We have a couple of unexpected names in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Hottest of the Hot: Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox
Dunn vowed to rebound from his ghastly 2011 season, and boy, has he ever. The slugger who averaged 40 home runs a season between 2004-10, then plummeted to 11 last year, is on pace to hit a career-high 50 big flies in 2012. In the past week, the Big Donkey batted .375/.423/.833 with 3 homers, 8 RBI, and 9 runs scored. Dunn even stole a base. For the season, Dunn leads both leagues with 31 home runs (plus 73 RBI). The .215 batting average is still a killer for those in roto leagues, but his .356 OBP confirms that his selective batting eye is as sharp as ever. Combine Dunn’s season with the consistent excellence of Paul Konerko, and it’s easy to see who is keeping the White Sox in contention for the AL Central.
Who else is hot?
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers – Gomez has had himself quite a week. You’ve probably already seen his “foul” home run trot, but don’t let that overshadow how productive he has been for the Brew Crew. The speedy centerfielder put together a battling line of .346/.379/.884 with four home runs, 10 RBI and three stolen bases. With Zack Greinke gone, watching Gomez may be one of the only interesting things about the Brewers left in 2012.
Jeremy Hellickson, Tampa Bay Rays – Hellickson has had an up-and-down season, but July has definitely been an extended “up” period for the young righty. Hellickson has hurled five consecutive quality starts this month, with a 2.67 ERA and 0.95 WHIP. Thanks to their horrendous hitting, though, the Rays only managed to win two of Hellickson’s starts. Thanks to Hellickson (and teammates David Price and Fernando Rodney), the Rays may have something to play for when Evan Longoria returns in August.
Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves/Chicago Cubs – Here’s a name you wouldn’t expect to see in this space. The lefty Maholm, however, is on a roll like no Cubs pitcher has experienced in decades: six straight starts of at least 6 IP and 1 or fewer ER allowed. Maholm, never considered a power pitcher, has struck out 37 batters and walked only 13 during his streak. As a reward for his outstanding pitching, Maholm was traded Monday night to the Braves, where he will attempt to help Atlanta reach the postseason.
Omar Infante, Detroit Tigers – Since being traded back to the Tigers, the versatile Infante is just 3 for 21, with no home runs or extra-base hits. With Detroit counting on him to upgrade their dreadful second base production, Infante needs to snap out of his funk sooner rather than later.
Tyler Colvin, Colorado Rockies – After being one of the hottest players in baseball in June, Colvin has come crashing back to Earth like Skylab (raise your hand if you got that one). In his past 14 games, Colvin has gone 6 for 46 with 17 strikeouts, including an 0 for 15 stretch. With Todd Helton returning from the DL, Colvin’s playing time figures to decrease until he can stop his descent.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Here’s a name you would never expect to see in the “Not” section. In his past four starts, Halladay has only 16 strikeouts, allowed 19 hits, and thrown one quality start. In that same time frame, Ross Ohlendorf, Joe Kelly, and the aforementioned Maholm have outpitched Halladay. For the season, Doc has an ERA+ of 93, which would be his worst since 2000. It truly is shaping up to be a season to forget in Philadelphia.
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Stats through Sunday 7/29