© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
PrintPrint

05/18/10 2:06 PM ET

Trendspotting: My favorite Martin

Boesch powering up in Motown; Leake showing winning touch

Every week here in Trendspotting, we'll attempt to stay ahead of the curve by taking a look at whose stock is soaring and whose is heading in the wrong direction in each of the 10 classic 5x5 categories.

Expect to see a healthy mix of established stars performing (or not) in some unexpected areas and a few unheralded names making their marks in 5x5 play.


Batting Average


TRENDING UP
Word is getting out fast on Brennan Boesch, whose torrid debut (.380/.392/.676) has prompted the Tigers to make plans to move Carlos Guillen back to second base. The 25-year-old slugger whiffed slightly over 24 percent of the time he came to the plate in Triple-A in '09, suggesting that he'll have a tough time keeping his average above .300 all year, but owners shouldn't hesitate to strike while the iron is hot.

Luke Scott is similarly playing a little over his head right now, as the career .263 batter has smoked the ball for a .444 average (12-for-28) over his past seven contests, but he has enough power to warrant a place in mixed leagues even when his average begins to regress.

TRENDING DOWN
Jeff Francoeur is batting a frigid .124 (12-for-97) since he roared out of the gate with a 10-game hitting streak to start the year. A brutal 3/23 BB/K ratio in that stretch indicates that he hasn't been seeing the ball well for quite some time.

B.J. Upton's big comeback season has yet to materialize. The ice-cold youngster is batting just .143 in May, dropping his overall average to .218.


Home Runs


TRENDING UP
Still think that the 31 long balls Russell Branyan smoked last year were a fluke? After missing the first three weeks of the season with a lower back injury, the veteran hacker has been making up for lost time, cranking out four homers over his past six games.

It's far past time that fantasy owners start taking the Jose Bautista phenomenon seriously. The Jays' slugging 29-year-old has launched four moon shots in his past three games and has already clubbed seven this month, giving him plenty of job security for when Edwin Encarnacion returns from the disabled list.

TRENDING DOWN
Carlos Pena's dreadful May showing could easily make him a multiple trending-down offender. His .080 average (4-for-50) in the current month is as ugly as it gets, and while he's not expected to help much in that department, he isn't delivering any pop, either, by going homerless since April 28.

Derrek Lee proved he had plenty of thump left in his bat when he blasted 35 round-trippers last season, which makes his recent power outage all the more puzzling. Lee has been stuck on four big flies since April 25.


RBIs


TRENDING UP
Andre Either's broken pinkie opens the door for Casey McGehee to make a run at the top of the National League RBI leaderboard. The slugging third baseman has plated 33 runners this season and hasn't gone longer than three games without chasing a runner home.

Martin Prado has clearly benefitted from hitting in front of rookie standout Jason Heyward. The reigning NL Player of the Week led all Major Leaguers with 11 ribbies last week on the strength of three homers, including his first career grand slam for the surging Braves.

TRENDING DOWN
It's hard to believe that Carlos Quentin could wind up with a lower BABIP than the .221 figure he posted last season, but so far he's done the unthinkable by ringing up a microscopic .180 mark. That, in turn, has severely limited his RBI opportunities, as Quentin has driven home just 10 runners since he plated six in an April 14 victory over the Blue Jays.

As you might suspect, Adrian Gonzalez has traditionally fared much better on the road (.565 career SLG) than he has in his home digs (.437 SLG), but the discrepancy has never been as wide as it has been this year. A-Gone has driven in roughly one-third of his RBIs at PETCO Park despite tallying a nearly identical number of plate appearances away from home.


Runs


TRENDING UP
Cody Ross' streak of seven straight games with a run might have come to an end Monday night, but he'll still get plenty of opportunities to score as long as he keeps up his .438 May on-base percentage.

Corey Patterson has only been with the Orioles for a week, but he's already making his mark in AL-only leagues with seven runs scored in his first six games.

TRENDING DOWN
Jose Reyes' ill-fated tenure as a run-producing No. 3 hitter finally came to an end last weekend, which hopefully will get the Mets' catalyst going. The star shortstop has crossed home only three times in his past eight games.

Rajai Davis has yet to resemble the offensive sparkplug that drove the A's offense during the second half of 2009. The team has tried sitting him for a few days to clear his head and dropping him to the nine-hole to take some of the pressure off, but nothing has seemed to work thus far. Before he came around to score Monday night, Davis' last run came back on May 5.


Stolen Bases


TRENDING UP
Bobby Abreu's 11-year streak of nabbing at least 22 swipes appears to be safe now that the fleet-footed veteran has put on his running shoes again. The 36-year-old has racked up three steals in his past five games and hasn't been caught in any of his past four tries.

Jason Heyward revealed another dimension to his offensive attack by piling up a trio of steals over the past week. The rookie slugger, who swiped a combined 25 bases in the Minors from 2008-09, could easily reach double digits if he maintains this type of aggressiveness for the rest of the year.

TRENDING DOWN
Nyjer Morgan's recent stolen-base output has consisted of a pair of bags swiped against the Mets' Rod Barajas -- who has yet to throw out a runner this year -- on May 10. Otherwise, the Nats' leadoff man has been gunned down four times this month.

It's hard to say why Brandon Phillips has all but abandoned his running game in 2010. His .337 on-base percentage sits slightly above his career .313 rate, but he has stolen just two bases since Opening Day and has been caught red-handed in four of his past six tries.


