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Angels’ Cameron Maybin is Hot, Cubs’ John Lackey is Not

George Kurtz June 17, 2017 12:01AM EDT

We are well past the point now of knowing whether a player is slumping, off to a bad start, or is just going to have a bad season. You should be making moves now to make your team better. You should be looking at the standings and seeing your strengths and weaknesses. You should also be studying the players on your team and seeing who is performing above expectations and who isn’t, and looking to make moves to correct problems. Perhaps this means selling high on a player if necessary. I never care about what a player has done in the past, only what I project that player to do from this point on, and if that projection isn’t good, then it’s time to move on. I can’t keep falling further back in the standings or in a category. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

Who’s Hot

cameron maybin

Cameron Maybin has 20 stolen bases already this season. Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire

  1. Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles Angels: Maybin has always had talent but injuries have derailed his career several times. He’s healthy and playing now, and you might want to take advantage of that while it lasts. He’s not going to help you in the power categories but with an OBP of .375 he’s getting on base quite often and running wild. He has 20 stolen bases right now and 50-plus is certainly not out of the question. It doesn’t hurt his fortunes that with Mike Trout (thumb) out for at least a few more weeks, the Angels will have to look to manufacture runs any way they can.
  2. Yonder Alonso, Oakland Athletics: Alonso having a career season. He has 17 HRs, 37 RBIs, and a .306 AVG. The HRs are already a career high. Alonso was once a top prospect with the Reds but it’s been a long time since Fantasy owners truly cared about his numbers. Well, we care now. Power is always in demand and Alonso is providing that. What’s even more impressive is that he is supplying it while helping you in batting average. Alonso mentioned that he would love to make the All-Star game this July. I’m not sure I see that happening with first base always being a position at which so many players get snubbed. Only one Athletic will make the game and that is probably going to be Khris Davis.
  3. Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays: Stroman has easily proven to be both the Blue Jays best SP and their most reliable one this season. It can be tough to pitch in Toronto and the American League East, as neither one is conducive to low scoring games. However, Stroman has been more than solid with a 3.09 ERA. Some believe that there is also room for him to grow here, and I am one of those believers.
  4. Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals: There is no denying that Hosmer got off to a slow start this season and that was surprising after he had such a solid World Baseball Classic series. None of that matters, though. What does matter is that he has turned his season around and is starting to become the player we’ve expected him to be. Over his last 30 games he is batting .345 with four HRs and 12 RBIs. Yes, we would like to see more power and perhaps that is yet to come, but we’ll also take the help in batting average. Let’s face it; if you drafted Hosmer for power, you probably made a mistake.
  5. James Paxton, Seattle Mariners: When we think of the ace of the Mariners’ pitching staff, the name that comes to mind is Felix Hernandez. Well, forget that; the name that should come to mind is James Paxton. The Mariners may be having a disappointing season but Paxton is not. He has an ERA of 2.25, a WHIP of 1.13 and is striking out more than a better per inning. If you’re in a dynasty or keeper league and looking to acquire talent for next season, Paxton should be one of the players that you want to obtain if possible.

Who’s Not

  1. Joe Ross, Washington Nationals: I fully admit that Ross has been one of those players that has found my Achilles Heel this season. I start him when he bombs and sit him when he’s great. Unfortunately, he has bombed more often than expected despite the Nationals being up there among the league leaders in runs scored for his starts. I still have hope for Ross, and it’s so hard to let a Nats starter go this season. You would think wins would be easier to come by, but I also get nervous every time I put him in my starting lineup.
  2. Marco Estrada, Toronto Blue Jays: Estrada got off to a hot start this season but has given up 31 earned runs over his last eight starts covering 44 IP. That’s just not getting it done, and it also makes him impossible to start right now because those numbers are much worse over his last three starts (17 ER in 12.2 IP). In his home park he should be on your bench for now. He’s someone I wouldn’t mind trading away if I can find someone who believes in him more than I do.
  3. John Lackey, Chicago Cubs: What has happened to Lackey this season? Has age (38) finally caught up to him? Is it a World Series hangover? If so, quite a few of the Cubs are suffering from it. With a 5.26 ERA, I would hope he is on your bench at the very least and I’m also on board with sending him to the waiver wire. I mean, let’s face it, even if he were to pitch better, he won’t be the second coming of Max Scherzer or Clayton Kershaw. He’s not going to come back and bite you.
  4. Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles: If you were hoping that the return of Tillman to the Baltimore rotation would be a plus for your Fantasy team, think again. He’s been not much better than a batting practice pitcher of late and is sporting an ugly ERA of 8.07 and a WHIP north of two. No, thank you. I’ve seen enough. He was a dartboard throw and one that didn’t work out. Back to the waiver wire pile he should go, along with just about every other Baltimore starter not named Dylan Bundy.
  5. Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs: If there is one player who could win the Least Valuable Player Award this season, it’s Schwarber. He was a much-ballyhooed outfielder coming into the season, but he’s really been a big bust. Sure, he has 12 HRs, but he’s also destroying your batting average with his .178 average to date. He adds no speed and with his 12 HRs, he only has 28 RBIs. Manager Joe Maddon has also dropped him in the batting order, something you should be doing also – dropping him from your starting lineup.

As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.

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