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.
James Loney – Loney has been my whipping boy for some time now. I think a no hit/no walk first baseman barely belongs in a beer league softball league and nowhere near a fantasy baseball (or real baseball) team. That said, Loney was successful at striking the ball over the last seven days: 12/22 with a dinger. Loney brought his season HR totals up to six, which is pretty darn impressive…in that it is barely inside the top 200 on the season and behind Erick Aybar, Juan Miranda and his 174 ABs, Scott Hairston, Coco Crisp, Miguel Cairo, Peter Bourjos, Adam Kennedy and almost every MLB regular. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1-2 more homers from him ROTW. In NL-only, his .270 or so average is worth something – outside of that it’s not worth a cheap dog biscuit.
Brian Bogusevic – Over the last seven days, Bogusevic, a former two-way star for Tulane (just like Micah Owings) and 24th overall pick in the 2005 draft, went 8/19 with two homers and two steals. He now has four homers in 85 at bats on the year. This is likely the best stretch Bogusevic will ever have in the majors. His line drive rate (16.7%) has nothing to do dating his BABIP (.365) and his swinging strike percentage indicates his K-rate (which is borderline too high already) will only rise. He might be good for a couple more homers/steals, but the average will destroy their value.
Austin Jackson – I love me some Austin Jackson. Only he could go 5/26, yet be the 35th ranked player over the last seven days (thanks to two steals, seven RBIs and two homers). While Jackson is walking more and striking out less, his .323 BABIP isn’t supporting his average the way his .396 BABIP did last year. Most of the reason is a 9% decline in line drive percentage and a big increase in fly ball percentage without many leaving the park – like Willie Mays Hays, Jackson should be hitting the ball on the ground. That said, I think Jackson can help you make up some ground in a few categories (as long as you aren’t worried about average/OBP). He should provide a handful of homers and 5-12 steals ROTW.
Will Venable – Seriously? He’s 6% owned. How often do I have to write about him? Just pick him up and thank me later.
Wily Mo Pena – It seems like years ago that Bronson Arroyo was shipped out to bring the potentially prolific power hitter Pena into Beantown. After a myriad of stops, Pena has found himself all the way on the other side of the country. Apparently the crisp air and rain is agreeing with him, as he went 6/16 with two bombs over the last seven days and is now 7/24 with the Mariners. I don’t have much faith in a guy who owns a career .252/.305/.451 line; however, in deep leagues, if you need power, he’s worth a gamble.
Ezequiel Carrera – Unfortunately, it appears Carrera is not related to Tia (although, fortunately for me, it did lead to many a profitable Google search from which I learned I know it’s a different spelling). Still, if he keeps performing like he did over the last seven days (8/18 with three steals), he might get to meet her, or something. At this point, I’m not sure which one wouldn’t be worthy of the honor. Anyway, Manny Acta loves him some Ezequiel and is ready to make him a near everyday performer. Carrera, a former Mets and Mariners prospect, was in AAA for the third time this year – while his solid average (.287) and (lack of) power (.348 slugging) had been typical of his previous stops, he appeared to learn how to take a pitch, as his walk rate spiked and he tripled his previous SB output in just double the at bats. Whether it is a result of him repeating the level or maturing as a 24-years-old, it remains to be seen, but if he can get on base, the steals should be there. If the Indians ever get healthy in the outfield, he’ll get pushed to the bench, but until that occurs load up on the free speed.
Jordan Schafer – Schafer, the jewel in the Michael Bourn transaction, went 6/17 over this last seven days with a nifty two stolen bases. Schafer, shockingly, is getting a lot more contact this year than his previous stop in the majors and it isn’t horrible contact (22% line drive rate). I’m kind of surprised, given his lack of Ks and somewhat decent walk rate, that he isn’t getting on base more: .249/.313. I’ve never believed in him as a decent play, however, if he does start to get on base, the steals should come. He’s definitely a sneaky deep league play.
Andrew Miller – Miller, one of the few people to receive the Rogers Clemens Award, lived out the billing recently. In his last two starts, he went 11.2 IPs, with nine Ks, a 0.77 ERA and 0.86 WHIP. What’s more, he completely shut down a powerful Texas team in their home ballpark. His 39:32 K:BB ratio isn’t anything special, but with a few more positive turns, he could be a match-ups type. I’d certainly think about him against the dregs of the American League.
Wade Davis – Don’t look now because I’m still debating whether to add him, but Davis has put a decent stretch together, including his complete game beat down of the Tigers yesterday. It’s hard to trust the guy until we know he has gotten his K-mojo back and I don’t want any part of him in his next turn against Toronto. However, Davis could take advantage of their free swingers and end up with a nice K total. If that’s the case, it’s time to bring Davis back into the fold.
