Now that weâ€™re approaching the end of May, we have come to first quarter mark of the season and this is when things should stabilize.
For some, this means a player playing over his head should eventually cool down. For others this means some players stuck in a rut should bust out of it sooner or later.
Plans often go awry and this yearâ€™s season hasnâ€™t been as predictable as most pundits thought. Letâ€™s look at this weekâ€™s players to watch and try to make sense of some of the goings on in the 2013 season.
James Loney: Tampa Bay Rays
Speaking of players playing out of their minds, letâ€™s examine exhibit A: James Loney.
Incredulously, Loney is second in the AL in batting (second to only Miguel Cabrera) with an obscene .356 average. Loney also has a sterling .939 OPS, but can he sustain it?
There will be plenty of people taking note of him this week as he has become a scorching name on the waiver wire. This week Loney will look to keep up his hot ways when he faces off against the Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey, Ramon Ortiz and Mark Buehrle) on the road and the Yankees (David Phelps, CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes) at home.
Hisashi Iwakuma: Seattle Mariners
Another player turning heads this year is the Marinerâ€™s Hisashi Iwakuma.
Iwakuma is second in the AL in ERA (1.84) and first in WHIP (0.78). Along with Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma gives the Mariners a dangerous one-two punch. Averaging 8.3 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with a 6.88 K/BB ratio, it is safe to say Iwakuma is for real.
This week Iwakuma will have two starts, first against the Indians on the road before ending the week at home with a tilt against the Rangers.
Jason Kipnis: Cleveland Indians
After some early season struggles, Kipnis is rewarding his owners for staying patient with him. In his last ten games, Kipnis is 14-40 with four home runs, 13 RBIâ€™s, 10 runs and two stolen bases.
If you havenâ€™t been starting Kipnis, now would be a good time to get him back into your lineup.
The Indians have a full slate of game this week, but they’re all tough matchups. First, they will have a make-up game at home against the Mariners (Hisashi Iwakuma) and then face the Tigers (Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello) for three more games at home before ending the week in Boston (John Lackey, Jon Lester and Felix Doubront).
Shelby Miller: St. Louis Cardinals
Miller is putting on a pitching clinic this year, as he has busted out after many years of incredible hype. Miller is second in the NL in ERA (1.40) and is tied for fourth in wins (five) and WHIP (0.88).
Miller has achieved must-start status and this week Miller has two good matchups, albeit on the road, against San Diego and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Jurickson Profar: Texas Rangers
With Ian Kinsler going on the DL, the Rangers have recalled uber-prospect Jurickson Profar. He was called up on Sunday, Â but did not start in the game against the Tigers. Is anyone really expecting Leury Garcia to get in his way?
If Profar excels in this stint, he may stay up for good. Profar’s success could cause headaches for Rangersâ€™ manager Ron Washington. Once Kinsler comes back, where does Washington put Profar? Â Elvis AndrusÂ is already entrenched at short. Left field? Catcher?
That shouldn’t concern fantasy GMs right now. This week Profar and the Rangers will host the Aâ€™s (Bartolo Colon, Dan Straily and Jarrod Parker) before heading to Seattle (Joe Saunders, Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma) to close out the week.
Johnny Cueto: Cincinnati Reds
Cueto is inally making his return to the diamond this week. Cueto has not pitched since suffering lat and oblique injuries after his April 13 start.
Cueto should be trusted to be inserted back into lineups and he is a no-brainer with two starts (@Mets and vs. the Cubs) this week. Hopefully he can get back to throwing at an elite level.
Adam LaRoche: Washington Nationals
Never one to hit with consistency before, it is rather surprising that LaRoche is carrying a 16-game hitting streak heading into this week.
LaRoche is 20-51 with four home runs and 11 RBIâ€™s during his recent hot streak.
LaRoche will like to continue his streak with matchups on the road against San Francisco (Ryan Vogelsong, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner) and at home against Philadelphia (Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Pettibone and Cole Hamels).
Wandy Rodriguez: Pittsburgh Pirates
Aside from one hiccup against the Brewers on April 29 (3.2 IP and seven earned runs), Rodriguez has been pitching great this season. Rodriguez has tossed three quality starts in a row while winning his last two decisions.
With two starts (vs. Chicago, @Milwaukee), Rodriguez is a recommended pitcher to roll with this week.
Patrick Corbin: Arizona Diamondbacks
Another pitcher pitching out of his mind is the Diamondbacksâ€™ Patrick Corbin.
Corbin has been nothing short of phenomenal this year. Thus far, Corbin is 6-0 (tied for second in the NL) with a fantastic 1.52 ERA (second in the NL) and 1.07 WHIP. Corbin has been a godsend for the people that picked him off the wire or were shrewd enough to draft him.
This week Corbin will toe the rubber twice, first with a matchup on the road against the Rockies before heading home to take on the Padres.
Adrian Beltre: Texas Rangers
Beltre has been smoking hot of late and this streak bears monitoring. Beltre is 17 for his last 34 with two home runs and nine RBIâ€™s in that span. As a result (along with some other contributions; think Mitch Moreland) the Rangers have been rolling, going 9-2 in their last 11 games.
Beltre should continue to thrive this week with matchups against the Aâ€™s and the Mariners (see Profar for exact matchups).