Another week in fantasy baseball is coming to an end, so now is the time to assess which lesser-known or previously struggling players are on the rise, and which big names are in the midst of a free-fall.
Not sure what to do with a young bat who’s getting more playing time or a well-known player who’s stuck in a rut? Check out this week’s Risers/Fallers piece to get a better idea going into next week’s fantasy action:
Austin Jackson, DET, OF, (Owned in 66% of standard Yahoo leagues)
Saying Jackson is riding an eight-game hitting streak does not nearly do him justice, so let me put it this way. In his first season in the majors, Jackson has only one game (April 10th) in which he has not reached base safely.
Batting .369 with a .421 on-base percentage and a .508 slugging percentage, Jackson is putting up MVP-caliber numbers, let alone Rookie of the Year numbers. Due to Jason Heyward’s high profile, Jackson seems to have flown under the radar thus far.
Vladamir Guerrero, TEX, UTIL, (82%)
Riding his six-game hitting streak, Vlad is looking like he’s back in his prime hitting absolutely everything thrown at him. He has three homeruns and ten RBI’s in just his last three games. Guerrero is batting .340 on the year with a .379 on-base percentage and a .528 slugging percentage. Vlad is back!
Matt Capps, WAS, RP, (83%)
With a 1.10 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched, Capps leads the league with eleven saves thus far. He is 11-0 in save opportunities and with the exception of the one earned run in his loss yesterday, has literally done everything asked of his (and some) by the Nats.
Alex Rios, CWS, OF, (76%)
Over his eight game hitting streak, Rios has pulled his batting average up from .273 to .306 and has compiled six extra base hits (twelve hits overall) during that stretch. It is becoming time to put his ’09 performance behind us as Rios appears to be back to hitting like the player he was in the ’06, ’07, and ’08 seasons.
Alfonso Soriano, CHC, OF, (87%)
Soriano has gotten at least one hit in each of his six games this week (ten hits overall this week). After getting off to a slow start this year, he has gradually pulled his batting average up to .315, his slugging percentage up to .663, and his OPS up to 1.029. Soriano has five of his seven homeruns and eleven of his eighteen RBI’s during his six-game hitting streak.
Also Noteworthy: Brett Cecil, TOR, SP, (19%); Colby Lewis, TEX, SP/RP, (67%)
Additional Note: Stephen Strasburg, WAS, SP, (70%) was promoted to Triple-A, so prepare for him to make his MLB debut in the near future.
Joel Pineiro, LAA, SP, (35%)
Pineiro started off the season as a solid waiver wire pick, but has progressively regressed into a very average pitcher. Since his two strong starts in mid-april, Pineiro has lost his last three games (let up 29 hits and 17 runs over that stretch) and now has a 5.30 ERA and a .322 batting average against.
Andy Pettitte, NYY, SP, (77%)
Andy Pettite has done more than anyone could have imagined pitching-wise thus far, however this is more of a knock against his health concerns. He was removed from his last start due to what was reported as “elbow inflammation” in his pitching arm (which is usually a cover for something more serious) and at his age, fantasy owners should be aware of lingering effects throughout the season.
Javier Vazquez, NYY, SP, (75%)
In contrast to Pettitte, this is a knock against Vazquez’s pitching performance this year. His ERA is at 9.78 and he has a .337 batting average against. One win in five starts is unacceptable for a reigning champion team looking to repeat. Now, Manager Joe Girardi has pushed back his next start; if he doesn’t put it together soon, Vazquez will be kicked to the curb.
Edwin Jackson, ARI, SP, (59%)
Jackson didn’t start off the season terribly, but in his last two starts, he has let up ten and eight earned runs respectively. His ERA is double the league average at 8.07, has already let up nearly 50 hits (29 runs) overall this season, and has a .353 batting average against.
Zack Greinke, KC, SP, (98%)
Again, this is not a knock whatsoever against his pitching performance on the year- it is more of a reflection of his supporting cast. Greinke has a 2.27 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts, however will not be able to maximize his fantasy potential until he gets even the slightest bit of run support.
In six starts, Greinke is 0-3 and ranks outside the top-100 fantasy wise, which is sad, considering he is putting up Cy Young-caliber numbers.