This is the best time of the season. First of all it’s Labor Day so happy holiday to all those celebrating, or at least relaxing with a well deserved day off. Labor Day also signifies back to school time in most states, or at least in New Jersey, so no more damn kids playing on my lawn. Finally, in fantasy, the beginning of September, or week 22 to be precise, is the start of the fantasy baseball playoffs in H2H leagues – at least in leagues with a good commissioner.
All your hard work and grinding over the past months all comes down to this. Win and you advance to the next round. Lose and you’ve got seven months to prepare for next season. Those in roto and point based leagues can’t take your foot off the gas either, unless you have a ridiculous lead. Every point counts so don’t get lazy now thinking you’ve got things locked up. If you are only a few points behind in a category or two there is still plenty of time to make a move.
Now is the time to take a magnifying glass to your roster. Look at what your players have been doing over the past 15 and 30 days. If someone is not performing you cannot afford to sit around and wait for them to snap out of it. It’s not about how got you to this point; it’s all about who can take you the rest of the way. The pickings are slim, but there are still some useful pieces available.
Jorge Polanco (Twins)
I’ve overlooked mentioning Polanco in the past. His ownership rates are just abouve 50%, but if he’s available, he should be owned. He hit three home runs this past week and has seven over the past 14 days along with 20 RBI and 14 runs scored. Polanco is an unlikely middle of the order bat, but that’s exactly where Minnesota has been slotting him. He could flame out quickly, but until he does you should take advantage. Polanco qualifies at second base, third base and shortstop adding flexibility to his overall value.
Delino DeShields (Rangers)
If you need an immediate boost in stolen bases then look no further. DeShields has three stolen bases this month already, six over the last 14 days along with 10 runs scored. He quietly hit .292 in August and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. You can cross home runs and RBIs off your wish list, but he will contribute nicely to the other three scoring categories.
Jose Reyes (Mets)
If you missed out on DeShields then maybe take a stab at Reyes. He has four stolen bases over the past seven games – against three different teams – along with 10 runs scored. A .302 batting average in July and .276 Post-All Star shows there is still some life left. With Philly and Cincinnati on tap he’ll have plenty of weak pitching to take advantage of this week.
Ozzie Albies (Braves)
Albies gets ignored because he offers no power or speed – that’s never a good thing. However, he has been putting on a hitting display of late, batting .396 over the past two weeks with 13 runs scored. As long as he continues to bat second between Inciarte and Freeman those runs will continue. That batting average can easily negate losses you’d get from all or nothing sluggers like Joey Gallo. He qualifies for both second base and shortstop making for a decent injury replacement or solid middle infielder.
Yolmer Sanchez (White Sox)
Sanchez has almost 400 at bats this year and has been in the league since 2014 so he is not new. His production of late is, batting .365 with four home runs, two steals, 12 RBI, and seven runs scored. Batting second on most nights we can expect a steady stream of runs and RBI. Sanchez also qualifies for second and third base giving you both corner and middle infield eligibility. His track record says this will not last so enjoy the ride while you can.
Kevin Kiermaier (Rays)
The 27-year-old has teased us for years with his power/speed potential. He has just never produced enough of either to matter, and the batting average made things less appealing. Well, Kiermaier is batting .279 this season, .301 against righties, and over .340 since June. Over the past 14 days he is batting .347 with a pair of home runs and stolen bases along with nine RBI and 10 runs scored. He is quietly filling up the stat sheets and makes for a solid #4 outfielder, maybe even #3 in larger leagues.
Shin-Soo Choo (Rangers)
I have recommended him several times this season, all with the caveat that he will be streaky. Choo is hot now with a .314 average in August and over the last two weeks he has three home runs, nine RBI, 11 runs scored, and even chipped in a steal. His 18 home runs, 12 stolen bases, 65 RBI and 84 runs scored earned him a rank of 36 among outfielders on the ESPN player rater. Streaky or not, an ownership rate below 50% is sad.
Justin Bour (Marlins)
Pure speculation here as there is no guarantee we will see Bour in a Marlins uniform before the end of the season. He is on a rehab assignment, though, and if you have an empty DL slot it can’t hurt to stash him. Prior to hitting the shelf he was batting .289 with 21 home runs – six of those came against lefties. Oblique injuries are tricky, but if he looks good in rehab and is healthy I would roll the dice.
Speculating on Power
Over the past two weeks we’ve gotten four home runs each from Matt Olson, Mitch Moreland, Chase Headley, Tommy Joseph, Kendrys Morales, Lucas Duda and Curtis Granderson. All of these players have flaws – too many to mention in one sitting. However, they are all showing signs of power right now, and for some of you that’s all that matters. If you are looking for a one category boost, any one of them could be worth a speculative add.
One would assume that if you are one of the top teams in your league that you have a stable catching option. For those still playing the stream game:
- Robinson Chirinos hit .349 in August and is hitting .333 so far in September with a pair of homers over the past 14 days and 16 total for the season.
- Mike Zunino has three home runs over the past 14 days with a .382 batting average. He also has 21 on the season.
- Chris Iannetta also hit 3 home runs over the past two weeks with a .375 average. With five homers in August and one in September he is on a power roll.
- James McCann hit a pair of home runs bringing his season total to 12. He is also hitting over .300 in the second half.
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