Hideki Matsui – After his 15 game hitting streak was snapped on Tuesday, Matsui bounced back Thursday with a four hit afternoon. Since the all star break Matsui has a .432 BA, 5HR and 24RBI. The 2009 World Series MVP has regained relevancy in fantasy circles as his short swing approach to the ball has rejuvenated the Athletics offense. In deeper mixed leagues as well as AL Only Matsui has tons of value for this weekend with favorable matchups against Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison. For those worried about the lefty Harrison, Matsui is hitting .288/.339/.558 against lefties
Jake Peavy – Call me a sucker for Peavy, but coming off his two most impressive starts of the season the season there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for this former stud. In his last two outings Peavy has tossed 15 innings while giving up three runs including a win over the Twins. While his transition to the American league has requested patience, Peavy looks to have finally adjusted. What’s been key is his ability to stay strong as the game goes on in particular the 100 pitch mark of a game. With a 3.33 ERA since the all star break, I am buying Peavy in 12 team mixed leagues going forward. Peavy won’t turn into the 2007 National League CY Young winner, but he could be a nice replacement for those relying on Scott Baker and Jair Jurrgens.
Jesus Guzman – Guzman could be the poster boy for what this column is about. In h2h leagues picking up a player when he’s rolling can be the difference in a victory or a loss, so Guzman is a must own at the current moment. The 1B is riding a 12 game hitting streak and has been the number one ranked player in Yahoo over the last 14 days. His 15RBI and 5SB has made him a hot commodity in NL Only Leagues, as his ownership has risen to 30% in mixed leagues with 52 major league at bats. Guzman won’t be the difference between you winning a fantasy championship and coming in second place, but he could be the difference in h2h leagues for this weekend and the following week.
Dontrelle Willis – In a season where Bartolo Colon has pitched like an all-star, seeing the 29 year old Willis can’t be considered shocking. Willis has now gone four straight starts going six plus innings and while solidifying himself in the Reds rotation. The difference in the veteran when compared to his most recent stint in Detroit is his ability to get batters out swinging. His 6.57 K/9 is his best since 2008 and his 2.92 BB/9 is the second best of his nine year career. Coming off a 10 strikeout performance against the Rockies, it’s hard not to be optimistic spot starting Willis this weekend when he goes against the offensively challenged Padres. Start Willis at home vs. San Diego and their league worst 64 homeruns.