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May 23, 2012 posted by Albert Lang

The Hot N Cold Fantasy Baseball All-stars

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Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small. In head-to-head and roto fantasy baseball leagues you have to make quick decisions on players who are surging and those who are performing at a lackluster level. That’s where the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars come in:  to sort through the trends and see which ones are worth buying or ignoring. 

‘Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up 

Dayan Viciedo – Somewhat a sleeper heading into the year, Viciedo has been dumped a ton by owners, as he is just 21% utilized in Yahoo leagues. That said, his levels are on the uptick after a 10/24 with three HR week. Viciedo is still swinging at everything in sight and not making a ton of contact. That said, when he does make contact ball go far. He should be a fine bench or deep league outfielder going forward, a .265 hitter with the chance to hit 25 HRs. Take the under on that, but he should come very close.

Angel Pagan – Food poisoning cant hold Pagan down, as he went 10/21 with two steals during the last seven days and also battled some stomach sickness, making it a total sick, nasty week. It’s time to go out and get Pagan if you can (actually it was time to get him on draft day). However, if he’s unowned pick him up or make an astute trade for him. Pagan will hit double digit HRs and steal 20 bags the rest of the way.

Mitch Moreland – With first basemen and corners dropping like flies, Moreland is picking a good time to get hot: 5/10 with three homers over the last week. While he hasn’t gotten playing time of late and doesn’t face a ton of lefties, at bats should be freed up as interleague play has come to an end. Still, for those losing out on the Matt Adams sweepstakes, Moreland makes a good speculative play, as he’s capable of hitting .275 with 15 HRs ROTW. Is that particularly interesting? No, but it does have a pulse and you’d probably do better with Moreland than Gaby Sanchez and Ike Davis.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Salty has been straight raking lately: 9/24 with two homers over the last seven days and 14/40 with three dingers over his last two weeks. While the power isn’t shocking, the .278 average is. He’s simply not this good of a hitter. His HR/FB rate is a bit inflated related to what he’s done in the past and, since he hits a ton of FBs, eventually more of those will be caught. That said, he’s a fine low end catcher option who can provide a good bit of pop relative to other backstops. Just be careful about his batting average.

David Murphy – Maybe the inside the park home run (part of a 5/18, two homer week) will get Murphy a little love. So far, the dude is barely owned, yet is a double digit power and speed guy. While he doesn’t play every day, that simply gives you a blueprint for how to use him. He’s a .275 hitter in a good park and line-up.

Travis Ishikawa – With Mat Gamel out, Ishikawa has seen some time at first base. Ishikawa never impressed with the Giants but is a massive dude (6’3, 233) and you have to believe there’s some power somewhere. Most likely, the best case scenario is a .260 hitter with eight HRs, but that’s got some value in deeper and NL-only leagues.

Brian Dozier – How can people look at Brian Dozier’s name and not think about D.J. Dozier? I guess if Dozier keeps putting up 9/28 weeks, folks will pay attention a bit more. That said, it’s unlikely Dozier will be overly valuable. In his first taste of AAA, he didn’t bat so well (.276/.339/.371). He doesn’t strike out a ton and posted solid walk rates in the minors, so there’s a chance he could be solid in OBP leagues. However, he will not best a .250/.308/.355 line the rest of the way. There’s not much to see here.

Kevin Millwood – I really thought Millwood would be this year’s Brandon McCarthy. While he hasn’t looked great so far, he’s begun to turn it on, allowing just one run over his last two starts. Millwood has an odd line so far: he is K’ing a few more batters without much change in his swinging strike percentage, walking more batters than normal, and getting hurt by his strand rate. At most Millwood is a match-ups type ROTW the way, but he’s capable of taking advantage of his home ballpark and lesser hitting teams.

Felipe Paulino – After an early season injury, folks have forgotten about Paulino, but he’s coming off a 13.2 scoreless IP week. Paulino has shown the ability to really bring the K’s but has had problems with his control. While he has been excellent, he’s benefiting from a very nice strand rate and hasn’t been getting as many swinging strikes as normal. There will be many bumps in the road, but he is the type to fill the back of your bench and use when you need K’s or the matchup is right.

Andy Pettitte – Pettitte is somehow owned in fewer than 30% of Yahoo! leagues. He’s not as good as his first two starts (even though he owned the Reds and struggled against the Mariners), but should be a solid source of wins here on out. He’s going to look similar to Millwood really (the K’s and ratios won’t be great), making him a match-ups type. However the win potential does give him some added weight when you’re looking for scrap heap SPs.

