Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Let's check in on which players have been driving fantasy owners' success and which ones have been driving us mad recently in this week's edition of "Who's Hot, Who's Not."
Ben Zobrist, 2B/OF Tampa Bay Rays - Zobrist's 2013 campaign has mirrored last season. Through June 5, Zobrist was hitting .246 with a 35/27 K/BB in 243 plate appearances. Zobrist's stats last season through June 6: 231 plate appearances, .199 average, 39/36 K/BB. Zobrist batted .306 with 14 homers, 55 RBI and a .923 OPS over his final 103 games last season, and appears to be starting another hot streak at the same time this year. In his last seven games, he's hitting .481 (13-for-27) with four doubles, one homer and five walks.
Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks - Parra is an example of an insurance policy that has paid off big time. Parra was supposed to serve as a fourth outfielder and defensive specialist for the D-backs this season, but injuries to Adam Eaton and Cody Ross thrust him into and everyday role. After going 13- for-26 (.500) with three RBI and five walks over his last seven games, Parra is hitting .322 with five homers, 22 RBI, 42 runs, five steals and an .863 OPS this season.
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers - Not only is Puig's bat scorching hot, but the Cuban outfielder also got hot under the collar Tuesday against the Diamondbacks. Arizona pitcher Ian Kennedy grazed Puig's face in the game with a fastball, and then Puig got involved in a bench-clearing brawl when Kennedy hit Zack Greinke in the head later in the game. Puig wasn't in the starting lineup Wednesday due to a sore shoulder, but he picked up a pinch hit in the game and is 17-for-35 (.486) with four homers and 10 RBI in his first 10 major league games.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox - Ellsbury may have left his power stroke somewhere back in 2011, but his wheels are looking as good as they ever have. The center fielder has swiped eight bases on eight steal attempts over his last six games and is hitting .440 (22-for-50) with 15 steals on 15 attempts over his last 11 games.
Matt Holliday, St. Louis Cardinals - We've been waiting all season for Holliday to find his groove and it looks like he's getting there. Even with an 0-for-4 under his belt Wednesday, the slugger is batting .389 with four doubles, two homers, eight RBI and seven walks in nine games since June 3.
Jeremy Bonderman, Seattle Mariners - No, this isn't a column from June 13, 2010; Bonderman really is back in the majors and thriving, at least over his last two starts. He blanked the Houston Astros on three hits over eight innings Wednesday, five days after holding the New York Yankees to one run on three hits over six innings to pick up his first major league win since Sept. 8, 2010.
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers - Greinke had an 8.78 ERA and allowed 28 hits in 13 1/3 innings from May 21 to June 1, but he has worked his way off the "Not" list with two strong seven-inning performances. He beat Atlanta with seven shutout innings and then gave up two hits and two runs against Arizona Tuesday.
Miguel Gonzalez, Baltimore Orioles - Gonzalez is coming off his best start of the season Tuesday against the Angels -- he went eight innings and allowed four hits and a run. That came one start after beating the Astros with six five-hit innings of one-run ball. Gonzalez' ERA is slightly higher than last season, but he has been a better pitcher. He has lowered his line-drive rate from 22.4 percent to 17.7 percent and his fly ball rate from 42.6 percent to 37.4 percent.
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs - If fantasy owners were unhappy with Castro when he was hitting .264 at the end of May, they're likely throwing fits now. The shortstop has gone just 2-for-34 (.059) with eight strikeouts since the start of June. Castro's strikeout, walk and line-drive rates are all at career-worst levels, as is his BABIP.
Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics - Lowrie's BABIP has been due for a bit of a regression, and he's experiencing that over the last six games. He is hitting .150 on balls in play and .125 overall with four strikeouts over his last 24 at-bats. However, with one of the best line-drive rates in baseball at 27.5 percent and a strikeout rate that is down more than three percentage points from last season, Lowrie shouldn't be down for long.
Kelly Johnson, Tampa Bay Rays - Johnson was hitting .298 as recently as May 29, but his batting average was never going to stay that high, not with a 25 percent strikeout rate and a 15 percent line-drive rate. His BABIP over his first 45 games was .337, but he has hit .148 on balls in play and .100 overall over his last 40 at-bats.
Nick Swisher, Cleveland Indians - Swisher's average has continued to drop off the cliff over the past week. He hit .125 (3-for-24) with nine strikeouts over his last six games and is 4-for-48 (.083) with 16 Ks since May 30. Fantasy owners should buy low on the Indians first baseman, however, as he has been terribly unlucky. With a career-high 27.6 percent line-drive rate, his .282 BABIP should be much higher.
Mark Reynolds, Cleveland Indians - We're used to Reynolds going into prolonged slumps by now; he has been doing this since he became a regular in 2008. But he at least usually keeps his homer total up. That hasn't been the case recently, as he has gone 20-for-111 (.180) with 40 strikeouts and just one double and two homers since May 10. He has just four hits in his last 33 at-bats (.121).
Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays - As I mentioned in my column "FIP Files" on May 10, Moore was in line for some regression, as he had a .206 BABIP and a 4.06 BB/9 over his first 11 starts. Well, regression has hit him hard. Batters hit .563 on balls in play and picked up 19 hits and 14 earned runs over seven innings against the left-hander in Moore's last two starts, and just like that a 2.18 ERA skyrocketed to 3.78.
Trevor Cahill, Arizona Diamondbacks - Cahill's 2.88 ERA at the end of May has shot up to 4.02 after the right-hander gave up 18 hits and 13 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings in his first two starts of June. Cahill's K/9 is down from 7.02 to 5.69 since 2012, and his line-drive rate is up from 16.1 percent to 19.8 percent.
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs - Fantasy owners who waited six weeks for Garza to make his 2013 debut have to be frustrated at this point. The right-hander has a 6.26 ERA in 27 1/3 innings after allowing 13 runs in 11 1/3 innings over his first two starts this month.
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