Hot Hands Who Might Be Available

I wrote up 10 bats for the stretch run just five days ago and there is admittedly some overlap here as I go position-by-position and highlight another group of hitters you may want to add, but it’s minimal (only one is completely re-recommended, the others are essentially reminders in case they’re still available). Given that we are so short-term focused at this point, I thought even five days was enough to mention them again as they continue to standout atop the leaderboards of the last month or so.

CATCHER

Christian Vazquez, Boston Red Sox

.392/.431/.598, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 20 R, 3 SB in 109 PA over Last 30 Days (all samples will be over L30 days unless otherwise stated)

Vazquez is smacking both righties and lefties during this run, but the power comes against righties (.214 ISO). He’s hitting so well that the Sox put him at DH in a recent game to keep his bat in while getting Sandy Leon a start. Vazquez has five multi-hit games in his last seven starts (spans eight games, but one was a PH appearance).

Also Consider: Roberto Perez (5 HR in L30 days), Jorge Alfaro (showing his prospect hype w/.815 OPS in 90 PA)

FIRST BASE

AVG: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins

.361/.412/.519, 1 HR, 14 RBI, 15 R, 0 SB in 119 PA

He’s actually hitting .306 on the year, but just 7 HR and 65 RBI makes it tough to slot him in at 1B or CI. However, if you’re chasing AVG he could be the answer for you at CI or UT. He has just three hitless starts in his last 31 games (he has an 0-for-1 late game appearance, too), yielding a .392 AVG in that time. He has four 3+ hit games this month and his 10 in the second half are tied for third-most.

Also Consider: Jose Martinez (.373 in L30 days), Chase Headley (.301 in L30)

PWR: C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angels

.273/.356/.534, 5 HR, 19 RBI, 11 R, 1 SB in 101 PA

Cron had just a .562 OPS through June (just 34 games including an injury and demotion), but has a healthy .287/.347/.573 line with 13 HR and 38 RBI since July 1st (40 HR, 117 RBI pace).

Also Consider: There are other power-only bats who can get you some HRs, but will likely hurt you elsewhere including Lucas Duda (7 HR, .155 AVG in L30), Luis Valbuena (6, .188), and Tommy Joseph (5, .238)

Make Sure He’s Rostered: Matt Olson (68% at ESPN, .500 ISO, 14 HR in 100 PA) – He’d be the top choice on this entire list, but I’m not sure how available he is so I decided to slot him here. I didn’t overlook him, but he should be rostered by now. Plus, there are some Oakland A’s fans who mention him in the comments of every article I’ve written, regardless of whether it’s about hitters or not! J

SECOND BASE

Jed Lowrie, Oakland Athletics

.313/.400/.515, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 27 R, 11% K, 13% BB in 190 PA over last 44 games

I had to include two 2B because Lowrie has been awesome for quite a while now. Both righties (.320 AVG, .921 OPS, .197 ISO in 141 PA) and lefties (.293, .900, .220 in 49 PA) have felt the pain against Lowrie. He’s playing all the time and regularly batting 3rd, yet he’s on just 32% of ESPN rosters.

Also Consider: Joe Panik (.382 AVG in L30 days), Ozzie Albies (.330 AVG, 2 HR, 2 SB in L30), and Asdrubal Cabrera (.349 AVG, 4 HR in L30)

SHORTSTOP

AVG: Tim Anderson, Chicago White

.343/.350/.510, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 16 R, 7 SB in 103 PA

He’s done his best work against lefties this year (.327 AVG, .830 OPS) so his relative surge against righties has driven this run (.300 AVG, compared to .237 all season). He’s a great example of how incredibly unpredictable stolen bases can be as he has all seven in the sample during September after nabbing just six through August in 490 PA.

PWR Twins: Jorge Polanco and Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota Twins

JP: .274/.350/.585, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 16 R, 2 SB in 124 PA, EE: .250/.303/.556, 8 HR, 21 RBI, 18 R, 1 SB in 119 PA

I’m starting to see why the Twins aren’t going away in this wildcard race despite their underwhelming pitching. This offense is smashing fools and it’s not just the more well-known assets like Brian Dozier, Byron Buxton, and Eddie Rosario. The emergence of Polanco and Escobar has completely covered for the absence of Miguel Sano (out since 8/19).

