Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small. That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.
Normally, in this section, I take time to talk about something from Katy Perry’s life and how it applies to fantasy. Instead, please allow me a semi-brief reality TV rant. Why am I doing this? Well because it is a long baseball season and a guy needs to switch something up every now and again (just ask Hugh).
So what’s big in the reality TV genre these days? Well, Big Brother just started. It’s a great show, full of crazies that get a little insane when they are locked up with one another. While I hate Rachel, I’m going to defend her tactics to this point. I’m not saying she consciously is doing anything, but, albeit unintentionally, she is playing the smartest game for her. Once she and Brendon became the number one target, she went on a rampage. She has some of the lesser players in absolute fear of them (Britney especially, who wouldn’t use the veto and also quit the HoH competition because she didn’t want to have to nominate Brachel). So, everyone wants Brachel out of the house, but most people are too afraid to actually go after them. That’s the only decent scenario for the two. So, Rachel, instead of being fake and playing nice like Brendon wants, actually stumbled upon the correct strategy.
As for the rest of the cast, it’s kind of a bizarre mix. I imagine, once Brachel are gone, there will be some bickering. I’m guessing Britney will be the center of it. She is a huge jerk – yet she gets away with it because Rachel is oblivious. The other house guests won’t let her get away with her high school bitching. I still think Lane brings the game home. He seems well liked by everyone, although he hasn’t faired well in competitions. Still, the only people who have done well in competitions are Matt, Britney (two POVs), Brendon and Rachel. Matt also has the diamond veto which should wreak havoc next week, especially if whoever is left of Brandon and Rachel win POV. It could be a colossal kerfuffle like when Jesse got coup d’etated by Jeff last season.
I didn’t talk about the saboteur thing because it is dumb. Ragan will win $20,000 and no one will ever suspect him.
If you enjoyed that, let me know. If you hated that, let me know. I’m fine if you skipped that and hit the players (that’s what you’re here for anyway).
Pedro Alvarez – The Pirates suddenly have a pretty interesting team (as long as you don’t look at their starting pitchers). With Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen having impressive years, all eyes are on whether Pedro Alvarez will follow suit. He has shown great streaks of ability (last seven days: three HRs, .348 AVG) that has put him on everyone’s radar. However, unless you need power, you probably shouldn’t own him in most leagues. If you have a deep enough bench and can platoon him (start him against righties and set him against lefties) that would be the best way to deploy his services. I see him as a low average guy with decent power over the next year and a half.
Carlos Ruiz – I’ve always liked Carlos Ruiz, don’t ask me why (I am the guy who once loved Chris Hoiles and Lenny Webster). Well, last week, he made a lot more people like him (two HRs, seven RBIs and a .417 AVG). Fantasy baseball analysts have predicted a breakout year for awhile on this guy and this might be the yea, sort of. Very quietly, he has a .295 AVG and .389 OBP. He has been a bit lucky on balls in play (.327 this year versus .273 for his career), so his average is a bit of a mirage. Still, at the moment, he isn’t hurting you like a lot of other catchers that are rostered.
Felix Pie – Apple pie is my favorite pie. Felix is my favorite baseball player variety (that made some sense in my head, I swear). Anyway, I liked Pie in an AL-only sort of way heading into this year, and then he got hurt. When healthy, Pie has been a very useful player (last seven days: two SBs and a .370 AVG). Pie can do a bit of everything: score runs, hit for power, and steal bases. While, I’m an unabashed Orioles homer, I do think he can provide a great boost down the stretch in 14-teamers and deeper.
Coco Crisp – Not surprisingly, my favorite crisp is the apple variety. I do not, however, like Coco Puffs. Nevertheless, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Crisp, again. Over the last seven days, he stole a base, hit a homer and batted .364. I actually like his potential (in the SB category) more than Tabata down the stretch. If you need cheap speed, he’s a good add.
David Murphy – David Murphy > Daniel Murphy. Sorry Mets fans. Over the last week (in 21 ABs), David batted .381 and hit two HRs. The only thing stopping Murphy from being a useful player in deep leagues is playing time. He is certainly useful as a sport starter in AL-only varieties. So, monitor his ABs and see if there is an uptick. If so, pounce for the HRs.
