Who’s Hot and Who’s Not
In our Solar System, the Sun is the hottest star and Neptune is the coldest planet. At the beginning of the year, Justin Upton was hitting for the stars and then fell off the planet. Jason Kipnis was as cold as ice but heated up with the weather. The players mentioned in this article are shining with the starts while others have journeyed to the depths of the coldest places known to man, AKA Who’s Hot, Who’s Not!
Too Hot To Handle- Jason Kipnis 2B, Cle
The third year has been a charm for Indians 2B Jason Kipnis who hit .419 in June crossing home plate 17 times and driving in 25. In the last week of June, the ex-Sun Devil hit .519 with nine runs and 11 RBI’s. The No.3 spot has treated him well in 75 ABs. Along with leading all 2B with 19 steals, Kipnis is top three in runs, home runs, and RBI’s among his position. He has climbed up the charts as the top-rated 2B.
Spicy Hot- Hanley Ramirez SS, LAD
2008 and 2009 Silver Slugger Hanley Ramirez has rejuvenated the Dodger lineup. In 20 ABs with RISP this year, Han-Ram is hitting .500 and has picked up the slack for a slumping Kemp and Eithier. In his last dozen games, Ramirez has cracked 5 HRs driving in 14 and scoring 11 times while swiping 3 bags.
Sizzling Hot- Michael Cuddyer OF, Col
In his 13th season, Michael Cuddyer saw his career-high 27-game hitting streak come to a halt after facing Clayton Kershaw who cruised at Coors in a complete-game shutout. At age 34, Cuddyer has been on the DL once this season and battled injury shortly after. He is hitting .344, never hitting better than .290 in any season, but the .371 average w/ RISP has turned Cuddyer into a RBI machine.
Third-Degree Burn- Paul Goldschmidt 1B, Ari
Sitting out in Arizona’s summer sun without sunblock can give you a third-degree burn and so can Paul Goldschmidt if you were standing too close to him for a long period. Ok, not really, but I wanted to work it into the title. Any who, the Texas State alumn leads the NL with 69 RBI’s and third with 20 home runs. In his second full season, Goldschmidt has matched last year’s total in home runs and is on pace to set new career highs in all major offensive categories that would put him among the leagues elite. A month ago, the Diamondbacks No.3 hitter was the first rated player in baseball. Now, he is ranked at 6th overall.
Hot Corner- Pedro Alvarez 3B, Pit
In Alvarez’ first full season as a Pirate, he banged 30 home runs but only hit .241 in 149 games. In about half that (73 games) this year, Alvarez has slammed 20 over the fences with half of those coming in June. The Vanderbilt alumn is still only hitting .244 on the season but hit over .300 for the first time in a month going .309 in June.
“Burr, It’s Cold in Here, There Must be Red in the Atmosphere”
Shin-Soo Choo is a career .290 hitter but hit a miserable .224 in June. The South Korean’s lefty-righty splits this year are absurd. Choo is batting a career breaking .152 vs. lefties and a career lasting .327 vs. righties. All of his dozen home runs have come against righties this year, and only 4-out-of-the 46 homers in the last three seasons have come against southpaws. Obviously the struggles come against lefties but only hitting .152 against same-sided pitchers is mystifying.
Freezing Below Zero- Vernon Wells OF, NYY
It has never been freezing below zero in New York City. The coldest day in NYC was 1 degree, which is about where Vernon Wells is hitting. On May 15th, Vernon Wells was hitting one degree over .300 and a month and a half of bad hitting has him at .228. Vernon did not hit so well in June with zero home runs and a horrific average of .133. If he keeps that up, it will be a long-cold winter for Wells.
You’re as Cold as Ice- John Buck C, NYM
So when I wrote the title, I was so thinking Foreigner “Cold as Ice.” It was a cold winter in New York and it was a cold June for Mets Catcher John Buck. After leading all catchers in April with 9 home runs and 25 RBI’s, Buck has only hit four homers since while hitting .167 in June and is now hitting .205 on the season.
The Cold Shoulder- Ian Kennedy SP, Arizona
The 21-game winner in 2011 had his worst month since then with a 6.83 ERA in June. It took 5 starts and 21 earned runs in June to bump his ERA to 5.36 on the season. The Yankees first pick in 2006 has been unable to find his groove this season allowing 87 hits and 33 walks in 89 innings pitched. This was suppose to be a bounce-back year after last years 4.02 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, but the 10-game suspension and numbers from 2013 suggests otherwise.
Cole Hamels SP, Philadelphia
The once heralded starting rotation of Halladay, Lee, and Hamels is now known as Lee and a broken Halladay and Hamels. The 2-11 record increases the sting of a 6-year, $144 million contract extension signed before 2013. The 4.58 ERA and 1.30 WHIP is unlike we’ve ever seen with the lefty, so logic says he’s a good buy low with combined ERA’s of 3.08(July), 2.36(August), and 3.06(September) through the last three seasons. Hamels had reached double-digit wins the last six seasons and is on pace to snap that streak with only two this season.
Coldcocked- Matt Weiters C, Baltimore
The Orioles first pick (5th overall) in 2007 has not hit up to par to this point of his career, but was a Gold Glove winner in 2011 and 2012. This year was suppose to be the break out year offensively for Weiters as were the past few and whoever felt so now feels like they’ve been coldcocked as Matty Ice has not hit to expectations once again in the first half. Yes the expectations are high, but hitting .229 raises questions of ability at the plate. It took Yadier Molina, who is well-known for his glove and now his bat, five years to crack .300 on the season, but Molina doesn’t possess the power Weiters does.