Curtis Granderson and 7 Stars About to Break out of Slumps
There is hope ahead, fantasy owners. The players listed here have been particularly maddening because many teams are vying for playoff spots and they have relied on contribution from these regulars to win weeks.
In fantasy, making the playoffs is everything because anything can happen in a given week and any team that makes the postseason can win it all, whether that be bragging rights, trophies or sums of dough. Having a star sputter in mid-August can derail a team's title hopes over just a few weeks.
However, fear not. These players will soon return to their expected production...or so the statistics would lead us to believe.
Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson has never been a high average guy. He is batting just .237 on the season after finishing at .262 in 2011. However, Granderson has hit just .202 in his last 25 games, and while he has over 30 home runs, on pace to match his 2011 total, his eight stolen bases fall far short of his pace from a year ago.
So why is there hope for a guy who has batted under .250 in two of the last three full seasons? The Yankees play at Chicago, at Cleveland and then home for six. They also play at Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Boston to start September, which are all comfortable hitter's parks. Additionally, Baltimore and Boston have rotation issues that could aide in Granderson's righting the ship.
Adrian Beltre, Texas Rangers
Adrian Beltre is batting .303 on the season despite amassing just a .245 average in his last 25 games, with an on-base percentage nearly 30 points below his season clip.
Never fear, Beltre owners, starting on Monday, Texas has 10 games at home, the most hitter-friendly home in baseball. In fact, while he has a .795 OPS on the road this season, Beltre has an .849 OPS in Arlington, and his average jumps 38 points.
After the homestand, Beltre will face Cleveland and Kansas City, two teams with vulnerable pitching staffs. The future could be good for Adrian and his owners.
Jason Kipnis, Cleveland Indians
Most agreed Jason Kipnis was not quite as good as his April and May seemed to indicate, but if he was not that good, he is certainly not this bad.
Kipnis is batting .176 without a home run in his last 20 games. He is just 3-for-5 on steal attempts and has struck out 15 times in that span. It is troubling to see him batting .217 against left-handed pitchers.
At the end of the day, this is still a guy who will end up with around 15 home runs and close to 30 steals, which is more than most bargained for when they drafted him, but he should bat considerably better in the coming month than he has in the last one.
Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants
Maybe the Giants had this coming. They trade their top pitching prospect for Carlos Beltran in 2011, he hits but they let him walk, then they trade more prospects for a similar (if less-talented) hitter in Hunter Pence and all he has done is bat .197 in 16 games.
That being said, Pence is a career .288 hitter, who is coming off a year in which he hit .314 with an OPS 119 points higher than it is in 2012. Some downturn could have been predicted, considering he moved to a division that includes Petco Park, and San Francisco is not known for its hitter-friendly confines.
However, Pence is a good hitter. He has not batted under .280 since 2008. He is a career .297 hitter in September and October, with the second-highest OPS of any month over his career. The Giants will need him to start hitting if they want to steal a wild-card spot.
James McDonald, Pittsburgh Pirates
James McDonald had a 2.37 ERA through 17 starts in the first half of the season. In his last seven starts, he has an ERA over seven. Why? His WHIP has literally doubled. After issuing 31 walks in 110 innings before the break, opponents have drawn 24 free passes since.
So why is there reason to hope McDonald can right the ship? The Pirates play at San Diego to start the coming week, then play at home against the Brewers and Cardinals. McDonald's home ERA of 2.82 is almost two full runs lower than his mark on the road. His home WHIP is still under one for the season.
The schedule is set up for McDonald to pitch well in the coming weeks and regain his confidence in time for the stretch run and your fantasy playoff race.
C.J. Wilson, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
C.J. Wilson is 0-3 with an ERA of 5.34 and WHIP of 1.681 in his last five starts. Since the All-Star Break, he is 0-4 in seven starts, with a 5.61 ERA. This is noticeably different from his 2.43 ERA and nine wins through 18 first-half starts.
Fortunately for Wilson owners, his career numbers in September are significantly better than August. Additionally, the upcoming schedule for Wilson's Angels features Boston, Detroit, Boston, Seattle and Oakland, including series in Safeco Field and the Oakland Coliseum. After another series with Detroit, the Angels face Oakland and Kansas City, so the schedule looks friendly.
Ultimately, Wilson has proved he is a good pitcher who can right the ship at a moment's notice. There is no reason to worry about starting him going forward.
Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Mark Trumbo strikes out a lot and he hits for a ton of power. Usually, that means a brutally low average and wild ups and downs for fantasy owners over the course of the season. After Trumbo hit .307 in April and .367 in May, his whiffs started to catch up and he batted .260 and .269 in the following two months.
However, Trumbo's August has resulted in a .197 mark, with 24 strikeouts in 15 games. His .541 OPS is 300 points lower than any other month this season. After hitting seven, nine and eight home runs over the last three months, Trumbo has stroked just two in August.
Sixteen of the Angels' 27 September games are at home. Trumbo is a .251 hitter on the road and .320 at Angel Stadium. Be patient and he will reward you.