With just a week to go in the season, teams mostly fall into two firm camps: those with something to play for, and those without.
Teams with something to play for can be counted on to play mostly their top players, while those without could trot out an Astros-esque lineup without raising any eyebrows.
It makes the last week of the season difficult for those still lucky enough to have something to play for. Ideally, you want players on a “still playing” team, because their playing time is safer, against teams “not playing,” who may throw out terrible pitchers.
Still playing: Boston, Tampa Bay, Detroit, Cleveland, Oakland, Texas, Atlanta, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh
Bubble: New York Yankees, Baltimore, Kansas City, Los Angeles Dodgers
Not playing: Toronto, Minnesota, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle, Houston, Washington, New York Mets, Philadelphia, Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs, Arizona, San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado
And now, for comparison, here are the shortstops who have received the most playing time in the past two weeks, along with their Yahoo ownership percentage (maximum 50% ownership rate; any blank ownership tags indicate less than five percent):
|Stephen Drew||Red Sox||11||43||0.289||3||1||5||2||26%||Playing||Not||Mid|
|Munenori Kawasaki||Blue Jays||8||23||0.211||2||0||0||0||Not||Mid||Playing|
|Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||5||18||0.143||3||0||1||1||11%||Playing||Not||Mid|
First of all, Billy Hamilton is the key add. If he’s still available, grab him; nobody is going to give you the juice in any one category as much as he will. Unless you have no need for speed (and any competitors also don’t need speed), pick him up.
Beyond Hamilton, some of the best plays by category need could be as follows:
Yunel Escobar – Rays are still competing and they draw the Yankees (still kind of in it) and the Jays (not).
Stephen Drew – the Sox have a chance at home field throughout the playoffs and play the Rockies (out of it) and Orioles (who will be by then).
Zack Cozart – as much as he’s not very good, he hits after a group of excellent hitters on a team that will be competing until the very last day of the season.
Daniel Descalso – he’s been playing pretty much every day, and while he isn’t an RBI machine, playing time in that Cardinals lineup is a good set up.
Josh Rutledge – if he gets to play, he’s got a pair of games left in Coors Field and has shown category juice (at the expense of ratios).
Chris Owings – he’ll play at Chase Field on the final weekend of the season and is likely to get in the lineup. He’s flashed double-digit power in the minors the past few seasons and could luck into his first career dinger.
Jonathan Villar – getting every day playing time so the team can judge his readiness, he runs pretty much any chance he gets.
Dee Gordon – with the Dodgers clinched and unlikely to grab the top NL record, the team is likely to rest Hanley Ramirez for a few games, giving Gordon a chance to play.
Brian Dozier – some nice category juice here, and the Twins could let him play (albeit against good teams) to pad his career-year numbers.
Hope some of these tips help and that table can be useful at other positions as well. I’ll try to answer any pick-up or sit/start questions all week in the comments.
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