Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
With just about 11 weeks left in the 2011 season, its time to make the hard decisions. Sitting down a star is never easy, nor is trading them, but it's now or never in the fantasy world. On the other hand, its nice when your high draft choice, who has struggled all season, finally begins to produce as expected.
Dan Uggla, Atlanta - He's still batting below the "Mendoza Line" but the Marlins' second baseman has raised his average 14 points since the beginning of the month. His 1.079 OPS over the past couple of weeks is 432 points higher than his season average. If his owner hasn't been paying attention, you could get him at a discounted price.
Dustin Pedroia, Boston - Pedroia has been scalding hot in July, batting .410 for the month with six homers, 15 RBIs, 17 runs scored and an OPS of 1.289. The combination of Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury (July - .397, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 13 runs) at the top of the lineup has led to huge numbers for both players and the Red Sox (6.67 runs-per-game in July).
Mark Trumbo, Anaheim - Despite rumors that Anaheim is interested in obtaining Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder before the July 31st trade deadline, the 25- year-old Trumbo is putting together a solid rookie season batting .259 with 18 HR and 43 RBI. He's been very good over the past two weeks, pounding five home runs in the last 10 games and is owned in less than 50-percent of all leagues.
Justin Smoak, Seattle - Smoak was Seattle's key acquisition when they traded Cliff Lee to Texas in 2010, but he has yet to figure out major league pitching. Smoak does have a team-leading 12 HR and 43 RBI, but his 0.730 is well below the production level you need at the first base position. He's just two for his last 29 at-bats, both singles, and shouldn't be in anyone's lineup.
Justin Upton, Arizona - Upton knocked out two hits on Tuesday night, breaking a zero-for-20 streak which began before the All-Star break. However, before you get too excited. you should know that history is not on Upton's side heading down the stretch. His career OPS is at its high in May (0.901) and then goes south - June (0.886), July (0.781), August (0.776) and September/October (0.743). Perhaps this would be a good time to put Upton on the trading block.
Nelson Cruz, Texas - Cruz still has some very nice power numbers (21 HR in 78 games), but he's not living up to the expectations of a third-round pick (ADP 26). The problem is he hasn't hit on the road this season batting just .217 with an OPS of 0.665, six homers and 20 RBI. It's a much prettier picture in Arlington where he is .263 batting average with 15 HR, 36 RBI and an OPS of 0.927. He's too good to trade, but you should start platooning him until he shows he can produce on the road.