BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Adrian Gonzalez #28 of the Boston Red Sox congratulates Mike Aviles #3 after Aviles hit a home run in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park April 14, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
If you're a dice player, you know exactly what six the hard way is, a 3/3. This weekly column will identify three players who provide notable production as well as three players who fail to meet expectations. I'll try and keep focus on the not-so-typical studs and identify a few guys who are in the middle of hot streaks or at least on the verge. We know that Josh Hamilton, Matt Kemp, Derek Jeter, and David Ortiz have been scorching since the season began but the past 14 days highlights a couple players you wouldn't expect.Mike Aviles - The Red Sox starting shortstop has done a good job making BoSox fans forget about Marco Scutaro, well, at least at the plate. Depending on your league's games played settings, Aviles may be eligible at second base, third base, and shortstop which raises his value significantly. He most likely isn't available in your league unless it's a shallower format, his CBS Sports owned percentage is up to 86, but he's a strong sell high candidate if you have quality options at the listed positions. Owners may want to target teams with struggling stars such as Jose Reyes, the recently DL'd Ryan Zimmerman, and Brandon Phillips. Aviles is batting .360/.407.700 over the last 14 days with 4 home runs, 10 RBI, and 3 stolen bases.
Adam Jones - Jones turns 27 this August, that magical age breakout age that we always hear about. He would be a far more useful fantasy contributor if it wasn't for the 109 K's and 29 BB's he's averaged over the last three seasons. Jones is in the midst of a hot streak right now and should be active in all formats. He's currently batting .315 with 6 home runs, 10 RBI, and 4 stolen bases with 5 of those home runs and 9 RBI coming over the last 14 days. Baltimore currently ranks 6th in the MLB in SLG percentage (.436) so ride Orioles players till the wheels fall off!
Jake Peavy - Peavy has tallied 22 2/3 innings over the past two weeks, approximately 1/5th of his 2011 season total. During this time he's struck out 21 batters, registered 3 quality starts in all 3 wins, and allowed a measly 3 earned runs to score. Above I said to ride this one till the wheels fall off, well the same applies to Peavy, just know the wheels could fall off at any moment. He tossed what is only his 6th career shutout during this stretch, if there was a time to sell on him, now may be it.
Jeremy Hellickson - He's won three games and is sporting a 2.84 ERA but he's hardly impressing fantasy owners. In the 25 innings he's pitched this season, he's allowed 21 hits, 12 walks, and has only struck out 14. Hellickson wins games by pitching to contact, he induces ground balls to limit base runners which effectively keeps his ERA down. Most owners drafted Hellickson with the expectation that he would increase his K totals in his sophomore season. It's too early to panic but his 1.17 K/BB rate is worth keeping an eye on.
Ben Zobrist - If you're in an OBP league, you're probably less concerned about Zobrist right now but his .162 AVG is draining in Roto formats. With only 3 home runs and 6 RBI he isn't much help in other categories either. He was most likely drafted as your starting second baseman or a #2/#3 outfielder so owners are experiencing the pain of having to bear through his early season slump. It goes without saying if you have better options, sit Zobrist till he starts to heat up.
Aramis Ramirez - He's currently batting .191/.253/.338, not exactly what you'd expect from the player tasked with the job of replacing Prince Fielder. He has 1 home run and 7 RBI in 68 at bats. The sample size is small but his line drive rate is down from 23.2% in 2011 to 16.4% in 2012. Ramirez currently has a swing & miss percentage of 11.2 up from his career norm of 9.5. If you own Ramirez, I'd target the previously mentioned Mike Aviles if you can find an owner with a reasonable price.