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.
Danny Valencia – I don’t really like oranges, but for some reason a Valencia Orange just sounds good. Or maybe it’s because Valencia is in Spain, perhaps my favorite country to visit (and one I’ll be going to in 8 days!). Anyway, I really want to like Danny Valencia (and seven-day stretches like his most recent (13/27 with two homers) make it easier), but I have to offer a word of caution. On the year, his HR/FB rate and gross HR numbers have improved in relatively the same amount of at bats as last year. Of course, the average is nowhere near 2010 levels. His .345 BABIP in 2009 was clearly not repeatable, but is he a .261 guy on balls in play? I can’t imagine it’s that bad especially given little change in his LD rate. Still, Valencia is not much more than a .260 hitter ROTW with maybe eight HRs. I get how bad 3b is, but Valencia could hurt more than help.
Mark Ellis – I really like ballplayers with the last name Ellis (see AJ love here, and Mark love here, here, here, etc.). Mark has never been healthy, but the move to Colorado is interesting as it puts him in a favorable ballpark and league. Last week, he torched the ball, going 11/28 with two homers and a steal. I think his average will be better (he is a career .266 hitter) and he is good for at least 5 more homers and steals with upside to maybe 8-10 of each. He’s a neat play, especially in NL-only, but the batting average will likely not be helpful.
Roger Bernadina – Not sure what I have to do to get Bernadina’s ownership levels up. I also saw him hit a mammoth blast against the Orioles not too long ago, so you know I’m not too fond of him personally. However, from an analyst perspective, I don’t see much difference between him and a Michael Brantley. Maybe seven day stretches like his last bit (10/34 with a homer and two steals) will get his ownership levels where they need to be. He hit 11 homers and stole 16 bases last year in 461 plate appearances and could go for 8 more homers and 10+ steals the rest of the way.
Chase d’Arnaud – The younger brother of legit prospect Travis, Chase has been impressive of late, stealing four bags over the last seven days. In his first taste of the majors, Arnaud (a 2008 fourth round pick), has gone .236/.263/.327, but he does have five steals in 13 games and has shown the ability to get on base in the minors. Still he hasn’t carried a double digit walk rate in AA or AAA, so his stolen base potential in the majors will likely be limited going forward.
Scott Sizemore – Man, right when you question the smarts of the A’s they go out and pull of a deal like the one for Sizemore. Over the last seven days, Sizemore has gone 9/25 with two homers. Over his last 30 days, he is 24/78 (.308) with three bombs. He is now up to .274/.354/.377 for the season. He doesn’t add a ton of pop or speed but he should be steady going forward, which is more than you can say for most third basemen.
Jeff Niemann – Two wins and nine Ks over a two-start seven-day stretch is nothing to laugh at. However, in the 13.1 innings Niemann pitched, he allowed 19 base runners, not typically a winning formula. I’ve never been a huge Niemann fan as he has always walked around three batters per nine innings, while only striking out 6.5 or so. While he has limited his walks this year, his K-rate has gone down with it. I don’t see much developing in Niemann. He’s a league averageish pitcher, capable of a 4.30 ERA, but without a ton of Ks. He’s at best a match-ups play.
Joe Saunders – Yuck. I hate having to talk about Saunders. But a 12 inning stretch with a 1.50 ERA and 1.17 WHIP has forced me. He’s actually been pretty impressive over his last 39 IPs (3.00 ERA and 1.28 WHIP). However, his K-rate has been nothing special and he continues to walk a lot of guys. He has a good strand rate and a lower BABIP than typical, while his line drive rate has gone up and his ground ball rate has gone down. I’d rather have Jeff Niemann than Saunders, that’s how little faith I have in him.
Danny Duffy – Duffy had the 10th most Ks (12) in the majors over the last seven days. Sure it came with significant downside (5.73 ERA and 1.36 WHIP spread over 11 IPs), but there is something intriguing about the youngster. After posting awesome K-rates in the minors, Duffy’s major league rate has ticked up to 7.44 per 9. Unfortunately, he is still walking a ton of guys (4.33 per 9) and has actually been benefiting from an atypically nice strand rate. An ERA around 5.00 seems logical, but the Ks intrigue me. If he can limit his walks, he’d be a nice add. Of course, no reason to own him until he shows a glimmer of that ability.
Anibal Sanchez – Sanchez has been so horrible, I’m getting “should I drop him questions” via twitter. In his two starts over the last seven days, Sanchez posted a 14.09 ERA and 2.61 WHIP in just 7.2 IPS. In his last 34.1 IPs, he has a 4.98 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Still, on the season he has a 3.58 ERA, 9.32 K/9 rate and 2.87 BB/9 rate. Not surprisingly, given his recent swoon, his BABIP over the last seven and 28 days is .444 and .364, respectively. Still, his line drive rate is nothing to cause concern. This just looks like a bump in a 200 inning stretch that will end with 190 Ks, a 3.60 ERA and 1.25 WHIP.
Dillon Gee – Jeez, Gee has been a frequent presence here. Mostly for good, this time not so much (last seven days: 12.2 IPs, 6.39 ERA and 1.26 WHIP). The really bad start was on the road and you have to be careful with his road match-ups. Even though he’s getting a good swinging strike percentage, the BABIP (.247 with a 19.6% LD rate) and walk rate (3.45 per 9) give pause. He’s clearly not this good, but certainly an upper tier match-ups play given his home ballpark.
Matt Garza – What a polarizing pitcher Garza has been. His last seven days did nothing to change that: two starts, 11 Ks, but a 5.73 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Garza’s K-rate is still exceptional and his walk-rate palatable, but his strand rate has been putrid. I think things should get better for the balance of the season. Will they? I’m, not Marty McFly. But I do know that even if they don’t improve, he’ll still strike out a guy every inning or so, which is damn valuable.
Drew Stubbs – The “man I love yet don’t own as much as I’d like” looked terrible over the last seven days (4/20) and not much better over his last 94 at bats (just 20 hits, albeit with two homers and six steals). Still, you can’t be disappointed with his production so far. Even with this recent bad stretch, his average sits at .251 with 11 homers and 23 steals. That looks like a 20-40 season to me. With a K-rate above 30%, there are going to be some ugly stretches. Just trust that the numbers at the end of the year will look a lot like: .255 with 20 HRs and 40 steals.
Matt Joyce – He must be hurt, right? That’s the only way to explain him going 2 for his last 25 and 11 for his last 74. Still, if you look at his numbers, they are pretty awesome: .287/.349/.502 with 11 dingers. He should get to the cusp of 20 bombs and likely won’t hit that much worse from an average standpoint if he is healthy.
Jay Bruce – Bruce is the quintessential Katy Perry All-star, prone to binges and purges like he’s a modern day Alfonso Soriano. He’s been purging base hits lately (3 for his last 26 and 15 for his last 95). Things just aren’t going well for Bruce, but you can’t do anything but bench him and at the first sign of a correction start him. He is going to be a 35 HR guy and won’t kill your average.