Here's a countdown of eight premium hitters (and two slumping wild cards) who should fare well for the week of May 7-13:
1. 3B David Wright, Mets
We could go the easy route and include Matt Kemp (12 HRs, 27 RBI, 28 runs, two steals, .388 batting) on this list every week, but we'll cut him a seven-day break to strengthen that tender hamstring.
Wright (one HR, six RBI, 13 runs, three steals, .319 batting since April 22) has been an absolute stud for New York this season, leading the club in runs, RBI, steals and batting average—despite just 88 at-bats (through May 6). He's also filled the Evan Longoria-vacated void of serving as fantasy's No. 2 third baseman, behind Miguel Cabrera.
2. SS Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
OK, so Tulo doesn't have the Coors Field advantage working for him this week, but his career numbers at Dodger Stadium (eight HRs, .324 OBP) and Petco Park (five HRs. .346 OBP) are strong enough to believe he'll notch two homers, six RBI and five runs against the NL West foes. Here's another reason for Tulowitzki hubris: He's currently riding an 11-game hit streak.
3. OF Matt Holliday, Cardinals
Speaking of hot streaks...Holliday has been on fire since April 22, racking up two homers, 12 RBI, 11 runs, two steals and .327 batting. It's the kind of successful run that makes venue or pitching opponent obsolete, even if the opposition comes in the form of Arizona's Joe Saunders, Ian Kennedy, Wade Miley and Atlanta's Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Tommy Hanson.
By all accounts, the Cardinals have the most difficult six-game slate of any MLB club this week.
4. OF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
Gonzo is not playing second fiddle to Tulowitzki, Wright or Holliday here; he's merely the coup de grace of a formidable front four of fantasy goodness for the week. His numbers since April 22 (seven HRs, 21 RBI, 13 runs, three steals, .373 batting) are so dynamic, so staggering that it's possible he could wrap up a spot on the National League All-Star roster within a few weeks.
On the fantasy front, there may be no price too high to secure Gonzalez's services. In fact, your best chance to land him might be something in the neighborhood of Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 2.63 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 34 Ks) and Hunter Pence (six HRs, 20 RBI, 18 runs, three steals, .274 batting)—as part of a blockbuster 2-for-1 offer.
5. OF J.D. Martinez, Astros
Martinez has been a shell of his former self in recent weeks (zero homers, .140 batting since April 22), but there's no cause for alarm this week against the Marlins and Pirates. In fact, Martinez might be the most attractive buy-low commodity amongst all struggling outfielders right now.
1. OF Alex Gordon, Royals
It's funny how those emails or Tweets asking, "How much longer do I keep Alex Gordon?" have subsided in the last 10 to 15 days, once Gordon (two HRs, 10 RBI, 13 runs, one steal, .346 batting since April 22) finally shrugged off a slow start and began raking like a top-20 outfielder from the preseason.
Bottom line: Just like his talented Kansas City teammates, Gordon is simply too good to be mediocre in the long run...and now the patience of his original drafters is paying off handsomely. The good times will likely keep rolling against the Red Sox and White Sox this week.
2. DH David Ortiz, Red Sox
Forget Charles Barkley. Weight Watchers should be cutting big checks to Big Papi these days, while orchestrating national media campaigns around his dramatic weight loss. As a result, a svelte Ortiz has been busy pulverizing American League pitching (six HRs, 22 RBI, 18 runs, .365 batting), a trend that should continue against the Royals and Indians this week.
3. 1B/3B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
For the record, Miggy has 16 strikeouts this season (through May 6). But I cannot recall one at-bat where he was overwhelmed—or even slightly flummoxed—against an opposing pitcher.
Perhaps that has much to do with Miggy's transformation from puffed-up first baseman to fit and trim third baseman...or perhaps it's just the perpetual evolution of an eminently bankable hitter and one of the most viable active candidates for Cooperstown—in about 13 years. Cabrera (seven HRs, 22 RBI, 16 runs, .295 batting) draws the Mariners and A's on the road this week.
4. OF Curtis Granderson, Yankees
It's wise to include a Yankees hitter on this list every week, and Granderson (nine HRs, 18 RBI, 17 runs, .284 batting) drew the longest straw amongst Robinson Cano and the white-hot Derek Jeter (.397 batting for the season). Granderson & Co. have home encounters with the Rays and Mariners.
5. 2B/OF Ben Zobrist, Rays
Tampa Bay might be among the best clubs in baseball right now, but very little of that real-world magic has rubbed off on Zobrist (two homers, .182 batting since April 22). But there's a reason why fantasy GMs happily invested a Round 4/5 pick on Zobrist back in March, and there's a reason why he's one of the few plausible candidates for 20 homers, 20 steals, 90 runs and 85 RBI.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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