Maybe it’s just me, but I felt a bit more optimism rather than pessimism when looking at my options of players to write about. There are always some players with bad weeks and slumps, but some of the hot streaks going on lately are exciting.
Players on the Rise
Josh Beckett – He’s been good all year, but lately he’s taken it to another level. His value is through the roof right now, and though he should be good all year, bear in mind he has a lucky strand rate and hit rate helping him, so he’s bound to cool off a bit.
Anthony Rizzo – He’s hitting well, so here’s to hoping last year was an aberration or growing pain or something. The HR/FB is a bit high, but even if it regresses a little, he’s still a very solid 1B for any league.
Doug Fister – He’s finally doing what I believed he was capable of in the National League. Granted that his June stats feature some obvious good luck, but he’s a solid pitcher who is often underrated. He doesn’t rack up strikeouts like the aces, or else he’d be even higher in the ranks.
Mat Latos – He had some setbacks, and it’s not clear whether he’ll manage to stay healthy from here on out. However, before 2014 he was nearing #1 SP status in most leagues, if he wasn’t there already. Having him back is a boost to teams who have stashed him all year, or who have traded for him more recently.
Todd Frazier – He probably won’t repeat his first half pace, but it’s nice to see his BABIP and average rebound from last year. The HR may fall off a bit because his HR/FB seems a bit high, and he’s also not hitting as many fly balls as I’d like. The 6 SB is a bonus. It seems he’s finally hit his stride, and I’d happily trade for him now in redraft leagues.
Plays on the Decline
Jean Segura – He’s been dropped in the order, and it’s due to the fact that he’s not getting on base. He doesn’t walk much, and his speed isn’t helping him put up an above-average BABIP to keep his average afloat. I was the highest on him out of anyone on the Assembly staff going into 2014, and it looks like I’m eating the humble pie. Even so, he’ll be helpful in roto leagues, where I still think it’s possible he nets 30+ SB for the season.
Jed Lowrie – He hasn’t been good all season, and it’s been a particularly rough week. Some teams are still holding onto him in the hopes that he’ll turn it around, but let’s not forget that he’s only had one season I’d rate quite good. Granted, that was last year, so it was easy to expect he’d continue with that production. I’ve still got him on the roster in a deep league because he gives me a backup for Pedroia (also in a down year), but at this point I’m willing to cut bait for a hot bat to help my weekly bottom line.
Joe Mauer – Is there any doubt now that his huge contract was a huge mistake? He’s not hitting even when they keep him healthy and out from behind the plate. A measly 2 HR is unacceptable for a CI slot unless he’s hitting .320, and he’s not going to do that this year. A career low fly ball rate of 19% means he’s going to be lucky to reach 5 HR at this rate.
Adrian Gonzalez – He had a horrible time of it last week. He’s got an anemic BABIP, but that’s because his FB% is tiny, and he’s hitting way too many balls into the ground. The Dodgers as a team are struggling, and unless A-Gon resurrects his BA or HR total from April (or both), he’s going to continue hurting teams who picked him as their primary 1B.
Alexei Ramirez – The hot start is finally starting to cool, as most people assumed it would. He went from a lucky BABIP in April to an unlucky one in June, and his GB% and FB% are also trending the wrong way for him to keep up the HR pace. The end of the year will have him between the two extremes, but for the fantasy managers who own him, you may have to deal with the hot and cold.