You’re at the point where you need to start filling games played, you need warm bodies in your lineup to keep your head above water while you’re trying to stay in the hunt for whatever prize it is that your league has agreed upon. Third base has seen it’s share of ugliness recently. David Wright is out with injury. Pablo Sandoval is hurting and has a .291 slugging percentage over the last month. Evan Longoria is hitting .185 since July 1. Pedro Alvarez has a .250 on base percentage in his last 25 games. Of course, I’m not saying you should bench Longoria, but there are a variety of reasons why there are many of you out there looking for answers at the hot corner. And there might be a couple.
I’ve written before about Mike Moustakas, so forgive me if you’re sick of hearing his name. But right now, Moustakas is owned in basically half of ESPN and Yahoo leagues, which means, well, he’s not owned in roughly half of the other leagues. And you might want to own him. Why? Over his last 30 days, Moustakas has hit .293/.352/.500 and it’s not all BABIP either as that registers at .308 (and spot-on with his xBABIP to boot). He’s hitting for power (.207 ISO), he’s taking his walks, he’s not striking out much.
What he is, however, is hurt. He strained his calf apparently and who knows if that’ll keep him on the shelf for a few days or what. But come on, Mike — it’s your calf, named after a cuddly little baby cow. Be a man. Get out there and rake.
One of the knocks on him over the last couple of years is that his uppercut style swing has produced an inordinate number of infield flies, and that certainly was happening this year to a great degree. We are only half way through August, so beware the sample, but his monthly splits are looking pretty encouraging:
Is it possible that the uppercut has been worked on? Maybe. Here’s a gif from a piece Jeff Zimmerman did last year on Moustakas’ swing issues:
And here’s a recent swing from 2013:
I’m no hitting coach, and I wouldn’t say these two swings are fundamentally different — like the difference between Jack Perconte and Barry Bonds — but it does seem like he’s not dipping that back elbow as badly as he did in the recent past. But it’s just two swings on pitches not in the same location, so who the hell knows. But regardless, he’s producing much like like folks expected he would based on his pedigree.
Much more sizzling than Moustakas is Nolan Arenado, who for some unknown reason appears to be widely unknown. He’s owned in about 17% of both ESPN and Yahoo leagues. Thus, I’m proclaiming 83% of ESPN and Yahoo leagues as patently stupid.
Arenado might be on the fortuitous side of lady luck right now, but over the last month he’s delivered a .353/.385/.494 line. During that time span, he’s hit almost 27% line drives, and he’s starting to look a heck of a lot like the guy prospecting types raved about for the last few years. He’s not likely to tip the scales in your home run category, but should you happen to own one of the injured or ineffective players listed above, at a minimum, he’s a capable replacement in the short term.
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