace and the SBs will come as his AVE and OBP improve. I think he’s a reasonable buy-low opportunity at this point.

Rafael Furcal – When Furcal played last week, he wasn’t good (no runs, RBIs and only a .231 AVE). He has 23 more at bats then last year, but has scored 10 less runs, hit four less HRs, and stolen five less bases. Meanwhile, according to Dylan Hernandez in the Los Angeles Times, Furcal “missed another game because of a strained buttock” on May 27, but is “expected to be back in the lineup…on Thursday.” I’d be a worried Furcal owner if I had him, but at this point you can’t get much for him, so you better hold tight. If you can grab a Zobrist or a similar hot-hitting SS, you probably should.

All stats are as of May 27.

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