On the rise: Ludwick, Aybar, Maybin

It’s mid-May and hot streaks are sometimes harder to recognize. These three players have put up some excellent numbers over the past 30 days, but don’t seem to be getting the recognition they perhaps deserve.

Using Yahoo! owned percentage.

Ryan Ludwick (17%) – Ludwick has hit .275 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in the last 30 days. That’s better than Prince Fielder’s .270/6/17 line over the same span. While Ludwick is certainly not Prince Fielder at this point in his career, he still has the upside to hit for plenty of power the rest of the way. Ludwick has been hitting ball in the air frequently this season, (56% FB%) but he has increased his line-drive rate lately, meaning he is definitely squaring up the ball more often.

Ludwick has always had raw power and that power peaked in 2008 when he hit 37 home runs with the Cardinals. While it is highly unlikely that he will reach those heights again, there is no question that, if healthy, he can post a 20-25 home run season in 2011. Ultimately, his power will help in spurts, but don’t expect much in the AVG department, where he hasn’t hit over .265 since 2008.

Erick Aybar (53%) – While his 13-game hitting streak was followed by an 0-11 in his last three games, Aybar is still hitting .310 with nine stolen bases over the last 30 days. Over that time he was helped by a .355 BABIP and he has a .362 BABIP on the season. Aybar is a hacker and his lack of plate discipline makes his offensive game very risky. His current 43 percent chase rate is in Panda-Vlad territory. While he’s still doing a good job of hitting line drives, his hack-attack approach could cause a drastic drop in AVG should the line-drive rate tail off.

If you are in need of middle infield help, you can definitely roll with Aybar and hope the line-drives continue. If you happen to have Aybar and also have some depth, now would be a good time to try and sell high.

Cameron Maybin (31%) – .295 with three home runs and two stolen bases in the last 30 days, Maybin is finally looking like the big-time prospect he was touted as years ago. Still, there are concerns as the whether or not he can actually maintain such a pace. During his current hot streak, Maybin has put the ball on the ground almost 58 percent of the time while hitting line drives are a mere 11 percent clip. Clearly, his .357 BABIP over that time has been favorable. The other issue looking forward is the fact that Maybin continues to swing-and-miss way too often for his skill-set. His contact rate over the last 30 days is only 74 percent and he has struck out in 24 percent of his at-bats. While I believed before the season that Maybin was capable of 15/20 in 2011, I also had doubts as to how his AVG would play 12-team mixed leagues. All-in-all, he should be a solid fourth outfielder in mixed leagues due to the power/speed combo, but he’s much more likely to hit .265 than .295 the rest of the way.