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.
Austin Jackson – Action Jackson (Ajax for short) over the last seven days flashed 2010’s brilliance: 11/29 with a home, a steal and seven RBIs. That brought his yearly RBI total to…16. But no one owns him for those numbers. To date,Jackson is just 4/6 in SB attempts, after going 27/33 last season. Clearly his speed pace is way down, mostly do to his complete inability to get on base (.227 average, .284 OBP). Not surprisingly, his .396 BABip last year is being replaced by a somewhat more human .327. A large portion of that has to do with more ground and fly balls and less line drives. He is being pitched roughly the same as last year and isn’t swinging and missing more or making demonstrably less contact. Is the last seven days a sign of resurgence? Sort of, I think. He’s not this bad of a hitter; he’ll get to .260 with his typical seven percent walk rate (i.e., .315 OBP). He’ll get 22-25 steals. In a lot of leagues, that is useful.
Jason Bartlett – Speaking of speedsters trying to regain past glory form, Bartlett went 9/23 with two steals over the last seven day stretch. One of my favorite players because he reminds me of the West Wing and has no power,Bartlett hasn’t come close to his 2008 and 2009 production. Somewhat alarmingly, even with the last seven days, his BABip, average, and OBP are basically identical to last year. Of course, he is more than halfway to 2010’s SB total. I think this two-steal week is a small sign of things to come.Bartlett will hit in the .265-.270 range, but when he is on base, he’ll run. I think you’re looking at similar stolen base numbers toJackson. At shortstop that has to be useful.
Chris Denorfia – Part of the reason Denorfia’s playing time is so sporadic is his own fault, his health. Still, the Padres really could use some more at bats from him. Over the last seven days, Denorfia is 8/12 with a homer and a steal. On the season, he is 20/54 with three homers and two steals. He’s been pretty productive over the last season + 2011, with a 162-game average of 16 HRs, 13 steals and a .287/.351/.456. slash line. He isn’t quite that good, but he could hit .290 with 10 homers and steals if he gets just 360 at bats.
Corey Patterson – His last seven days oblige me to mention him: 9/26 with two steals. He really isn’t any good, but John Farrell appears to not be 50% of Earl Weaver, so who knows. If Rajai Davis keeps sitting, Patterson is someone who should be on AL-only and deep league rosters. It’s yucky, I agree.
Alberto Callaspo – Onto sunnier pastures with the sublimely named Alberto Callaspo. Over the last seven days, the infielder, who qualifies at second and third, went 9/21 with six RBIs. If you’re somewhat new to the game, Callaspo put up a .300+ average over 868 plate appearances for the Royals from 2008-2009. He has also reached double digits homers the last two years. It does seem like last year’s .265 average was a bit flukey. He had a .269 BABip last year. It is .319 this season and was .312 and .325 in 2009 and 2008 respectively. Callaspo looks like a .300 hitter who can slug 10 homers. As a middle infielder, that’s useable.
J.J. Hardy – Hardy came off the DL with a bang: 7/13 with a homer. Health has always been a major issue for Hardy. However with just 400 at bats, he could swat 12 homers and bat .275. Grab him while he’s healthy; dump him when he’s not. Simple!
Ryan Doumit – Speaking of ballplayers without the staying healthy skill, Doumit started for the third consecutive day for the first time all year last Tuesday. Over the last seven days, in just 11 at bats, he has five hits and a homer. At the worst, Doumit won’t hurt you. At the best, he could hit double digit homers. Sounds like a reasonable Soto replacement to me.
Roger Bernadina – Funky Cold Bernadina has yo-yoed between the minors and majors this year as the Nats try to make Michael Morse into the natural. Over the last seven days, in somewhat limited duty, Bernadina has just three hits in 17 at bats, but has added three steals. He’s cheap speed. In NL-only leagues, for those of you who lost Jason Bourgeois, Bernadina makes a good speculative play.
Ryan Vogelsong – What the heck is a Vogelsong? Apparently it’s a former fifth round draft pick from 1998 who has spent the majority of his career living where the Wild Things are. In his last start, Vogelsong went 6.1 innings without allowing a run and posting a 0.32 WHIP. On the season, he has 20.2 innings with a 3.05 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 17 Ks. He might turn into a pumpkin about the time Barry Zito gets healthy, however he’s been pitching too well to ignore. I’m sure he’s owned in most deep leagues, but I look at the four percent ownership levels and think it should be higher. He’s a safe guy, especially in home starts.
Jesse Litsch – Two starts over the last week netted Litsch two wins, 13 Ks, a 3.00 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Always seemingly on the periphery of ownability, Litsch’s 4.14 ERA, 1.35 WHIP and 7.62 K/9 rate look appetizing. However, he has never flashed this strikeout rate in any reasonable sample size, so those should dry up a tad. I’m not optimistic that Litsch will help fantasy owners much – at best he’s a match-ups guy inAL-only.