Randy Wells – For some reason, Wells always reminds me of Randy Newman – I have no clue why. Anyway, Wells was superb over the last seven days: two starts, 13.2 IPs, 11 Ks, a 3.29 ERA and 0.80 WHIP. Wells is the prototypical match-ups guy (if such a thing exists). He can put up decent Ks and ratios against poor offenses, but you want nothing to do with him against the Cardinals of the world.
Jeremy Guthrie – I think it’s become pretty clear that I have an unnatural affinity for Guthrie – I just like him. His last start meant something to a whole lot of people in Baltimore. While wearing Flanagan’s number, Guthrie went out there and got the win. Something tells me I’ll always remember this start, the way I’ll always remember the last game at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles stunk as usual – they weren’t a winner until I was 14 or so. Because of that, there was a magnetism in the stands that I had never before felt at a game. In the top of the ninth, when Mike Flanagan entered from the bullpen, I’m sure he sprinted or at least I felt that he sprinted. When he got the final two outs (and I remember one of them being a nifty grounder he fielded and fired to first which didn’t happen (he got two Ks)), everyone roared, everyone was happy. The Orioles, as usual got smoked 7-1, but I was one of the 50,700 in attendance. The Orioles drew barely that number during the entire previous home series against the Red Sox. I assume a lot of people remembered the 1983 World Series team and all the great Baltimore Colts, but that was the best moment I ever had in that stadium and it all centered on Mike Flanagan, who I had barely heard of. Anyway, rest of the way, Guthrie isn’t a bad pitcher to have around, you have to be careful with the match-ups, but he’ll go out there and pitch for you.
Jaime Garcia – As someone who took Garcia in Ottoneu Pick Six recently, I can verify that the stank was all around the guy (in two starts and 11.1 IPs, he had just four Ks and a 7.94 ERA and 1.94 WHIP over the last seven days). Over his last 32.1 IPs, he has a 6.68 ERA and 1.89 WHIP. In his 10 starts since July 5, spanning 58.2 innings, he has a .305 average allowed and a 4.45 ERA. In somewhat small samples, Garcia has been a much different and worse pitcher in the second half of the year: his Ks go down and his ERA, WHIP, batting average allowed, and slugging percentage go way up. In fact, 21 starts in August, September and October have been horrendous. While these are all relatively small samples in the ocean that is baseball and will be Garcia’s impressive career, you can’t ignore them. He deserves a bit of rope, but if he keeps putting up crooked numbers, you have to reassess your usage of him.
Josh Tomlin, Charlie Morton – why are they on your team?
Phil Hughes – Phil Hughes is one cagey bastard, eh? He pitches really well against Minnesota and then gets hammered by Oakland. Heck, maybe Oakland just has his number. Since July 17, spanning eight starts, Hughes has given up more than two runs just twice, both to Oakland. Sometimes you just have to throw your hands up in the air and say what the gosh darn heck. There are some disconcerting things with Hughes: his fastball velocity has dipped and he isn’t trusting the pitch whatsoever (is throwing it 56% of the time compared to 64% last year). It was a huge pitch for him last season, so that’s pretty damaging. However, he’s been good against everyone except Oakland. I’m not starting him against many of the AL east teams (or Oakland), but otherwise I’d run him out there.
Wandy Rodriguez – Wandy Rodriguez should be universally owned. Throw out his last start against the Rockies as that was about as strange an outing as can be. Wandy is good for decent ratios and 30+ Ks the ROTW.
Elvis Andrus – Man, the shortstop position is simply atrocious. Andrus, one of the decent performers at the position, has been horrid of late: 1 for his last 23 and 22 for his last 97. He has actually been a god awful second half player during his career: .233/.317/.281 compared to .283/.332/.352 in the first half. He’s also just 6/12 in SBs in the second half compared to 26/29 in the first half. The plate appearances are by no means equal (369 in the first half; 168 in the second), however you’d expect at least double his second half steals given his first half rates. I’m not ready to ditch Andrus yet (especially with a lack of options, although that Cliff Pennington is starting to look good), but it’s certainly disconcerting. This is something to monitor and if you’re in a dogfight you might have to do something drastic.
Joe Mauer – While Mauer was 7/20 over the last seven days, he scored just two runs and knocked in just one, making him the 789th ranked player over that stretch. He is 29 for his last 99, but without many counting stats. In fact, Mauer is the 14th ranked catcher over the last 30 days. If you need some ratio protection, sure Mauer is fine. However, I’d rather go for someone like Saltalamacchia or Iannetta or Lucroy or Arencibia.