Wins


TRENDING UP
Undefeated in his young pro career, 2009 first-round Draft pick Mike Leake is the proud owner of an unblemished 4-0 mark and a 3.09 ERA through his first seven Major League starts and has been a huge part of the first-place Reds' takeover of the NL Central.

What do you get when you take a blossoming hurler with a blue-chip pedigree and back him up with the Majors' highest scoring offense? You get Phil Hughes, who has come out on the winning end in five of his seven starts and appears to be on his way to a 20-win season for the Bombers.

TRENDING DOWN
Carl Pavano's renaissance has continued unabated in his first full season with the Twins, no thanks to Minnesota's offense. The veteran righty hasn't given up more than two runs in any of his past four starts, but has just an undistinguished 2-2 record to show for his handiwork.

Kenshin Kawakami has the dubious distinction of being one of just a trio of starters who have dropped six or more decisions to date, and with the way he's going lately, there's no telling when he might finally post his first W. Kawakami hasn't pitched past the sixth inning all year and could be the odd man out in Atlanta's rotation once Jair Jurrjens returns.


ERA


TRENDING UP
Scott Olsen has been flying under the radar this season, but such is life when you're pitching in a Nationals rotation that has never been a source of impactful fantasy starters. Over his past four starts, the 26-year-old southpaw has given up just four earned runs in 32 1/3 innings, good for a polished 1.11 ERA.

Joel Pineiro has flourished since getting drubbed by the Tigers on April 30, stitching together a 0.84 ERA in three starts, capped by a four-hit shutout in his most recent outing against the A's. Pineiro has whittled nearly two full runs off his ERA over his past three turns to improve to his overall mark to a solid 3.71.

TRENDING DOWN
Bad things happen when you serve up 26 fly balls and 12 line drives compared with just 14 grounders in two trips to the hill. Just ask John Lannan, who has been dusted for 10 runs over his past 9 2/3 frames to balloon his ERA to 6.51.

Gavin Floyd has given up at least five runs in each of his past three starts to swell his ERA to an even 7.00, but there is still reason to believe that he can turn things around. Considering that his sky-high .381 BABIP is due to come down and that his FIP ERA sits at a far better 3.92 mark, don't be surprised to see Floyd trending up before long.


WHIP


TRENDING UP
Simply put, Mat Latos has been virtually untouchable recently. The highly touted right-hander has scattered just three hits and walked none over his past two outings, a span of 17 innings. His 0.97 WHIP places him squarely in the Majors' Top 10.

Jeremy Guthrie has always shown good control, but he's setting the bar even higher with a stellar 1.7 BB/9 rate. The 31-year-old has yet to issue more than two free passes in any start this season and has limited opposing hitters to a .280 on-base percentage through his first eight.

TRENDING DOWN
Kevin Slowey's reputation as a top-shelf control artist has taken a major hit this season. His current 1.56 WHIP is a far cry from the 1.15 figure he racked up in his first season of 20-plus starts back in 2008. The 26-year-old has given up 15 hits and three walks over his past 10 1/3 frames.

When you're averaging nearly five walks per nine innings like Clay Buchholz, your WHIP is bound to take a hit. The normally efficient southpaw -- he averaged a 2.5 BB/9 rate in the Minors -- has walked five batters in both of his past two starts, raising his overall WHIP to a bloated 1.56.


Strikeouts


TRENDING UP
There hasn't been much slowing down Tom Gorzelanny, who has baffled opposing batters in what has been a season-long trend of getting them to swing at pitches out of the zone. His 34.1 O-Swing percentage is a couple notches above the 27.4 percent league average and has helped him post a rocket-armed 9.7 K/9 rate.

Big league batters have make contact on nearly 81 percent of the pitches they've seen this season, but they've only managed to put the bat on the ball 72.7 percent of the time against Ricky Romero, who's punched out 28 hapless opponents over his past three starts.

TRENDING DOWN
Jonathan Sanchez has pitched to contact much more than usual recently; he's whiffed just 12 batters in three May starts, one fewer than the total he recorded against the Pirates on April 14. Fortunately for his owners, Sanchez's new approach hasn't diminished his other numbers very much at all.

CC Sabathia has lost a little juice on his fastball and slider this year, but the simple fact is that the husky lefty just isn't missing bats with the same frequency as in years past. Hitters have been especially adept at making contact with balls inside the zone (88.7 Z-Contact percentage), a big reason why Sabathia has punched out more than five batters in just one of eight starts.


Saves


TRENDING UP
Jose Contreras -- and his twin 0.68 marks in WHIP and ERA -- finally got the break he needed after Brad Lidge began his second stint on the DL last week. The cagey veteran notched the first save of his career on May 15 and should be in line for many more while holding down the ninth for the high-scoring Phillies.

Manuel Corpas is due to carry the "interim closer" label for at least a few weeks longer after the Rockies' regular closer, Huston Street, strained his groin on a rehab assignment over the weekend.

TRENDING DOWN
Alfredo Simon blew his first save since taking on closing duties in Baltimore, giving up four earned runs to -- of all teams -- the Indians on May 15. With Mike Gonzalez back to throwing off a mound, Simon's tenure as the O's stopper could be coming to an end soon.

Despite left tricep spasms, Matt Thornton slammed the door on the Royals for the save on May 15. That probably doesn't bode well for Bobby Jenks (6.23 ERA, 2.08 WHIP), whose grasp on the team's ninth-inning role has been long-rumored to be tenuous, at best.

Chris Stryshak is a fantasy writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


MLB.com