Travis Wood – Wood was a key cog in several championship teams for me last season. Over the last seven days, he’s shown what a cog can do: 6.2 shutout innings and six Ks. For the year, things haven’t, seemingly, been pretty for Wood (most notably his 5.28 ERA). However, he has an 8.12 K/9 rate, and 2.86 K:BB rate – both improvements over last season. While he benefited from a nice BABip last year (.259), this year has been the reverse (.356). At some point those should meet in the middle, and Wood will look like a 3.80 ERA guy with 160 Ks. He has actually gotten less contact and more swinging strikes this season.
Justin Masterson – Things aint been pretty for Masterson over the last seven days. Two starts, 12.2 IPs, 4.26 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Still, he did offer 11 Ks, so all has not been lost. Even with that less than desirable stretch, his ERA rests at 2.73; his FIP rests at .287; and his xFIP is 3.46. He is still benefiting from a decent strand rate (77.6%), but he has, so far, cut down on his walks. I think 2011 will be a small step forward for Masterson. He should finish with an ERA right around 4.00 and 160 Ks – that’s not bad. Obviously, if someone thinks he is a low-3.00 ERA guy, shuffle up and deal.
John Danks – Usually one-start (five innings, 10.80 ERA, 2.40 WHIP) disappointments don’t make Katy’s squad. However, Danks is sporting a 4.50 ERA and that just wont do – what it will do is drive tweets asking when people can give up on him. Not so fast my friend (as a certain video game has imprinted on my brain). His K-rate, walk rate, velocity, swinging strike percentage, and contact percentage are all about normal. He is giving up a few more line drives, resulting in an atypical .327 BABip, but it’s still early. He’ll still post an ERA in the 3.75 – 4.10 range with 160 Ks – he’s the guy everyone drafted.
Scott Baker – If you follow me on Twitter (and you really should, so many baseball card/reality TV references), you know I’m a big Baker fan. His last two-start seven-day stretch produced a 5.11 ERA and 1.54 WHIP. The one saving grace was 14 Ks in 12.1 IPs. In reality, his bloated ratios were the result of one bad turn against the Detroit Tigers. If healthy, Baker will be a 4.00 ERA guy and approach 170 Ks.
Chris Young – It’s been a funny year for the healthy Young. In his last seven days, young went just 2/22. On the year, he has a crappy .215 average and equally crappy .261 OBP. However he has swatted eight homers. Right now, Young has a .220 BABip – mostly the result of him hitting way more fly balls than he has anytime outside of 2009 (when he batted .212). It’s a tad worrisome that he has gotten homer happy. Still he will put up the kind of counting stats that can stomach putting down a .240 average. In the end, he could approach 30 HRs and 15 steals (if he gets his walk rate back closer to double digits).
Justin Smoak – Thank god for Justin Smoak, otherwise I wouldn’t be constantly reminded of the smoke monster/LOST. Over the last seven days, the post hype, re-hyped darling has gone just 3/20. Still, on the year, he has a .284/.397/.505 line with five homers. He has improved his plate discipline a tad, posting a better walk rate and slightly diminished K rate. However, it’s hard to say what to make of this year’s .333 BABip compared to 2010’s .255. He is actually hitting far fewer line drives than last year, while hitting nearly 46% of his balls on the ground – that aint good. I’m not buying either BABip – going with something in the middle. So, I think this could be the high watermark for a lot of Smoak’s rate states. He seems like a .260 hitter to me with a chance to hit 20 homers – basically a lot like Matt LaPorta. Color me skeptical.
Jack Hannahan – 13% ownership is 12.99% too much!
Lance Berkman – I’m sure you’ve gotten the offers as well. Berkman as the main part of the offer and all I have to part with is Andrew McCutchen or Clayton Kershaw. Come on. Over the last seven days (0/10), the sell high door has creaked an inch shut. The key to Berkman is now what he is done but what will happen the rest of the way. I actually think we can take a hard look at his career line and apply it to 2011. Think a .300/.400/.540 slash line and 15 more homers. That’s pretty valuable but that’s not Andrew McCutchen.
Brett Wallace –Wallace’s last seven day performance (3/17) has poured a little water on his torrid start to the year (.328/.396/.454). Of course that has been buoyed by a .398 BABip. His line drive rate is better than last year but he has a 52.6% ground ball rate – that’s not good at all. It will really limit his power. At this point, Wallace looks like a poor man’s James Loney during Loney’s heyday. Think .285/.355/.420 with 13 HRs. Come to think of it, that’s an upper middle class Loney.