Wade Miley – Miley shut down a Royals club with the DH and a Dodgers club without Matt Kemp over the last week and has put up some impressive numbers to date: 2.14 ERA, 1.19 WHIP. Miley wasn’t great in the Bigs last year, but looked decent at AAA. However, he is benefiting from a .271 BABIP, 83% strand rate and a 4.3% HR/FB rate. He isn’t really throwing his pitches much harder but he is utilizing the slider more, which has pushed his GB rate close to 50%. If he can maintain that, he might be an occasional match-ups player. It’s still far more likely he’s a 4.65 ERA, 1.50 WHIP pitcher.

Then you’re cold…then you’re no…then you’re out…then you’re down

Clay Buchholz – BuchhoLOLz was atrocious over the last seven days (6.10 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) yet managed to lower both his ratios. He hasn’t been this bad (few pitchers with 500 IPs are), but you can only blame so much on a .335 BABIP, 64% strand rate and 20% HR/FB. In addition, his lack of K’s really limits his upside. Is he a match-ups guy ROTW, sure? He could put up a 4.40 ERA and 1.39 WHIP, but is that much different than Andy Pettitte? Doubtful.

Henderson Alvarez – Superficially, it’s been a good year for Alvarez, however the regression monster (TM Paul Sporer) has been looming: 6.17 ERA, 1.80 WHIP over his last 11.2 IPs. While his 57.5% GB rate is sterling and fast ball and slider velocity is great, he’s not fooling anyone (4% swinging strike rate). This is a classic sell high case, if that’s possible. It might also be a classic dump now if you can’t sell now case. For the time being, it looks prudent to avoid Alvarez.

Huroki Kuroda – It’s been operation Kuroda drop over the last few days, as his ownership levels are dwindling after an 8.71 ERA, 1.94 WHIP two-start week. Kuroda has been horrible for the Yanks, and his underlying stats say he deserves the beating he’s taking. He’s walking guys, not striking anyone out, not getting any swings and misses and his HR/FB rate has inflated. He has value in the wins department, just look at Ivan Nova’s ability to win games. However, don’t expect much help in ratios or K’s.

Alex Gordon – If your name is Gordon and you’re playing in the majors, odds are you’re having a horrible year. Alex Gordon just isn’t getting on base via a hit. He is still sporting a nifty BB% and actually isn’t striking out a ton or swinging and missing more than usual. It appears he’s hitting the ball pretty well (although a decent bit on the ground), but there isn’t much to be concerned about (aside from his average and lack of HRs). Expect a full bounce back from Gordon, with a .280 average, 15+ HRs and 12 SBs the rest of the way.

Derek Jeter – A 5/25 week and a wrist injury have folks a bit worried about the Cap’n. He was supposed to get spelled somewhat this year by Eduardo Nunez, but Nunez is in the minors and injured himself. In reality, Jeter could be awful and still a fine fantasy asset as he’ll fall backwards into runs atop that line-up. There isn’t anything to worry about here and you shouldn’t go “selling high,” as he’ll continue to be a great source of average and runs.

Alexei Ramirez – People were fed up with Alexei Ramirez before he went 5/25 over his last week. He’s not sporting a horrid .207/.231/.262 line. While he’s striking out a tad more he isn’t swinging and missing more and it appears his batted ball rates are all similar to last year. It makes sense to bench him until there is some sign of life, but that sign could come soon, as he’s the same old .260 hitter with double digit power and light speed. In deep leagues it’s time to acquire Ramirez actually.

Bryan LaHair – The FP911 Facebook page had a lively debate over a Pujols-LaHair trade. It seemed people were split into two camps. However, one does wonder if they would have been so evenly split after LaHair’s recent 2/23 stretch. LaHair is a fine player, but he also strikes out 30% of the time and has an untenable 32% HR/FB rate. He has probably hit more than half of his year-end total of HRs and isn’t much more than a .275 hitter in reality. If you can go get Pujols for him (or anyone inside the top 75 players), do so!

Albert has been playing and arguing about baseball and fantasy sports since 2002. Since 1982, he has also been largely miserable (here’s looking at you Armando Benitez) because of the Orioles and Eagles. Albert has won leagues and lost leagues, but he has the most fun debating player values. Albert typically plays in several baseball and football leagues a year. He also is an avid baseball card collector and writes about older players and their historical value relative to the Hall of Fame and their peers/current players. When not harassing league mates with trades and analyzing what categories his team performs poorly in, Albert is a communications professional in Washington, D.C. Follow Albert on Twitter @h2h_corner. He has an awesome puppy named Charlotte. You can find all of Albert's work at http://h2hcorner.wordpress.com/.
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