TORONTO - MAY 31: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits against the Tampa Bay Rays during an MLB game at the Rogers Centre May 31, 2010 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
Next week, Six The Hard Way will feature the Men of May, the top 6 performers of the month, but for now, lets focus on the hottest and nottest over the past 7-14 days. For those expecting to see Jose Bautista and Andrew McCutchen next week, I couldn't wait either, so they're in this week's column.
Jose Bautista -When Bautista entered May he was hitting .181/.320/.313 with 3 home runs and 10 RBI, not exactly #1 pick type production. Since the calendar flipped Bautista has hit .280/.355/.634 while crushing 9 home runs and 19 RBI. That's more in line with what we were expecting. Even more impressive has been his past two weeks stretch. Arguably the hottest player in baseball right now, Bautista produced a line of .327/.383/.727 in the past 14 days. That .727 SLG% is fueled by 7 home runs over that period.
Jonathan Lucroy -What has gotten into this guy? He may not have the home run total over the last two weeks that Bautista has, but he does surpass him in total extra-base hits. Lucroy has 6 doubles, 2 triples, to go along with 3 home runs. He has been driving force for the Brewers, plating 17 runs in this span. His line from the last two weeks .400/.437/.822. He's also managed to add in a couple of stolen bases. Unlike Bautista his recent performance is unexpected and he should be active in all formats right now until he cools off.
Andrew McCutchen -Over his past 7 days, McCutchen has driven in 10 while slugging 4 home runs. The Pirates offense is the worst in baseball and outside of second baseman Neil Walker there isn't a player worth starting on a consistent basis. McCutchen has belted all 7 home runs this month and driven in 17 of his 24 RBI. He's been hovering around .330 since May 9th and needless to say should be active across the board.
Alex Avila - The Detroit Tigers catcher has been in a rut the past couple of weeks batting just .162 with 2 extra base hits. Avila enjoyed a breakout season in 2011 and was rated highly in catcher rankings because of it. It is still too early to put labels on a player's performance but I doubt anyone would argue if you were to call him a disappointment. The Tigers as a team are struggling so Avila is not the only under-performer. That lineup is built to produce runs and could go on a tear at any moment, keep Avila active as the 2011 AL Central champs are due for a breakout.
Roy Halladay -Odd to see him in the cold section of Six The Hard Way but he deservedly belongs here. Halladay has been far too hittable, giving up game totals of 7, 7, and 9 his last 3 starts. He's 1-2 in those contests, sporting an ERA of 4.28 in that stretch. He's allowed 10 earned runs in those 21 innings pitched. Those numbers aren't horrific by any means but by Halladay standards it is not what is expected. There were early reports of his velocity being down, a sign that age could finally be catching up to him. I recently turned down an offer for Halladay in a dynasty league based on the fact that statistically this is his worst season since 2007. Of course things could turn around at any minute, this is Roy Halladay we're talking about.
Ubaldo Jimenez -Things just keep getting worse for the former Rockie. Over his last two weeks he's started 3 games totaling 16 innings. In those 16 innings Ubaldo has permitted 13 earned runs. He's struck out 10 batters, walked 13, and gave up 19 hits. Looking at those numbers I'm surprised his ERA hasn't risen by more than a full run. The silver lining? Two of the starts turned out to be quality and he was able to win both those games. Even so, no one expected Cleveland to be leading that division at this time, and no one expects Jimenez to win many more with performances like these.