Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner for Week of August 8th, 2011

In a modest week of hitting there hasn’t seemed to be much excitement around the MLB this week; but there is only a 1/3 of the season left, which means some players will be stepping their game up and others may start packing it in looking forward to the offseason. And though I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, some rookies may hit the “rookie wall” fairly soon as well.

But on the bright side we have some hidden gems in this week’s hitting planner!

Catcher

It is horrible for the Braves to lose Brian McCann for any period of time, and it probably has ill-effects on you as well. He probably won’t be around until mid-August at the earliest, and a replacement such as Eliezer Alfonzo is worth considering if and only IF he can see more playing time, but those chances look slim. 

Mike Napoli has regained the top spot at the position this week, but the question is this: why is he only owned by 97% of owners?  For the 3% of leagues in which he is owned owned: what are you waiting for?

It looks like Kurt Suzuki has responded well to some reduced playing time although it doesn’t seem like the production will continue.

Make sure you remember that Yadier Molina is serving a five game suspension that is going to spill over into the new scoring period so a replacement is certainly necessary.

First Base

Billy Butler has been a homerun machine lately with 7 homers over a 13 game period.  The position of DH allows his health to stay high so managers can be worry free of any unpleasant surprises.

You don’t need us to tell you that Mark Teixeira is at the top of his game, but his bat is so hot we felt the need to let reinforce the subject.

Todd Helton has regressed a bit this month, so it’s time to be honest and give him a rest.  He has been one of the most solid hitters in the past 20 years (.323 career average) but slumps will come and this looks to be one. 

Matt LaPorta has not exactly lived up to his C.C. trade value but he could be serviceable to a few managers.  His timely hitting has helped the Indians win a few games and could help managers who need a small “piece” as the experts say.

Even though Derrek Lee has put up some decent numbers his hand injury may set him back a little when he returns to the lineup, which figures to be Monday or Tuesday.

Second Base

The hitting streak for Dan Uggla has extended to 25 games.  His average is still only .215 but that should continue to rise.

Is Jason Kipnis worth the risk of investment?  With less than 20 major league games under his belt his numbers to date look promising.  Perhaps he is worth it and picking him up is going to be worth your time.

More low profile players are making a statement with their play including Eric Young Jr.  His power numbers are not stellar, but when he gets on base, his steals and runs scored will do some damage in some leagues. 

Darwin Barney has been sliding down the fantasy leader board week after week.  It could be him not being used to the full MLB season yet but this isn’t the time to rely on him for any long period of time.

Same thing goes for Jemile Weeks, he doesn’t seem to be getting tired but this is a genuine slump.  Don’t look for any big production from the rookie until he breaks out of the slide.

Third Base

Casey McGehee was struggling mightily prior to his 3 homerun outing on Wednesday and it’s time to see what he follows it up with before managers make any serious moves with him.

Concussions can be very serious issues, which is why the status on David Freese is up in the air.  His play may be enticing but that injury is nothing to play around with.

Chase Headley doesn’t always swing the bat the way managers want him to but when he doesn’t he finds other ways to score.  Whether its stolen bases or scoring runs, he has become a legitimate top 10 option at the position.

It is obvious that Evan Longoria just isn’t getting the job done this year.  Managers should stop looking at his name and take a look at the stat line instead and figure out if they still want this pain in their side.

Shortstop

It doesn’t look as if Jose Reyes has regained his MVP like production since he suffered his hamstring injury.  The top shortstop now is Asdrubal Cabrera, but Jimmy Rollins and Troy Tulowitzki are close on his tail.  The difference between the man at the top is that he is producing in all categories on offense.  From homeruns to stolen bases there is no doubt that Cabrera is the man.

When Jason Bartlett gets a chance to play he does do some damage in unconventional ways such as his runs scored and stolen bases. 

Elvis Andrus is usually one of the higher rated players in the fantasy world for shortstop because he can do all things to score managers points but when a few of those things fall off he is seriously a non factor.  The diagnosis?  Bench him until he proves that he can start playing like a top 5 player, not number 46.

Outfield

It has been a bit of a down week for the players in the outfield this week as 20 of them are within 5 points of the top spot per player rating and only two players have a rating at 10 or above.  Those two would be Coco Crisp and Matt Holliday.  Not to take anything away from Coco but 7.5 of those points came from a monster week that was highlighted by stolen bases.

It is now time to outline those players who are HOT or NOT.  The HOT players include: Corey Hart, Josh Willingham, Peter Bourjos, Ben Revere and Casper Wells have been doing well over the past week and look to ride the streak into the last 50 games of the season.  As for those struggling players who are not in the top 50 at the position we have: Tony Gwynn, Jay Bruce, Vernon Wells, Matt Joyce and Johnny Damon haven’t quite lived up to the billing over the last 7 games.



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