Here it is…the new “Hot” and “Not” list. A couple of guys have returned to the “Hot” list for the second time this year, but everybody on the “Not” list is a newcomer this week. With 40 games played so far in the 2011 season, we have a pretty good grasp as to who is, or who isn’t, performing at expected levels. Check out the list below to see if any of the players are making an impact for your fantasy baseball team.
Fantasy Baseball Who’s Hot Week 6
Adrian Gonzalez, BOS 1B
Make it two weeks in a row on the “Hot” list for the newly acquired Boston first baseman. Last week Gonzalez was on fire. However, this week he took it to a whole new level. In fact, I don’t even know if there is an appropriate word out there to describe just how scalding hot Gonzalez’s bat has been over this past week. Since May 8th, “Gonzo” has gone yard six times, driven in 12 runs, scored nine times, and batted a solid .323. He is fully living up to the expectations placed upon him when he was signed by the Red Sox, and right now, not many players in baseball are swinging the bat like Gonzalez. As he continues to drive the ball to leftfield (five of nine homers have been hit that way), Gonzalez is solidifying himself as one of the best all-around hitters in the game. Don’t expect him to keep up this ridiculous pace, but look for “Gonzo” to stay hot since he appears to have found his groove.
Victor Martinez, DET C/DH
After a slow start at the dish and a trip to the DL due to a groin injury, the Tiger’s signing of “V-Mart” to a four-year, $50 million contract looked a little pricy. However, since coming back from his stint on the injured list, Martinez has simply been raking at the plate. Over the past week, the switch-hitting slugger batted an astronomical .522 with two moonshots, 12 ribbies, and seven runs scored. With those numbers, I’m sure Martinez is making the Tigers’ front office very happy about their big offseason sign. As the Tigers continue to rattle of wins, look for Martinez to contribute heavily to their success. Keep him active in all fantasy baseball lineups.
Jose Bautista, TOR OF
Wow. This guy is for real and if there are still any haters out there, then open up your eyes and look at Bautista’s ridiculous stats. On the season, the Blue Jays’ outfielder is leading the league in pretty much every major offensive category, and over the past seven days, he has been hitting the cover off the ball like Roy Hobbs of The Natural. In his past seven games, Bautista’s stats look a little something like this: seven homers (three in one game against the Twins), 11 RBIs, nine runs scored, and a .400 average. Not only is Bautista crushing the ball, but he is doing it with both a great eye and plate discipline. As of May 15th, Bautista led the league in walks (35) and only struck out 19 times. Those are amazing numbers for a power hitter such as Bautista. Look for the Jays’ right fielder to continue mashing the ball because he is for real. Don’t even ask about starting him; it’s too obvious.
Clayton Kershaw, LAD SP
The young Texan is really coming into his own this year and solidifying himself as a legitimate staff ace for the Dodgers. After a solid 2010 season, Kershaw has picked up right where he left off and now commands respect as one of the game’s top starters. In his last start against the Diamondbacks, Kershaw pitched a gem went he went seven strong innings with three hits, two walks, 11 strikeouts, and zero earned runs allowed. He now has three wins in a row (five on the year) and is currently tied for fourth in the league in strikeouts with a total of 64. If the scuffling Dodgers want to contend this year, Kershaw will have to carry the load on his shoulders and deliver a number of stellar performances. Even if the team continues to struggle, look for Kershaw to remain a must-start option as a starting pitcher in fantasy baseball.
Francisco Rodriguez, NYM RP
After a tumultuous offseason in which he needed thumb surgery as a result of an altercation with his girlfriend’s father, “K-Rod” was determined to come back strong in 2011 and prove that he is still one of baseball’s best closers. So far, so good. Even though he continues to put himself in jams, Rodriguez was hot over this past week when he recorded three saves, struck out three, and allowed zero earned runs in 4.1 innings of work. He is now tied for third in the league with 12 saves and is tied for second amongst closers with 22 strikeouts. Rodriguez is definitely still a top closing option and if the Mets are able to contend for most of the season, look for “K-Rod” to have his fair share of chances at the backend of games.
