"Three Up, Three Down" is our Tuesday topic at the sportspa.blogspot.com during the MLB season. In these articles, we attempt to showcase three of the hottest hitters in baseball, and also three players whose fantasy stock has taken a hit.
Since it's pretty difficult to narrow it down to three, most of the time there are some honorable mentions thrown into the mix as well.
These hitters are up/down in my eyes.
1) Mike Lowell—Red Sox
Lowell had a big week last week, which earned him the American League Player of the Week award. He was 10-for-23 with 11 RBI, and was well-deserving of the award.
He is a big reason that Boston is on an 11-game winning streak, and with Youkilis and Bay getting on base at good clips in front of him, Lowell should continue to see the RBI opportunities.
I think 100 RBI is a pretty safe goal if he can stay healthy, and the hip looks fine so far. He is owned in 77 percent of ESPN leagues, after an increase of 40.6 percent over the past week.
If he's on the waiver wire in your league, you definitely want to pick him up ASAP.
2) Carlos Pena—Devil Rays
Pena was hot this past week, with three home runs and nine RBI. Pena is now leading the league in home runs with nine, and is second in the majors to Albert Pujols with 24 RBI.
With a .256 average, he's not going to win the Triple Crown, but the power numbers are off the charts right now. Enjoy the streak Pena owners, because I think it's giong to be difficult for him to maintain this kind of pace.
3) Alberto Callaspo—Royals
Callaspo is fourth in the league in batting average at .386. He doesn't have much power—only one home runs and five RBI—but he will get on base and score some runs for you.
Right now, he's a better option than his teammate Mike Aviles, who was highly tauted during spring training, but can't seem to hit his way out of a wet paper bag at the moment.
Callaspo is owned in only 1.5 percent of ESPN leagues, so if you want him you can go get him. He's one of those guys who will probably fade off at some point, but he can certainly boost your team's batting average while he's hot.
Ride the streak, and if it continues, even better.
Kevin Youkilis, Albert Pujols, Ian Kinsler, Brandon Inge, Andre Ethier, Nick Markakis, Joey Votto, Jason Bay, Ryan Ludwick, Aaron Hill, Grady Sizemore, Adam Jones, Evan Longoria, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, Torii Hunter, Raul Ibanez, Kosuke Fukudome, Paul Konerko, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez, Bengie Molina, Ryan Braun, Michael Young, Jay Bruce, Mike Cameron, Yadier Molina, Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Hunter Pence, Jesus Flores, Victor Martinez, Orlando Hudson, Brian Roberts, Jason Bartlett, etc.
1) Matt Holliday—A's
Holliday is way below his career marks in batting average and on-base percentage so far in Oakland, and critics claim that his stats were inflated by playing at Coors field until this year.
His stats might be a little inflated due to Coors field, but I still think that Holliday is a much better hitter than he's shown us so far in 2009.
He is hitting .242 with zero home runs and 11 RBI. You can expect to see the average rise at some point, but the lack of power is what's really troubling to me.
Still, I think if you can buy him low, he's a great bounce-back candidate for the second half. I truly believe his bat will wake up at some point, and he's someone I'm willing to gamble on.
2) David Ortiz—Red Sox
Ortiz is showing some signs of life, as is finally willing to hit the ball to the opposite field. It's about time, why did it take him so long to make the adjustment?
Big Papi is one of the better, if not the best, clutch hitters of the past decade, and we should continue to see that .237 average climb. The power, though it may not be as plentiful as it once was, is bound to show up sooner or later too.
The thing that hurts Ortiz's value is he is only eligible at DH. Unless you can get some good value for him, I would hang on to him at this point. I really think he will finish with solid numbers.
3) Alexei Ramirez—White Sox
Off to a horrible start, Ramirez is hitting just .194 with one home run and eight RBI.
He was a highly tauted prospect after his strong rookie campaign in 2008, but has disappointed fantasy owners in 2009 who drafted him at an average of 69.5 percent in ESPN leagues.
He kind of came out of nowhere in 2008, and like many other players have done, he's disappeared so far this year. I'm not saying he will fade out permanently, but he's got a lot of work to do to turn the ship around.
I expect to see him figure it out eventually, and he is another decent buy-low option if you can snag him.
Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira, Josh Hamilton, Brian Giles, Russell Martin, Derek Lee, Adrian Beltre, Jim Thome, Coco Crisp, Kelly Johnson, Mike Aviles, Connor Jackson, Brian McCann, Jason Giambi, Jimmy Rollins, Brandon Phillips, Chris Young, Joe Crede, Stephen Drew, Brett Gardner, Orlando Cabrera, Dioner Navarro, etc.
Some of the big name bats are waking up, and some of those lesser-known "fire-starters" are cooling off. The thing to remember is that it's still early, and fantasy baseball is a marathon, not a sprint.
So, hang on to your good players, and don't sell them away cheap just because they are struggling early. If you can buy some of them cheap, then I would recommend taking advantage of that mistake.
Tune in next Tuesday for more "Three Up, Three Down" action. Good luck to all, and thanks for reading.