Bloomberg Sports Anchor Rob Shaw breaks down the five baseball players who have been making a huge fantasy impact over the past two weeks.
5) Alex Rios, OF, White Sox
Rios struggled with the White Sox in 2011, batting just .227. However, he has bounced back this season with a .316 AVG, 18 HR and 67 RBI. In the past two weeks alone, he hit .353 with 14 runs, five home runs, 15 RBI and one stolen base. He is a five-tool talent and his hot streak could continue, especially considering that he plays at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Be aware, however, that Rios is known for his inconsistency.
4) Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals
Like Rios, LaRoche has struggled with inconsistency. Last year was a disaster for him, as he only played in 43 games and had just a .172 average. He is known for getting hot in the second half of the season and he is living up to that right now. In the past two weeks, LaRoche has a .429 average, 10 runs, seven home runs and 14 RBI.
3) Carlos Gomez, OF, Brewers
Gomez is a solid outfielder defensively but is not known for his offense. He hasn’t been able to play every day in the past but he’s been given a chance in Milwaukee and is putting up huge numbers. Over the last two weeks, Gomez is batting .348 with 14 runs, four home runs, 10 RBI and six stolen bases. At 26 years old, he could get a chance to play full time next season.
2) Drew Stubbs, OF, Reds
Stubbs is known to be unpredictable at the plate. He steals a lot of bases and has some power but he kills your batting average. His currently has a .239 season average, but in the last two weeks, he has a .362 average with 17 runs, four homers, 11 RBI and five steals. Stubbs is a streaky hitter, so ride out this hot streak while you can.
1) Albert Pujols, 1B, Angels
Pujols had a slow start to the season but he’s been on fire recently, and it couldn’t come at a better time for the Angels. Over the past two weeks, he has a .365 average, 11 runs, seven home runs, 19 RBI and two stolen bases.
For more fantasy insight, visit BloombergSports.com.
BY ROB SHAW
One of the top stories for the White Sox last season was the breakout season by former first round pick Philip Humber. Selected by the Mets with the third pick of the 2004 draft, Humber dealt with injuries and never met expectations when he was traded for Johan Santana in 2008. The trade did not exactly work out for the Twins, as Humber moved to the White Sox and aside from him the only other key contributor is their former centerfielder Carlos Gomez, who proved to be a part-time player.
Last season, Humber finally got a crack at sticking in the Big Leagues. He made 26 starts and 28 appearances. Though his record was just 9-9, more impressive was his 3.75 ERA and 1.18 WHIP despite pitching in a hitter’s ballpark. What separates Humber from most pitchers is his devastating curveball. In fact, he ranked fourth in Major League Baseball last season with a .159 opposing average against his curveball.
If there is an area for Humber to improve, it’s his stamina. In his first full season in the Big Leagues, Humber experienced a major drop off after the fifth inning, as his ERA spiked from 2.96 to 6.34. At that point, his control fell a bit and his opposing average spiked to .305. Of course, the increased workload may explain the trend.
Humber has a dream week in fantasy baseball, as he opens with a start against an overzealous Orioles offense that lacks much plate discipline. He aced that test, allowing just one run to score in 5.1 innings of work, while fanning 7 batters. Next, he hurls in Seattle’s cavernous Safeco Field, against a mediocre Mariners offense.
Fantasy managers should plug Humber for both starts this week. For more fantasy baseball insight visit BloombergSports.com.