Fantasy Fox: 8 hitters to ride for Week 6
MAY 06, 2013 7:21a ET
1. OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox
Ellsbury, who posted three multiple-hit games from April 30-May 4, has an ideal setup for Week 6, drawing seven home games against the Twins (four) and Blue Jays (three).
For what it's worth, the current MLB leader in steals (12) also has lifetime batting marks at .300 or above against Minnesota and Toronto. As a bonus, the city of Boston can look forward to a week of sunshine and relatively warm temperatures.
2. OF Yoenis Cespedes, Athletics
Cespedes has been superb since returning from a short stint on the disabled list (hand). Of his last seven games, the A's outfielder has tallied two homers, eight runs, eight RBI and nine hits.
Of equal importance, his max-out week ahead includes trips to Cleveland (four games) and Seattle (three) ... but doesn't offer any encounters with Mariners kingpin, Felix Hernandez.
On the downside, Cespedes — a viable 30-20 threat heading into the season — has yet to steal a base in 17 games. But once he settles down, that run (or lack thereof) will probably end soon. After all, Cespedes is notoriously streaky.
3. OF Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Bautista, who crushed 97 homers for 2010-11 (the most of any major leaguer in that window), demonstrated absurdly good plate discipline last week, attracting eight walks and striking out just twice.
That's a prime indicator of greatness being right around the corner for the Jays outfielder — even if he's only hitting .213 for the season (with seven homers) and has seven upcoming road games against the likes of Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, David Price and Clay Buchholz.
4. 1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers
Fantasy owners can thank Mother Nature for the Rangers' six-game week. Due to a weather postponement from last month, the club has to make a return trip to Wrigley Field on Monday (one-game makeup), before traveling to the Pirates and Astros for two and three games, respectively.
That's six outings against three less-than-dominant pitching staffs. Plus, Texas is slated to avoid Jeff Samardzija and Yovani Gallardo in that span.
Regarding Moreland, he boasts a .404 batting average (with two homers) since April 21, with seven multiple-hit outings in that time frame.
5. OF Juan Pierre/SS Adeiny Hechavarria, Marlins
It's been a while since we've recognized the accomplishments of Juan Pierre — the fantasy version of Rasputin. But in the last 15 days, he has racked up an MLB-best eight steals (with Pittsburgh's Starling Marte), while posting a .302 average for the suddenly surging Marlins (winners of, uh, two straight).
As for the dual-eligible Hechavarria (shortstop/third base), no one expects him to replicate Sunday's monster effort of one homer, two hits and seven RBI (off Philly's Roy Halladay) ... but he's certainly a stealth option for the week, with road trips to San Diego and Los Angeles — but with zero appointments against Clayton Kershaw.
6. SS Didi Gregorius, Diamondbacks
If ever there was a time to face Kershaw, Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.34 ERA) and Cliff Lee (3.46 ERA) in a seven-day period, this is it. In his first game back from a short stint on the disabled list (concussion precautions), Gregorius collected one homer and two hits against the Padres (Sunday).
It all sets up for a crucial fantasy week against the Dodgers (road, three games) and Phillies (home, four games).
In the scarce world of premium shortstops, Gregorius could end up as a potential gem by season's end. Yes, he's relatively unknown to most fantasy owners; but with good size and sublime speed, the 23-year-old rookie projects to be a 15-steal, 50-RBI, 70-run and .290-hitting asset, sooner than later.
And with his sizable frame (for a shortstop, at least), Gregorius' power potential should expand, in time. After all, there's a reason why Arizona happily handed pitcher Trevor Bauer over to a pitching-starved franchise, like Cleveland.
The D-backs coveted Gregorius in return.
7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Royals
Thanks to a weather postponement from Friday, Kansas City has an unplanned seven-game fantasy week against three American League foes — one home makeup against Chicago, a quick road trip to Baltimore, followed by a home weekend series with New York.
That means more chances for Moustakas (one homer, .375 batting since April 29) to bust out of a hitting tailspin for most of April.
Of course, the Negative Nelly fantasy owner would argue that's more chances for Moustakas (only two multiple-hit outings all season) to depress owners, to the brink of outright cutting an all-world talent who simply hasn't made his mark in the majors. Yes, he belted 20 homers last year at the tender age of 23, but Moose also has unacceptable career marks with batting average (.245) and on-base percentage (.299).
That aside, the optimist in me loves Moustakas for the week: If he can survive White Sox ace Chris Sale on Monday ... he'll have six shots at middling starting pitching, while avoiding Sabathia altogether for the weekend.
Jay Clemons can be reached, day or night, on Twitter at @FOX_JayClemons.
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