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.
Hideki Matsui: Man, Matsui has come back from outer space over the last seven days: 13/29 with two dingers. It raised his disappointing season average to .244 and has him on the cusp of double digit homers. Matsui, who hasn’t hit less than 21 homers or batted less than .273 in his last three full seasons, could make a decent down the stretch addition. It wouldn’t surprise me if he hit around .270 the rest of the way and doubled his homerun output.
Cliff Pennington: I’ve always loved Cliff Clavin (Hey he did predict Obama) and always kind of liked Cliff Pennington. However I hate the Jets and I hate Chad Pennington, go figure. Anyway, back to whatever the point of this was: Pennington has smoked the ball of late (12/26 with two dingers). He hit a modest .250 last year, but did steal 29 bases in 34 attempts. Unfortunately, this year he is abysmally 6/15 in SB attempts. With shortstops and middle infielders around the world falling like fruit flies, Pennington is worth a look. The batting average is decidedly average and the power is non-existent, but he could go on a decent steals “tear” down the stretch. Hey, when Alexei Cassilla hitting the DL is a blow, people like Pennington become relevant.
Conor Jackson: The tour around the Athletics’ clubhouse continues with failed Diamondbacks prospect Conor Jackson (12/28 with a homer in the last seven days). Since averaging a .293/.373/.455 line from 2007-2008, Jackson (now 29) has done very little to warrant being even a bench hitter. It doesn’t look like he’ll be a great power source – but he could be what we thought Daric Barton would be. Jackson will get on base, score some runs and provide the occasional HR. Not excited? Well you shouldn’t be. Still, he’s as good as Lyle Overbay.
Matt Joyce: While Joyce hasn’t hit well over the last seven days (6/26), he has smacked two homers and stolen three bases. He now has a pretty nice 15 HR, 9 SB campaign going. Is Matt Joyce back? I don’t think so – I see this as more of a random blip (I mean 33% of his SBs have come in a bizarre seven-day stretch). He is what he is – a decent power source without much else.
Mike Carp: Maybe it’s because of the near-historic losing streak, but Mike Carp has gotten no pub (9/23 with two bombs over the last seven days). As an aside, I was there in the bleachers for the Orioles in 1988. I went to almost every Sunday home game from 88-91 and didn’t see a win. I did see Wilson Alvarez no-hit the O’s (seriously!?! I love Chris Hoiles but DH-ing him. Damn you Dwight Evans, Randy Milligan, Juan Bell, etc.). Anyway, back to Carp, who was torching the Pacific Coast League in the minors. This is his third season getting time at the major league level. Over those three years he has 182 plate appearances and a .277/.363/.415 line. In keeper/dynasty leagues, he should be owned. If you need a little pick-me-up give him a try and see what the big fella produces.
Eduardo Nunez: While there aren’t many replacements for the myriad of middle infielders who have hit the DL lately, Nunez seems like a nice short-term move. Over the last seven days, Nunez has gone 7/19 with two steals. He’s a speed guy who should score some runs (even if he continues to bat toward the bottom of the Yanks’ line-up). He’s a nice stopgap and should be owned a lot more than he is.
Lucas Duda: I have a Lucas Duda rookie card – in fact, I have several – just wanted to get my bias out of the way. I think I can be easily objective, though. Lucas Duda, quite simply, is a man child, the rare combination of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Babe Ruth. In fact, the Mets aren’t allowed to play him every day because the record book would be obsolete. That might be a tad hyperbolic, but look at his last seven days: 6/14 with two dingers! On the season, Duda is sitting at .283/.359/.465 and was playing quite well at AAA (.302/.414/.597). He’s more of an NL-only outfield filler, but capable of putting up 6 more homers and a decent average/OBP.
Jesus Guzman: True story: my father once got mad at me for trading a Juan Guzman card. That was before he joined the Orioles – when he seemed like the next big thing pitching for the Jays. I think I got a weird refractor Molitor back, but I can’t remember. Any who, Jesus Guzman is cut from a different cloth – not exactly making his debut at an early age. Now, 27, Guzman is making an imprint (5/14 with two homers and a steal over the last seven days). On the season, in just 73 at bats, Guzman is batting .329 with four homers and two steals. I don’t see why he can’t produce for fantasy owners down the stretch. He should be gone in all deep formats.
