'Darwin Barney squares around to bunt.' photo (c) 2012, Mike LaChance - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ Monday’s I will be taking a look at the fantasy baseball game by breaking down players who have produced noteworthy performances. This week it’s all about hot starting batters and pitchers – can they keep it up? To get your daily fantasy baseball fix make sure you head over to DailyJoust.com to set your salary cap club.

GAINERS OF THE WEEK

Darwin Barney (+5, $92K in DailyJoust salary) Barney is boring. There, I said it. Still, he's had four games in his last nine outings with at least two hits as he's boosted his average from .259 to .275. Because he's been getting on base a lot, he's also scored six times in his last six games. Barney is no great shakes but he's hit .276 over his last 707 at-bats even though he has no power (five homers) and averge speed (12 steals). More of an injury fill-in than anything else.

Mark Trumbo (+7, $120K) It all looks amazing right now. Trumbo is hitting .331 while being on pace for 30 homers. Wanna bet he doesn't get there? Trumbo has blown away even the most optimistic of expectations, but there are still a few things here worth noting. His 1.16 GB/FB ratio is average. His 21 percent K-rate isn't great. His 0.34 BB/K mark isn't worth anything. His .378 BABIP is not a sustainable pace, not with an 18 percent line drive rate. It's just not. I've said/written it many times before, but the guy just isn't a .300 hitter, even with his impressive 46 game run to start the year (the people at Fleaflicker aren't buying it either).

Justin Smoak (+8, $118K) Finally. After being a near automatic out for a couple of years, Smoak has finally started to hit like the guy who was drafted 11th overall in 2008. In his last nine games Smoak has peppered the seats with five balls, driven in 14 runs and scored nine times on his way to raising his OPS from .568 to .703. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves we should still note that his slash line is terrible (.283/.293/.409), as is his BB/K mark (0.33), and he continues to be completely ineffective against lefties (.214 with one homer in 56 at-bats). I'm heartened by his recent work, but he's still got a long way to go to prove he should be in the active lineup without question the rest of the way.

Jason Vargas (+41, $277K) Through 12 starts he has a 3.45 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, pretty heady work for a fella who owns a 4.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP for his career. Can he sustain his performance? His K/9 mark is bad (5.74) but same as always (5.72). His 2.50 K/BB ratio isn't awful, but it's still just a bit above the league rate (2.34). His 0.94 GB/FB rate is slightly better than the 0.74 mark he owns for his career but still well below the league average (1.10 or so). His BABIP of .223 isn't likely to be a sustainable pace either, not for a guy with a career .276 mark who has never finished a year under .272. This is as good as it gets with Vargas and he's likely to slip up moving forward.

LOSERS OF THE WEEK

Bobby Abreu (-11, $63K) Abreu started off his Dodgers career on fire. Predictably, things have slowed since. Oh he's still hitting .310 with a .437 OBP in 26 games with the Dodgers, simply fantastic production from the aging vet, but he has a mere seven hits in his last 10 games during which time he has scored a mere three runs. There's still room to go down here making Abreu nothing more than an NL-only option.

Christian Friedrich (-20, $188K) Three wins in five starts is fine, but after dominating the Padres and Giants in his first two starts it's gotten ugly. Over his last three outings Christian has allowed 16 runs over 16 innings. My analytical mind tells me that he's posted an ERA of 9.00 in that time (how impressed are you – I didn't even need my calculator). The 15 Ks in those three starts give him an impressive 32 in 29 innings, but they come at such a high price that it isn't anywhere near worth it right now.

Alex Gordon (-21, $55K) Hitting a mere .244, that is the highest his average has been since May 16th, Gordon has a hit in 7-straight games an in each of the last four games he has produced a double. He still has only one steal on the year, and his total of four homers is boring as all get out, but at least he has picked up the pace of late. Hitting just .219 with a .686 OPS in the leadoff spot this season (73 at-bats), Gordon really seems to like it when he is batting second in the order (.343/.425/.557 in 70 at-bats).

Jarrod Parker (-27, $181K) Through seven starts Parker has a 2.88 ERA and 1.35 WHIP for the Athletics. Remove his awful outing against the Giants and he's gone six starts without allowing more than two earned runs. He has been difficult as all hell to hit with a .228 BAA, but the walks are a big time concern. In four of his last five outings he's issued at least four free passes, and sooner or later those catch up with you (his 29:21 K/BB mark is awful – 1.38). He's a 2-start pitcher this week but matches with the Rangers and D'backs would seem to suggest that he's not exactly someone you should roll out there without worrying about.

Michael Saunders (-8, $68K) Yes he's hitting only .257, and suiting up for the Mariners doesn't exactly make you someone that anyone is rushing out to add, but have you noticed that he's on pace to go 15/25 this year? He's got to cut down the K's though, he has 52 in 183 at-bats, or that .257 average of his might dip even further, especially considering that his BABIP of .331 is .062 points above his career mark. An effective, under the radar option that has holes in his game.

DAILY CONTEST

Today you can sign up for the King Arthur's $50 Free Roll on DailyJoust. No entry free is required to get a chance to play the game and earn your free chance to take home part of the $50 prize pool. All games that start at 7:05 PM EDT or later are open to add players to your daily fantasy baseball squad. So get over to DailyJoust, put together your one day lineup, and get ready to win some free cashola.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

Ray Flowers on Twitter

#NBA ARTICLE for @thereallisaann - Lisa Ann talks chemistry on and off the court - http://t.co/MDf5Fbq5ec

He's flat out elite. Injuries make him impossible to trust. RT @77_cb: moving tulo before dec 31 deadline... not sure of real value?

#mlb VIDEO for @FantasyAlarm - Ubaldo, Duke Bud Norris Giancarlo Stanton Pablo Sandoval Matt Harvey http://t.co/aw0CQjQE8A

#mlb VIDEO - Alexei Ramirez Max Scherzer Joel Peralta Justin Upton Jay Bruce Jose Dominguez - http://t.co/UPQyuuSDMq