With six 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 7:
1) Anthony Rizzo (1B, CHC): One of the lone bright spots on a horrendous Cubs team, Rizzo is performing at or above his projected 2013 ceiling. He’s actually hitting for a higher batting average versus lefties than righties, to the tune of a .340 BA off LHP along with 3 HR. Additionally, Rizzo's power is not just a result off playing in the Friendly Confines, as he’s hit 6 of his 9 HRs on the road. With 4 SB to this point, he could easily finish with 15 for the season, which elevates him to a different tier and significantly improves his profile going forward. Keeper leaguers should take notice-- Rizzo is finally becoming the stud that the Padres' scouts promised he would be.
2) Justin Morneau (1B, MIN): Rotoballer wrote about Morneau’s potential in a March piece, and it looks like he is making our writers look really smart. With 10 RBI and a .393 BA over the last 7 days, Morneau is doing what a middle-of-the-order hitter should do. He still hasn’t broken out the power, but that will come once the weather warms up in Minnesota. The K rate is down nearly 20% from last year and is more in line with what it was during Morneau's 2006-2009 heyday. We also like that his swing rate at pitches in the strike zone is up nearly 10 points from last year-- he is clearly seeing the ball better, feeling more comfortable at the plate and generating solid fantasy stats for his owner. If you can get him cheap by playing up his 2011 downside, do it.
3) James Shields (SP, KC): He’s been among the most consistent fantasy pitchers, generating solid #2-#3 SP stats over the last several years, and he’s on this list to honor that continued consistency. Even without the Rays superb defense to support him, Shields is putting up terrific numbers. His fastball velocity is the same as last year, right around 92.3 mph, and he is striking about a batter per IP. It’s looking like he could replicate his 2011 gem of a year. And it’s not like he’s feasted on weak teamS – Shields allowed 3 runs or fewer against the Tigers, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. And factor in the he averaging more than 7 IP per start, he should start be in position to win 15-17 games. Shields is a flat-out horse; don't sell high unless the return is tremendous.
If you want this article and other high-end fantasy baseball analysis delivered to you on a daily basis, sign up for our daily newsletter. And be sure to check out the Rotoballer.com Ultimate Waiver Wire Watch List for in-depth analysis on gems that you may be able to find sitting on your waiver wire. It’s one of the best fantasy baseball features currently on web!