With fourteen full weeks of the 2013 season in the books, today RotoBaller casts a critical eye on three players who are on the rise heading into Week 15:
1) Eric Hosmer (1B, KC): Up until several weeks ago, Hosmer was a leading candidate for biggest bust of 2013. At the end of May, he had just one home run, 16 RBI and 18 R to his name. If you had dropped him then, you couldn't have been faulted for cutting bait with the struggling first baseman. Since then, though, in about half as many at-bats, he has gone off for eight HR, 22 RBI and 27 R. Interestingly, his peripherals are still eerily similar to his April/May numbers-- he still had nearly three times as many groundballs as fly balls in June, but his HR/FB normalized substantially, as more of those fly balls left the yard. In April and May, that rate was less than 6%, while in June and early July it has jumped to 30%. Neither number is sustainable in the long term, as a 30% HR/FB rate puts him among names like Adam Dunn, Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez. That signals that you should enjoy this nice stretch, but consider selling high on Hosmer while his value is up.
2) Jeremy Hellickson (SP TAM): Once you get past his 4.67 ERA and look a bit deeper you realize that Hellickson is very close to the same pitcher he has been over the last two seasons. His high ERA is mostly the result of several poor starts in April and May-- he yielded 12 HR over his 10 starts. Since the beginning of June, he’s only given up two bombs in seven starts, and he's gone 5-1, with the lone loss coming in a terrible start during which he gave up eight runs in 5.2 IP. In that same seven-start period, Hellickson lowered his fly ball rate by seven points and raised his groundball percentage by almost the same amount. Other positive indicators are that his K/9 is up this year (7.17 K/9) and his BB/9 continues to drop, nearly a full walk fewer per game in 2013 than 2012. Because of his poor start and his high ERA, Hellickson continues to be underowned. If he is floating on the waiver wire, make a bid for him. He seems to have gotten past his early season swoon and looks good.
3) Leonys Martin (OF, TEX): Martin has flown under the radar this year after not having consistent playing time for the first month. But since May, he has quietly become a stolen base leader, with 18 SB, good for top-10 in the AL, despite having 100 fewer AB than most of his mates on the leaderboard. Martin’s peripherals support his speed with a 54.1% GB rate that puts him among the top-15 players in MLB. He has also displayed modest power with 5 HR and a 12.8 HR/FB rate, which projects out to solid double-digit homerun power over a full season. He is available in deeper leagues and is an upgrade over players like Josh Willingham and Josh Reddick who are owned at comparable levels. Look for him to keep playing everyday and feel free to start in all formats.
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