A new week means new guys have the potential to land on the “Who’s Hot and Who’s Not” list. The 2011 season has been an interesting one so far in fantasy baseball, and the players on the list below have helped contribute in making this season a good one (or a bad one for some…) so far. Read below to see which players have been “Hot” and which players have been “Not” over the past week.
Fantasy Baseball Who’s Hot Week 5
Curtis Granderson, NYY OF
As a team, the Bronx Bombers have launched 54 home runs in 2011, thanks in large part to the bat of Curtis Granderson. The slender outfielder has 11 home runs already and he shows no signs of slowing down. Over the past week, Granderson continued to stay hot as he batted .292 with three long balls, five RBIs, and eight runs scored. An encouraging sign for the Yankees and fantasy owners alike is the fact that Granderson has improved tremendously against his arch nemesis, left-handed pitching, by hitting five homers against lefties so far this year. Look for Granderson to stay on fire for the Yanks and make sure to keep his hot bat active in all fantasy baseball lineups.
Adrian Gonzalez, BOS 1B
When the BoSox traded for “Gonzo” in the offseason, they invested in a slugging first baseman who would pepper the Green Monster with opposite field bombs. Initially, Gonzalez struggled to find his swing in Beantown, but over the past week he has made good on the Red Sox’s trade for him by absolutely mashing the baseball. In his past six games, Gonzalez has hit three homers, driven in nine runs, scored seven, and batted a solid .321. The powerful first baseman looks locked and loaded, so definitely keep in active in your fantasy baseball lineup and look for him to continue his hot streak.
Gaby Sanchez, FLA 1B
Before the 2011 season began, I tagged Gaby Sanchez as a potential sleeper at first base. Right now, Sanchez is making my prediction look good as he has been extremely hot over the past week. In seven games against the Cards and the Nats, Sanchez hit a ridiculous .464 with two long balls, six runs scored, and 10 runs batted in. Overall, Sanchez has been great so far for the streaking Marlins despite the struggles of many of his teammates (i.e. Hanley Ramirez, Mike Stanton, Chris Coghlan, and so on). Sanchez is more than a solid option at first base right now and should be starting in all fantasy leagues at this point.
Jaime Garcia, STL SP
Choosing a starting pitcher for the “Who’s Hot” list this week was almost impossible. There were two no-hitters thrown and a handful of other starts that saw pitchers give up two or less hits through nine innings pitched. I went with my gut on this one and decided to choose Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals. On May 6, Garcia pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout against the struggling Brewers. Aside from his impressive eight strikeouts and one walk allowed, Garcia was also perfect through 7.1 innings after he retired the first 22 Milwaukee batters. Garcia was a pleasant surprise last year in fantasy baseball, but in 2011 he looks like the real thing. Keep him in your lineup as a must-start fantasy pitcher.
Brian Wilson, SF RP
After a rough start to kick off the 2011 season, “The Beard” is back and making a case for why he is one of the top closers in the game today. Over the past week, Brian Wilson recorded two wins and three saves while striking out seven in five innings of work. Additionally, he surrendered zero earned runs and allowed only four runners to reach base against him. Wilson’s recent string of dominant outings is nothing out of the ordinary for the stud closer, and it looks as if there might be some magic in that black beard after all. Do not even thing about benching Wilson; he is an obvious must-start fantasy baseball closer.
Fantasy Baseball Who’s Not Week 5
Starlin Castro, CHC SS
The budding Cubs’ shortstop started off hot to begin the 2011 season, but right now he is in the midst of a tremendous slump. Over the past week alone, Castro batted a pitiful .095 (2 for 21) while accumulating zero runs scored, zero RBIS, zero stolen bases, and zero home runs (he won’t hit many of these though). Only in his second season at the ripe old age of 21, Castro will certainly experience his fair share of disappointments here and there. However, shortstop is a shallow position in fantasy baseball, so don’t be scared to keep Castro active in your lineup despite his recent struggles. He will surely bounce back at some point and when he does, you won’t want his bat sitting on your bench.
Alex Rodriguez, NYY 3B
A-Rod hasn’t been himself all season, but he has really been struggling over the past seven days. Reports say that Rodriguez is experiencing difficulty with his “swing mechanics,” but no matter what the reason is for his recent slump, his numbers have to be frustrating for fantasy owners. In his past seven games, Rodriguez is batting only .231 with zero homers, one RBI, and four runs scored. The Yankees’ third baseman is one of the greatest power hitters of all time, so don’t expect him to regress too much; however, keep an eye on his numbers and hope that he reverts back to his old self. Don’t bench him just yet because when he gets hot, there are not many players capable of matching Rodriquez’s production.
Justin Morneau, MIN 1B
Is Morneau still feeling the effects of the concussion he endured last July? It sure looks that way if you ask me. As a team, the Twins have not looked like playoff contenders at all, and if they want to compete in the AL Central, they will need some serious production from the likes of Morneau. Over the past week, the former AL MVP hit a lowly .105 with zero homers, zero RBIs, and one run scored. Not having Joe Mauer in the lineup probably hurts Morneau’s numbers, but he has looked awful all season even when Mauer was in there to offer some protection. The struggles of Morneau are disheartening to both the Twins and fantasy baseball owners, and if he doesn’t pick up the slack soon, it might not be such a bad idea to put Morneau on the bench.
Carl Pavano, MIN SP
The struggles in Minnesota are not only found at the plate; they are found on the pitching mound as well. The usually-reliable Pavano has been anything but this season, and over his past two starts he has been pretty awful. In his last start against the Red Sox, Pavano pitched five innings while surrendering 10 hits, seven earned runs, one walk, and ZERO strikeouts. His numbers are down overall on the year, and if he wants to be of any use to the Twins and fantasy baseball owners, Pavano will need to snap out of his funk and start pitching like he deserves to be started. At this point, bench Pavano until he is able to find his groove.
Jonathan Broxton, LAD RP
It’s been a rough going so far for Broxton in 2011. The Dodgers’ fireballer has seen regression in multiple categories across the board, and recently he was placed on the 15-day DL due to elbow problems. In his last start before landing on the disabled list, Broxton received a loss after walking two and allowing two earned runs in .1 innings pitched. His stuff has been shaky all season and there were even rumors that the Dodgers’ skipper, Don Mattingly, was losing confidence in Broxton as the everyday closer. Hopefully his time spent on the DL will allow Broxton to collect himself, but if he comes back and continues to struggle, start to look for other options at closer.