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June 6, 2012 posted by Albert Lang

The Hot N Cold Fantasy Baseball All-stars

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Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks, OF

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

Justin Smoak – Smoak had a tremendous last seven days: 9/22 with three homers and a .567 OBP. Over the last 14 days he has five dingers and a .444 OBP and has now been on the All-stars two weeks in a row. However, even with this torrid turn, there doesn’t seem to be any significant change in rest of the season optimism: he is swinging and missing less (however striking out the same) and hitting for a bit more power. That said, if everything breaks the right way, he could hit .250 and double his homers ROTW.

Wilin Rosario – Two homers, two steals and a 7/22 week have Rosario back on the map for a relatively weak and shallow position. Rosario has little minor league experience (not playing above AA) and didn’t perform overly well at any level in the minors. That said, a .250 hitter with double digit power potential is nothing to scoff at from the catcher position. You’ll have to figure out how to mitigate that poor average, but the power could be nice.

Gordon Beckham – Beckham has hit the power surge button of late, going 8/25 with three homers over the last seven days. Of course, even with this surge, his line is pretty similar to last season. However, he has a pretty poor BABIP, comparatively and is striking out less, meaning he can probably bat a bit better than what he’s doing. Call him a .250 hitter or so with good pop for a second baseman the rest of the way. He’s not great, but he’s viable in deep leagues.

Ben Revere – After a kneejerk early season demotion, Revere is back and has been putting up decent numbers of late. A speedster, Revere already has six stolen bases in 21 games. With more or less full time at bats going forward, Revere could finish with a healthy 30+ steals.

Nyjer Morgan – Somehow, Morgan blasted two homers over the last week and has now begun to get regular playing time. He’s not the greatest batsman in the world, but speed kills. Given how bad he has been and the lack of full time at bats, Morgan should be available in a ton of leagues. If you need to add a good bit of steals (and Ben Revere isn’t available), now is the time to grab him.

Marco Scutaro – It’s been a poor start for Scutaro so far, but he has been showing life in his bat of late (8/24 with a homer and steal over the last seven days). Scutaro won’t add a ton of counting stats (outside of some runs), but should be able to hold his own in the average and OBP categories. At middle infield, you can do a lot worse than someone who is going to get on base and score a bit.

Jarrod Parker – Two starts, no runs, 10 K’s and a 0.86 WHIP place Parker at the top of the pitching free agent pool. While he did face the Twins, his best start was against the Rangers. Of course, he managed to walk seven batters in both starts and now has 24 walks in 48 innings. Given his lack of control and not great swinging strike and K/9 numbers, Parker will be a low-upside match-ups type the rest of the way.

A.J. Burnett – Burnett, just 33% owned, is coming off a dominant performance against the Cincinnati Reds. In addition, aside from his disastrous 12-run outing, Burnett hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any other appearance. So far, Burnett has been relying on his fastball a lot more, which has limited the walks and homers and increased his ground balls. There’s no reason he can’t maintain similar production and no reason he shouldn’t be almost universally owned.

Drew Hutchinson – Hutching allowed just one run to the Red Sox in his outing and has allowed one or fewer runs in four of his last five outings. Even better, he has begun to limit the walks and has a 2.28 K:BB ratio on the year. Hutchinson has very little experience above A ball, yet looks like a solid option for fantasy. The only thing holding him back is his home ballpark and the AL East.

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

Ervin Santana – Two bad starts over the last week (one against the Mariners) and now three bad starts in a row have people shedding Santana. And you can’t blame folks as he has earned every bit of his 5.33 ERA. Sure, the 23.5% HR/FB rate seems ridiculous, but at a certain point a dude is just hittable. Further, even if the HRs come back to normal levels, he likely won’t maintain the .260 BABIP he has been posting. In deep leagues, it’s worth holding him on the bench a little while longer, but in the shallower varieties, he belongs in the free agent pool.

Jason Vargas – It was a rough two-start week and a reasonably rough five start stretch for Vargas. Of course, four of those starts were on the road and therein lies the problem with him recently. Over the last two seasons, Vargas has simply pitched a lot better at home than on the road. So, keep him around, start him when he’s in Seattle and bench him most everywhere else.

Jeff Samardzija – Samardzija racked up the K’s over the last week but also walked a decent amount of batters. After seven consecutive starts of two or fewer walks, he put five Giants on board via the base on balls in his last outing. Samardzija had, up until this season, always walked a ton of batters, so it remains to be seen if he can continue to walk so few as he did in the early going. That said, even with a slight uptick in his walks, his K/9 and swinging strike percentage have been so strong that he’s still a 3.50 ERA pitcher.

Justin Upton – A dreadful seven-day stretch had Upton getting what amounts to a mental health day off. Upton is now hitting .243/.340/.365, as his ISO has dropped, his BABIP is a bit lower than his career norm and he is striking out more than last year. However, he isn’t swinging and missing much more and he has put up decent average seasons in the past while posting 22+ K%. In short, Upton is going to be fine and have a season very similar to his 2010, i.e., count on a .275 hitter with near 20-20 potential rest of the way.

Mark Teixeira – A 3/19 seven day stretch has cratered Teixeira’s average to .253. Since joining the Yankees, Texeira has a .264/.359/.508 line, but has maintained impressive power numbers. While Tex’s walks have gone down this season, he has put a ton of balls in play. Unfortunately the contact hasn’t found a ton of holes, as his BABIP sits a .245, just barely above last year’s .239. Teixeira is what he is at the point, a poor batting average option who can add a bunch of HRs and RBIs.

Jason Heyward – Aside from hitting more balls in the air and a solid BABIP, very little appears to be going right for Heyward this season:  he is swinging and missing a ton and has barely eclipsed last year’s disappointing average. That said, it is early and there are positive signs in his ISO and SB numbers. Now might be the perfect time to acquire Heyward on the sly as he could throw up a 10-10 campaign rest of the way, with a .260 average.

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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