Monday, August 6, 2007

Top Hitters - Week of 7/30 - 8/5

Periodically, I'll be looking back at the most recent week's top performers (in this case, based on Yahoo game rankings). Today, I'm going to look back at last week's top hitters:

1. Carl Crawford (OF)
Crawford is one of those players that will put up solid, but not earth shattering, stats for months & then all of a sudden just break out; I think he's now on the verge of breaking out, after a quiet July. His line on the year is:

.303 Avg
64 R
9 HR
60 RBI
35 SB
.819 OPS

This currently puts him 28th on Yahoo's player rater (amongst hitters). This is probably disappointing for managers that drafted him in the 1st round of their drafts this year, but be patient...especially when it comes to expectations for steals. This season, July was his first month with more than 10 steals; he also already has 2 steals in the first 4 games in August. Last year, he had three months in which he stole more than 10 bases, and August & September are two of them. I'm expecting his recent trend (12 steals in 20 post-all star break games vs. 23 steals in 85 pre-all star break games) to continue throughout the next two months. He might also start hitting for a little more pop, since last season, he also hit 7 HR in a month. This year, his tops is April, when he hit 4. It's a good sign that he has more HR (2) in 4 August games than he hit in any of the previous 4 individual months (when he hit 1 in each).

Make sure he's in your lineup in every league out there. I expect him to hit double digit steals each of the next two months, and I also expect him to start hitting for a little more power. He'll probably end up finishing the year with around 50 + steals, 15-18 HR, and 80 - 85 RBI. All while hitting over .300...not bad at all.

2. Bobby Abreu (OF)
Wow, what a July! And he's started off August just as hot...
On the year, Abreu is hitting:

.286 Avg
81 R
11 HR
70 RBI
15 SB
.797 OPS

In July alone, he hit .353, with 5 HR, 29 RBI, 20 R, 2 SB, and a .972 OPS. In 4 August games, he's hitting .561 with 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 4 BB & 1 K. Even with his recent super-hot streak, I think he's still been a slight disappointment for managers that picked him in the top 5 rounds of their fantasy drafts. He'll continue to get plenty of opportunities for runs & RBI hitting third in a potent Yankees lineup, and it's nice to see him finally have a breakout month.

3. Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
Zimmerman has quietly improved his numbers in the past two months, picking up the slack after a very slow start to the season. He's hitting:

.274 Avg
17 HR
61 RBI
65 R
4 SB
.779 OPS

He's already got 8 RBI in only 5 August games, so he's well on his way to his best month of the year. Even though I'm a little disappointed in his full season line (especially the lower than expected Avg & steals), I still think he's going to be an excellent 3B for many years in the majors. He's not on par with David Wright (and now, Ryan Braun) yet, but I think he's a good keeper & will only improve with more playing time.

4. Big Papi (1B, DH)
He's good

5. Vladimir Guerrero (OF)
Him too

6. Robinson Cano (2B)
After a disappointing start to the year, he busted out big time in July...hitting:

.385 Avg
6 HR
24 RBI
22 R
1 SB
1.053 OPS

He's finally living up to the hype of being a top 5 2B. I don't see any reason he won't continue to produce in an impressive Yankees lineup, so keep playing him.

7. Kelly Johnson (2B, OF)
Johnson was just making it too hard for the Braves to not play him everyday. His season stats are:

.301 Avg
12 HR
57 RBI
67 R
9 SB
.895 OPS

He has been immensely better than the player he replaced, Marcus Giles, this season. I pegged him as a sleeper going into the season, but I cheated in a way, because:

-I live in I've seen him play firsthand, and I knew he'd be solid
-He'd already proven he could hit major league pitching - in the 2005 season (his rookie year), he was NL Player of the Week for 6/13-19

He'll be a good play from here on out, and I think he's close to being a top 10 2B for next season.

8. Hanley Ramirez (SS)
I'll admit, I didn't expect him to put up such incredible numbers in his second season. I had to decide between him or Joe Mauer as the last player I was holding onto in a keeper league...and I picked the latter. Mauer is a very good player, and will be for a long time, but Hanley has been incredible. His season line is:

.341 Avg
19 HR
54 RBI
84 R
32 SB
.967 OPS

Going into the year, some experts saw him as a 'poor man's Jose Reyes'. It turns out, he's been what people thought Jose Reyes was going to be. Can you imagine, Hanley has the potential for 30 + HR power, with over a .300 Avg & the potential to steal more than 50 bases in a year! Quite possibly, the # 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts next year (you heard it here first!).

