Fantasy Stock Watch: Week 20

Every Friday, Ben will scour the majors for the players whose fantasy value is going up, going down or completely bottoming out. This week, he will only look at position players.

Hitter of the Week

1B Erubiel Durazo, A’s

If Durazo was a disappointment last season, he’s been anything but this season. He went 14-for-22 (.636 average) with three doubles, three homers, four runs and eight RBIs this week, and he’s now hitting .326/.393/.536 for the season.

He’s only on pace for 24 home runs, 84 runs and 86 RBIs — which is similar to last year’s 21 homers, 92 runs and 77 RBIs — but the excellent batting average makes all the difference for his fantasy value. He’s hit at least .300 every month besides April and has a .339 average since the beginning of May.

Five on the Rise

1. 3B Corey Koskie, Twins: Koskie has had a disappointing season, but not a disappointing week at all. He went 10-for-18 (.556) with two doubles, two homers, a steal, five runs and six RBIs to improve to .250/.346/.471 for the season. If it weren’t for his low batting average, this might be one of his best seasons yet as he’s on pace for 24 home runs, 12 steals, 80 runs and 70 RBIs. He could be a force over the last six weeks of the season.

2. OF Shannon Stewart, Twins: Getting traded to Minnesota must have been the best thing to ever happen to Stewart. He hit .322/.384/.470 with Minnesota last year and is hitting .322/.399/.477 this year after going 14-for-26 (.538) with three doubles, two home runs, seven runs and six RBIs this week.

He still doesn’t have much home run power and he doesn’t have nearly the speed on the bases he used to, but a player who can hit well over .300 without making you wonder when the slump is going to ruin everything is a valuable commodity.

3. 1B J.T. Snow, Giants: Snow has had one really good offensive season in his 13-year career — when he hit .281/.387/.510 in 1997. This year makes two. The past week, Snow has gone 12-for-24 (.500) with a double, a triple, three homers, a steal, seven runs and eight RBIs to improve to .321/.427/.527 on the season.

An injury cost him about a month of his season, so he only has nine homers, four steals, 46 runs and 39 RBIs. However, he’s been playing regularly since the All-Star break and hitting .423 with six home runs, two steals, 26 runs and 23 RBIs in 30 games since then.

4. 2B Scott Hairston, Diamondbacks: Jerry Hairston might seem like a better fit for the hard-luck Diamondbacks this season, but Scott’s the one in Arizona and he’s having a fine season, especially for fantasy purposes. He went 11-for-22 (.500) with four home runs, six runs and six RBIs and is now hitting .273 with 11 homers, 35 runs and 21 RBIs in 253 at-bats.

He only has a .312 on-base percentage, which combined with his friendly hitting environment makes his .806 OPS less impressive, but that doesn’t matter for fantasy purposes. If he plays most of Arizona’s remaining 40 games, there’s no reason he can’t hit around .270 with four or five homers, 25 runs and 20 RBIs.

5. 1B Mark Teixeira, Rangers: Hitting for the cycle isn’t the only thing Teixeira did this week. He also went 11-for-23 (.478) with four doubles, a triple, two home runs, seven runs and 11 RBIs. His .270 average isn’t anything special, but his 29 home runs, 77 runs and 80 RBIs are. He’s one of 18 players in the majors with at least 75 runs and 75 RBIs already, and only six of those 18 have more home runs than him.

Five in Freefall

1. OF Jermaine Dye, A’s: This has obviously been a tremendous improvement over last season for Dye, but he’s really fallen off since hitting .298/.359/.596 in April. This week, he went 3-for-21 (.143) with a home run, four runs, three RBIs, a walk and seven strikeouts and he’s now hitting .266/.328/.457 for the season.

He has 19 home runs, 76 runs and 66 RBIs, which put him on pace for 26 home runs, 103 runs and 89 RBIs. He might not reach those numbers, but you probably weren’t fully expecting those numbers anyway after the last two years.

2. OF Jose Guillen, Angels: You only need to look at May and June to see how much of a rollercoaster ride Guillen’s season has been. He had a .738 OPS at the end of April, but bumped it up to .991 by two weeks into May. A week later, it was back down to .888, then it was up to .934 two weeks after that. Three weeks later, it was down to .849 and it was up to .880 at the end of June.

This week, he went 3-for-24 (.125) with a home run, three runs, two RBIs, two walks and three strikeouts and he’s hitting .299/.360/.513 (.874 OPS). He has 23 home runs, 72 runs and 92 RBIs, so the season is definitely a big success, but he sure has been streaky.

3. 2B Ray Durham, Giants: Durham hasn’t been cold, he’s been frigid. He went 0-for-22 this week and he’s hitless in his last 27 at-bats overall. He does have five walks, three runs and an RBI this week, but he’s only hitting .252/.339/.434 after his slump. He has 12 home runs, six steals, 64 runs and 45 RBIs, and he hasn’t been nearly as useful to fantasy teams as you would reasonably have expected this year.

4. OF J.D. Drew, Braves: A slump is much better than an injury when talking about Drew, so you’ll live with the fact that he went 1-for-21 (.048) with a home run, two runs, two RBIs, four walks and nine strikeouts this week. He’s still hitting .298/.416/.577, he still has 27 home runs, 10 steals, 84 runs and 71 RBIs, and he’s still on pace to play 146 games. He’s having the best all-around season of his career, and I wouldn’t fret over a week-long slump.

5. 3B Rob Mackowiak, Pirates: A week ago, Mackowiak was having a very solid fantasy season. He was hitting .275 and had a chance for a 20-20 season with 80 runs and 90 RBIs. This week, however, he went 2-for-21 (.095) with a triple, two runs, an RBI, two walks and six strikeouts and now he’ll be lucky to reach 20 homers, 15 steals, 70 runs and 80 RBIs if he doesn’t snap out of his slump soon.

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