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.
Rod Barajas – As stated in the Katy Perry All-star by-laws, Barajas must make at least one appearance every year (here, here and here). We were beginning to run out of time though, so it was nice to see Barajas really make a case for himself by going 9/17 with four homers over the last seven days. With Navarro out of the picture and the Dodgers still hating on A.J. Ellis, Barajas looks to be a “starting” catcher form here on out. Barajas falls into the Salty/Arencibia mold, he won’t hit much higher than .250 the rest of the way, but he could mash a couple of dongs here or there. He’s a nice get in deeper leagues.
Orlando Hudson – We got some vintage O-Dog the last seven days: 8/21 with a homer and a steal. He is now on pace to double his previous career high in thefts. While he seems somewhat uninspiring, with middle infielders going down left and right, his decent-ish average (.260-.270) and chance to steal four – five more bags makes him a serviceable play. At this point, you’re just trying to tweak around the edges, and O-Dog should help with that. As an aside, who would you rather combine: Orlando Hernandez and Tim Hudson or Orlando Hernandez and Dan Hudson?
Johnny Damon – Even though I hate the Red Sox and the Yankees, I like Johnny Damon a good deal (this might be because I dominated Triple Play ‘97 with Damon, but whatever). Damon, still capable of fine performances, went 10/27 with a homer and a steal over the last seven days, and, in the process, tied Mark Grace with 511 doubles – the 45th most in MLB history. Much like O-Dog, Damon is capable of helping you tinker around some stats (notably runs) without damaging anything you’ve already done. He’s good for three more homers and three – five more steals.
Kyle Seager – I’m willing to bet that Kyle Seager is available in your league. For one reason, he plays for the Mariners and, for another, his Yahoo! ownership levels are 0%. Seager looked like a major league vet over the past seven days: 11/24 with two homers, yet the 23-year-old has just 84 MLB plate appearances to his name. He had been killing AAA this year (.387/.444/.585), albeit with a .418 BABIP, so a call-up and ultimate replacement of Adam Kennedy seemed a given. Seager puts the ball in play and knows how to take a pitch, so he’ll be, at least, a decent average guy for you. The lefty-swinger is more of an uninspiring option however, who could be capable of being a Placido Polanco-lite (especially because of his crappy teammates/ballpark). Still, I know a lot of leagues where that can spell the difference in the standings.
Carlos Ruiz – I’ve always been a Ruiz fan. I went so far as to argue his merits with a former roommate who is a huge Phils fan – then Ruiz had his postseason moments and I was never doubted again. Well, Ruiz looks to be kindling his glory. Over the last seven days, he went 8/15 with a round tripper. Oddly enough, Ruiz, though a catcher, gets better as the season goes on. The majority of his homeruns have come in August, September and October and he owns a .291/.376/.476 slash line in August and a .291/.394/.460 line in September/October. Maybe it’s the bloated rosters and worse pitching, maybe it’s the carrot of the post-season – whatever it is, now seems the time to pounce on Ruiz.
Will Venable – I have this weird love/hate thing going on with Venable. There’s no denying the streak he’s been on lately (two steals over last seven days; six steals over the last 30), yet he hit just .250 over the last week. I’ve never really believed Venable would get on base enough to make his amazing athletic prowess worthwhile to most fantasy owners. However, he doing something different this season: swinging and missing a tad less and striking out a decent bit less. Those are incredibly important, as Venable at .265 is much more valuable than at .245. If he can keep this slightly improved batting eye, he’s good for four to seven more steals. If not, you drop.
Jose Lopez – By the end of the day, the name Jose Lopez will be ringing throughout twitter, blogs and RSS feeds. Incredibly quietly, Lopez, who now plays for the Marlins, went 8/21 with two bombs over the last seven days. With news that McKeon is going to give him more starts (and the Marlins infield already devoid of talent), Lopez is someone of incredibly interest to NL-only players. It’s hard to believe in the man, given his horrid play the last few seasons, however he’s not that far removed from a 25 HR-campaign. You have to have room for him in your NL-only league, I know I do.
Brandon Allen – The Brandon Allen train continues (come on Diamondbacks, wtf), as he went 6/20 with two homers over the last seven days. The two bombs came in the same game, one of which went into the third deck at Yankee Stadium – only the second time that has ever happened. Allen has the ability to be a good average source, a great OBP source and a solid power source. Given playing time, he should continue to provide worthwhile numbers.
Justin Sellers – Over the last seven days, Sellers (who?) went 8/28 with a stolen base for the Dodgers. Sellers, who was crushing AAA to the tune of a .304/.400/.537 line, has been getting most of the run at shortstop for the beleaguered franchise. He doesn’t strike out much and has a chance to put up decent walk numbers, so he won’t kill you. As I look at replacements for Jimmy Rollins in my NL-only league, I see Sellers and I see Brandon Wood and I throw up a little, and then I pick Sellers.
