h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry All-Stars XIV

As most of you know, h2h Corner was in Europe for the last week plus. While abroad, I continued to start JJ Hardy (well after his demotion), my Eagles signed Michael Vick and Neftali Feliz made my keeper fantasy team look good.

One thing I didn’t expect about London and Paris was the amount of walking that my girlfriend made me do along rivers. Man, the Thames and Seine are long! Another thing I didn’t expect was how cool Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur are. While eating Crepes Chantilly, I couldn’t help thinking about how tiring it is to climb up what seemed like a mountain.

Of course, in my mind, this is analogous to the fantasy baseball season. Right now, trading deadlines are past or fast approaching and owners are jockeying for their playoff lives. This is the time where you shed underperformers and cling to hot bats and arms.

So, on to the latest installment of the weekly hot and cold fantasy update.

First up, let’s take a look at who’s hot:

Jonny Gomes – Gomes knocked four balls out of the park en route to collecting nine RBIs last week. While Gomes isn’t an everyday player, on days when he is in the lineup, and especially against lefties (.276/.373/.526 career line against southpaws), he should be in yours. If you need power, you could do a lot worse.

Carlos Gonzalez – Gonzalez, the prize booty from the first Matt Holliday trade, has been on fire lately. Last week he hit four HRs and knocked in eight runs. While his .280 OBP in that span leaves a lot to be desired, as long as he is going yard it can be overlooked. In addition, Gonzalez also has decent speed. Down the stretch, he should be a decent source of power and stolen bases (his OBP should be better going forward as well – .341 on the season).

Elvis Andrus – Andrus got on base last week (.407 OBP), which means he stole bases. Specifically, he nabbed three bags. As long as Andrus keeps getting hits in the Rangers’ lineup, he’ll steal a bunch of bases. The fact that he also added five runs last week shouldn’t be overlooked either.

Julio Borbon – Speaking of young Rangers speedsters, Borbon, recently called up, stole four bases last week. In deep leagues, Borbon could really help with stolen bases. I’d pick him up right now (in fact I did in my 20-team league).

Adam LaRoche – LaRoche hit three homers last week and added six RBIs. He also hit .429 with a .600 OBP. LaRoche notoriously heats up over the second half of the season, posting a .298/.362/.548 AVE/OBP/SLG throughout his career. Scoop him up if you need some decent power and RBIs down the stretch.

Neftali Feliz – Feliz has had an impressive start to his career. The 21-year-old struck out eight batters last week and earned a save while posting a 0.00/0.38 ERA/WHIP in 5.1 IPs. Feliz is likely SP eligible, which means you can slot him your lineup without benching a normal reliever. He’ll get you as many Ks as some two-start pitchers, so in many instances he is a much better option than many starters. Get him if you can; he should be owned universally.

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.

Joba Chamberlain –Chamberlain’s two starts last week were not great for the teams that own him. On the plus side, he struck out seven batters. On the downside, he posted a 6.55 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Note that he had one less K than Neftali Feliz over the last week. I’m not suggesting you drop Chamberlain for Feliz, only proving a point. Chamberlain will be fine, though his fantasy value may have already peaked given that the Yankees seem playoff bound and intent on limiting his innings. If you can get fair value for him now, I might consider moving him.

Roy Oswalt – Two-starts from Oswalt were murderous for his owners last week. The not-so-healthy Oswalt pitched 11 innings with a 9.00 ERA and 1.91 WHIP – yikes. Oswalt is someone I wouldn’t mind dropping for Feliz. Over the last month, Oswalt has pitched just 19.2 IPs, and he has not been particularly good in doing so. Over those innings, he has posted a 6.41 ERA and 1.53 WHIP.

Ryan Dempster – Dempster had a nice eight Ks in just seven innings last week – however, he added a nasty 7.71 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Over his last 24 IPs, Dempster has a 1.46 WHIP; for the season, it looks like he is settling around 1.50. That is not good. What is good is the almost K per inning. Still, this does not mean that you should be holding onto Dempster. Rather, if you own him, you should be looking into upgrading with guys like Feliz, Rick VanderHurk, Dustin Nippert, and Ryan Rowland-Smith. As should be abundantly clear, I am very down on Dempster.

Alfonso Soriano – Cubs (Soto, Lee and Soriano) seem to be weekly members of the wrong side of the Katy Perry All-stars. Soriano had a miserable week: .100 AVE, one run, two RBIs and a .095 OBP. Soriano hasn’t hit a homer since July 29 and, over his last 99 at bats, has posted a .318 OBP. He isn’t running, he isn’t really hitting ~ergo~ he isn’t all that valuable. It might be time to dump him for worthwhile players like Erick Aybar, Carlos Gonzalez, Kyle Blanks, Marlon Byrd…you get the point.

Russell Martin – Martin managed a .059 AVE last week, while posting a .059 OBP and adding just two runs. He hasn’t been much better over his last 88 at bats, scoring just 11 runs, while hitting a single HR and stealing just one base. If you are looking for a catcher that won’t hurt you, might I suggest AJ Pierzynski? How about John Baker? Maybe a Kurt Suzuki if you need runs and RBIs? Bottom line, it’s time to cut Martin loose in all but deep leagues.

BJ Upton – Bossman Junior only got 11 at bats last week. He managed two hits and one run. He did post a usable .357 OBP, so all may not be lost. Unfortunately, over the much larger sample size of his last 96 ABs, Upton posted a .245 OBP – which is atrocious and has resulted in his drop to the bottom of the order. Maybe the move will alleviate some pressure. However, there’s just as good a chance that it won’t. He should still steal some bases, but his upside is limited by his inability to get on base.

All stats are as of August 18.

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