“Bruno’s Gold:” Hot Streak Players
Last week I wrote about recent call-ups and their fantasy value for the rest of the season. This week, I’ll provide you with players that have been hot the past two weeks or so, yet are still under-owned in many leagues. Baseball players are often streaky and it can pay off for fantasy managers to ride these streaks. Some of these players offer more value than others over the course of the season, so I’ll also recommend which players are capable of sustaining these hot streaks, and which I suggest dumping at the first sign of them cooling off.
Josh Willingham: Willingham only played in six games this season before being forced to the DL with a wrist injury after being hit by a pitch. He returned to the lineup for the Twins on May 26th and has played in 15 games since. On the season he is hitting .303/.455/.545 with four home runs and 15 runs batted in. His Isolated Power (ISO) is .242 and if he had enough at-bats to qualify, that would be good for 17th best in baseball. If you prefer a more traditional “power” stat, his OPS is currently 1.000. Basically, right now Willingham is crushing the ball and could provide your team with some needed power. He also has almost a 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio (16 walks to 19 strikeouts), showing he’s capable of being patient. Looking at Willingham’s numbers from 2012 – his most recent full season as he was injured last season – his splits per month are as follows: March/April: .347/.447/.681, May: .220/.366/.473, June: .255/.347/.480, July: .283/.396/.663, August: .223/.299/.457, September/October: .250/.354/.397. While his OBP stayed relatively consistent, his batting average and slugging percentage fluctuated greatly. Willingham is tricky to predict because he has tremendous power when healthy (35 HR and 30 doubles in 2012 to go along with 110 RBI), but he’s also known for being a streaky hitter. My advice is to ride Willingham while his hot streak continues, but to also have a backup plan in case (or when) he goes cold. Basically, don’t sell low or drop Willingham during a potential cold streak and rather try and have someone to take his place until the (hopefully) next inevitable hot streak returns.
Khris Davis: Davis is currently sporting a line of .262/.304/.491 with 10 home runs and 27 runs batted in. These are decent, but not great numbers. Over the last two weeks however, Davis is hitting .353/.410/.618 and his .795 OPS for the season is 1.028 over the last 14 days. Those are great numbers. He is also hitting much better on the road than at home this season, and with 10 of the Brewers next 13 games on the road (including a series in hitter friendly Coors Field), that’s something you can take advantage of as owner by placing Davis in your lineup. I don’t expect Davis to hit .350 for the rest of the season, but I do think he can improve on his current numbers. He has a line drive percentage (LD%) of 25.2%, which is good for 17th best in baseball. Of the 16 hitters ahead of him, only one has a worse batting average on balls in play (BABIP), meaning he is getting a bit unlucky right now. The Brewers have a top-10 offense (in terms of runs scored) and Davis should come up to bat with plenty of RBI opportunities, especially with his power (28 extra-base hits this season). Add Davis and hold onto him, as this hot streak might be more than just as streak.
Danny Santana: Santana started the year in the minors but the Twins called him up on May 3rd and he’s been mashing ever since. Through 23 games, he’s hitting .364/.395/.506 with an OPS of .902. He has just two home runs and 11 runs batted in, but he does have four stolen bases to help make up for the current lack of power. He’s also become the team’s leadoff hitter and with the likes of Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, the aforementioned Josh Willingham, and the new addition of Kendrys Morales hitting behind him, the opportunity to score runs will certainly be there, especially if his OBP stays close to where it is. The two red flags with Santana are that he has an awful walk to strikeout ratio (4 walks to 20 strikeouts) and that his BABIP is a staggeringly high .473. He is getting very lucky with the balls that he puts in play turning into hits, meaning that his numbers are likely to regress. However, he has a LD% of 32.1%, which would be good for 2nd in baseball if he had enough at-bats to qualify. So while his BABIP is alarming, Santana is creating this “luck” by making good contact on a large percentage of balls he puts in play. I recommend not only adding Santana, by holding onto him for awhile.
Denard Span: Bryan Robinson wrote a blurb about Span last week, but here’s my take. Span is currently hitting .282/.323/.408 on the season with 24 extra-base hits and 39 runs scored. Looking at those numbers alone, one would come to the conclusion that he is having a solid year for the Nationals. However, as a Nats fan and having paid attention to most of their games this season, I can tell you that much of that production has come over the past two weeks. In the last 14 days, Span is hitting .365/.389/.538 with eight extra-base hits and 12 runs scored. In fact, over the last 18 games Span has raised his batting average from a paltry .239 to a solid .282. He’s been on a roll, and not surprisingly, so have the Nats. So is this just a hot streak for Span or can he sustain it? Looking at his month-to-moth splits for his career, Span has been remarkably consistent. Much of that data is from his days with the Twins, but looking at just his time with the Nats (the 2013 season), his splits are relatively the same. Similarly to Khris Davis, I don’t expect Span to hit .365 the rest of the way, but I do expect his numbers for the season to be generally what they are now. The offense for the Nats was terrible for much of the season due to injuries, but with an almost healthy lineup and Bryce Harper set to return sometime next month, Span should have plenty of opportunities to score runs, so use him while this hot streak lasts, because that’s all this is. He had a poor start to the year and now his numbers have come back to what we expect from Span because he’s been hot at the plate. If you need help with runs or even stolen bases (Span has nine), consider keeping him, otherwise, bail as soon as the first sign of him cooling off appears, especially since Span doesn’t offer much else fantasy-wise.
Oswaldo Arcia: I wrote about him a few weeks ago and he’s hitting .313 over the past two weeks with four home runs. (I also just realized he’s the third Twins’ player I mentioned in this post. Do I like their offense???)
Brock Holt: He’s hitting .356 with eight runs, seven RBI, and a stolen base over his last two weeks and has taken over as the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox.
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