Polanco has actually gone cold again at .135/.220/.243 over his last 10 games, but he was so in the 34 prior (7 HR, 1.091 OPS in 144 PA) so I had to mention him. Escobar has essentially picked up the torch with the bulk of his hot streak covering Polanco’s return to earth. Escobar is at .286/.328/.714 in 67 PA over his last 16 games with 7 HR, 15 RBI, and 14 R.

Make Sure He’s Rostered: Jose Reyes (59% at ESPN which likely covers most active leagues, but check juuuust in case; .341/.443/.598, 5 HR, 8 SB in L30)

THIRD BASE

AVG: Johan Camargo, Atlanta Braves

.387/.406/.581, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 4 R in 33 PA since returning on 9/6

He hasn’t missed a beat since returning from the DL with five multi-hit efforts in his eight games. He was hitting .299 in a 56-game run since his June 3rd recall from Triple-A. You might catch a homer here and there, but this is really a batting average-only play in terms of moving the needle.

I could’ve put Escobar here for a PWR option at 3B, but I (fittingly) paired the Twins at SS instead.

Also Consider: Jeimer Candelario (playing daily w/.339/.451/.525, 13% K, and 17% BB in 71 Sept. PA)

Make Sure He’s Rostered: Nick Castellanos (similar to Reyes at 58%, but check your wire to be sure; .385/.389/.750, 8 HR in 108 PA)

OUTFIELD

Matt Joyce, Oakland Athletics

.282/.356/.590, 6 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R, 0 SB in 90 PA

After a resurgent season as a part-timer in Pittsburgh last year, Joyce looked perfect for Oakland’s platoon-happy tendencies as a strong side option. Through 55 games, he was looking like a bust, toting just a .197 AVG, .659 OPS, and 7 HR in 203 PA. He’s been everything they were hoping for in 75 games since, though: .273/.366/.553 with 17 HR in 309 PA (37 HR pace). He’s still a strict platoon bat, but that will make it easy to know exactly when to deploy – a great pickup for daily move leaguers.

Jacoby Ellsbury, New York Yankees

.355/.467/.526, 1 HR, 12 RBI, 21 R, 5 SB in 94 PA

He has just two hitless starts and an 0-for-1 PH appearance in September with most of his good work in the above line coming during this time: .417/.533/.563 and all 5 SB. In fact, he’s perfect in his last 13 attempts. He was last caught on May 22nd, one of just two times this year in 23 tries.

Also Consider: Alen Hanson (doesn’t always play, but 2 HR & 3 SB in last 36 PA) and Alex Presley (.393 AVG in 63 Sept. PA)



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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. He is the purveyor of the SP Guide (on hiatus for '17). Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer, on Snapchat at psporer, and on Twitch at psporer24.

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theojd
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theojd

Maybe a lot of readers here do daily leagues, but most weekly lineup leagues are already locked in so this would have better served to have been posted on Sunday/Monday imo.

Jackie T.
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Member
Jackie T.

So just don’t publish articles about pickups on any day but Sunday Monday because you think that works best for you in your specific league? What a ridiculous comment.

theojd
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theojd

I did add the caveat about daily leagues, but yea basically. In most weekly leagues, lineups get set Monday or Tuesday. It’s akin to providing weekly streaming options for football at 5PM on Sunday, it’s mostly too late to help the majority of people.

Thought it was a fairly innocent comment tbh.

theojd
Member
theojd

I didn’t say there wasn’t useful info here. At the same time, it can be true that it could have been more useful, in general, two days ago. You know, kinda like that line in the Wedding Singer. Would be curious to know what % of RotoGraphs readers do daily vs. weekly. Maybe I’m wrong or maybe the audience tuned out because it didn’t apply to them.

At least I left out the part where most of the players listed above are owned in my leagues…