Jeremy Guthrie – I’m not sure what Guthrie has to do to warrant more fantasy attention (just five percent owned). Last week, he pitched 15 IPs, got two wins, and posted a 2.40/0.80 (ERA/WHIP). He has been somewhat lucky (.269 BAbip and just 8.7 HR/Fly Ball rate), but he has given up less line drives this year and induced more groundballs than in previous seasons. I’m not saying he is an every turn starter, but a decent back of the rotation option.
Brian Matusz – Matusz also got two starts for the Orioles over the last seven days. While he didn’t pitch quite as well as Guthrie, he did accumulate seven Ks and post a 1.50/100 (ERA/WHIP). Matusz has been a tad unlucky/lucky this year (.312 Babip/67.5% strand rate). Still he is posting a decent K/BB ratio (3.51) and should perform better down the stretch. I like him more than Guthrie really.
James McDonald – Over the last seven days, McDonald only had one start (and I don’t typically write about one-start guys). However, I wanted to bring him up to put on people’s radars. His first start with the Pirates went well (eight Ks in six IPs and no runs). He gets the Padres tomorrow. I’ve added him in most of my deep leagues and love the speculative play. He might thrive in the no-pressure Pirates environment.
Daniel Hudson – see last week’s All-stars (link: here). Even after another impressive start (7.2 IPs, 1.17 ERA and 0.65 WHIP), he remains six percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues. I’m a fan. Pick him up like he’s Jessica Beal.
Ervin Santana – As a Santana owner, I definitely felt the pain of his last week (10.80 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and seven Ks in 10 IPs). While it was a horrendous stretch, it really owes to one abysmal outing (@Bal during which he allowed nine runs in 3.2 IPs). As the song said, mama said there’d be days like this. There is nothing in his underlying numbers to suggest he has been lucky this year, so take that Baltimore start as a (albeit seriously heinous) blip.
Rick Porcello – Why is Rick Porcello owned in 33 percent of leagues? In just the last seven days, he managed to pitch 10.1 IPs, post a 7.84 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. I didn’t like him coming into the year and certainly don’t love him now. Everyone on the Hot All-stars deserves to be owned over him.
Thomas Diamond – Diamond came crashing back to earth after an impressive debut (10 Ks in six IPs). Unfortunately, his two-starts combined total just 11 Ks in nine IPs with a ratio killing ERA (8.00) and WHIP (1.89). At this point, I’d rather have Bud Norris. While Ks are nice, Diamond is a bit too scary to deploy in mixed leagues.
Carlos Beltran – see last week’s column. Since I told you to drop him, he has gone 2/20. I’m not sure why he is owned in 61% of leagues – surely there aren’t that many Mets fans.
Miguel Olivo – The astute fantasy owner knew Olivo couldn’t keep up his batting average/OBP pace. It’s possible the wheels are starting to come off of his make-shift buggy of a season. Over the last seven days, he went 0/13 and over the last month, 11/57. With the Rockies trying to make a play-off push, you get the feeling Chris Ianetta will get more and more ABs as Olivo continues to fail to get on base. While his year-to-date BAbip has been lucky (.369), it has been criminally unlucky over the last 14 (.143) and 28 days (.207). So while he is bad, he isn’t this bad. If you need power, I’m not saying cut him, but if there are more attractive options out there (Ramon Hernandez, J.P. Arencibia), you might want to grab them.
Nick Swisher – I’ve written about how I both like Swisher, but think he is overrated at the moment. His performance over the last seven days illustrates my point: a .200 AVG. I believe in the power/runs/RBIs, but don’t believe in the average. You shouldn’t either. Still, he won’t be as bad as he was over the last seven days. It’s by no means panic time, but he’ll have some tough weeks.
Miguel Cabrera – Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez seem to have a lot in common – both are absolute mashers, who play first base and were highly touted prospects. They can add something else to the list. Much like Gonzalez last year, Cabrera is surrounded by such horrible hitters that he gets intentionally walked a good deal. He went 4/23 over the last week with just two runs. In fact, he doesn’t have an RBI since August 1. He isn’t getting anything to hit, which will drive down his average and stagnate his RBIs. He’s a great hitter and very useful, but if he keeps getting pitched this way, he wont live up to this top five billing.
All stats as of August 10, 2010
FB101’s 411: Be sure you know how to judge a hot streak. Pie, Matusz, and Hudson make good ads. Keep your eye on Ruiz, Crisp, Murphy, Guthrie, McDonald, and Alvarez. You are allowed to sort of give up on Carlos Beltran, Thomas Diamond and Rick Porcello.