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."
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pittsburgh Pirates - When Alvarez puts it all together, he's one of the top third basemen in fantasy. Unfortunately, he goes into deep slumps too often, but right now, he's scorching. Over his last six games, Alvarez is 12-for-24 (.500) with four doubles, four home runs and eight RBI. We'd like to see some improvement in his strikeout rate, but he has fanned in over 31 percent of his plate appearances for the third straight month.
Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians - Kipnis has been rolling since early May, but he has really taken it up a notch recently. Over his last six games, he's hitting .550 (11-for-20) with four doubles, a triple, two homers, 10 RBI and five walks. He has raised his average from .189 to .288 by batting .328 since May 2. Kipnis has a career-high 24.1 percent line-drive rate and his HR/FB is up to 17.2 percent from 9.7 percent last season. As a result, his BABIP is up from .291 to .348 from 2012, which has helped him offset an increase in strikeout rate from 16.2 percent of 22.9 percent.
Allen Craig, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals - Craig has been an RBI machine this season, driving in 62 in 317 plate appearances. He's gone 10-for-21 (.476) with two homers and nine RBI over his last six games and is hitting .328 with an .832 OPS on the year. Craig is pounding out line drives at a career-high rate of 26.2 percent this season.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers - Ramirez' body finally is holding together after playing just four games (three starts) from the start of the season to June 4. He's hitting .485 with four homers, 11 RBI and a 1.437 OPS over his last nine contests.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets - Wright's four-extra-base-hit game on Sunday was one of the standouts of the past week. The Mets third baseman has been red hot for almost the entire month, going 31-for-81 (.383) with eight doubles, five homers, 11 RBI and a 1.117 OPS in his last 19 games. Wright's 25 percent line-drive rate is his highest since 2009, and his 14.1 percent HR/FB is his best since 2010.
Scott Kazmir, LHP, Cleveland Indians - Leave it to Kazmir to throw two straight dominant starts and leave the second one in the eighth inning with an injury. The left-hander had thrown just 78 pitches and allowed one hit over the first seven innings Wednesday against Baltimore before exiting prior to the start of the eighth with back spasms. Still, he has gone 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA, a 0.50 WHIP and an 11/1 K/BB in 14 innings over his last two starts.
Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington Nationals - If I said in April that a Nationals pitcher would start the All-Star Game, most people would have thought it would be Stephen Strasburg. However, it was Zimmermann who became the NL's first 11-game winner with seven strong innings Wednesday against Arizona. Zimmermann has allowed two earned runs on nine hits, walked three and struck out 13 over his last 15 innings. He has given up a measly 6.9 hits per nine innings this season.
A.J. Griffin, RHP, Oakland Athletics - Griffin two-hit the Cincinnati Reds and fired his first career shutout Wednesday afternoon in a 5-0 win. The righty has allowed just five hits and two earned runs while striking out 12 in 14 1/3 innings over his last two outings.
Matt Joyce, OF, Tampa Bay Rays - Joyce hasn't had a multi-hit game since June 14 and is 6-for-36 (.167) in his last 11 games. He posted an 18.4 percent strikeout rate and a .179 BABIP in that span. With just a 17.6 percent line- drive rate, Joyce is prone to slumps since he relies more on luck on his balls in play.
Mark Trumbo, 1B, Los Angeles Angels - Since going 3-for-4 on June 14, Trumbo is 6-for-46 (.130) with two homers, a .461 OPS and a 24 percent strikeout rate.
Nate McLouth, OF, Baltimore Orioles - McLouth's average has dropped 10 points to .280 following a 2-for-16 stretch with four strikeouts in his last four games. Going further back, the outfielder is hitting .219 with no RBI over his last 17 games.
Freddie Freeman, 1B Atlanta Braves - Freeman's average has decreased from .327 to .304 as he has gone 4-for-30 with zero extra-base hits and no RBI in his last nine games. However, Freeman has a 28.4 percent line-drive rate and has popped up to the infield just once this season. He should heat up soon.
Coco Crisp, OF Oakland Athletics - Crisp is hitting .115 on balls in play and .125 overall in his last 32 at-bats. A 12.7 percent walk rate and a 10.1 percent strikeout rate should go a long way toward keeping his average, and his fantasy value, up.
Jeremy Guthrie, RHP, Kansas City Royals - In his last two starts, Guthrie has surrendered 13 hits and 10 earned runs in just 9 1/3 innings. He was 5-0 after seven starts, but over his last eight he has a 6.13 ERA in 47 innings. Guthrie has allowed a backbreaking 1.81 HR/9 and has a 5.95 FIP this season.
Rick Porcello, RHP, Detroit Tigers - The Angels tagged Porcello for 10 hits and seven earned runs in 4 1/3 innings Tuesday, one start after the Orioles got to him for nine hits and six earned in six innings. Porcello has made strides, posting a career-high 7.28 K/9 and a career-low 1.68 BB/9, but he still gets shelled far too often to trust in fantasy leagues.
Dan Straily, RHP, Oakland Athletics - Straily earned a ticket to Triple-A Sacramento by allowing 14 hits and eight earned runs with four walks in eight innings over his last start. With several off days coming up, the A's don't have any use for a fifth starter, but Straily isn't guaranteed to return to the rotation when they need a fifth starter again in July. Straily does have a 1.21 WHIP and a 3.71 FIP, but he has stranded just 61.4 percent of base runners due to an unsightly 27.7 percent line-drive rate and a .370 BABIP with runners in scoring position.