After last week’s variation of the American League Outfield Rankings, I decided to write about the final eight or so games in a similar fashion. Just like last week, the following criteria are in mind:
– A sub 50% ownership rate in either Yahoo! or ESPN
– Favorable matchups, either via ballpark or opposing starting pitchers
Raul Ibanez – Over the past two weeks, Ibanez has hit .333 with two home runs, four RBI’s and three runs scored. Sure the early portion of this week is in a homer dry park in Minnesota, but after the Yankees travel to Toronto before finishing up the season at home against a below average Red Sox staff. Per StatCorner, the left-handed home run Park Factors for MIN, TOR and NYY in order are 72 (yikes!), 102 and 150 respectively. The good news is that while in Minnesota, Ibanez will be facing right-handed pitchers Esmerling Vasquez and Samuel Deduno. If you’re hurting for raw power and can handle a bumpy batting average, grab Ibanez. He is owned in less than 20% of both Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.
Andy Dirks – If you happen to be in the market for AVG, Dirks could be the final cog of your championship machine. He is a career .286 hitter and is currently hitting .314 this year. Take those numbers with a grain of salt, as we are drawing on just 545 and 310 PA’s respectively. With all due respect to small sample size, we’re dealing with nine games remaining in the regular season. Dirks is once again healthy and according to the team’s official depth chart, is installed as the everyday left fielder. I’ve grabbed him in a few leagues just to see if I can catch lighting in a bottle. Dirks also has a road trip to the massive Minnesota park, but that is sandwiched between a series at home against the Royals and a trip to Kauffman Stadium. With all of that Royals pitching staff to feed on, I expect Dirks to have a nice end of the season run. You can grab him in over 90% of both ESPN and Yahoo! formats.
Eric Thames – Man, you know that it is an “all hands on deck” sort of week when Eric Thames‘ name is being thrown around. Yes, his strikeout rate is terrifying, yes, he doesn’t make much contact, but yes, his power is in fact legitimate. He has actually hit more homers in a Mariners uniform than a Blue Jays — in 30 fewer PA’s too. Thames has two jacks in the past four games, all at home. The good news is that he only plays at home for one more series, the bad news is that most of his value — the long ball — will be put to the test as he plays in Anaheim, Oakland and at home. Not a single ballpark there has a hitter friendly home run rate. That being said, Thames’ power can blast a home run out of anywhere, just expect him to go 1-for-4 with a home run, two strikeouts to his name. Thames is owned in a mere 1% of ESPN and Yahoo! leagues.