Juan Pierre- LAN- Cold- With Manny Ramirez out with a sore hamstring and likely to be rested a lot in the last days of the season, Pierre has been getting some playing time. That’s the good news for Pierre owners. The bad news is that in the three games he has started he has gone 2-for-14 and his batting average has dropped 7 points, to .306. It is impossible to predict exactly how Pierre will perform in these last few games but he is a good bet to be productive. The tools are there and he has done it this season before.
Andy LaRoche- PIT- Hot- LaRoche put an exclamation point on the stats he posted against the Dodgers this year that were pointed out by Fantistics’ Dave Regan yesterday. He went 5-for-5 with 2 homers, 4 runs scored and 6 RBI. This month LaRoche is now hitting .338 with 5 homers in 71 ABs. Although a .259 average is nothing to write home about, it does represent a major improvement over his major league numbers of the prior two seasons. LaRoche just turned 26 and so could be poised to break out next season.
Zach Duke- PIT- Hot- Duke came within an out of pitching a shutout , throwing his best game since his second start of the season when he shut out the Astros. Duke allowed a run on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 6. He is not a strikeout pitcher, with 104 Ks in 208 IP, but this month he has been looking like more of one, with 21 Ks in 32 IP. Duke has only topped the 110 pitch mark 3 times all season, so his usage has been very good. Being an extreme ground ball pitcher works for him, with only 22 homers all year. On those rare occasions when he gets the ball up it can hurt, as twice he surrendered 3 homers in the game, but those occasions are few and far between. Duke seems to be progressing and his value will be higher in 2010.
Josh Willingham- WAS- Stats- Willingham suffers the same fate as Adrian Gonzalez out in San Diego. His home park is putting a major damper on his production. On the road Willingham is batting .296 with 17 homers in 213 ABs and has an OBP of .398. At Nationals Park it is quite a different story. His numbers there are a .232 average with 7 homers in 198 ABs and a .349 OBP. If he ends up somewhere else in the offseason (other than, say, San Diego) Willingham becomes a true fantasy stud. If he doesn’t then he is still worth keeping as a platoon player, getting In your lineup when Washington is on the road.
Cameron Maybin- FLA- Cold- It’s too early to pronounce Maybin the latest Ruben Mateo. He is only 22 years old. Still, he has not improved enough in his major weakness, which is strikeouts. Maybin racked up 58 Ks in 298 AAA ABs this season and has fanned 48 times in 153 major league ABs. Unless he gets more selective, that will be a constant damper on his batting average. He is not the sure thing he was touted to be not too long ago.