Wade Davis – Davis was incredibly impressive over his last turn (seven innings, eight Ks, a 1.29 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP). However, it was against the Mariners. Still, the once promising hurler has 22 Ks over his last 27 IPs, a 4.33 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. I almost pulled the trigger on Davis in one league (although I opted for Kyle Kendrick, yeah I know), so he’s clearly a person of interest. I like Davis as a speculative add. He had shown all the signs of being a guy capable of putting up six or so punch-outs per 9 IPs, yet totally regressed in his quest for contact this season. I wouldn’t be shocked if he put up another 30+ Ks and an ERA slightly above 4.00 the rest of the way. Still, this is a complete gamble.
Alfredo Simon – Speaking of gambles (for so many reasons), the reliever-turned-starter (who reminds me of Alan Mills/Arthur Rhodes), Simon posted 11 Ks over the last seven days in 13.1 innings of work. He had a 4.05 ERA but a 1.05 WHIP. While he shut down Minnesota, who suck, he was hit hard by Oakland, who also suck. So Simon is clearly a roller coaster ride and one I’m not willing to go anywhere near. No, I’m more excited about Jim Johnson being turned into a starter.
Brandon McCarthy – This is a total tease for my column Don’t Think Back in Anger for Razzball, which will have an in-depth look at McCarthy tomorrow. Let me just say that McCarthy has two wins over the last week and nine Ks in 13.2 IPs (just ignore the 4.61 ERA and 1.54 WHIP). I still like McCarthy…
Nathan Eovaldi – I meant to write about Eovaldi awhile ago, but somehow he slipped through the cracks. Over the last seven days, he went 11 IPs spread over two starts with a 2.45 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. The lack of Ks (just four) is disconcerting but he does have 14 punch outs in 22 IPs this season. If you look at his AA stats (2.62 ERA and 8.65 K/9), he seems like a readymade contributor, however he did walk over four batters per nine and benefited from a .264 BABIP. Right now, he’s getting a decent amount of swings and misses (8.2%) and batters aren’t really teeing off on him (21.3% line drive rate). With a mid-90s fastball, Eovaldi can overcome a lot of mistakes. He’s not exactly trustworthy, but he’s a decent option (especially in home games or against the San Francisco Giants).
Brian Duensing – I believe I was the first person on the Duensing bandwagon and hope I was the first person off. His last seven days weren’t good (16.71 ERA and 3.00 WHIP) and his season has been worthless (5.12 ERA and 1.52 WHIP). Why do you own him? Go get the players above, now!
Ubaldo Jimenez – One of the problems my fiancé and I get into is that we’re both stubborn. Come to think of it, so is our dog. It’s funny, I’m somehow the least stubborn in my family unit. Anyway, there’s a point here. My stubbornness works in fantasy baseball because I don’t give up on guys (Zobrist and Uggla to name a few this year). However, at this point, it’s time to be ditching any underperformers and Jimenez fits the underperformer label to a tee (he went just 3.1 IPs in his last disastrous outing and has an 8.59 ERA and 2.00 WHIP over his last 22 IPs). I’m still not dropping him (he does have 24 Ks in that span). Part of the reason is surely because I went out on a limb before his breakout year and I thank him for his good deeds. That said, if you are in a dogfight, drop away. The declines in swinging strikes and velocity across the board are clear warning signs as is his 20.2% line drive rate (although he did survive with a 19.5% rate in 2009). If you want to be optimistic, his BABIP (.324 on the year, .382 with the Indians) and strand rate (64.3% on the year, 52.5% with the Indians) aren’t doing him any favors. In fact, his FIP (3.71) and xFIP (3.62) paint a much brighter picture, especially when you see his K/9 rate is higher than 2010 and 2009. So, you can go either way. I’m digging my heels in with Ubaldo, but certainly understand if you don’t want to.
Dillon Gee – I’ve beaten the war drum on Gee a bit, so I’m partly to blame for his poor last couple of outings (10.1 IPs, 7.84 ERA and 2.13 WHIP). However, both those starts were on the road and I’ll take this opportunity to remind you that Gee shouldn’t be near your starting line-up when he’s on the road. His ERA is almost two points lower at home. He’s like Aaron Harang, a great start at home and a bad start anywhere else.
Brett Lawrie – After going on the radio last Monday and saying Lawrie was a top 10 3B next year, I have to talk about his last seven day swoon: 3/19. The optimist in me will say that it’s a small sample and still brings his MLB line to .310/.365/.569. However, he does have a .349 BABIP despite a pedestrian 17.8% line drive rate and he is swinging and missing a lot. While he’s hot, he can provide a handful of homers and steals, but this might be the beginning of a little slump for Lawrie.
Kelly Johnson – Typically, you wouldn’t be excited about a player moving from the relatively easy National League West to the hardcore American League East. However, the Blue Jays are cheaters, so that’s good and they have a nice home ballpark (ya know, because of the cheating). Johnson, who has been horrid of late (4 for his last 19), could use a change of scenery. Still, he’s having an underrated h2h season: top 12 in runs (and behind several players who should be slotted at 3b), fifth in HRs, 14th in RBIs, and 12th in steals. I believe in Johnson going forward, maybe four to five additional HRs and five more steals.