9. Jorge Posada (C)
10. Hideki Matsui (OF)
Insane...what a July. His July line was:

.345 Avg
13 HR
28 RBI
31 R
2 SB
1.145 OPS
14 BB
15 K

I think it's safe to say he's fully recovered from his injury earlier in the season. He's showing no signs of slowing down, so keep playing him daily.

11. Garrett Atkins (3B)
His season line is similar to Zimmerman, but he was a top 3 round pick, so he's been a bigger disappointment. He does have 11 RBI in only 5 August games, which is a good sign. He's also been much more consistent since his early season struggles, with batting averages of .305, .302, and .400 in June, July & August. He's still a top 10 3B, but he'll end up finishing the year much below most people's pre-season expectations.

12. Jermaine Dye (OF)
I'm sure he's frustrated more managers than just me this season. After keeping him in my lineup for most of the 1st half, then having him on my bench for a few weeks, and then finally dropping him just after the all star break...what happens?

He breaks out, big time. Since the all star break, he's put up the following line:

23 Games
.330 Avg
10 HR
20 RBI
25 R
1.158 OPS

I think it's fair to say that he's officially broken out of his 1st half slump. He won't end up matching last year's numbers, but he's on a hot streak, so keep him in your lineup (or if you're me, enjoy watching another team benefit from your impatience).

13. Pat Burrell (OF)
I talked about picking him up in a league a few posts back, and man, am I glad I did. He's hit 3 HR in his past 5 games, and is hitting well over .400 since July 1st. Keep playing him while he's hot.

14. Jose Reyes (SS)
Incredible player, but many managers projected a 20 HR season for Reyes. He's been solid with 8 HR, 45 RBI, 79 R, and 53 SB...great numbers, but not necessarily #1 overall (where he was drafted in some leagues).

15. David Wright (3B)
One of the best 3B in the game. His season stats are stellar:

.304 Avg
19 HR
67 RBI
70 R
25 SB
.902 OPS

I'm very impressed by his SB consistency & success rate this year; he's stolen 7 bases in each of the past 3 months, only being caught twice along the way. And obviously, the rest of his game is SOLID.

16. Jack Wilson (SS)
17. Yuniesky Betancourt (SS)
18. Ronny Paulino (C)
19. Matt Diaz (OF)
Having an excellent season platooning in LF. Might get every day playing time next year if the Braves don't re-sign Andruw Jones.

20. Mark Teixeira (1B)
He's already hit 3 HR with the Braves in 5 games; I expect a rejuvenated Teixeira & big August & September.

21. Corey Patterson (OF)
Wow, Patterson can really hit & run when he just goes all out. Earlier in the year, he seemed more selective at the plate, which lowered his K rate but also lowered his overall value (and consequentially, playing time). As long as he keeps on playing aggressively, he'll continue to swipe bases at a 10+ per month rate, along with hitting a few HR & driving in a few runs along the way. Swing away Merrill. Merrill... swing away.

22. Adam Dunn (OF)
Having another typical Dunn year:

.262 Avg
30 HR
73 RBI
69 R
8 SB
.918 OPS

I was actually a little excited about some diversity in his game after a 5 SB April, but gravity has brought the speedy Dunn back to earth since. I guess it was too much to expect a 20 steal year out of a 6 foot 6 inch, 275 lb OF.

It is nice to see him get some of his power swing back, as he's already hit 3 HR in August (vs. only 4 HR in all of July).

23. Melky Cabrera (OF)
Milky Cereal was really not even worth having on your team until his breakout July. He ended up hitting .368, with 3 HR, 17 RBI, 18 R, 4 SB, and a .939 OPS. As long as you don't expect that every month, he'll be a solid breakfast food to have on your bench (or in your lineup on a deep roster).

24. Aubrey Huff (1B, 3B, OF)
OK, I admit...I thought he was going to have a comeback year. Since I've been wrong on Huff for two years in a row now, I've decided that I might not be drafting him or hyping him next season...Although, he might end up being a major sleeper & in line for a comeback year! Oh wait...

25. Kazuo Matsui (2B)
Holy Cow; 2 Matsui's on one list!

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