As we sit a week before the All-Star break, the unofficial midway point of the baseball season is about to come to pass.
So far, the first three months have been exciting and it’s only about to get better with the temperatures about to rise as we enter July.
So, let’s look at some trendy, hot and intriguing names to watch for the week.
Cole Hamels: Philadelphia Phillies
With the Phillies falling out of contention quickly, there is talk that Philadelphia will shop Hamels (and maybe Shane Victorino) to the highest bidder before the trading deadline.
With each passing start, Hamels will want to improve his already high stock.
This week Hamels has one start against Atlanta at home, a team he has a solid history against.
Roy Oswalt: Texas Rangers
It has been so far so good for Oswalt.
Oswalt has won his first two decisions but has a less-than-impressive ERA (4.26) and WHIP (1.97). With two starts (@Chicago and vs. Minnesota), this may be a week to roll with Oswalt-especially with the matchup against the Twins at home.
Andrew Cashner: San Diego Padres
Cashner made a splash in his debut as a starter this year, as he went into the seventh inning not allowing a hit in his start at Houston on Thursday.
Cashner wound up with a no-decision, but he did amass nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. As a result, many people are jumping all over him on the waiver wire.
Cashner has a word of potential and should be worthy of a waiver claim. Cashner is also in line for two starts this week. Cashner’s first matchup is on Tuesday at Arizona and he’ll be opposed by another young pitching prodigy in Trevor Bauer. Cashner will end his week with a matchup against the Reds at home.
Chris Sale: Chicago White Sox
Sale has been phenomenal this year and on Sunday he was rewarded for his efforts by being named to the AL All-Star roster.
Sale will head into the All-Star break with two starts at home this week. Although, the matchups are tough (vs. Texas, vs. Toronto), Sale has proven that he is a must-start ace.
A.J. Burnett: Pittsburgh Pirates
It has been a reclamation year for Burnett, who was basically traded away by the Yankees for a bag of baseballs.
While that may not be true, Burnett was left for dead this year. Credit Burnett for finding his groove in a market more suitable for his talents. With a 9-2 record, 3.31 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, Burnett could challenge for Most Improved Player this year.
Burnett will end his first half with two great starts at home this week (vs. Houston, vs. San Francisco).
Jarrod Parker: Oakland A’s
Parker is quietly having himself an excellent rookie campaign.
While he doesn’t strike out a ton of batters (58 in 73.2 innings pitched), Parker has posted an impressive 2.56 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 12 starts so far.
With two starts this week at home (vs. Boston, vs. Seattle), Parker is a pitcher you can trust.
Anthony Rizzo: Chicago Cubs
Last week the Cubs finally did the inevitable and called up the hyped-first baseman prospect in Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo didn’t disappoint, going 5-20, while also hitting his first home run of the season on Thursday and driving in four runs in five games.
This week, Rizzo will like to keep it rolling with matchups at Atlanta (Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens, Randall Delgado and Mike Minor) and New York (Johan Santana, Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese).
Aaron Hill: Arizona Diamondbacks
Hill accomplished something this week that hasn’t been done in over 80 years and that was hit for the cycle twice in the same year. And Hill did it in less than two weeks!
Hill has been on an absolute tear in June and has raised his average from .257 on June 1st to his current mark of .301. Hill also blasted six home runs while also driving in 20 runs in the month of June.
Hill and the Diamondbacks will get set for a seven-game homestand with games against divisional foes in the Padres (Clayton Richard, Andrew Cashner and Jason Marquis) and the Dodgers (Nate Eovaldi, Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley and Chris Capuano).
Ike Davis: New York Mets
While hovering way south of the interstate for most of the season (batting as low as .158 on June 8), Davis has done yeomen’s work to get out of hole he dug for himself with a very productive June.
While his current batting average of .203 is still nothing to get excited about, he did raise his average more than 40 points while also hitting six home runs, eight doubles and driving in 24 runs in the last month.
After this torrid stretch, Davis is starting to regain trust in fantasy circles and has been either scooped up or activated in the last week or so.
Davis and the Mets will face off against the Phillies (Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Cliff Lee) and the Cubs (Travis Wood, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Volstad) at home this week.
Stephen Drew: Arizona Diamondbacks
Also making his debut this year was the oft-injured Drew.
Drew has done nothing to restore much faith in him, as he is just a measly 2-15 with two walks in four games thus far.
While he has shown in the past he can be a reliable shortstop, you should take a wait-and-see approach before showing trust in Drew.
With seven games at home(same matchups as Hill), this should be a good week to gauge the value of Drew.
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