In the post-roster expansion period, it is easy to lose track of who the heck is playing these days, especially for non-contending teams. If you’re an NFL fan and fantasy football player, it makes it even more difficult to monitor playing time situations. With less than two weeks to go, deeper leaguers who are scrambling for bats should consider the following hitters who have enjoyed significant playing time over the past couple of weeks, perhaps to the surprise of some.
The oblique injury that ended Ike Davis‘ season opened the door for the return of Lucas Duda. While we all assumed he would be part of a platoon with Josh Satin, that seems to no longer be the case. Duda is playing every day and doing what he does best — take walks, strike out and hit for power. One might call him a mini three true outcomes type offensive force. While batting average over a two week period is nearly impossible to predict, he should have even more value in OBP leagues. The Mets offense will obviously cap his RBI and run potential, but he’s a nice under the radar option as your corner man the rest of the way.
After returning from a hamstring injury at the end of August, the initial word was that Pagan was going to get regular rest. It was enough to cause me to ignore him in the free agent pool even in my 15 team LABR league. I figured he simply wouldn’t get enough playing time to earn any value. Well, over the last 14 days, he ranks tied for 62nd in plate appearances with other characters who play every day. During that span, he has stolen two bases, which is an excellent sign. One might expect him to play it safe on the base paths given that the Giants are going nowhere and he is coming off a leg injury, but that obviously hasn’t been the case.
With Starling Marte still on the shelf and no real certainty that his hand is going to feel well enough to garner consistent starts, Tabata will continue to patrol left field for the Pirates. Once a decent speed threat, his steals have taken a dive in recent seasons, but he still possesses the wheels to swipe the occasional base. Hitting atop an improved Pirates lineup should lead to solid runs scored totals and he’s not a complete zero in the home run category.
A .209 wOBA has Jake Marisnick in the Miami doghouse and my favorite offensive sleeper this pre-season, Justin Ruggiano, has benefited. In September, Ruggiano already has nearly the plate appearances he earned in each of June, July and August and we still have nearly two weeks left in the month. While his stolen base pace has slowed, he continues to show good power. He’s also overdue for a couple of good batting average weeks given his low .263 BABIP. While he could stand to hit a few more line drives, his batted ball profile suggests there is some significant upside to that BABIP.
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