h2h Corner has been on a bit of hiatus since the All-star Break because I grew up and bought a condo. That process was apparently incredibly time consuming – what with mortgage rates, wi-fi, moving and all that. Add to that a delay in internet service, and you have the reason for a lack of Katy Perry All-star announcements.
The Corner will also apologize in advance as I am going to Europe for 10 days and, to make my girlfriend happy, will not be writing while over there.
I promise to come back with a vengeance from the end of August until the end of the season as you all fight for your play-off lives. Thanks to my many readers I’ve pushed myself to run faster and get in better shape and you’ve given me an outlet to nurture my healthy narcissism.
How long has it been since the last KPAS? Long enough for me to break my four-mile run record twice. First, about a week ago I ran 26:05. Today, I killed it (and my calves) and posted 25:45. I didn’t think I’d beat 26:20 by this much – I owe it all to my adoring public.
With that said, let’s move on to who’s hot:
Rajai Davis – Davis, a huge prospect after being selected in the 38th round of the 2001 draft, has not had that bad of a year: .279 AVE, 28 runs and 17 SBs. What’s more, he has been very useful over the last week (five runs, three SBs), while getting consistent playing time. He has also posted a .442 OBP over the last month – if that continues, he’ll be a great source of runs and steals, even in that horrid line-up by the bay.
Kyle Blanks – Blanks showed some of that enormous power potential belting three HRs over the last week. The big righty has had a hard time adjusting to the big leagues (hitting just .216), but he posted a .393 OBP last week. Hopefully he is seeing the ball better – the NL needs more throw-back Afros. Those in keeper leagues should have already been all over this blank check.
Eugenio Velez – The Bay seems to be overcrowded with cheap speed nowadays. While Velez didn’t steal a base last week, he did score six runs and knock in six, while posting a .455 OBP. Velez stole 15 bases last year in just 98 games, so he could definitely add some speed for those looking to add a specialist down the stretch. h2h Corner prefers Davis, but you can’t fault Velez’ second base eligibility.
Aubrey Huff – So Aubrey, you started to hit after the trade deadline? Just in time for the Orioles to hope to sneak you through waivers? Huff had an impressive week, knocking in eight batters and posting a .419 OBP. Huff has also been a much better second half player throughout his career. Oh and he bats in the middle of an incredibly potent Orioles’ line-up and qualifies at both corner infield slots. If you need RBIs, you could do much worse – and the Corner has.
Jake Fox – Fox’ .300 OBP last week notwithstanding, he did manage to crush three balls over the fence in just 17 at bats. At some point, Fox will push for consistent playing time – this could be sooner than you think. Fox is the emergency catcher for the Cubs while Soto is out. Well, Soto should return in a few days, which would push Hill to his normal back-up slot, which would free Fox to play the field, enter the line up more and knock out more homers. If Soto comes back healthy, Fox will be productive down the stretch.
Yusmeiro Petit – How could I not write about Petit? He pitched 14 IPs over the last week, didn’t allow a run and posted a 0.64 WHIP. Petit has actually been a useful reliever when healthy, posting a 1.33 and 1.05 WHIP in roughly 50 IPs in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Still, his 57.1 IPs this year are the most he has pitched in a season and he has never been anything more than a reliever. If you want to take a flier in a shallow league go ahead. But know that he has already pitched his best two starts.
Andy Pettitte – You say Petit, I say Pettitte. Pettitte has slowly been picking himself up, with last week’s two starts providing an awesome line: 13 IPs, 14 Ks, 1.38 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Pettitte is someone I’m buying. You can largely avoid his home starts and consistently get big returns from his road appearances. Don’t sleep on the cagey former PED user.
Derek Holland – I was all over Derek Holland in my keeper league. While his last start wasn’t great, he did manage a K and IP, and over the last week struck out 14 over 13 IPs. He has also, quietly, had a serviceable last month: 26.2 IPs, 25 Ks, a 4.39 ERA and 1.35. Sure there is downside, i.e., his home park and his age, but there is tremendous upside here. If you’re in a keeper league, you better own him. If you’re in a mixed league, you better be watching him.
Bud Norris – Norris should get starts as long as Oswalt is injured. He has the ability to strike-out a batter an inning. Last week, he pitched 10 innings, K’ed nine, while posting a 0.90 ERA and 1.00. His position is more tenuous than Pettitte or Holland, but he isn’t a bad SP option on the wire.
Gio Gonzalez – Wrapping up the young starting pitcher with upside portion of his last two starts, Gonzalez struck out 15 batters over just 12 IPs, while posting a 2.25 ERA and 1.25. A lot of bloom has fallen off Gonzalez since he was one of the biggest prospects in the league. Still, he is only 23 and has struck out 24 batters over his last 22.1 IPs. A sneaky source of Ks is always a good thing.
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.
Josh Hamilton – If you thought his season was lost, just look at his last week (.217 AVE, one run, .308 OBP). This isn’t who you drafted in the first round. There aren’t many good trends surrounding Hamilton either, as his AVE and OBP over his last 90 ABs are worse than the last week. At this point you best be benching him and if you are in a tight race and need the roster space, I’d condone dropping him.
Ryan Howard – Sure, Howard hit .174 with one run and one RBI this past week. But, over his last 89 ABs, he has hit .292 with six HRs, 18 RBIs, 19 runs and a .404 OBP. This is just one of those weeks where a superstar didn’t perform. It happens to everyone.
Miguel Tejada – Have the wheels fallen off the Tejada-train? His last week (.250 AVE, three RBIs and .276 OBP) was just about useless. He hasn’t been all that good over the last month or so either and there are some better options owned in fewer leagues (Gordon Beckham, Orlando Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Ben Zobrist, Rafael Furcal or Asdrubal Cabrera). If one of those guys is available, jump on it.
Zack Greinke – Remember when two starts from Greinke was manna from heaven? Remember when I told you to trade him after that? Well, his most recent two-start week yielded a 6.55 ERA and 1.73. Still, he did provide 16 nice Ks in just 11 IPs. However, over his last 31 IPs, his WHIP is just 1.48, which suggests his ERA over that span (3.77) might be a little lucky. He’ll get you good Ks, but the ratios could be rough down the stretch. I’d still be shopping him if people are willing to pay based on his current ranking (13 in Yahoo!).
Yovani Gallardo – Gallardo’s two start week wasn’t great by any estimation (8.76 ERA and 1.46 WHIP). Still, he salvaged a win and did strike out 18 batters in 12.1 IPs. Another worrisome trend: in his last 35.2 IPs, Gallardo’s ERA/WHIP is 6.06/1.63. While he managed 40 Ks in that span, those ratios are unacceptable. I think a lot of that can be attributed to a severely unlucky BAbip. Over the last seven days his BAbip is .464, over the last 14 days, .370 and over the last 28 days, .367. Those will correct to around .300 and he’ll be as good as gold. I definitely wouldn’t go Mortimer Duke on him.
All stats are as of August 5.