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Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Updated: August 16, 1:15 PM ET
FLB '04: Who's hot, who's not?

By Eric Karabell
ESPN Fantasy Edge

You know it, you love it, you can't live without it. Which players are smokin', while others are stinkin'?

Melvin Mora
Third Base
Baltimore Orioles
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R SB AVG
88 20 67 81 8 .351
WHO'S HOT
  • Melvin Mora, Orioles: Nobody is hotter than this guy right now. I wrote about him in Tuesday's Fantasy Buzz, so I don't want to duplicate too much, but bottom line: All things considered, I think you have to consider making Mora a top 3 third baseman in next season's drafts. Only Scott Rolen is a definite over him, and even there, assume Rolen is a 30-110-10 guy normally, and Mora is looking similar. For sheer stats, Mora is 18-for-41 (.439) over the last few weeks, with five homers and 16 RBI.

  • Brett Myers, Phillies: Well, it's about stinkin' time! Myers has been a fantasy and real life pig for more than a calendar year. Last year, this young righthander was 9-6 with a 3.66 ERA at the break. After, he blew up (5.72 ERA). This year? He had a 5.74 ERA four starts ago, and nobody wanted to own him. Myers has shown signs of emerging lately. In his last start he shut down the Dodgers - no amazing feat, but still - to two hits in eight innings. In his last four starts he's permitted only seven runs total. It's a start.

  • Noah Lowry, Giants: Who knew? Well, if you looked at the minor league numbers from this season - solid ratios accomplished in PCL hitting parks - you could see how Lowry would be successful. In his last two starts since being recalled, he's allowed three earned runs and struck out 15 in 14.1 innings. He's not as unhittable as it seems, but he's solid. NL owners have flocked to Lowry, and with one more win we'll see him added in all leagues.

  • Hideki Matsui, Yankees: They did a piece on SportsCenter last night called five questions and one of them was about the most underrated Yankee. How can't it be Matsui? Look it up! His power numbers are right there with A-Rod and Sheffield. Matsui hit another homer Monday, and he's the only Yankee hitting over .300. Over his last seven games he's got four homers, 11 RBI and a .407 average. What's not to like?

  • J.T. Snow, Giants: Let's go off the beaten path for this one to a guy readily available. Snow has not been much of a fantasy factor for years. A Mark Grace type who actually has less power, Snow has done nothing since 2000. In fact, in 2001-03, over three seasons, he managed all of 20 home runs total and topped .246 once. So why are we touting him now? Snow batted .364 in July and so far he's at .421 this month, and - we can't explain this - with power. Snow has five homers in the last five weeks, 21 RBI. He had one homer, nine RBI all season prior. Get him while he's hot, and realize it may not last long.

    WHO'S NOT
  • Kenny Rogers, Rangers: OK, don't tell us this shocks you. Rogers has been a fantasy revelation this season, but it's ending with a thud. Once 12-2 with a 3.65 ERA (seven starts ago), now The Gambler is certainly that, a big gamble. Seven earned in his last start, and only one good outing in the last month has driven his ERA up to 4.60. His ratio is high. The strikeouts were never there. And the Rangers are playing poorly. Time to sit Rogers.
    Nick Johnson
    First Base
    Montreal Expos
    Profile
    2004 SEASON STATISTICS
    GM HR RBI R SB AVG
    63 5 23 30 6 .240

  • Nick Johnson, Expos: Time to admit, yet again, how wrong people have been about this guy. I didn't think Nick would hit for big power numbers in Montreal, but I did think he'd hit for average. He has a beautiful swing, gap power, and by leaving the Bronx he'd play every day. Right? Well, Nick is hitting .240 and his slugging is lower than most catchers. Only five homers all season? Johnson is at .087 for the last week with two measly singles. Nobody wants - in real life or fantasy - a first baseman with no power.

  • Eric Hinske, Blue Jays: Talk about an inconsistent fella. Hinske had a great stretch over the last two months in which he was getting two hits a night, smacking doubles and raising his average 10 points a week. He left June at .244, was at .274 two weeks later. His average has dropped 10 points so far in August, thanks to his recent .107 stretch. I don't know how Hinske did 24-84-13 as a rookie. It never made sense. There was no indication he had that in him from minor league stats. And since then, he's showed it.

  • John Lackey, Angels: And here's another one, a guy who can toss a a near shutout against the vaunted Rangers offense one day, and get pounded by the Twins and - yikes - Royals after that. Lackey is a .500 pitcher with a high ERA. As a rookie - like Hinske - it appears he just overachieved. Lackey allowed 22 baserunners in his last two outings. Punt. At least until that one good start out of five happens.

  • Michael Young, Rangers: So, is this the end of this great story about Young replacing A-Rod and leading the league in hits? Well, forget about leading the league in hits. Ichiro passed Young and is running away with that title. Young is second. But Young is floundering. He's hitting .143 this past week, and .200 in August. Is he tired? Overworked? I say no. Just a slump. Texas hit him third the other day, with Alfonso Soriano leadoff. Very interesting. Look for Young to bounce back fast.