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.
Kyle Blanks – It seems every Katy Perry All-stars includes a smattering of Padres. Blanks, a one-time love of mine, is now back in Katy’s good graces, following a seven-day stretch which saw him go 10/23 with two bombs. Those were his first two round trippers this year and he had previously been 3/29. So it’s not as if Blanks is suddenly a solid batting average guy. That said, he was torching the minors and should have no problem batting around .250 with some good pop. He’ll definitely be a factor in deep leagues and could even play his way onto 12-team rosters.
Jason Bartlett – At a wretched position, owners have to start giving Bartlett a look. He was 9/25 over the last seven days and is 27 for his last 84 with four steals. He isn’t setting the world on fire, but he’s been a top 10 performer at the position. I don’t see too many shortstops I’d rather have down the stretch – I certainly would rather have Bartlett than Bonifacio, Betancourt and Scutaro. He makes a fine Jose Reyes replacement.
Will Venable – I’ve written a surprising amount about the Venable family (here, here, here)…especially when you look at what Will and Max have accomplished to date. Still, you can’t ignore what Will did over his last seven days (7/16 with two steals). He’s not facing lefties, which either hurts or helps him (fewer at bats, but also less outs), but he’s been on a good pace of late and could be a nice source of steals down the stretch. He won’t score any runs, even with Blanks, Jesus Guzman and Bartlett playing better (I mean Orlando Hudson batted clean-up the other night), but for light power and speed without a horrid batting average, Venable’s your man!
Angel Pagan – My favorite name in all of baseball. While he’s been devilish for the majority of the season, his last seven days have been angelic (6/21 with two homers and two steals). If he gets hot, he can certainly help carry a team toward the finish line. I’d say he’s good for at least five more homers and 10 more steals with a bit of upside.
Alex Rios – It seems like a long time ago since I stupidly wrote a piece suggesting Rios would be useful for anything other than composting. Still, the universally dropped “star” has looked good of late (8/20 with a homer and two steals over the last seven days). Like Pagan, Rios is someone who could catch lightening in a bottle and really help across the board. At this point, finding some room for him makes sense as he could be a difference maker. If it doesn’t pan out, simply drop him for a spot starter.
Mike Carp – I’ve written about him before and am in the middle of thinking through a longer piece as well. I’m not sure why he still gets no love – well, actually, I know (he plays in Seattle). Over the last seven days, Carp went 10/26 with a homer. Over his last 14 days, he is 18/49 and, over the last 30 days, he is 27/77 with three bombs. Carp was absolutely destroying AAA this year (.347/.414/.653) and is only 25. Sure the park and team limit his upside, but he is sitting at .304/.361/.464. He’s a much better option than Justin Smoak.
Chris Iannetta – My favorite backstop, Chris Iannetta was doing some nice things in 5×5 leagues over the last seven days: 8/18 with a bomb. He’s really only an OBP/OPS play, but in those leagues he is money. Still, for those not worried about batting average, Iannetta could provide some decent pop down the stretch.
Eric Young – Young was 7/25 last week. Naturally that resulted in two steals. For now, even though he really doesn’t know how to get on base, Young is batting atop the Rockies’ lineup. Still, there isn’t much to suggest Young will get on base anymore than he has previously. When speed is your only tool, you need an OBP well north of .310 to make any use of it. I’ve given up on Young at this point. If you really need steals, go for it, but I’d be more interested in Rios and Pagan.
Charlie Morton – While the other Pirate starters were busy doing their regression thing, Morton pitched two strong outings (15 IPs, 11 Ks, no runs and a 1.07 WHIP). Sure they were against the Cubs and Giants, but that’s darn impressive. He’s actually not that bad of a pitcher – sure he is like a 3.75-4.00 ERA guy with no real K-upside, but that can be useful in the right leagues. He certainly looks capable of taking advantage of good match-ups (hello Astros). At this point, he is decidedly streamable.
Chris Tillman – Any time any Oriole does anything good, I have to mention it. In his last start, Tillman went seven innings, struck out five and posted a 0.71 WHIP. Given the ball park, team he plays for, and tough competition, Tillman isn’t likely to be of much use to contending teams. However, those of you out of the race might think about stashing him for keeper purposes. At some point, he could possibly turn the corner. I mean one young Orioles starter has to be good at some point, right? Please? God Almighty, Please!
