With eleven 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 12:
1) Max Scherzer (SP DET): It seems a bit odd to start praising a pitcher with a 10-0 record as a player on the rise, but it’s important to place what Scherzer has so far achieved in the proper context: on May 15, he sported a 3.98 ERA after being roughed up by the light-hitting Astros for 5 runs in 7 IP, a game from which he was fortunate to escape with just a no-decision. Since that game, Scherzer has been brilliant, going 5-0 and allowing only 22 hits in 42 IP. Overall, swinging strike rate and pitch speeds match up similarly to last year, with the exception that Scherzer has added a curve ball to repertoire. If you're in need of an impact bat, now may be the best time to dangle Scherzer for a top hitter, as his trade value will likely not get much higher. With a .243 BABIP (compared to a career range of .295 - .315), Scherzer is bound to regress slightly, but that's not to say he won't be in the discussion for Cy Young honors at year's end, so make sure you get your money's worth if you decide to deal him.
2) Adam Dunn (1B, OF CHW): Dunn is the best player with a .182 BA by a long shot. At 18 HR and 40 RBI, this streaky power hitter is well on his way to yet another 40-HR season. With 6 HR in his last 10 games played, this recommendation may end up coming at the tail end of his hot streak. A key number that stands out this year is the .177 BABIP, which is nearly 100 points lower than Dunn's career norm. That BABIP is an outlier, and when luck starts to go his way, that .182 BA will rise accordingly. The other key metric to watch if the HR/FB rate, which at 25.7% is safely within Dunn's established range. Hold on to Dunn and expect the BA to rise and the power to remain.
3) Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, BOS): Ellsbury has shown he is a dominant base stealer who can single-handedly win you the stolen base category. It would have been enough to write up his 5-SB game and say that he’s reached the top of the mountain. But he followed that performance with 10 SB in the next 10 games he played. He’s a Boras client in a contract year and you know he is playing for a mega-deal. He will keep running, and he just might top 70 SB at the rate he is going. If you have him and already have a big lead in SB, consider dangling him for a top pitcher, like a Felix Hernandez. If Ellsbury starts to hit for even some of the power that he showed a couple of years ago, he easily skyrockets to a top-5 player.
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