This season is once again shaping into part of the pitcher’s era as last week brought us two no-hitters. Fortunately, there are some hitters that have been hot, while others deserved to be dropped by fantasy managers.
Here’s a look at five players on the rise and five on the decline:
On the Rise:
Chris Iannetta, C, Rockies
A long-time Rockies prospect, Chris Iannetta may be on the verge of a breakout season. Though his average currently sits at .238, Iannetta put together hits in eight of his last nine games entering Tuesday night with three home runs over that stretch.
More impressive are the 20 walks Iannetta has drawn this season, after drawing all of 30 last season. In 2008, Iannetta blasted 18 home runs with a .264 average. He may finally surpass those numbers this season.
Domonic Brown, OF, Phillies
On the recovery from a broken hamate bone, Brown is thriving in the Minor Leagues. It is only a matter of days before Brown takes the right-field duties for the Phillies over the struggling Ben Francisco.
You may recall that a large part of the reason that the Phillies felt comfortable letting Jayson Werth sign elsewhere is that Brown, a top prospect, should be Major League ready. Brown is a five-tool talent who can contribute immediately.
Matt Joyce, OF, Rays
While Carl Crawford has struggled in his new surroundings, Matt Joyce is thriving in the outfield for the Rays. The long-time utility player is batting .356 with three home runs, 14 RBI and has three steals.
Often respected for his high on base percentage, Joyce is showing the Rays that at 26-years old, he still has some untapped potential with a combination of power and surprising speed.
Mitch Moreland, 1B, Rangers
After blasting a home run per 16 at bats last season, many fantasy managers figured Mitch Moreland was a potential breakout star for 2011. However, Rangers manager Ron Washington must not have been sold. After all, Washington opened the season using Moreland in a platoon role, before the rising slugger finally left him with no choice.
With two hits on Tuesday night, Moreland raised his average above .300, an impressive feat for a hitter who hit just .255 last season. The 25-year old left-handed hitter has helped fill the void for the injured Josh Hamilton.
Jake Peavy, SP, White Sox
Though he missed half of last season due to an ankle injury, Peavy still picked up seven wins with 93 strikeouts and a stellar 1.23 WHIP. That explains why so many fantasy managers are excited about Peavy’s impending return.
The former Padres ace is just 29 years old and he is slated to make his season debut this Wednesday. Though his control may be shaky through his first few starts, Peavy is a rare hurler capable of dominating once he finds his groove.
On the Decline:
Jonny Gomes, OF, Reds
He is certainly one of the streakiest hitters in baseball, and right now, Gomes is in a slump. He was a great fantasy option just a few weeks back, when he had six home runs and a .261 average on April 27.
Unfortunately, Gomes has not belted a home run since. While his averaged has fallen to .192, he can certainly bounce back from the slump. But for now, Gomes should be on the waiver wire.
Ervin Santana, SP, Angels
After notching 17 wins with a respectable 3.92 ERA last season, Ervin Santana was a popular pick in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts this season. Unfortunately, the notoriously volatile hurler has regressed mightily.
After a loss on Monday night, Santana is now just 1-4 with a 4.81 ERA. While he does have a healthy 45:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Santana has surrendered five or more runs in three of his last five starts.
Jorge Posada, C, Yankees
Two home runs by Derek Jeter this weekend allayed some fears for fantasy managers, but it’s a different story for Jorge Posada, as his average has fallen to .147 after going 0-3 on Tuesday.
Posada now has just a single to show for his last 18 at bats, while his decent total of six home runs is making him look like an all-or-nothing batter. Give Posada another week or two to sort things out; otherwise, you are better off cutting him loose and relying on younger catchers such as JP Arencibia or Wilson Ramos.
Mat Latos, SP, Padres
Mat Latos is mired in a sophomore slump after a stellar rookie campaign. The 23-year old is 0-5 with a 4.86 ERA thanks largely to control issues and an inability to keep the ball in the park.
Latos can certainly turn things around, but the odds are against him this season. After all, the Padres offer very little offensive support, which forces Latos to try to be perfect every time he takes the hill.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B, Pirates
This seemingly can’t-miss prospect has struggled all season. Pedro Alvarez not only was the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, but he also enjoyed a fine rookie campaign last year with 16 home runs in just 95 games.
This season, Alvarez has just one home run with a .202 average. He has one hit in his last 10 at bats and no RBI over his last 11 games. While Alvarez is still likely to turn things around considering his youth and immense talent, there are some questions as to whether he is healthy right now.