Fantasy Baseball Who’s Not Week 6
Jason Heyward, ATL OF
The young phenom has shown glimpses of his power in his sophomore season (seven homers), but other than that it has been a struggle for Heyward early on in 2011. His average is down and he is also racking up too many strikeouts. Additionally, due to numbness in his right shoulder, Heyward has not played in the last three games for the Braves. Doctors were initially worried about nerve damage, but now it appears to be some inflammation in the shoulder. Even the greatest players experience hard times in the big leagues, and given the lofty expectations and the fact that this is only Heyward’s second season, fantasy owners need to realize that the Braves’ right fielder will struggle here and there. For now, it might be a good idea to bench Heyward due to his nagging injury, but when he is healthy and ready, make sure to insert him back in the lineup. His power and potential are too great to leave inactive for an extended period of time.
Justin Upton, ARI OF
The debate remains as to which of the Upton brothers is the better player, but one thing is for sure right now: Justin is not the better player. Over the past seven days, the Diamondbacks’ prized outfielder has struggled mightily at the plate batting a lowly .174 with zero homers, one RBI, one run scored, and one stolen base. The All-Star potential for Justin Upton is unbelievable, and while some fantasy owners may be frustrated that he has not yet grown into the stud he is supposed to be, we must remember that he is only 23 years old. He is prone to long slumps, but when his bat gets hot, he is known to hit majestic shots deep into the Arizona night. Despite his recent slump, keep the younger Upton active in all fantasy baseball lineups.
Mark Teixeira, NYY 1B
When the 2011 season began, there were not many players hotter than “Tex” of the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, both Teixeira and the Yanks as a team have cooled off recently. Over the past week, Teixeira batted only .261 with zero home runs, one RBI, and zero runs scored. On the season, the switch-hitting, slugging first baseman is only batting .259. Part of the problem may lie in his lack of success against righties (.227 BA). Whatever the reason for his struggles, Teixeira has the ability to break out of a slump and go on a tear. He has six straight seasons of 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs, so history has shown that “Tex” will produce. He is worthy of starting in all fantasy baseball leagues so make sure to keep him active.
John Lackey, BOS SP
Boy, has Lackey been awful this year. In fact, he has been awful in general since joining the Red Sox last year. After signing a big contract to join the Sox, Lackey has failed to deliver and has many people wondering why Boston invested so much money in the 32-year-old right hander. Over his last two starts, Lackey gave up 17 earned runs, allowed 10 hits, walked eight, and struck out only two in 10.2 innings of work. Oh, and he got the loss in both of those starts as well. It’s unfortunate that Lackey is struggling so badly, but part of the reason might have to do with the fact that all is not well at home for Lackey. Recent reports have come out saying that Lackey’s wife is undergoing breast cancer treatment. A serious ordeal such as this can weigh heavily on the mind, so this might be one of the reasons for his lack of success. Right now, Lackey should not be started in fantasy baseball lineups due in part to his poor stats and his personal matters.
Aroldis Chapman, CIN RP
The 106-mile-per-hour arm of Aroldis Chapman was supposed to do wonders for the Reds, but lately it has done more harm than good. Chapman was never the closer for the Reds to begin with (that duty lies with Francisco Cordero); however, his tremendous upside left many fantasy owners scrambling to draft the Cuban relief pitcher. Lack of control issues and non-save situations have pretty much rendered Chapman useless for now, and over the past week he did himself no justice when he struck out zero batters and surrendered seven earned runs on seven walks in only 0.1 innings pitched. Due to his struggles, the Reds have considered sending Chapman to Triple-A so that he can work on his control and an effective third pitch. If Chapman continues to struggle and is demoted to the minors, then his stock will plummet and he will be of zero value in fantasy baseball.
Tags: adrian gonzalez, Fantasy Baseball, fantasy baseball hot and not, fantasy baseball start em sit em, fantasy baseball week 6 who's hot, jason heyward, Jose Bautista, justin upton, Mark Teixeira, victor martinez