by Brian Dorsey
↑Aramis Ramirez – 3B – CHC
Over the past two weeks, Ramirez is the number one ranked player in Y!. He’s played more like the ’06 version of himself, rather than the recently injury-prone ’09 and ’10 campaigns. Considering the lack of talent at the third base position this year, Aramis is a beacon of light, guiding your fantasy ship to shore.
↑Mark Reynolds – 3B – BAL
I know I just said that third basemen are underperforming, but this guy isn’t, not lately. Reynolds, a preseason favorite, struggled mightily early on. Up until June 8th, he was still hitting below the Mendoza line with a piddly 10 dingers. Since then, he’s doubled his homer total, while raising his average .031 points (.230).
↑Justin Masterson – SP – CLE
This ex-Red Sox prospect has truly “turned the corner” this season. Last year, his first full season as a starter, he compiled a 4.70 ERA to go along with a 1.50 WHIP. This season, he’s nearly cut his ERA in half (2.66) and his WHIP is down to a respectable 1.22. He’s won his past two starts, allowing only one earned run. What’s more remarkable about that is who the wins came against (@Cin, NYY).
↓Justin Smoak – 1B – SEA
It’s fair to say, Smoak has reached a low point in his season. While most players heat up with the weather, Justin has simply melted. Since June 1st, he’s tallied only four HR and 11 RBI. That’s not nearly as bad as what Mike Moustakas has produced since his call up, but over the last 14 days, Smoak is the last ranked batter in Y! (just behind Craig Counsell). Unless you’re in a keeper league, Smoak should be sent back to the waiver pool.
↓Billy Butler – 1B – KC
The Big Ox isn’t hauling much these days. It’s gotten to that point in the season where the Kansas City Royals tip their caps and set their anchors, sinking to the bottom of the AL Central. Butler, the centerpiece of their offense, is mired in a seven-for-34 slump, contributing only three runs and three RBI over the past two weeks. He doesn’t have a home run in that time and fantasy owners’ fears are being confirmed: Butler, though big and Ruthian-like, is a singles and doubles hitter. He’s the AL version of Chase Headley.
↓Zack Greinke – SP – MIL
Remember when the Brewers were going to win the NL Central because of Greinke? Now they might have to win it in spite of him. In his past four starts he’s thrown 21.1 IP and allowed 18 ER. Look, the guy i still striking cats out (29 K over that span), but he can’t seem to strand runners on base. In those four starts, he’s allowed 29 base runners and 21 of them have scored. Is he still hurt? Does he miss the friendly media-free zone of Kansas City? Is his social anxiety flaring up? Whatever it is, he’s not pitching like the player from two years ago (heck, he’s not even pitching like the player from last year).