Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
While there may not be any hotter hitter in baseball at the moment than Price Fielder, the three guys listed below in the Who's Hot section, come pretty close.
Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox - Those fantasy owners who thought Konerko had caught lightning in a bottle last season (.312, 39 HR, 111 RBI, 0.977 OPS) and passed up selecting the White Sox first baseman for the first seven rounds of the 2011 draft are regretting the move. The eighth-round choice (ADP 95) has so far been right on pace to duplicate his 2010 effort, batting .322 with 16 HR, 52 RBI and an OPS of 0.953 through his first 65 games. Over the past two weeks Konerko has been positively scalding - batting .444 with five homers, 11 RBIs and a 1.444 OPS.
Adam Lind, Toronto - With pitchers simply refusing to throw slugger Jose Bautista anything good to hit (what took them so long), Lind's bat has come alive at just the right time. Lind missed four weeks with a back injury, but since returning on June 4th has batted .400 with five homers, 12 RBIs and an OPS of 1.362. Barring a return to throwing hittable pitches to Bautista, Lind should continue to get plenty of RBI chances. This should make him a valuable fantasy property over the second half of the season, particularly when you consider his career OPS after the All-Star break is 53 points higher than in the first half (0.787 vs. 0.840). If you own Lind, do not trade him, or at least make the other guy pay top dollar.
Matt Kemp, Los Angeles - Welcome back Mr. Kemp and who was the imposter masquerading as you last season? This is the offensive juggernaut that fantasy owners expected to see in 2010, but didn't, after he raised his game to a new level in 2009. Kemp leads the National League in home runs, slugging percentage and total bases. He's also been a terror on the base paths, stealing 16 bases in 19 attempts. That's a huge improvement over last year's record of 19 steals and 15 caught stealing. At 26-years-old, Kemp should not be traded under any circumstances.
Michael Young, Texas - It was Young and Adrian Beltre who carried the Rangers offense while Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz were sidelined, so it's understandable that both could take a step back now that the "big boppers" have returned. We have watched as Young's average has plummeted from .341 at the end of May to .305 as of June 14th after producing just eight hits in his last 52 at-bats in June. Fear not, and don't go trading him away at below market value, the man is a career .300 hitter and batting in the productive Texas lineup will make it worthwhile to show the 12-year veteran some patience.
Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay - On the other hand, the right moment to trade Joyce was about three weeks ago. He was still batting around the .370 mark with nine homers and 30 RBIs. In the weeks since, Joyce has added just one home run and four RBIs and we've watched his batting average drop to .327, Worse, manager Joe Maddon has been platooning the left-handed hitter which means not enough at-bats to be a top fantasy value.
Jose Bautista, Toronto - As noted above, pitchers have finally got the message that throwing a bad pitch to Bautista will likely mean watching his home run trot. Teams are now pitching around him and taking their chances with Lind and rookie J.P. Arencibia. Bautista has been walked a league-leading 61 times including 15 times in 12 June contests. He's going to see a lot fewer good pitches to hit which means fewer opportunities. Bautista's OPS over the past two weeks is 436 points below his season average (0.752 vs. 1.188). Now might be the perfect time to trade him while his value is at its highest point.