Esmil Rogers – With the scariness surrounding Juan Nicasio, I must turn my Rockies’ pitcher fetish somewhere. Hello Esmil Rogers, who had two starts over the last seven days and posted 12 Ks in 11.2 IPs. Sure his ERA (2.31) and WHIP (1.63) don’t really match-up, but the Ks were impressive. He’s been snagged in most of my keeper and deep leagues, so I missed out, but you don’t have to. He seems to be a better option on the road than at home, but I like the K-potential. He seems to be a good match-ups guy (at the Dodgers, at SF, etc.).
Gavin Floyd – Two starts, nine total innings, a 13.00 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP over the last seven days have sent owners running for the hills. Floyd hasn’t been good over his last 16 IPs, but that’s an incredibly small sample. When you look at his last 31.1 IPs, a larger but still small sample, you see a very useful pitcher (22 Ks, 4.31 ERA and 1.09 WHIP). Clearly, this recent stretch (Boston-New York-Baltimore) would chaff any pitcher. For what it’s worth (and I’m not sure it’s worth anything), Floyd has a far better SO:BB ratio, a better ERA and slightly better WHIP in the second half than the first half. I’m not dropping Floyd at all and would roster him if someone looked at his rough patch and cut bait.
AJ Burnett – Burnett has been nothing short of messy (9.58 ERA, 2.23 WHIP in his last two starts over the last week). He’s been pretty miserable over the last month as well (29.1 IPs, 6.44 ERA and 1.81 WHIP, but he does have 29 Ks). The big concern entering the season was whether he could regain his strike-out form. Well, the Ks have been there but success hasn’t followed. He hasn’t given up less than three runs in a start since June and, at this point, he’s barely rosterable. I can definitely envision scenarios that have him turning it around, but I don’t want to wait.
Alexi Ogando – Ogando, fresh off paternity leave, had fantasy owners crying like babies over the last seven days – two starts, just nine IPs, an 8.00 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. It’s scary that almost all of the damage was done by a hapless Mariners squad. Still, I’m not overly concerned, if you dig a little deeper, he’s still striking guys out and has been useful at home and on the road. Don’t worry about this recent blip.
Erik Bedard – I can’t hate Bedard – he brought the Orioles community Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. Still, I didn’t think the move to Boston was a great one for the lefty. It’s not clear how late into games Bedard can go (he threw just 70 pitches in his Red Sox debut) and his last two starts haven’t been pretty (10 IPs, 4.50 ERA and 1.40 WHIP). I feel like Fenway will be unforgiving. The Ks will be there and the wins might follow (although he’ll need to pitch deeper into games) but the ratios could get ugly.
Dustin Ackley – I trade Dustin Ackley in my keeper league, he plays horribly (last seven days = 4/22). Correlation does not equal causation. Still, I hope people are taking a step back from Ackley. Sure the start to his career was nice (47/160 with five homers and two steals), but it’s going to be hard for him to survive with a 40.9% fly ball rate paired with just an 8.9% HR/FB rate. He’s looking like a .280 hitter with minimal pop and little speed – a very poor man’s Placido Polanco, in my opinion.
Chris Young – I owe Chris Young in every league. But yikes, things haven’t been good lately (3/18 over the last week and 13 for his last 77). There are going to be peaks and valleys with the guy, as he is still striking out a good bit. However, his step back this season is downright confusing. He has a better line drive and fly ball rate and less ground balls, yet his BABIP is lower than last year. Sure his Hr/FB rate is Ackley-esque (9.4%), but that has to be an anomaly. I was sure Young was on his way to being a 30-30 player. Now, it looks like he’s in the Rios/Pagan bin, i.e., someone capable of putting up good power and speed down the stretch but more of a gamble than a reliable play.
Joe Mauer – Mauer is 7/29 over the last seven days. He has no homers and no steals. Mauer has one homer in 212 ABs this year. Talk about empty average. Mauer, at this point, is almost worthless. He doesn’t get enough at bats to make his average potential useful – and let’s note that he is hitting just .288 on the year. If you’re looking for a catcher who won’t hurt you, Mauer is your guy. But if you need to make up ground in power numbers, grab someone like Jarrod Saltalamacchia – yeah that’s right – you should drop Mauer for Salty – right now.
Emilio Bonifacio – A Bonifacio by another name is just a Bonifacio. His last seven days haven’t been kind (5/27, albeit with two steals). He is also 13 for his last 57. With his BABIP normalizing (it was .314 over the last 14 days and .278 over the last seven), Bonifacio is turning back into that lovely pumpkin he was. Still, he’s going to get playing time and, even with a criminal Eric Young-esque OBP, he’ll steal some bases. I’m more comfortable with him than Young, but he’s not bringing anything besides some steals here and there.