Mike Cameron: As someone who generally doesn’t worry about batting average, Mike Cameron (or BJ Upton-lite) is someone I tend to gravitate toward. He’s done his typical thing over the last seven days (poor batting average, but power and speed). He is zero percent owned but can really help out NL-only teams down the stretch.
Clint Barmes: This is my last middle infielder replacement suggestion, I promise. With Keppinger being dealt, Barmes should get more playing time. So far, over the last seven days, Barmes has two homers, not too shabby. Clearly he is a flawed player, but he has some pop and can steal a base while batting in the .260s at worst. When looking at middle infielders, it’s probably best to just put your beer goggles on.
Brett Cecil: Maybe it’s because I love Sideshow Bob’s brother that I really believe in Cecil (see here, here and here). Flying under the radar with all of the other unfair things the Jays have been doing, he went nine strong no-run innings over the last seven days, struck out seven and posted a 0.67 WHIP. If Cecil can keep his walks down, he’ll be a useful pitcher down the stretch. I’m certainly looking for room for him in my deeper leagues.
Brandon McCarthy: Another preseason sleeper of mine, McCarthy made me look good, and then did what he does (get injured). Well, he’s back and pitched eight good innings over the last seven days. On the season, he has 94.2 IPs, a 3.52 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The Ks won’t be there, but he’s a pretty similar pitcher to Jason Vargas, so there.
Trevor Cahill: I’ve been so nice to the A’s that I have to be a bit mean, right? Well, Cahill was downright awful over the last seven days (9.1 IPs, a 9.64 ERA and 2.04 WHIP). On the season, he now has a 3.58 ERA and 1.35 WHIP and is the 243rd best player. I can’t say I’m all that surprised with it (although he is missing more bats which is impressive and bodes well for his future). But I did peg him for a 3.60+ ERA making him somewhat pedestrian given his 6.72 K/9 rate. I mean it isn’t much better than a Jeremy Guthrie or Brett Cecil – in short an above average match-ups play.
Kevin Correia: Finally, Kevin Correia hasn’t looked good (11 IPs, 6.55 ERA and 1.91 WHIP over the last seven days). If you listen to the radio show I do, you know that @JoelHenard went out on the limb before the season started and said Correia was a good grab – I thought he was massively mistaken. So far, Joel has been right and while I don’t think he’s anything special, he isn’t going to fall apart either. He’ll continue to do what he’s been doing (albeit with a slightly worse ERA). That K/9 rate is abysmal though, so his upside is limited to the almighty win statistic.
Corey Luebke: I’m not sure many people can say what I’m about to. I drafted Corey Luebke this season – and it’s been worth it: 79 Ks, a 2.92 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 74 IPs. Still, he has hit a rough patch (his last seven days: 11 IPs, 4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP). But he did K 10, and, while his K/9 rate might go down as he transitions to a starter, the bulk K numbers will go up – I’m still a very happy Luebke owner and you will be too!
Dontrelle Willis is owned in 3% of leagues, seriously?
Danny Espinosa: It’s been a rocky Espinosa train lately (2/23 over the last seven days). He is also 19 for his last 90, but did sprinkle in two homers and three steals. Given his robust K-rate, there are going to be valleys in his season where he’s just not getting hits. The average will hurt, but a 2b who is going to hit 25-30 HRs and steal 18-20 bases is certainly a commodity. You just have to take the bad and wait for the good.
Mark Reynolds: I hope I’ve made it clear that I don’t like Mark Reynolds. Initially, I thought the trade made some sense (although at the time, I assumed they’d park his no-defending butt at first). But given his horrendous defensive play and inability to really get on base, his fantasy value has plummeted. The power is nice, but he is killing you in average leagues. With his ability to walk, he’s a much nicer player in OBP leagues – but in average leagues you should be giving him his walking papers.